While California and Nevada both boast many natural wonders, few compare to the breathtaking beauty of Lake Tahoe. Straddling the border between the two western states, this lake is nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, making it a go-to destination for both swimming and skiing. If you’re renting a home for a Lake Tahoe vacation, keep some of these tips in mind to ensure your time is enjoyable for the whole family.

10 best tips to have a great Lake Tahoe Vacation

  1. Consider the Season

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    There’s no bad time to visit Lake Tahoe. If skiing is your thing, winter is a must-visit. Summer is best for hiking, biking, and being on the lake, while a fall or spring visit lets you avoid the heavier crowds of the peak seasons.

  2. Pack Appropriately

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    Always plan for things to be a little colder than you expect. In summer, temperatures take a dip after the sun goes down. In winter, there’s no such thing as over-prepared in terms of appropriate layers.

  3. Plan Your Route Ahead of Time

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    If you plan to do any sightseeing on your trip, a map and a good GPS system are your best friends. In the winter, travel can be hazardous due to road conditions. In other seasons, one wrong turn can set you way off course. Before setting off, look up current traffic situations and know exactly where you’re heading.

  4. Prepare for Elevation

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    The lake sits at 6,225 feet elevation and the area mountains are even higher. Unless you’re regularly used to these heights, prepare for the elevation change with extra water, moisturizer and adequate sun protection.

  5. Know the Difference Between Shores

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    Not all areas of Tahoe are the same. If budget-friendly and touristy is what you’re after, head to the southern shore, where you’ll find casinos, plenty of restaurants, shopping and entertainment. If you prefer a relaxing vacation with a more outdoorsy feel, the northern shore towns of Kings Beach, Incline Village, Carnelian Bay, Tahoe City, and Truckee are more your style.

  6. Make Reservations
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    There’s nothing worse than driving to a nice restaurant and finding out it’s full. Lake Tahoe is a popular vacation destination, so prepare to make reservations early at your must-eat spots.

  7. Have a Car

    Because it’s tucked away in the mountains and has more than 70 miles of shoreline, car is by far the easiest way to travel. If you’re arriving for your Lake Tahoe vacation by plane, make arrangements for a rental vehicle during your stay.

    Local Pro-tip:If you are coming in the winter, you must have four wheel drive. During storms many roads are closed to two wheel drive cars, and are dangerous if you don’t have the right gear.

  8. Make a Game Plan

    Lake Tahoe boasts an area of more than 200 square miles, and many of its amenities are spread out. It’s easy to get lost trying to figure out what to do and see if you don’t approach the visit with a game plan. Try to find as many activities as possible close to where you’re staying.

  9. Book a Tour
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    One of the best ways to see all the beauty of the area is to sit back and let the professionals show you. Try a charter boat tour, hop on a bus or even experience a horse carriage ride as you see and learn about the beauty of the area.

  10. Try Something New
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    Lake Tahoe is a one-of-a-kind place, so make the most of your vacation with a new adventure or experience. Ride a gondola, try paddleboarding, hop on a hot air balloon or go skiing for the first time. A Lake Tahoe vacation is the perfect time to step outside of your comfort zone and make lasting memories.