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South Lake Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe

Mt Tallac Road B trail head, South Lake Tahoe, California

The Basics

South Lake Tahoe is a year-round destination with a particular appeal to outdoor enthusiasts. In summer, an extensive network of walking paths, bike trails, and campsites offer myriad ways to enjoy the lake and its surrounding forests, including Emerald Bay State Park (just a few miles north of town). In winter, skiers and snowboarders flock to the region to experience some of California’s best ski resorts, including Heavenly and Squaw Valley. For something even more serene, strap on a pair of snowshoes and take an off-the-beaten-path winter hike through the fresh powder.

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Recent reviews from experiences in Lake Tahoe

star-5
More than a 3 hour tour
Holly_S, Nov 2021
Ultimate Lake Tahoe Self-Driving Audio Tour
The 2-3 hour tour turned into an 8 hour event. We took one of the side trip suggestions to Fallen Leaf. Learned about the Good Indian and the fallen leaf legend. Heard about the Ong and history of the area. Stopped at casinos we hadn’t stopped at before. Skipped Camp Richardson area as we had visited before. Visited Emerald Bay and some new to us pull offs. Packed our lunch so we could eat on our schedule. Not sure how this would be 2-3 hours unless you never get out of your car.
star-5
Good background for the drive.
TerryLynn_T, Nov 2021
Ultimate Lake Tahoe Self-Driving Audio Tour
The audio tour was great. Took a bit to figure out the technical issues, but really enjoyed the history narrative. Driving around the Lake is amazing and this helped provide some structure. Highly recommend for anyone that is looking for an inexpensive easy way to get some guidance.
star-5
Interesting self guided tour with flawless app
Jeff_F, Oct 2021
Ultimate Lake Tahoe Self-Driving Audio Tour
We loved the GPS activated tour guide which means we did not have to turn the app on and off, it automatically came on based on our geolocation! Location!
star-5
Great information!
Donna_M, Oct 2021
Ultimate Lake Tahoe Self-Driving Audio Tour
Liked learning about the history of the area. Lots of stops we would not have known about on our own. Narrator was fun and informative. Driving directions were also good.
star-4
Just do it
James_O, Oct 2021
Ultimate Lake Tahoe Self-Driving Audio Tour
Emerald Bay was awesome. Though the app was a bit clunky at first we finally figured out how it operated most efficiently.
star-5
Great experience
David_J, Aug 2021
Ultimate Lake Tahoe Self-Driving Audio Tour
Great info and an enjoyable drive at our own pace. We would highly recommend this tour. It can take quite a few hours if you explore the different areas.
star-5
Well worth it
Kristen_F, Aug 2021
Ultimate Lake Tahoe Self-Driving Audio Tour
Once signed in, easy to use and very informative. Liked how there was pauses in between- to give you a chance to enjoy the view. Unfortunately, at the time we went there was some smoke from the fires. But all around, worth it.
star-4
Interesting tour
Cat_T, Aug 2021
Ultimate Lake Tahoe Self-Driving Audio Tour
We enjoyed the narrated drive very much and learned many facts about the Lake Tahoe area. Too bad the tour did not include a stop or information about the filming of The Godfather 2 near Homewood. Also, we had difficulty with the directions to get on the sight and ultimately called for help. That said, thanks for a fabulous tour!
star-4
Informative tour
sandycap, Jul 2021
Ultimate Lake Tahoe Self-Driving Audio Tour
Informative audio as drove around the lake including historical comments, had issue of audio stopping along the route and had to re-enter the app to get audio starting again, happened twice.
star-4
Nice option to have!
Kevin_S, Jul 2021
Ultimate Lake Tahoe Self-Driving Audio Tour
Great having some info as you your Lake Tahoe. Pointed out things as you went. Do your own pace and stop and go as you wish
star-5
well worth the $
Ian_C, Jun 2021
Ultimate Lake Tahoe Self-Driving Audio Tour
It was a good tour of interesting facts. Make sure you go clockwise around the lake. You sometimes need to watch the map for the numbers as occasionally it didn't play and we went to list and played manually.
star-4
Great Value and Great App
Jonathan_A, Jun 2021
Ultimate Lake Tahoe Self-Driving Audio Tour
Excellent app and although it got out of sync a few times. It was very good that it tracked us as we traveled around the lake. Very informative about the places we visited and allowed us to do our own site-seeing as well. Can’t wait to try the app in other locations around the US! Nice job!

Things to Know Before You Go

  • South Lake Tahoe is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers.

  • South Lake Tahoe is larger, and packed with more amenities, than Truckee or Tahoe City.

  • Don’t forget to pack comfortable shoes—ones suitable for walking on uneven surfaces.

  • For unmatched views of the lake, book a Lake Tahoe circle tour.

  • If you’re driving through the area in winter, remember that tire chains are sometimes required.

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How to Get There

The nearest airport is Reno-Tahoe International, located 58 miles (93 kilometers) north. If you don’t have a car, catch the South Tahoe Express Bus from the airport to the Heavenly Gondola. Or, fly into San Francisco International Airport take the scenic 3.5-hour drive.

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Trip ideas

Lake Tahoe Ski Resort Guide

Lake Tahoe Ski Resort Guide

Top Hiking Trails in Tahoe

Top Hiking Trails in Tahoe


When to Get There

The best time to visit South Lake Tahoe? That depends on what you like to do. Non-skiers tend to enjoy the area in early fall and late spring, when the crowds are thinner, the prices are lower, and the weather is consistently beautiful.

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Choosing a Shore

Lake Tahoe has a large perimeter, and each shore offers something unique. The south shore, near South Lake Tahoe, shines for its gambling and entertainment, easy access to ski resorts like Heavenly, and abundant, affordable accommodations. North Lake Tahoe, on the other hand, is dotted with vacation rentals and luxury resorts, and the eastern and western banks, which have less commercial activity, are good choices for a rugged wilderness escape.

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