What to do in Lake Tahoe - Summer Weekend Getaway

Growing up, we went to Lake Tahoe for a few days almost every summer. Hiking, biking, and swimming were always on the itinerary. I was excited to bring Josh up there for the first time and show him one of my favorite places in California, where I had so many great memories and adventures with my family to share. 

Lake Tahoe Views

Reno-Tahoe Airport

Traveling There

We took a quick hour long Southwest flight, flying out of LAX and into Reno-Tahoe International Airport (watch-out for bears). From there, we rented a car from Hertz at the airport and drove about an hour up through the mountains to the lake!

Where to Stay

There are a few hotels at the Stateline and a few at the North shore with AirBnBs between! We like staying at the Stateline because it's more lively and city like, but not far from adventures in the wilderness.

Harvey's Lake Tahoe

Highway 50 at Stateline Avenue, Stateline, NV 89449

Since Lake Tahoe is split on the Stateline of Nevada, most hotels have casinos and our favorite place to stay is Harvey's. It's located on the North side of Lake Tahoe Blvd without another hotel obstructing the view. The rooms are a little dated and need a renovation, but they are very spacious and have spectacular views. There are many restaurants and activities that are walking distance, including Heavenly. It's not bad waking up to this every morning...

Lake Tahoe View from Harvey's Room
Harvey's is also pet friendly! Meet Richard!

Harvey's is also pet friendly! Meet Richard!

Kayak in Lake Tahoe

What to Do

There are so many different things to do in Tahoe and something for everyone:

  • Hiking trails all over
  • Biking along the lake
  • Kayaking on the lake
  • Renting jet ski's 
  • Paddle boats! 
  • Horseback Riding in the mountains to great heights and great views
  • Gambling in the casinos
Hiking Lake Tahoe, Eagle Falls, Emerald Bay

Here are a few of our favorite things to do:

1. Heavenly Lake Tahoe

During winter these Heavenly gondolas take you up for skiing, but during summer, there is a playground. The base is close to the Stateline taking you up a 2.4 mile ride up in the Heavenly Mountain Gondola with panoramic views of Lake Tahoe. On the way up, there is a stop at the Observation Deck where we took photos and breathed in that fresh mountain air.

Heavenly Views Lake Tahoe - Wandering Jokas Travel & Ice Cream Blog

Gondola Price: Adult $48

At the very top, there are a few adventures you can embark on:

  • Tubing down a thrilling 500ft-long hill
  • Zip-line 1,000ft-long zip line at top speeds of 40 MPH
  • Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster - a single rider coasting down a 3,400' track, descends 300 vertical feet, and accelerate around two lateral loops
  • Ropes course

Price: Ultimate Adventure Pass for only $84 (includes Gondola ride)

Zip Line Heavenly Lake Tahoe

If you have never been to Tahoe, the gondola is a must-do. Because it is a little pricey, I don't think it's something you have to do every time you go, but it was really fun to play like a kid for a day!

The Tamarack Lodge at the top has overpriced average theme park type food, setup commissary style. 


2. Lake Tour on the Ms Dixie II

The Ms Dixie is a large paddlewheel boat that cruises across the lake to Emerald Bay and back. A recording plays throughout the 2 hour tour, giving the history of Lake Tahoe and fun facts. Lunch and complete bar service are available for purchase.

The sites were spectacular! It was nice being on the water and not in the freezing lake. I also learned new things about Tahoe that I never knew! For instance, "The center of the Lake can appear cobalt blue, as blue light is absorbed further, leaving visible violet light as the predominant light color. In shallow areas, the water can appear emerald or turquoise in color since green is the predominant light color at shallow depths." Cool, right?

Fannette Island Tea House Castle Lake Tahoe Emerald Bay

Within Emerald Bay is the only island in Lake Tahoe, Fannette Island, where the lady of Vikingsholm would go to have tea in the afternoon in the little castle built on top. So jealous.

Prices: Ages 12 and Up: $59.00 , Ages 3-11: $29.00

They also offer a Dinner sunset cruise as well. 


Ms. Dixie II

Ms. Dixie II

Lake Tahoe
Fannette Island in Emerald Bay

Fannette Island in Emerald Bay

Lake Tahoe

3. Emerald Bay Area

Emerald Bay and Fannette Island

Emerald Bay and Fannette Island

Along the Southwest shore off Route 89, is Emerald Bay. It's about 45 mins (22 miles) from Tahoe City, and we usually park along the highway (or there is a parking lot for $10) and then hike down the Rubicon trail to the Vikingsholm, a 38-room mansion that is recognized as some of the best Scandinavian architecture in the US. 

The architect who built and designed this incredible mansion, was Leonard Palme, who was hired by his aunt Laura Knight. See more info on the CA Parks and Rec site.

Vikingsholm Rubicon Trail
Picture from vikingsholm.com

Picture from vikingsholm.com

Emerald Bay living up to its name

Emerald Bay living up to its name

Where to Eat 

There are so many delectable restaurants with stunning lake views. Let's start with my favorites, shall we?:

Susie Scoops Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt

869 Tahoe Blvd, Incline Village, NV 89451

This cute little ice cream store is located in Incline Village and attached to the toy shop, Village Toys! Inside the walls are pink with ice cream lights and decorations everywhere like an old fashioned ice cream shop. I wanted to live there. ;-)

They offer 28 flavors made locally as well as frozen yogurt, smoothies, shaved ice (18 flavors), shakes & malts (any flavors), floats, hand-dipped waffle cones, specialty sundaes, pints to go, & ice cream cakes! EVERYTHING ICE CREAM! Exceptional flavors: Peppermint, Mud pie and Peanut Butter Cup ice cream.



Courtesy of Edgewoodtahoe.com

Courtesy of Edgewoodtahoe.com

Edgewood Restaurant 

100 Lake Pkwy, Stateline, NV 89449

Located on the Edgewood golf course right on the lake, its the perfect spot for lunch on the patio or dinner at sunset. We enjoy burgers on the patio for lunch and steaks in the lodge with gorgeous lake views at sunset.

Make a reservation ahead of time! They are on OpenTable.com



19 Kitchen & Bar - Harvey's Lake Tahoe

18 US-50, Stateline, NV 89449

This restaurant is located atop of the Harvey's Hotel with great steaks and amazing birds eye views of the lake. We usually go right around sunset and request a table by the window. Also, don't miss out on their cotton candy for dessert!



Cotton Candy @ 19 Kitchen & Bar

Cotton Candy @ 19 Kitchen & Bar

Wet Woody at Riva Grill on the Lake

Wet Woody at Riva Grill on the Lake

Riva Grill on the Lake

900 Ski Run Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

For lunch and cocktails, you must go to Riva Grill on the Lake and try a Wet Woody. Yes, I just said that. They are famous for these rum drinks and these woody's sure pack a punch! 

Lunch options are great, ask for a table on the patio. 



Friday’s Station Steak & Seafood Grill

Harrah's Hotel - 19-29 Lincoln Hwy, Stateline, NV 89449

Located on the top floor of Harrah's, this Lake Tahoe fine dining gem features a dramatic entrance, a 1,000-bottle display wine cellar and magnificent views from every table.

Friday’s Station Steak & Seafood Grill

Friday’s Station Steak & Seafood Grill


Montbleu Resort Casino & Spa - 55 US-50, Stateline, NV 89449

I'd put them in the Top 10 best steak dinners I've ever had! This fabulous 4 Diamond Steak and Chophouse has an exquisite variety of steaks and chops to go along with their extensive 300 bottle wine list. The sides were amazing, we ordered all potatoes (the White Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes Gratinée were my fave) and the white truffle mac and cheese. These paired well with my mouth watering Cowboy Ribeye.

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Best things to do in Lake Tahoe

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