What to Do
1. Go on a quest to Mount Tallac
Perched high above the lake, this approximately 10-mile hike tops the list of must-do Lake Tahoe summer activities. The hike involves 3,500 feet of elevation gain and takes about nine hours, with stops at three alpine lakes along the way. Bring a picnic and a lot of water and enjoy an alfresco lunch with unparalleled views.
2. Hop on board a gondola
If you’re traveling with kids, consider skipping the more intense Mount Tallac hike and instead taking on the 1.6-mile East Peak Trail, which combines a gondola ride to the top of the peak at Heavenly Mountain Resort.
3. Hike and bike the Tahoe Rim Trail
Called “a trail like no other,” the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail circles the lake. Mountain bikes are permitted on certain sections of the trail, including the longest uninterrupted biking path on the southeastern side of the lake.
4. Go stand-up paddleboarding
Travelers who prefer the water can rent a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) and see for themselves why Lake Tahoe is considered one of the clearest lakes in the world and is known as the “jewel of the Sierra” for its clear emerald hue. Flatwater SUPs are great for any adventure level and most ages. Local shops, like South Tahoe Standup Paddle, will help determine which board is best for you based on your age and skill level.
5. Rent a kayak on Emerald Bay and hike to the “tea house”
For a prime view of one of the most photographed spots in all of Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay, rent a kayak and take the short paddle out to Fannette Island. Then hike up to the “tea house,” which offers a charming view of Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay framed by a window in the historic stone remains.
6. Cool off with a sip of something local
Follow your lake adventures back toward South Lake Tahoe with a short 15-minute drive southeast on state Route 89, where you can refuel at Cold Water Brewery. A handcrafted, locally brewed beer and a brisket chili will have your tired muscles feeling like new in no time.
7. Play at Commons Beach
If you’re vacationing with the family, head to Commons Beach in downtown Tahoe City. The grassy beach has evolved into a lakefront playground, with play structures for kids, fountains and barbecue grills. Enjoy live music on Sunday evenings in the summer.
8. Savor a progressive dinner at Heavenly Village
After working up an appetite from hiking, biking or playing at the beach, enjoy a progressive dinner at Heavenly Village, where you can choose from a huge variety of eateries. For example, grab pizza and an ice cream brownie sundae for the kids at Base Camp Pizza Co., or a pint of beer, lamb lollipops and crispy pork belly for the adults at Gunbarrel Tavern & Eatery.
9. Get star-struck and spectate at the American Century Championship
For those traveling to South Lake Tahoe in summer, plan your trip around one of the biggest star-studded events of the season: the American Century Championship golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe golf course. During the second full week in July, visitors can see some of their favorite stars — with the likes of Tony Romo, Justin Timberlake and Bobby Flay previously matching up — on the green during this casual and fun event that raises money for local and national causes. Tip: Parking is limited at Edgewood, so plan to park at one of the nearby casinos, such as Harrah’s, Harveys, MontBleu or Hard Rock.