Designed to be a stand-alone itinerary or to pair with our guide to 48-hours in El Dorado County, below you’ll find suggestions for how to spend two full days in Lake Tahoe. From new activities to old favorites, we make sure you don’t miss a thing. And this time, we’ve included some easy ways to support sustainable recreation during your stay. Before you go, review the remainder of the #TahoePledge guidelines in order to preserve this beautiful destination for generations to come!
This story was created in partnership with Visit Lake Tahoe.
Day 1: Explore the Trails, Eat Local, and Cruise the Lake
You will likely either arrive on the shores of South Lake Tahoe from California’s Highway 50 via Placerville, or from Carson Valley on the Nevada side. Either way, embrace the instinct to explore as soon as you arrive. Lake Tahoe features endless ways to stretch your legs. Lakeside Van Sickle Bi-State Park offers plenty of hiking opportunities and a unique photo opportunity at the California-Nevada state line. There are also a plethora of world-class mountain bike trails nearby. Didn’t pack your own set of wheels? Let a local outfitter help, like Tahoe Sports LTD. Local shops are also great places to get trail recommendations based on your skill level and schedule.
If you prefer a more manicured outdoor experience, Lake Tahoe is famous for its scenic golf courses. After all, it’s hard to beat spending a few hours on an immaculate green on the edge of one of America’s most beautiful alpine lakes! We recommend reserving a tee time at the Edgewood Tahoe, where all levels of putters are welcome.
LIVE LIKE A LOCAL TIP #1: Practice being friendly on the trails! Go the extra mile and give a smile or a wave as you lean off the trail to allow others to pass. And remember that mountain bikes always yield to hikers and horses. Hikers also yield to horses. Downhill mountain bike traffic always yields to uphill traffic.
You’ll surely have worked up an appetite come lunchtime! There are limitless options for dining in the South Lake Tahoe area. Golfers, check out the laidback Brooks’ Bar and Deck right on the edge of the course for french dip, wings, and tacos. Empanash serves up traditional Argentinian empanadas, and those with a hankering for Greek bites will enjoy Artemis Lakefront Cafe. Consider getting to and from activities during your stay using the new, completely free Lake Link Microtransit Shuttle.
LIVE LIKE A LOCAL TIP #2: When ordering food while on vacation, keep in mind that it can be less wasteful to eat in. If you do decide to take food to go, only ask for utensils and napkins you need. When disposing of your to-go containers, recycle whenever possible and place all trash in receptacles that are secure against bears.
Later that afternoon, experience the Spirit of Tahoe during a sunset champagne cruise to Emerald Bay. This peaceful two-hour ride takes you to gorgeous Emerald Bay during magic hour (the time just before sunset). With one hand full of bottomless bubbly and the other on your camera, this cruise is sure to fly by!
That night, check into one of Lake Tahoe’s newest lodging options: Desolation Hotel, Edgewood Tahoe’s Villa Suites, or the Hampton Inn & Suites. These beautiful properties might just inspire you to extend your Lake Tahoe stay.
Day 2: Paddleboard, Picnic, and Ride in a Batmobile
The next morning, get back on the lake. South Tahoe Standup Paddle can get you set up on a self-powered paddleboard, while the Marina at Zephyr Cove Resort rents boats perfect for towing wakeboarders and skiers. Check out a list of all outfitters here. Remember that lake activities are seasonal, but there’s plenty to do in the winter, too!
LIVE LIKE A LOCAL TIP #3: One of the easiest Leave No Trace tips is to never litter! Take all your trash with you, and always dispose of it in appropriate containers. Extra points for picking up any other trash you see, even if it’s not yours.
Once you’ve toweled off from your morning fun, hit the pavement. Continue the road trip spirit with Rolling Freedom Motorcycles. Select from the Slingshot (a three-wheeled Batmobile type vehicle), motorcycles, or e-bikes to spend an exhilarating afternoon cruising the shores of Lake Tahoe. Mid-joyride, indulge in a picnic lunch with Reverie Picnics. These luxurious mini-parties are ideal for couples or small groups of friends celebrating a special event. Of course, you can always pack your own picnic and stop to enjoy it at any park along the lakeshore, such as Cave Rock.
LIVE LIKE A LOCAL TIP #4: Traveling around Lake Tahoe with a pooch? Please don’t leave your poop bag on the trail. There is no poop bag fairy!
If you aren’t still full from an epic charcuterie board, satiate your appetite this evening at Sapori Italian Kitchen. Their panoramic views of the sun setting over Lake Tahoe paired with a California red are the perfect toast to a great trip!
After 48 hours in Lake Tahoe, you may decide to extend your journey by traveling along Highway 50 to Placerville, California for gold rush history and small town charm.