A trip to Lake Tahoe in summer from the San Francisco Bay Area gifted me a much-awaited break from the whirlwind of the city and the complexities of modern tech-driven life. Lake Tahoe, the largest Alpine lake in North America, greeted me with a dash of dark blue and thousands of sparkles under the shining sun. I felt I stepped in a veritable Eden. Iridescent flowers bloomed in unrivaled abundance and the small streams everywhere whispered the arrival of summer. I visited places that remain closed during the winters and hiking through numerous state parks was an absolute pleasure. Away from crowds and popular touristy spots, I chose the north shore of Lake Tahoe this time and spent four idyllic days in the lap of nature.Lake Tahoe in Summer – Perfect 4 days! #Travel #LakeTahoe #California Click To Tweet
Reaching North Lake Tahoe
My vacation started the moment I saw the mountains with some traces of snow and the beautiful pine trees, whereon the setting sun cast a glory. The simple scenery became intensely memorable. I felt almost an instant urge to get down from the car and take in the fresh, pine-scented air. I decided to stop in the Gold Run Rest Area on I-80 and enjoyed a short break.
During my long road trips, I have stopped at countless rest areas conveniently located on major freeways all across America. I must admit that the Gold Run Rest Area on I-80 is one of my favorites. It is surrounded by beautiful nature and the restrooms are super clean and tidy. I and my daughter took a stroll and saw a small tablet commemorating the Chinese railroad workers who built the Transcontinental railroad. A small slice of history, a building akin to a chalet in design, large pine trees, and a trail next to the rest area were perfect to set the mood and mind for the vacation. After spending a short while, we started and enjoyed the last stretch of the journey for the day and reached our hotel around 8 pm. The refreshing cold air, the impeccable streets lined with trees on both sides, and a sky full of stars were our intangible savings that evening for the bank named memory.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.I chose the north shore of Lake Tahoe this time and spent four idyllic days in the lap of nature. #TahoeNorth #Lake Tahoe Click To Tweet
Where did I stay in Lake Tahoe in summer
I spent 4 beautiful nights at the Franciscan Lakeside Lodge, a small and cozy lodge by the shores of Lake Tahoe, with direct access to the beach. Our beautifully decorated lakeside studio was equipped with a kitchenette and was perfect for our family of three. My daughter loved her yummy cheese omelet for breakfast while watching the scintillating blue lake from the comfort of our cozy room. When I opened the window, birds’ songs filled our room. Seeing tall pine trees through the window and watching colorful birds was my favorite morning activity during the stay. This place is also perfect for couples in search for romantic escapes! If you are planning a trip to Lake Tahoe, Franciscan Lakeside Lodge has it all. Nature, comfort, and solitude! Book your stay at the Franciscan Lakeside Lodge.
A relaxing day by Lake Tahoe in summer
I decided to spend the first day of our trip beside the lake without any set to-do lists which are otherwise endlessly knitted into the fabric of everyday life. A break from the norm is essential sometimes to feel the holiday vibes and nuances of the season. The day began with a mug of take-away coffee to the beach just beside our lakeside cottage. Although I missed the clatter of coffee cups inside a cozy cafe for a moment, I quickly forgot about it when I saw a beautiful long walkable pier almost merging into the lake. I sat on one of the four chairs at the very end and felt the sun and the breeze on my skin. It made me nostalgic and brought back fleeting vignettes of Lake Geneva in Switzerland to my mind. The immensity of the lake was both inspiring and overwhelming. So, after a while, I decided to sit on one of the beach chairs and look around while basking in the summer sun. Children were making sandcastles, some people were reading books, some making a stone sculpture in the water, and a group playing frisbee – all quintessential holiday scenes!
My daughter urged me to walk beside the lake, to which Siddhartha and I happily agreed. On our way, my daughter saw a set of swings and was overjoyed. The breeze, the trees, the soft sunlight, and the swing – I became a child too. Such carefree days are hard to come by these days!
We continued our walk by the lake and passed many public and private beaches. During our walk, a serendipitous incident took place. We saw and observed a mama ducky, a papa ducky, and their four children. We followed their path and were surprised to reach an enchanting pond full of lilypads and see how intelligent those five ducklings were! Such stimulating walks in nature are nourishment for the mind and a continual spur for rousing the imagination. I wonder, while looking at them, how many voyages did my daughter take in her imagination, what adventures did she dream of, and what pictures will she sketch later on an unguarded moment?
Embark on a 72-mile scenic journey
The next day, we decided to take a round trip around the lake. The beautiful vistas along the road are a treasure. If you are visiting Lake Tahoe during summer, embark on the 72-mile scenic journey and feel the magic.
Must see places and things to do in Lake Tahoe in summer
Lake Tahoe is one of the beautiful lakes in Northern California, and it looks vibrant in summer. The pleasant weather, beautiful sceneries, and gorgeous state parks to go for long hikes are just perfect. Also, there is plenty of scopes to indulge in some lovely activities. Choose any or all activities from the recommended list below and have fun doing them!
- Book a Half-Day Photographic Scenic Tour
- Go for a 2-hrs cruise on the lake.
- Book a Full-Day Narrated Bus Tour for Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley
Martis Wildlife Area
If you want to experience open meadow spaces with views of the mountains and blooming wildflowers, then go for a hike at Martis Wildlife Area. Due to time constraints, we couldn’t go for a hike here but stopped for a while and enjoyed the view.
Donner Memorial State Park
The Donner Memorial State Park is a must-see place if you are visiting Lake Tahoe. Steeped in history and nature, I visited the famous Pioneer Monument built to commemorate the California emigrants traveling west during the mid-1800s inside the beautiful Alpine park. The visitor center inside features compelling exhibits that illuminate the Emigrant Experience, the Donner Party, the Land of the Washoe, the Chinese construction of the railroad, and early motoring adventures over Donner Pass. I always love reading about the history of a place to understand its background and unique characteristics. What’s more, the park is right next to Donner Lake, another breathtakingly beautiful very close to Lake Tahoe. After spending almost an hour at the memorial and visitor center, I chose to go for a gentle stroll along the Lakeside Interpretive Trail and was pleasantly surprised by the scenery.
While walking alone through the woods, a realization simmered in the solitude; all conceptions of truth and beauty, all intimations of the infinite, are derived from harmonious and exquisite loneliness. During my walk, I saw the glimmering sunbeams through the trees and felt it is not just a sheer accumulation of miles but a celebration of the profound pleasures of living, loving, seeing, and feeling!While walking alone through the woods, a realization simmered in the solitude; all conceptions of truth and beauty, all intimations of the infinite are derived from harmonious and exquisite loneliness. #Travel #VisitCaliornia Click To Tweet
I came across a beautiful lakeside area and loved the beautiful turquoise water, albeit stepping into the lake in this part was not allowed due to strong undercurrents. We kept walking along the lake and finally reached a point where I saw people were swimming and reveling in the majesty of nature. We spent almost the whole day inside the park until pangs of hunger started bothering us!
The Village at Northstar
We drove from the Donner Memorial State Park to the Village at NorthStar. The NorthStar Resort, located in North Lake Tahoe, is a family-friendly ski resort and offers a recreation center and multiple restaurants. Although many were closed because it was off-season, we chose to eat at Rubicon Pizza and loved both the place and the food. If you love the luxury and convenience of resorts, you can book your stay at NorthStar Lodge. After having a sumptuous late lunch, we went back to our hotel and spent the evening watching the setting sun from the lakeside beach.
Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park
When I arrived at the lakefront inside the Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park, I felt like being inside a storybook. With nearly 2-miles of waterfront and acres of coniferous forest, every corner looked picture perfect and it felt like I am turning the pages of a storybook. I was in awe of the beauty of strong waves and flying clouds with the snow-covered mountain on the horizon. It was like nature playing Beethoven’s 9th symphony right in front of me.With nearly 2-miles of water front and acres of coniferous forest, every corner looked picture perfect and it felt like I am turning the pages of a story book. #Travel #VisitCaliornia #LakeTahoe Click To Tweet
Ehrman Mansion inside the park is one of the most beautiful historic summer homes on Lake Tahoe. If you have time, don’t miss taking a tour of this beautiful mansion. The mansion provides an interesting view into the lifestyles of the wealthy on Lake Tahoe.
The instant calm here washed over me and I lingered here with intense delight. Such places transform every day into the eternal. The memory of this tranquil place will be enshrined in my heart. No words can fully describe the serenity of this place but silence.
The instant calm here washed over me and I lingered here with intense delight. Such places transform every day into the eternal. #Travel #VisitCaliornia #LakeTahoe Click To Tweet
Our emotion in its keenest moment passes from expression into silence.George Eliot
Donner Lake Marina
Donner Lake Marina is one of my all time favorite spots in the region. I have witnessed it in winter, when I saw a perfect reflection of the mountain on the calm water of the lake and in summer, when the water was full of tiny waves due to the summer breeze. I spent a short while and enjoyed the balmy breeze before bidding adieu to the beautiful Donner Lake.
Sometimes when I think about life in this digital era, I see the inordinate love for order and precision, driven by data centricity. Increasingly and unremittingly, our lives revolve around the deterministic patterns imposed upon us by computer algorithms. So, when I go out and explore, I tend to refrain from a set touristy agenda of a place. Names such as slow travel or travel deeper may surface in mind, but I call it a break from the regular routine of life. Just before saying the final goodbye, I took this snap that depicts a carefree summer day!Increasingly and unremittingly, our lives revolve around the deterministic patterns imposed upon us by computer algorithms. So, when I go out and explore, I tend to refrain from a set touristy agenda of a place. #Travel #Explore Click To Tweet Sometimes when I think about life in this digital era, I see the inordinate love for order and precision, driven by data centricity. Increasingly and unremittingly, our lives revolve around the deterministic patterns imposed upon us… Click To Tweet
On our way back home to San Jose, the heart of silicon valley, we stopped at Emigrant Gap, now known as Donner Pass. The sweeping views of the mountain range, the blue lake afar and the pleasant breeze made it a beautiful stop. I highly recommend it.
Places to eat in Lake Tahoe in summer
Good food is a part of good travel. So indulge yourself in gastronomic delights. Here are a few of my favorite places to eat in Lake Tahoe in summer.
- Rubicon Pizza located in the NorthStar Village next to the skating rink.
- Crest Cafe & Catering for a quick brunch. I loved its location beside the flowing Truckee river.
- Za’s Lakefront – a fantastic Italian restaurant with fabulous views of Lake Tahoe.
If you have made it this far, then you must be an explorer by heart and in search of little unknowns amidst wilderness, cities and popular destinations in and around the diverse San Francisco Bay Area. Pick an article below and I promise a slice of little unknowns for you to explore. A gift from an explorer to explorer 💚
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In this modern world, where both the profound and profane are fleeting, nature and its beauty sanctify and unify us and our feelings! Therefore, whenever I manage time, I often choose to witness the confluence of nature and beauty – an intangible anecdote in an increasingly tangible world. Lake Tahoe is undoubtedly one such place, where one can go in all seasons. The lure is perennial. Still, if you want me to pick my favorite season to go to Lake Tahoe, it will be summer. I can spend more time outdoors, reading, contemplating, and hiking. Lake Tahoe in summer is wondrous; glittering shoreline, tranquil forest paths, beautiful streams, and deep blue water of the lake sparkling under the summer sun are in perfect harmony. Most importantly, crowds didn’t kill my vacation mellow. I hope I have inspired you to plan a trip for a few days to enjoy summer in Lake Tahoe. See and feel the magic of sun-soaked summer in Lake Tahoe in person! It’s la dolce vita, California-style 😉 !Lake Tahoe in summer is wondrous; glittering shoreline, tranquil forest paths, beautiful streams, and deep blue water of the lake sparkling under the summer sun are in perfect harmony. #Travel #LakeTahoe #VisitCalifornia Click To Tweet See and feel the magic of sun-soaked summer in Lake Tahoe in person! It’s la dolce vita, California-style 😉 ! #Travel #LakeTahoe #VisitCalifornia Click To Tweet
I loved reading about your experience in Lake Tahoe. Your descriptions really made it come alive for me. Happy travels!
Amazing scenery! Such a beautiful area. Fantastic backdrop with the mountains and lake in front, although it looks rather cool.
Absolutely stunning vistas and views. I’ve visited a good bit of the US but haven’t gotten to Lake Tahoe yet. Perhaps I need to make more of an effort.
Gosh its been years since I went there and I sure would like to go back. Great photos. It is a paradise for sure with such a variety of things to do!
A destination that I hear a lot about, but never in so much detail. You’ve convinced me, I need to add this to my list! It is similar to my home country’s province of British Columbia with the scenic landscape of lakes, forest and mountains. And best experienced as you have done. Thanks for the inspiration.
Oh wow, such a beautiful looking place. I’ve never been to Lake Tahoe but I’ve heard good things so I really need to get there at some point. I love how close to the water your lodge was, and all the trails look so nice around there
Stunning views. There is something so special about seeing the mountains in the background overlooking the lake. <3 I especially love the sound of the Martis Wildlife area. 🙂
Ah I love Lake Tahoe! One of my favorite places in the USA! I went last summer and had the time of my life. I would love to revisit in the wintertime. Great guide! 🙂
I love Lake Tahoe so much although I have only visited in the fall! Thanks for sharing this!