Outdoor Activities Sightseeing ski winter activities beach ice skating tours US > Greater Sacremento > South Lake Tahoe

10 Best Things To Do In South Lake Tahoe, California - Updated 2020

things to do in south lake tahoe california

South Lake Tahoe is known for being a highly touristic ski resort city. Its copious amounts of fine powdery snow and clear blue Lake Tahoe which is surrounded by the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains make it a picturesque winter paradise. Its beautiful beaches make South Lake Tahoe a wonderful summer destination as well. No matter what season you visit, there will be no shortage of exciting activities. Read on to learn more about the best things to do in the area!

1. Emerald Bay State Park

A post shared by Tahoe South (@tahoesouth) on Aug 23, 2017 at 4:57pm PDT

Emerald Bay State Park is located in the perfect place to get simply breathtaking views of the area. While hiking in the park, you can look out and see the clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe surrounded by vibrant, deep green pines trees. The scene is made all the more magical during sunset and sunrise. In addition to admiring the beauty of the area surrounding Lake Tahoe, there are several other activity options. You can visit Fannette islands, scuba dive, go camping, or take a leisurely boat cruise.

Emerald Bay State Park

Address: 138 Emerald Bay Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Phone Number: +1 5305413030

Website: Emerald Bay State Park

Lake Tahoe Circle Tour Including Squaw Valley

Duration: 7 hours

10 reviews

2. Hit the slopes

Lake Tahoe is renowned for its winter sports, and for good reason. Its position in the Sierra mountains allows it to receive several hundred inches of snow per year and plenty of sunshine, making it ideal for skiing, snowboarding, etc. The lake, trees, and mountain peaks provide a wonderful backdrop for your snow activities. There is no shortage of ski resorts in the area, with some of the most popular including Heavenly Mountain Resort and Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort. Hit the slopes to experience what everyone is raving about!

Heavenly Mountain Resort

Address: 4080 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Hours: 9 am-5 pm

Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort

Address: 1111 Sierra-At-Tahoe Rd, Twin Bridges, CA 95735

Website: Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort

3. Relax at the beach

A post shared by OurPVCabin (@ourpvcabin) on Jul 8, 2018 at 10:54am PDT

El Dorado Beach, which is also referred to as Commons Beach, is a popular tourist destination during the warmer months. Plan a picnic or barbeque at the beach. Savor your meal while facing the crystal-clear waters and feeling the warm sad between your toes. Water sports equipment rentals on the beach make it convenient to explore the beach by boat or canoe. There is also a designated shallow area for children to swim, so the entire family is sure to have fun! Pope beach is another beach to consider visiting. It has relatively shallow waters, which is especially good for children and inexperienced swimmers.

El Dorado Beach

Address: Hwy. 50 South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Pope Beach

Address: Pope Beach Rd. (off Hwy. 89) South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

4. El Dorado Wine Country Tour (from USD 70)

El Dorado Wine Country vineyards have been producing wine for over 150 years. Take a tour to sample the wines that have been satisfying customers for over a century and a half. Visit as many of the fifty wineries in the area, learn about their history and the wine making process. Best of all, taste the exquisite wines and bring home a delicious souvenir of your time in El Dorado Wine Country.

El Dorado Wine Country Tour


El Dorado Wine Country Tour from South Lake Tahoe

Duration: 7 hours

10 reviews

5. Heavenly Mountain Gondola Ride

A post shared by Amber Ziegler (@am.bur.zig) on Jan 5, 2017 at 6:34pm PST

You simply cannot visit South Lake Tahoe without going on the iconic Heavenly Mountain Gondola Ride. This gondola is a special one. It does not carry its passengers down a river, or any body of water for that matter. Instead, it is a glass cabin that hoists passengers in the air, allowing them to have a magnificent bird’s eye view from high above Heavenly Mountain. Between the height and the view of the Sierra Nevada Mountain and stately pine trees towering above the glistening Lake Tahoe, you will truly feel as if you are in heaven.

Heavenly Mountain Gondola Ride

Address: 4080 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150


6. Lower Eagle Falls

Lower Eagle Falls is located right above Emerald Bay. The hike to the top is a leisurely one that is not too strenuous. Beginning hikers may find it to be somewhat steep; however, they should be able to complete. All hikers should wear shoes that are appropriate for walking on a potentially slippery waterfall trail. Once you reach the top, you will be completely surrounded by wilderness and natural beauty. Listen to the water roar and take in the aroma of the nearby pine trees.

Lower Eagle Falls

Address: Emerald Bay, South Lake Tahoe, CA

7. Ice skating

Tahoe Sports Entertainment / SOUTH LAKE TAHOE ICE ARENA http://www.tahoearena.co/ Photo by Sharisse Coulter promoting...

Posted by South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena on Sunday, 2 April 2017

Outdoor snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding are not the only winters ports that South Tahoe Lake has to offer. Head to South Tahoe Ice Arena for some indoor ice skating. Go there with family or friends, skate, play hockey and play the arcade games available at the rink. If you become tired, replenish your energy at the snack bar. After refueling, continue to have fun!

South Tahoe Ice Arena

Address: 1176 Rufus Allen Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Phone Number: +1 5305447465

8. Himmel Haus

A post shared by Truly Tanner (@trulyyours11) on Mar 21, 2017 at 9:28pm PDT

During your time in South Lake Tahoe you most likely have been engaging in the plethora of sports and activities that are available in the area: skiing, snowboarding, swimming, hiking, etc. You may be in need of a hearty meal to restore your strength and prepare for another exciting day in South Lake Tahoe. Himmel Haus Restaurant is the place to do just that. Have some delicious and filling German food. Try some mouthwatering schnitzel, bratwurst, and sauerkraut, and pair them with ice cold, authentic Bavarian beer.

Himmel Haus

Address: 3819 Saddle Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150-8685

Phone Number: +1 5303147665

Hours: Mon-Fri: 4pm–12am Sat: 12pm–2am Sun: 12pm-12am

9. Vikingsholm

A post shared by Chris Milne (@milne.chris) on Dec 22, 2016 at 6:35pm PST

Vikingsholm is a Viking style castle in Emerald Bay. Tour the castle and visit as many of the 38 total rooms as you can. Learn about the history of the castle starting with its construction in 1929. If you are visiting the castle between May and September, you can take one of the guided tours, where you can learn about the significance and history behind the metal and stonework, wood carvings, and other antiques that you see in the castle.


Address: CA-89, Tahoma, CA 96142

Website: Vikingsholm

Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay Cruise on M.S. Dixie II

Duration: 2 hours

10 reviews

10. Lake Tahoe Historical Society Museum

Guess what we have? Tahoe, A Visual History, the Saga of Laje Tahoe and Carol Van Etten Tahoe maritime history books!!

Posted by Lake Tahoe Historical Society on Saturday, 23 July 2016

Lake Tahoe is a wonderful place with amazing views of nature, beaches, resorts, and plenty of winter sports opportunities. As you enjoy all that the city has to offer, do you ever find yourself wondering what Lake Tahoe was like before it became a ski resort capital? If so, the Lake Tahoe Historical Society Museum has some answers. The museum has an extensive collection of photographs and films about Tahoe’s history. Transform into a detective as you participate in the Mysteries of the Museum collection. Develop a deeper appreciation for the city and its history.

Lake Tahoe Historical Society Museum

Address: 3058 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Phone Number: +1 5305415458

A city for all seasons

Lake Tahoe
Source: Wikimedia

There is a plethora of options for fun and excitement in Lake Tahoe, rain or shine, hot or cold. Check out the activities on this list to help jump start your South Lake Tahoe vacation!

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

1200px tahoe north shore from the east shore
Still Need Travel Insurance?

You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101

*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.

Hannah took her first international trip at one month old and has been traveling ever since. She loves being immersed in different cultures, trying new foods, meeting new people, and sharing her...Read more

Have a question? Ask fellow travellers and travel experts here.
 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore South Lake Tahoe
Good things are meant to be shared!