Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful ski destinations in the country. Nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, it attracts crowds in the winter to its numerous ski slopes. In the summer, a smaller -- but equally outdoorsy -- crowd comes for the hiking, fishing, and kayaking, all centered around the pristine Lake Tahoe. The see-and-be-seen California crowd may head to Aspen or Jackson Hole for their winter romp, but the laid-back, here-for-the-snow folks love Lake Tahoe's relaxed atmosphere. It doesn't hurt that Lake Tahoe is also significantly less expensive than those other ritzy ski towns; there are many budget-friendly lodging options, and even upscale restaurants do not serve ridiculously overpriced meals.
With winter snow in Tahoe often measuring 300 to 500 inches annually, the ski resorts here are among the most reliable and exciting in the country. Known for steep vertical drops, open bowls, and some challenging terrain (along with family-friendly runs), Tahoe's collection of ski resorts draws thousands each winter. Despite the snowy conditions, the area usually gets more than 300 sunny days a year. But because of the snow, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended here in winter.
Though wintertime is obviously all about skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing, summertime brings swimming (in the very cold Lake Tahoe waters), kayaking, white-water rafting, fishing (there are lots of salmon and trout), and hiking. There are also a few dispersed museums and historic mansions, and hot-air ballooning and gondola rides are popular ways of taking in the views, both winter and summer. And the casinos on the South Shore are open all year long, too; other than that, there's not much of a nightlife.
Lake Tahoe offers a wide variety of lodging options (from luxury resorts to cheap motels), and its vast area means there are many different areas in which to stay. Lake Tahoe is divided across California and Nevada, with 70 percent of it in California. Because of this, Tahoe is generally spoken of as two distinct areas, North and South Lake Tahoe. South Tahoe is known for its gambling (which is legal in Nevada) and nightlife, while North Tahoe is generally quieter with more of a "mountain personality."
Dec. - March
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15-20% at restaurants