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Top Things To Do In South Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the U.S. with more than 70 miles of shoreline. Locals say the water is pure enough to jump in and drink it. The city is filled with popular attractions and famous things to do from world-renowned casinos to nationally ranked state parks.

Explore some of the best hikes through subalpine forests, glacial lakes and valleys, granite peaks, and forests of trees. Or, learn more about daytime activities in the city and exciting things to do at night in the categories below.

One of the most popular places to visit in South Lake Tahoe is Emerald Bay State Park. Home to Eagle Falls, Fannette Island, and the Vikingsholm mansion, it attracts thousands of people every year and was named a National Natural Landmark in 1969.

The best things to do near South Lake Tahoe include:

  • Visiting Fannette Island in Emerald Bay, the only island in Lake Tahoe
  • A 20-minute trip to D L Bliss State Park for rock jumping on the west shore
  • Watching a sunset at Zephyr Cove or camp for a few nights
  • Taking the gondola up to high camp at Heavenly for a scenic view at the top
  • Relaxing and enjoying the warm sand under your feet at El Dorado Beach

With so many free things to do in South Lake Tahoe, it’s important to prioritize. Make sure to hit these local favorites before running out of daylight.

Cheap things to do near South Lake Tahoe include:

  • Driving out to the Tallac Historic Site, a site of two historic homes
  • Touring the old Hellman-Ehrman Mansion
  • Exploring the home of Lake Tahoe’s oldest watermaster at Gatekeeper’s Cabin Museum
  • Saving on bundle tickets to the Nevada State Railroad Museum
  • Visiting one of the beautiful city parks surrounding the south end of Tahoe Lake

Tourist attractions in South Lake Tahoe range from hidden outdoor gems to 100-year-old estates. Some of the most popular tourist activities take place in the Desolation Wilderness area.

Other top attractions near South Lake Tahoe include:

  • Northstar California and Squaw Valley Ski Resort, popular tourist ski spots
  • Popular casinos like MontBleu
  • Taylor Creek Visitor Center, a good starting point
  • Treetop Adventure Park, an aerial adventure park located in Granlibakken Resort
  • Hiking and horseback riding at Van Sickle Bi-State Park

There are a dozen beaches in South Lake Tahoe ranging from family-friendly destinations to happy hour hot spots. Spend a day relaxing in the sand at one of South Lake Tahoe’s best beaches or check out other fun things to do in town.

Exciting activities near South Lake Tahoe include:

  • Swimming and boating at Kings Beach State Recreation Area, open year round
  • Serene dog walks on Kiva Beach
  • Picnics downtown at Commons Beach
  • Checking out the Tahoe Heritage Foundation to learn about the city’s history
  • Celebrity golf tournaments and other activities at Edgewood Golf Course

The nightlife in South Lake Tahoe is mostly at the casinos. But the city also hosts various festivals and concerts year round like the Harrah’s Summer Concert Series, SnowGlobe Music Festival, and Sample the Sierra.

More nighttime activities near South Lake Tahoe include:

  • Bass shows and other small band performances at Whiskey Dick
  • Ice skating outside in the Heavenly Village or inside at the South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena
  • The Tahoe Lanes bowling alley
  • Enjoying some of the best casinos in South Lake Tahoe
  • Trying South Lake Tahoe’s escape room, Puzzle Room Tahoe

Experience the best weekend activities in and around South Lake Tahoe from chasing gorgeous views to gambling at the casino. Other things to do this weekend include live music performances and dining at top-rated restaurants.

Weekend activities in South Lake Tahoe include:

  • Fishing, hiking, and boating at Donner Memorial State Park
  • A trip to the iconic Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park
  • Camping trip at Sugar Pine Point State Park, awesome campgrounds lots of sites
  • Relaxing at the Carson Hot Springs
  • Hotels, cabins, RV sites, campgrounds and more at the historic Camp Richardson

South Lake Tahoe has more to offer than casinos and state parks. There are many activities for children ranging from amusement parks for older kids to petting zoos for babies. Enjoy magic carpet miniature golf and other fun things to do with kids in South Lake Tahoe.

Family-friendly things to do near South Lake Tahoe include:

  • Harrah’s Family Fun Center is perfect for families hoping to stay at the resort
  • The Bijou Community Park has both a skate and BMX park, as well as frisbee golf courses
  • Visit The Corley Ranch or Delfino Farms where the kids can pet a wide range of animals
  • Check out KidZone Museum for younger kids, there’s even a nature-theme Baby Zone
  • Tahoe Tot Spot is another fun destination for toddler-aged kids

Book a romantic trip to one of South Lake Tahoe’s best bed and breakfasts. The Donner Lake Inn B&B is perfect for seclusion and Secrets Inn has spent years working to perfect the romantic getaway.

Date night ideas near South Lake Tahoe include:

  • Horse-drawn sleigh rides through town with Borges Sleigh & Carriage Rides
  • Wine Tours From Tahoe, tour includes round-trip transportation to the vineyard in El Dorado County
  • A relaxing couples massage from Win-River Resort and Casino
  • Bike riding downtown or on one of the beautiful bike trails in South Lake Tahoe
  • Watching a movie at the Heavenly Village Cinema or another historical Tahoe theater

The group activities in South Lake Tahoe are one of a kind. Between ski-related things to do and famous shopping districts to visit, there’s no shortage of entertainment for groups in this city.

Things to do with your friends near South Lake Tahoe include:

  • Booking a rafting trip with Tahoe Whitewater Tours, Le Grand Adventure Tours, or Tributary Whitewater Tours
  • Signing up for classes at Birkholm’s Water Ski and Wakeboard School
  • Checking out a birds-eye view of the lake and surrounding areas with Heli-Vertex helicopter tour
  • Booking a hot air balloon ride with Lake Tahoe Balloons
  • Man your own dog sled of Running Creek Sled Dogs out at Kirkwood Mountain Resort on Highway 88

South Lake Tahoe is a fine arts destination too. Spend the day indoors perusing works of art at different galleries around town or schedule a day of relaxation at one of several 5-star spas and resorts.

Below are a few things to do indoors in South Lake Tahoe:

  • Enjoy rotating exhibits at the Marcus Ashley Fine Art Gallery
  • Wyland Galleries features prints and sculptures by marine life artist Wyland
  • Benko Art Gallery won best gallery on the south shore two years in a row
  • Tour the Vikingsholm, a 38-room mansion build with Scandinavian architecture
  • Meet new people and find your new favorite pub at the Lake Tahoe Pub Crawl

South Lake Tahoe is full of outdoor treasures tucked away in almost every mountain corner. With the city’s lowest point sitting at 500 feet higher than a mile, it’s no surprise the list of things to do outside starts with exploration.

Active things to do in South Lake Tahoe include:

  • Mount Rose Hike is a bit more challenging, but very quick to drive to.
  • Fallen Lake is a less-trafficked hiking area with gorgeous views
  • Van Sickle State Park has great hiking trails and is home to the historic barn from Van Sickle Farm
  • The Truckee River is a great family float from Tahoe City to River Ranch, rent rafts or bring your own
  • Hiking around the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail and Tahoe Rim Trail passes

Many of South Lake Tahoe’s hidden gems include the city’s list of nearby natural wonders. Book tours, schedule guided trips, and learn more about how to visit the best attractions, activities, and things to do in South Lake Tahoe.

A few examples of must-see places near South Lake Tahoe:

  • Stop in the biggest little city in the world, Reno
  • Explore in and around the Tahoe Basin
  • Find dirt bike and off-roading heaven in Carson City, NV
  • Visit the north side of Lake Tahoe
  • Drive out to Virginia City, NV for a blast to the past