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How to Enjoy Lake Tahoe if you only have One Day


Heavenly Gondola

Heavenly Gondola

With its sparkling summer shorelines and world-class skiing, it’s no wonder that more than 3.5 million people flock to Lake Tahoe each year. Most visitors stay for a weekend or extended vacation, but the area has plenty to offer for day trippers too – whether you’re just passing through, have some extra time between wedding events, or want to make the most of a night away. Here are a few ways to enjoy the incredible California shore of Lake Tahoe if you only have one day.

Snowboarder at Heavenly Mountain

Snowboarder at Heavenly Mountain

Outdoor activities  

No matter the season, South Lake Tahoe is a terrific place to start your day outside, experiencing the impressive views. If it’s winter, grab your snowboard or skis, or rent your gear beforehand at South Tahoe Ski & Boards, and hit the slopes!

Even if it’s not ski season, you can still take in the scenery from the top of the mountain — ride the gondola at Heavenly up to sightsee, hike, mountain bike, or even do a zip-line tour. If you’re visiting in summer, head to Emerald Bay State Park and check out Vikingsholm, a magnificent Scandinavian Mansion built in the late 1800s.

If shopping is more your adventure of choice, stroll and people watch at The Village Center.

Vikingsholm Castle in Emerald Bay State Park

Vikingsholm Castle in Emerald Bay State Park

Dining and drinking

After spending the morning snowboarding, hiking, touring a state park, or shopping, you’re sure to have worked up an appetite. For a Lake Tahoe classic that offers breakfast all day, try the Red Hut. Your omelet will be served with the “truly outrageous service” that is the Red Hut’s motto.

But to really maximize your Lake Tahoe experience, dining on the water is a must! Head to the Riva Grill and sample the “World Famous” Wet Woody, their signature frozen rum drink named after the classic wooden boats on the lake.

If rum isn’t your thing, or you want to check out some views a little farther south, try the Beacon Bar & Grill at Camp Richardson. You'll find live music on their deck every weekend afternoon in the summer.


Finish off your fabulous, jam-packed day seeing a magic show, a concert, or a featured speaker at The Loft. The entertainment changes nightly, so take a look at the schedule to find what fits you best.

There’s plenty to enjoy along the gorgeous California shore of Lake Tahoe. Whether you take these suggestions, or just explore on your own, there's truly something for everybody in this beautiful place.

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Ian Young

Ian Young is the Creative Director at Esurance. He has 15 years of experience crafting creative solutions for Fortune 500s, start-ups, and everything in-between. Ian finds inspiration by backpacking in summer, snowboarding in winter, and eating tacos year-round.


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