Looking back on our trip to Lake Tahoe, I can easily say that it’s not going to be the last time we venture north to this sweet hideaway. We all fell in love with everything the Lake had to offer from the smell of the pine trees to the serene mornings spent on our deck (seen here). During our weeklong stay we stuck pretty close to where our house was in Incline Village (North Lake Tahoe). I guess we were too happy and too relaxed to venture further than that. And to be honest I think when we return someday we’ll opt for the same area. So here’s a look at our top ten (North) Lake Tahoe spots that we discovered.
1. Truckee is a little town we drove through on our way into Lake Tahoe where we stopped to eat and do a little shopping. It’s full of history and feels almost like a movie set with its old school California vibes. We started off at Moody’s Bistro, which was perfect for our group plus the kiddos. The garden burger is out of this world good. Then we picked up something sweet (dangerously good cupcakes) at Cake Tahoe and carried on to some shops—Bespoke (where I got this throw), Kalifornia Jean Bar, Atelier and Tahoe Oil & Spice. We also stood in front of the window at Sweets Handmade Candies with the kids to watch homemade fudge being made, pretty exciting (and tempting) stuff.
2. Sand Harbor was the first beach we ventured to. The drive alone along the water there was out of this world beautiful. I couldn’t believe how crystal clear the water was and how amazing the contrast was with the tall pine trees and giant boulders. Sand Harbor has two sides you can sit on we, chose the cove that was super shallow making it extra kid friendly. Yes the water was cold but even Elin went in and splashed around for a good half hour. It does cost $12 for the day but you can come and go as long as you have your receipt.
3. My grandparents spent a ton of time in Lake Tahoe in the 60’s and 70’s. They have the greatest old photos of them sun bathing and packed in on some beautiful wooden boats, you know the classic old school ones. I wanted to rewind time and be a fly in that scene because it looked like tons of fun. Turns out, you can still rent those beautiful boats and I found someone who does it—Greg Barraclough. We ended up running out of time, but this is the first thing I’ll be doing on our next visit—with a cooler of our finest champagne.
4. We spent a good chunk of everyday at the beach. So before heading out in the late morning we’d swing by Mountain High Sandwich Company for lunch on the go. Don’t pass up the cookies they’re crazy good. Another favorite spot was Tunnel Creek Cafe for their smoothies and paninis.
5. I heard a rumor that there was a floating bar somewhere in Incline Village and knew we had to check it out. It did not disappoint. Turns out it’s attached to the Hyatt Hotel, which I highly recommend if you go the hotel route. The views are amazing and the scene is really fun with umbrellas, cabanas, boats and jet skis for rent and a great restaurant. We sat on the dock for a bit and watched the boats go by and had a cold beer. Also the Lone Eagle Grille right there is a great spot for dinner. We went to celebrate Todd’s birthday and had the best time and a great meal—order the meringue pine cone dessert!
6. A highlight of our trip was getting to see Tahoe from the lake. We went for a 2 hour sunset sail with Tahoe Sailing Charters on the most perfect summer day. They put out light snacks, served beverages and had the greatest playlist setting the mood. We also got quite the insider scoop on hidden beaches to check out around the lake. Some we never made it too but plan on visiting on our next trip. We got off the boat feeling like we had new friends and an amazing perspective of Lake Tahoe.
7. We did a handful of morning and afternoon hikes since the wildflowers were blooming everywhere. The options are endless and you can find some great suggestions here. But our favorite was Ophir Creek/Tahoe Meadows. The views and valley was incredible. We had the best time and even found a few patches of snow left over and had an impromptu snowball fight on a 80º day. I highly suggest getting a hiking backpack if you have toddlers, it made the whole experience ten times easier and Elin loved getting in it.
8. With so many amazing beaches, parks, meadows and picturesque spots, all I could think about was plopping down and having a picnic. I found Picnic, a full service catering/picnic company that will make and deliver a farm to table blanket meal that is fresh, healthy and presented on stylish platters. We spent an evening at Lake Forest Beach that had picnic tables next to a field of blooming Lupines and it was the greatest way to watch the afternoon glow take over.
9. We found another way to get out on the water, renting canoes, stand up paddleboards and kayaks from Adrift Tahoe. They delivered the gear wherever we were, offered advice on best spots to check out and were super accommodating when it came to delivery and pick ups. This is a must because you can go in and around some of the rocky coves and find a spot to just relax and daydream.
10. Lastly my favorite discovery during our trip was Hidden Beach. A cove that was tucked away near Incline Village that you had to hike into but was worth every extra ounce of effort to get to. Hardly anyone was there and the view was one of the best. We swam around the giant boulders, lounged in our own section of the petite beach and watched Elin collect little pebbles. Some of my favorite moments were here.
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Photography by Arna Bee