Almost split into exact halves along the California and Nevada state line, Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful lakes in all of the United States. Encompassed by pine forest, snow-capped mountains, and sandy beaches, Lake Tahoe is an adventure playground for travelers from around the world. That said, Lake Tahoe is a more popular destination for domestic travelers than it is international visitors.
There are dozens of small towns, even alpine villages, that sit nestled on the banks of Lake Tahoe. Traditional log cabins can be found tucked away behind the pine trees, should travelers look hard enough.
Lake Tahoe is a fantastic place for active travelers. There is so much opportunity for adventure here. From kayaking and beach hopping to hiking and swimming – many a summer’s day can be spent exploring the wonders of Lake Tahoe.
Although Lake Tahoe is transected vertically by the California and Nevada state-line, generally the lake is divided into north and south. To the north there are towns like Incline Village and Olympic Valley, to the south, you’ll find South Lake Tahoe and Carson City. Each village, town and city offers travelers an entirely different experience.
Let’s take a look at where to stay in Lake Tahoe.
South Lake Tahoe
As its name suggests, South Lake Tahoe can be found on the southern side of the lake, within the Californian section of the lake’s perimeter. Set 1,901-meters above sea level, South Lake Tahoe offers gorgeous lake views and a picture-perfect mountainous backdrop.
Always buzzing and happening, and very well equipped for travelers, South Lake Tahoe is famed as being an excellent ski resort. Heavenly Mountain is the most iconic geographical wonder in South Lake Tahoe, aside from the lake itself. Adventure travelers often scale Heavenly Mountain for weeks on end, exploring all the snow-sports fun that they can have.
Away from the freezing peaks, South Lake Tahoe offers some beautiful hiking trails. Van Sickle Bi-State Park boasts an incredible range of hiking and equestrian trails. Aside from the abundant nature along the trails, travelers can also observe a number of historic buildings too.
El Dorado Beach is the best spot in South Lake Tahoe to simply sit and admire the beautiful views.
Good For: Active Travelers, Adventure Travelers, Budget Travelers, Budding Historians, Couples, Families, Groups, Nature Photographers, Sporty Travelers, Roadtrippers
Neighborhood Highlights: Lake Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain, Heavenly Mountain Ski Resort, Van Sickle Bi-State Park, El Dorado Beach, Thomas F Regan Memorial City Beach, Magic Carpet Crazy Golf, Lake Tahoe Historical Society, Marcus Ashley Gallery, Pope Beach, Bijou Bike Park
- The Landing Resort and Spa – The Landing Resort and Spa is a superb hotel in South Lake Tahoe. Many rooms offer views of the lake itself and the snow-capped mountains in the distance. There is an outdoor swimming pool with sun deck. Guests are invited to relax in the cozy, ski-lodge style lounge area.
- Alpenrose Inn – Alpenrose Inn is a wonderful hotel on Pine Boulevard. This locally run hotel features modern decor and great service. The rooms are bright and stylish, each featuring a different color scheme. Alpenrose Inn offers guests access to their private lakeside beach and BBQ terrace. There is free parking on site.
- The Beach Retreat & Lodge at Tahoe – The Beach Retreat is a perfect choice for families or groups of friends looking to stay together in South Lake Tahoe. The hotel offers family rooms sleeping up to four people. The King Room option offers views of the lake, which is an added bonus. There is free parking.
Sitting immediately above South Lake Tahoe is the small town of Stateline. It will come as no surprise that the town of Stateline sits right on the border of California and Nevada, however, it does have a Nevadan zip code. Stateline is a great place for travelers to stay in Lake Tahoe if they liked the sound of South Lake Tahoe but equally fancied something a little less touristy.
Home to around 1,000 people, Stateline has a strong community feel and welcomes travelers throughout the year. It is home to a number of flash resorts and spas. This is a great place to stay in Lake Tahoe if you want something a little more luxurious. In true Nevadan style, there are plenty of casinos here.
Travelers have easy access to Heavenly Mountain and its exciting ski and snowboarding runs. The hiking trails of Van Sickle Bi-State Park are just a hop, skip and jump away too.
Good For: Active Travelers, Adventure Travelers, Couples, Families, Groups, Nature Photographers, Luxury Travelers Sporty Travelers, Roadtrippers
Neighborhood Highlights: Lake Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain, Heavenly Mountain Ski Slopes, Stateline Brewery & Restaurant, Round Mound, East Peak, Monument Peak, Jobs Sister, Genoa Peak, Chart House Seafood Restaurant, The Timbers Casino, Hard Rock Casino
- The Ridge View – The Ridge View offers fully equipped apartments for travelers to Stateline, with all the features and amenities they could need from a hotel. The apartments boast gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe and each has its own seating area with fireplace. There is an outdoor swimming pool and a community BBQ space.
- Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe – Both a hotel and a destination in its own right, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is one of the landmark venues in Stateline. Guests can live like rock stars during their stay, playing for fun in the casino, relaxing by the swimming pool and feasting at the iconic Hard Rock Cafe.
- Harrah’s Lake Tahoe – Harrah’s Lake Tahoe is a very good hotel in an ideal location in Stateline. Doubling as a 24-hour casino, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe is heaps of fun. Guests are welcome to play at the casino, party hard at the VEX nightclub, or book a relaxing treatment at the in-house spa.
Carson City, the capital of Nevada State, is one of the most popular places to stay in Lake Tahoe. Offering the best aspects of travel and more, Carson City is a great choice for travelers seeking a well-rounded experience.
Naturally, the highlight of a trip here is exploring Lake Tahoe and its shores.
The beaches along the Carson City strip of Lake Tahoe are exquisite. That said, there are a number of historical gems to discover within the city itself. The Nevada State Museum is a really interesting spot – it’s great for children too. The museum is home to hundreds of exhibits, the most exciting of which include an underground mine, the skeleton of a woolly mammoth, and a coin press that dates back to the 1800’s.
Carson City is well suited for traveling families. The Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada is the perfect place to explore with youngsters. The museum features interactive exhibits and learning activities from both the arts and sciences.
Good For: Active Travelers, Adventure Travelers, Budding Historians, Couples, Culture Vultures, Families, Groups, Nature Lovers, Museum Buffs, Roadtrippers
Neighborhood Highlights: Lake Tahoe, Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada, Nevada State Museum, Nevada State Railroad Museum, State Capitol Building, Secret Cove, Sand Harbor, Prison Hill, Empire Ranch Golf Course, Carson City Nugget Casino, Brewery Arts Centre, Washoe Lake
- Hampton Inn & Suites – Offering family rooms as well as king-sized suites, Hampton Inn & Suites has a room for one and all in Carson City. A very good breakfast is included in all room rates and is a great way to start the day. There is a swimming pool and fitness center.
- Wyndham Garden Carson City – Wyndham Garden Carson City is an excellent hotel in the Nevada capital. With big suites available and cozy double rooms too, Wyndham has an accommodation option to suit every budget. Each room features a work desk, flat-screen TV, and an ensuite bathroom. Free parking is included in the room rate.
- Hardman House – Set right in the heart of Carson City, Hardman House is a great choice for travelers. A continental breakfast is included in the room rate as well as free WiFi. Guests are welcome to make use of the free parking facilities or arrange an airport shuttle through the hotel itself.
For adventure travelers and those who fail to sit still on their vacation, Incline Village is the best place to stay in Lake Tahoe. Situated on the northern tip of the lake, Incline Village is a picture-perfect town, home to less than 10,000 people. Boasting steep slopes adorned with pine trees and often snow, Incline Village is a little gem.
Perfect for travelers who want to embrace the great outdoors and leave the city smoke far behind, Incline Village is a rural town offering easy access to some of Nevada’s most beautiful landscapes. Aside from gorgeous Lake Tahoe, there are dozens of amazing landscapes to be discovered within hiking distance of Incline Village. The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is open during all four seasons and is constantly changing. Here, travelers can go fishing, hiking, camping and, of course, take part in winter sports.
Diamond Peak is the jewel of Incline Village. It is a family-friendly slope with over 25 runs.
Good For: Active Travelers, Adventure Travelers, Couples, Families, Groups, Nature Lovers, Sporty Travelers, Roadtrippers
Neighborhood Highlights: Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Diamond Peak, Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, Hidden Beach, Mount Rose Ski Tahoe, Burnt Cedar Beach, Tahoe Rim Trail, Tahoe Meadows South Trailhead, Mount Baldy, Washoe Lake
- Hyatt Residence Club Lake Tahoe – Hyatt Residence Club Lake Tahoe is nothing short of superb. Built in a classic alpine resort style, the Hyatt Residence Club offers beautiful rooms and high levels of comfort. They offer guests access to the heated outdoor swimming pool and the cozy lodge-style lounge with open fire and billiards table.
- Cottage at Club Tahoe – Housing up to six guests, the Cottage at Club Tahoe is an excellent choice for travelers heading to Incline Village. There is a fully equipped kitchen complete with oven and microwave. Guests can relax in the outdoor swimming pool or the steamy sauna. There is free parking available.
- 1238 Styria Way – 1238 Styria Way is a wonderful cabin in Incline Village. Set in a secluded spot offering views of the mountain, 1238 Styria Way is a hidden gem. The wooden cabin is larger than it looks and can comfortably house up to ten people. There is a hot tub and swimming pool.
Olympic Valley can be found on the Californian shores of Lake Tahoe and is a popular ski town along Highway 89. Popular with first-time travelers and seasoned ski professionals, Olympic Valley – often also called Squaw Valley – is ideal for sporty travelers.
When the snow has settled in Olympic Valley, there is something truly magical about the place. Not only does it become even more picturesque, but the visitors start to arrive and the town comes to life.
Although Olympic Valley is not located right on Lake Tahoe, the water’s edge can be reached within a 15-minute drive. Olympic Valley offers the best of both worlds.
Being a ski town at heart, Olympic Valley is home to a wonderful selection of restaurants and bars. There is nothing better than warming up in a cozy bar lounge for an après-ski. PlumpJack Cafe is a firm favorite hangout. They serve hearty meals using seasonal Californian produce and have an excellent wine menu.
Good For: Active Travelers, Adventure Travelers, Couples, Families, Foodies, Groups, Nature Lovers, Off-The-Beaten-Track Travelers, Sporty Travelers, Roadtrippers
Neighborhood Highlights: Squaw Peak, KT-22, Granite Chief, Ward Peak, Scott Peak, Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, Twin Peaks, Scott Peaks, Burton Creek State Park, Mount Watson, Lake Tahoe, Tahoe City
- Resort at Squaw Creek – Resort at Squaw Creek is a fabulous hotel in Olympic Valley. Many of the rooms offer stunning views of the snow-capped mountains. Guests are invited to dine at the in-house restaurant and enjoy a drink at the bar. There is a swimming pool and an 18-hole golf course.
- The Village at Squaw Valley – The Village at Squaw Valley is an incredible hotel option in Olympic Valley. Ideal for families or groups of friends, the resort offers standard-sized rooms as well as deluxe apartments that can sleep up to six people. There are eight hot tubs at The Village, in addition to an outdoor fireside lounge.
- Olympic Village Inn – Olympic Village Inn is a great place to stay in Olympic Valley. A traditional ski lodge, Olympic Village caters to guests every need. The spacious one-bedroom suites can sleep up to four people and each come with a fully equipped, but compact, kitchen. There is an outdoor swimming pool.
Sitting just north from Olympic Valley and just an eight-minute drive from Truckee Tahoe Domestic Airport, is the gorgeous ski town of Northstar. Much like Olympic Village, Northstar is ideal for sporty travelers who want to hit the slopes while they are in Lake Tahoe. The water’s edge is just a 15-minute drive from Carnelian Bay, which means that travelers get to experience the best that Lake Tahoe has to offer.
Aside from picturesque Carnelian Bay, there are a number of gorgeous lakeside beaches to explore from a base in Northstar. The village of Crystal Bay, which can be found just an eight-mile drive away, is one of Lake Tahoe’s best-kept secrets.
Northstar is a really useful place to stay for travelers who want to experience both hiking and snow sports, as well as beautiful lake views too. Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is just a stone’s throw away and offers some of the most exciting hiking trails in the Lake Tahoe area.
Good For: Active Travelers, Adventure Travelers, Couples, Families, Foodies, Groups, Hikers, Nature Lovers, Off-The-Beaten-Track Travelers, Sporty Travelers, Roadtrippers
Neighborhood Highlights: Northstar Village Ice Skating Rink, The Village Cinemas, Lake Tahoe, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Carnelian Bay, Crystal Bay, Mount Pluto, Northstar California Resort, Martis Camp, Sawtooth Ridge, Big Chief, Incline Village, Agate Bay
- Northstar Lodge by Welk Resorts – Northstar Lodge by Welk Resorts is a fabulous hotel on Northstar Drive. The lodge boasts a heated outdoor swimming pool that is open for guests to use throughout the year. The ensuite bathrooms are notable at Northstar Lodge, all feature a luxurious bathtub, a walk-in shower unit, and soft white towels.
- The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe – The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe is one of the most luxurious resort hotels in the Lake Tahoe area, not just in Northstar. Offering world-class hospitality and an unrivaled sense of style, The Ritz-Carlton is a joy. All rooms have marble-clad ensuite bathrooms and a cozy seating area.
- Northstar California Resort – Northstar California Resort is a great mid-range lodge option in Northstar. This is a family-friendly destination that offers a recreation center and is especially great for children. There are swimming pools, tennis courts and restaurants in-house, in addition to a video arcade and a luxury spa complex.