While living in the Bay Area, we had the opportunity to venture to South Lake Tahoe not once, but twice, all thanks to a crazy snow storm on our first go-around (but we had a redemptive second trip!). South Lake Tahoe is a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding, bordering the U.S. states of California and Nevada. It's about three and a half hours from Oakland, CA. I first learned to ski at Breckenridge in Colorado and had a pretty successful experience, so I was ready for my second attempt almost a year later at the Heavenly Resort on the Cali side of Tahoe.
Between our two trips to South Lake Tahoe (February and April), we found some great spots to eat, and fun things to do besides skiing and snowboarding. Check out my video below for a little overview from our April trip, and read on for my recommendations for where to stay, where to eat, and what to do in South Lake Tahoe in the wintertime.
Where to stay in South Lake Tahoe
For a cute ski-lodge-meets-upscale-motel vibe, check out Basecamp Tahoe South! We loved the style of the rooms, the games and fire pits outside, and the on-site brewery with live music! I'm a huge fan of Hotels.com and found Basecamp there. We were able to keep our car parked at the hotel and walked to the Heavenly gondola, as well as the main strip of shops and restaurants.
On our first trip to South Lake Tahoe, we stayed at the Heavenly Inn - which was also in a convenient location for walking to the gondola and the main boulevard, just not as cute or unique. That said, we were at the Heavenly Inn when we got snowed in for a few days on our February trip, and we appreciated the fact that the room had a small kitchen/dining area which helped us feel a little more at home while there. And they use a total American Horror Story style font, and I can't get over that.
Where to eat
These were our stops for vegan food in South Lake Tahoe:
Things to do in South Lake Tahoe besides skiing and snowboarding
Four words: Emerald Bay State Park! Emerald Bay is the most gorgeous part of South Lake Tahoe - besides seeing the lake from the slopes, of course! You can enjoy activities like hiking, biking, and swimming in the summertime, but in the winter it's just as beautiful to take a drive to the lookout point(s) and stare into the various shades of blue water. From the lookout, you can see Lake Tahoe's only island - Fannette Island.
A quick stop for a pretty sunset is Lakeside Beach. Again - more options in the summertime, but we braved the chilly weather during our April trip to South Lake Tahoe and were amongst a few groups of other people who came out to say goodbye to the daylight.
Other things to do in South Lake Tahoe:
Of course, the main thing I would recommend out of everything is taking the gondola ride up to catch the incredible views of Lake Tahoe - even if you just ride back down. I am absolutely terrified of gondolas in general, but I braved my fears and it was 100% worth it!
From our two winter trips, we got to see a lot of what South Lake Tahoe has to offer - incredible scenery, a lively dining scene, and endless opportunities to relax and re-connect.