A Local's Guide to North Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe has no shortage of activities during any time of the year. With its high concentration of ski resorts that surround the lake its a no brainer why so many people flock here in the winter to hit the slopes. While winter is amazing, the other three seasons are equally impressive. Tahoe is busy in the winter and summer, but spring and fall can offer perfect weather without the crowds. We can't complain that we get to call this place our home.  Here are a few of our favorite things that shouldn't be missed on any trip to North Lake Tahoe.

To Do:

Go Stand Up Paddle Boarding

There is no better place to stand up paddle board then over the crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe. On a glassy day it's a surreal experience to be gliding over the water while peering down 60 feet at the rocks below.

Go Skiing

Lake Tahoe and snow go hand in hand. An average winter can drop 300-500 inches of snow, and there is nearly an unlimited amount of terrain here. Backcountry access is everywhere, and not to mention some of the best ski resorts in the world like Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Kirkwood, Northstar, and Sugarbowl which are all within a quick drive. Many of the resorts have areas where you can sneak in a quick peak of Lake Tahoe which takes on another form of beauty in the winter.

Go Fishing

Bring your fly rods no matter what time of year. The middle of winter can produce days just as good as when you are wet-wading in the summer. Dry flies, streamers, nymphs; bring it all! The Truckee River flows out of Lake Tahoe down to Truckee, CA and then further downriver to Reno, NV. The Truckee River provides ample opportunity to hook into monster browns and the high alpine lakes nearby can produce some beautiful golden trout that are eager to eat dry flies.

Hike the Flume Trail to Monkey Rock

One of the most rewarding hikes is an off shoot of the Flume Trail. Head straight up until you see a funny looking rock, look close enough and you'll notice it's been carved into a monkey! This is one of the best viewpoints of the lake and makes a great photo op!

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Explore the East shore by boat or jet ski

To really experience Tahoe you need to get out on the water. Rent, borrow or tag along with friends. Then make your way over to the lake's East Shore. We love the secluded coves and beaches on this side of the lake. Some of which are only accessible by boat. Here you can drop anchor in your own personal cove for the day. Tahoe's waters are crisp and refreshing, and on a hot day with some good tunes this will be a day you won't forget.

Experience Sand Harbor

Notorious for it's gorgeous granite rock formations and long sandy beach, Sand Harbor has it all. When it comes to "postcard" pictures of Tahoe, Sand Harbor comes to mind. If you can come here in the Spring or Fall as a storm is rolling in over the lake you will be rewarded with a stunning show of water and light.

TIP: Sand Harbor is a tourist trap in the summer. Lake Tahoe is 22 miles long so head either way and look for parked cars along the road. Most times there are little trails that head down to a beach.

Explore Historic Downtown Truckee

This old railroading town turned outdoorsy paradise is complete with a charming downtown and is easily accessible from some of the ski resorts. The main street is lined with quaint shops and superb dining options. Take a stroll around and you will fall in love, just like we did.

Go Mountain Biking

So many activities and so little time! The mountain biking here is also world class. You can go full send at Northstar by taking the lifts up and smashing your way down. Wanna do something a little more mellow and maybe get that heart rate up a bit? Go hit the Flume trail. While this trail is no secret to the mountain bike world, its well known for good reason. The Tahoe Rim trail is 165 miles of pure beauty that encircles the lake, and 80 miles of it are open to mountain bikes.

TIP: Bring a jacket, sunny days in Tahoe always end with snow flurries.

Go Snorkeling

The water clarity in Lake Tahoe is incomparable. In summer months we love to grab our masks and head under the water for another unique view of this epic lake. Dive down and to see the giant granite rock clusters and catch the ultimate brain freeze.


To Eat:

La Mexicana

8515 Brook Ave, Kings Beach, CA 96143

The most authentic Mexican food in North Shore. We love this little spot. With a restaurant in front and a grocery store in the back this place isn't flashy but the food speaks for itself. We literally dream about the fish tacos.

Tip: Looking to fire up the BBQ? The butcher in the back of La Mexicana sells insanely good spicy short ribs and carne asada.

Old Post Office

5245 N Lake Blvd, Carnelian Bay, CA 96140

A local's favorite breakfast spot. This place is set in what used to be the Post Office and now it is a cute little diner. The portions are huge here, a perfect cure for that hangover. Try the crab cake benedict and listen to the local mountain banter.

Trokay

10046 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161

So you like food, do ya? Oh and cheese and beer also. We feel ya, come to Trokay for a dining experience that might have you leaving the slopes early the next day for round two. This amazing spot offers everything from the cheese plate of your dreams to a 10 course tasting menu for that special night out. There are dining options to suit anybodies needs, and the flavors and textures give you the perfect punch in the taste buds. The food here is artwork and we guarantee it will be a night you won't forget.

TIP: Get coffee here, trust us on this one.

Moody's

10007 Bridge St, Truckee, CA 96161

Located in the historic Truckee Hotel right on main street, Moody's serves incredible craft cocktails, delicious food and has live music every weekend! After a long day on the slopes grab a seat in front of the fire pits, and listen to some great tunes at one of Lake Tahoe's coziest music venues.

TIP: The burger at Moody's is one of the best around!

Lanza's

7739 N Lake Blvd, Tahoe Vista, CA 96148

A classic family style Italian restaurant across the street from the lake is a staple in King's Beach.  We always order the chicken marsala and lasagna. The portions are giant and make great leftovers. Their house salad with homemade white balsamic dressing is amazing!

Tip: Feel like staying in by the fire and watching the snow fall? Call in a to- go order at Lanzas. When you pick it up you will be handed a large brown bag filled to the brim with enough food to last you through the snow storm of the century.

Bite!

907 Tahoe Blvd, Incline Village, NV 89451

This places offers small bites and a nice bar to relax at while you sip your beverage of choice. We normally come here and put the hurt on the ahi sliders that come with arugula, pickled ginger, and wasabi aioli. While you can certainly make a whole dinner happen here, our go-to move here is grab a few quick bites and then walk over to T's Rotisserie to grab a burrito for later, don't judge us! More on T's below.

T's Rotisserie

901 Tahoe Blvd, Incline Village, NV 89451

This legendary rotisserie in Incline is one of the most popular spots on the lake to grab a burrito. With a giant rotisserie behind the counter roasting up tri-tip and whole chickens these burritos are no joke! T's keeps it simple and they have it mastered. There has been a small line here for the past 15 years and in a seasonal ski town that's nearly impossible to accomplish.

Tip: Try the green salsa! You'll thank us later.

Morgan's

10087 W River St, Truckee, CA 96161

Some of the freshest seafood in the Sierras can be found here! This little hole in the wall has some amazing seafood options but it's hard to beat their legendary lobster roll.


To Drink:

Alibi Ale Works

204 E Enterprise St, Incline Village, NV 89451

Alibi is known for their unique beers and this tiny industrial style brewery is the perfect place to sample them all!  We are obsessed with their pluot berlinerweisser.

Garwoods

5000 N Lake Blvd, Carnelian Bay, CA 96140

One of the most popular spots on the lake. Garwoods is famous for its signature cocktail, the wet woody. Sip on this slushy style rum concoction while soaking in the Tahoe sun on their lakeside deck.

 Photo by Nina Photography @ garwoods.com

Photo by Nina Photography @ garwoods.com

Mellow Fellow

9980 N Lake Blvd, Kings Beach, CA 96143 AND 10192 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161

With two locations in North Lake Tahoe, Mellow Fellow is a beer lovers paradise. With 40 beers on tap this place is hard to beat when looking for an ice cold craft beer.

Casa Baeza

10010 Bridge St, Truckee, CA 96161

Three words, clay pot margaritas. Yep. Some of the best margaritas we've ever had, ask for a cantaritos. Not a fan of margaritas, try out their giant michelada.

Central Market

8487 N Tahoe Blvd, Kings Beach, NV 96143

The Central Market is the perfect place to gear up before heading to the beach. We love their beer selection here and everything they sell is organic and fresh! The sandwich and juice bar also throw down some delicious stuff.


We've traveled all over the place but nothing compares to Lake Tahoe. There is something special about it here; maybe it's the insanely blue water or the crazy winter snow storms. Whatever it is, Tahoe is unlike any place in the world. We hope you enjoyed our guide and that you find yourself here one day and get to explore this beautiful place we call home.