The month of May is textbook brutal in Northern California. We NorCal dwellers, experience the driest of summers with zero respite. With temperatures climbing upwards of 100 degrees F, the air conditioning in our homes is our only savior. But imagine when even that breaks down? You are forced to leave your home, flock to the nearest pub or shopping mall just feel that draft of cool air around you. Well, we turned it up a notch. On a complete whim and desperate need for a break from the heat, we decided to drive a hundred odd miles away, in search of cooler waters. And we landed at Lake Tahoe.
What would you say if I could tell you that one could see it all, snowcapped mountains, beautiful lakes, and sandy beaches in a single day? Seems farfetched, no? Or so I thought.
That’s Lake Tahoe! A beautiful destination split between the state of California and Nevada, USA. This gem has it all; scenic spots, snowcapped mountains, sandy beaches, historic sites, state parks, and cute cafes! Situated approximately 90 miles from Sacramento CA, Tahoe makes for an amazing getaway. Whether you are looking to go away for the weekend or return the same day, Tahoe is always a good idea.
We started from our home in Sacramento around 8 am, stepped on the gas till we reached Tahoe City around 9:30 am.
Our first stop was the Tahoe City Marina, a slice of serenity with deep blue waters as far as your sight goes and chilly winds. The marina is situated in the central and busiest part of Tahoe City, laced with cafes, stores, and eateries. This was the perfect spot for some hot breakfast, so after a quick google search and a walkaround to see vegetarian-friendly cafes near us, we decided to head towards Rosie Café. A rustic café with a chill vibe and some kick-ass pancakes.
With some food in our bellies, we drew up our itinerary and aimed to drive around the lake with a handful of brief stops along the way. We kept it short since we wanted to come back home the same evening.
First on our list was Incline Village, a little over 14 miles away from the city, just across the state line in Nevada. Incline Village is known to be a paradise for adventurers. A versatile destination promising adrenaline-charged skis during the winters and challenging treks during peak summer months. And if you don’t like either don’t worry, the drive is equally beautiful. There are a few things one can do at Incline Village, catch some craft brew the Alibi Ales Works & Brewery (they’ve got some out-of-the-world brews, I can personally vouch for it), visit the Diamond Peak Ski Resort or any ski point as there are a couple in the vicinity. Folks who are into cycling can find a couple of great rentals around which could hook you up with an electric bike and some routes to explore.
We decided to visit a ski point, get some snow on. We were like kids set loose in a candy store at the sight of it. We jumped in and indulged in some snowball fights. The joy we experienced was unmatchable, simply cannot wait to do it again. But all good things need to come to an end, (only to make way for some more goodness) so we decided to move to our next stop – Sand Harbor.
The Sand Harbor beach is about 15 miles away, a well-maintained spot by the state authorities, there is a nominal entrance and parking fee which stands good for the entire day. The same premises offer a few picnic benches and self-barbecue areas which open to visitors. We parked our car and headed straight to the walking trail around the beach, which runs for about a mile. The trail has unobstructed view of the beach, also a great spot to get those Instagram worthy photos!
Sand Harbor is a popular spot for kayaking, since the water is crystal clear to the point that one could see the lakebed. It is also a favorite amongst photographers since the lake is lined with large boulders all, the sands are that pristine shade of white and the sunsets are unnervingly beautiful.
We still couldn’t believe that in a mere 30 minutes we went from playing in the snow to hiking along the beach. Crazy, right? But that’s Tahoe! We lingered here for a while, stopped for pictures, mingled with the locals and had some interesting conversations.
Our next and final stop was Emerald Bay about 40 miles away, and it was one of the most recommended places in Tahoe. It took us a little over an hour to reach the bay, a quick stop at for lunch at a retail coffee outlet included. Upon reaching there we could understand why it was such a hotspot, it provided the best view we had seen so far – the lake nestled between the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It looked like something right out of a postcard, with turquoise waters and strikingly tall mountain walls. The lake’s incredible clarity only made the view more surreal. We couldn’t help but be consumed by the beauty of the lake. Even though the atmosphere was much busier and the winds chillier, a strange sense of calmness engulfed us. We could spend hours just sitting there, taking in that view.
The bay has a lot to offer during the summer months with options like; private boating experiences, helicopter tours, dinner cruises and photography tours. If one is planning to spend more than just a few hours at Lake Tahoe, there is also a beautiful mansion by the name of Vikingsholm Castle. It is considered as one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the states, rich in history and culture. (Insert Pics)
Emerald Bay was the perfect ending to a day filled with fun and amazement. All in all, Lake Tahoe has a bit of everything for everyone. Whether you are an outdoorsy gal who loves hiking and biking or a sucker for finer things in life, you’ll find it all here and more. This level of versatility is seldom found in destinations and this is why Lake Tahoe is always a good idea, around the year.
Although our trip was brief, it was amusing. Who could have thought that long drives could be this much fun?
** Tahoe is a year-round destination, but it’s always a good idea to check the weather report beforehand. Fresh snow can be found between October-May.
The writer of this guestblog is my very dear friend Namrata Agarwal or as we all lovingly call her Namu. Namu reminds me of warmth because everytime i met her, she would just give me one of the tighest hug and it would make me feel like everything is ok! Born and partially bred in Kanpur, Namrata moved to Bangalore at age 12. She completed her school and college education in Bangalore and started working in advertising soon after. After a few years in the industry shedecided to move on to try her hand at different projects and it’s been a whirlwind journey since. She got married to the love of her life and moved to the United States in search of adventures. Currently she is daydreaming of a COVID-free world so she can explore the land she is in.
If you are planning a weekend getaway, it’s always good to book tours and accommodations a couple of weeks ahead as they tend to fill fast and you find a sweet bargain.
If you have dietary restrictions, its best to stick to retail coffee shops and eateries. Otherwise, enjoy the small cafes along the way.
Carry a jacket, you never know when it’s going to get chilly.
Wear your most comfortable shoes, there is a whole lot of walking to do everywhere.