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The Best Lake Tahoe Summer Activities

Lake Tahoe is home to a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and in the summer, it’s most well known for its beaches. You’ll find Emerald Bay State Park on the southwest shore and Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park on the northeast side. Lake Tahoe is by no means small, and if you are planning a trip here, you may want to put together a few ideas of what to do while you’re there. Here are five Lake Tahoe summer activities.


If you want to spend some time outside of the water, consider taking one of Lake Tahoe’s many hiking trails. You’ll have fantastic views of the water and the shoreline from high up above, and if you hike to the top of Mount Tallac, you can get even better views! I highly recommend taking the Tahoe Rim Trail if you are looking for a great trek around Lake Tahoe.

Van Sickle Park Trail

Our favorite kid friendly hike is the Van Sickle trail! The Van Sickle Connector Trail is five miles total, but you can hike in 1.7 miles to a gorgeous  waterfall and still have a great workout. This hike will reward you with gorgeous views of South Lake Tahoe! Get there early to grab a parking spot in the lot nearest the entrance to the trail or park at the overflow lot near Bijou street.

Take a Gondola Ride

Heavenly Ski Resort is a great place to be in the winter, but during the summer, you can trade your skis for a gondola ride instead! You’ll be able to take in the fantastic vistas of Lake Tahoe and the wilderness all around you. They have zip line tours and other activities you can do if you don’t want to take a gondola ride as well. This is one of the best ways to get a good view of the lake!

Lake Tahoe summer activity gondola

SWIMMING & Kayaking

There are over 70 miles of shoreline to discover, making this a great place to go kayaking! If you are interested in having your own adventure, take a kayak out for a bit. You can kayak to Cave Rock or head to Nevada beach for some beach kayaking fun as well.

Visit Vikingsholm Castle

This giant mansion is the perfect site to visit while you are visiting Lake Tahoe. It’s beautiful from the outside, and you can even get a castle tour during the summer months. Vikingsholm Castle is a rare Scandinavian piece and used to be the summer home of Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight. The castle is located on the shore just feet away from Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe. Vikingsholm is open for tours — and this includes the house, interior courtyard and adjacent buildings. There are some incredibly beautiful waterfalls (don’t miss Eagle Falls) and trails behind the home, so make sure that you visit them too!

lake tahoe summer activities Vikingsholm
Vikingsholm Castle Photo by Parks.Ca

If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek at Viking culture without heading to Europe, this is an excellent option if you’re in the area. Parking is $10 and the tour is $10 per adult.

Waterfall Hopping

Lake Tahoe has several waterfalls you can visit for a quick swim on a hot summer day. If you’re afraid of heights, you may want to reconsider. Some of the waterfalls have drops of up to 800 feet, so these aren’t tiny waterfalls by any stretch of the imagination. However, if you are seeking adventure, this can be the perfect way to cool off on a hot day. Lower Eagle Falls has a much smaller drop of only about 60 feet for those who are looking for a small waterfall hop into the water.

Whether you’re looking for a warm summer getaway or a fun way to get outdoors in near the West Coast, you can go wrong with any of these activities while you’re visiting Lake Tahoe.

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