Between the California and Nevada sides of Lake Tahoe, there’s lots to do

Quick notes:

  • Two sides of Lake Tahoe offer different vibes and a range of activity options

  • Dining options on both sides are strong

  • Don’t want to decide? Take a shuttle from one side to the other

While a lot of resort vacation areas tend to hyper-focus on a small selection of activities like skiing, shopping, or spas, that’s not what you’ll find if you plan a visit to Lake Tahoe. It is an area located 6225 ft above sea level in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and has two distinct sides that straddle the border of California and Nevada. Each half has its own personality and, between the two of them, there is something for every visitor.

The California side

The California-side of Lake Tahoe, also known as the North Side, offers beautiful outdoor adventures with alpine meadows and an emphasis on quiet relaxation that connects you with the natural beauty of the area. Mountain hiking and snowshoeing, boating on the lake in the summer, and recreational horseback riding are all possibilities.

– Resort life, skiing, and spas

There are over a dozen high-end ski resorts on the California-side of lake Tahoe. Any of them offer a luxurious base from which you can embark in enough outdoor activities to fill your day, but they also offer their own amenities to help improve your stay. For example, Squaw Valley Resort features an outdoor winter ice rink that is known throughout the world for its views of the Sierra Mountains. Many of the ski resorts also offer their own luxurious spas that cater to skiers and anyone else who wants to unwind in a tranquil space.


– Other outdoor sports

When you’re in North Lake Tahoe, outdoor sports can be a little quieter but can get you closer to nature. If you like to hike then there are plenty of trails, but in the winter snowshoeing across the snowpacked meadows is also a possibility. If you are craving a more motorized adventure, connect with a snowmobiling tour company and explore nature at a faster pace. The area also has dogsledding and tubing available in the winter and horseback riding and boating in the summer.

– Dining

If you feel that no vacation is complete without a culinary adventure than you’ll want to explore the food and drinks scene on the North Side of Lake Tahoe. Award-winning chefs bring their A-game to provide a range of types of food and cocktails to hungry visitors.

The Nevada side

It’s no wonder that the North Side of Lake Tahoe has been compared to Las Vegas.

Located in Nevada, the South Side of Lake Tahoe has a different energy than its counterpart. If you want just a taste of the excitement from the Nevada side but are staying in California, there’s no reason to worry. Shuttle bus service regularly carries visitors from one side of Lake Tahoe to the other.

 – Casino action

One of the biggest things that distinguish the Nevada side of Tahoe from its counterpart is the casinos. Lots of casinos, actually, ranging from top-named casinos like Harrahs and the Hard Rock Cafe to more regionalized establishments that have been serving the community for decades. They’re located close enough to each other that you can try your luck at several of them within a single evening.

– Dining, shows, And nightlife

Night owls are well served by the North Side of Lake Tahoe. Hand-in-hand with the casinos come a lot of other options for nightlife. These include a range of restaurants, concerts, and dance clubs. Styles of food and music range across a spectrum of options and many establishments remain open until the early hours of the morning.

A deeper dive — Related reading From The 101:

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