While you are vacationing in South Lake Tahoe, choose a day to take a day trip and explore the surrounding area. We have picked our top three day trips to take from South Lake Tahoe, and compiled them here for you. Of course, when you are visiting a place as gorgeous as South Lake Tahoe you might not want to leave. And that is fine too!
Virginia City and Genoa, NV
Just one hour from South Lake Tahoe lies the historic mining town of Virginia City. Here, you can tour old mining shafts, historic churches, 19th century homes and submerse yourself in the colorful history of this Victorian-era town. If you visit on a weekend, stop in to the Bucket of Blood, where the locals still dress up in period-wear. Be careful as you might get pulled from your seat and asked to dance if there is a band playing! Keep your eyes open and cameras ready as you drive, because you might be lucky enough to see some of Nevada’s wild horses grazing on the side of the road.
After spending the day enjoying Virginia City, take a different route home and stop by the small town of Genoa, NV. Nestled at the base of the mountains, this small town is the first settlement of Nevada in 1851. Stop in to the antique shops or the General Store and then grab a drink from Genoa Bar and Saloon. Genoa Bar is Nevada’s Oldest Thirst Parlor, established in 1853. This small town is home to Genoa’s Candy Dance.
Hope Valley and Blue Lakes, CA
If you want to experience some Sierra Nevada wilderness, plan a day trip out to Hope Valley. Just a short drive form South Lake Tahoe, Hope Valley sits at 7,000 feet and is know for it’s open valleys and lack of development. From here, you can access some of the best hiking and mountain biking trails, take pictures of beautiful wildflowers, go fishing or just relax and take in the wilderness.
Bring up your paddle boards and head to Blue Lakes, just past Hope Valley. These mountain lakes are part of a cluster of Lakes that serve as water storage for downstream hydro-electric plants. The only developments are two boat ramps, and a few minimal campgrounds. You can access these mountain lakes right from your car, making it an easy and perfect trip for all ages. The water is clear and cool, and a great place to truly relax and take in the Sierra Nevada wilderness.
Tahoe City and Truckee, CA
You have chosen to stay in South Lake Tahoe (good choice), but that doesn’t mean a quick day trip to the North Shore won’t be worth it. Driving around Lake Tahoe is a must if you haven’t already done so. The views are spectacular, and each town has it’s own unique characteristics and feel. This small, yet vibrant, lake shore town hosts everything from movies and concerts on the beach, sidewalk sales, dance festivals and more. If the Truckee River is flowing, bring up your tubes and float the Truckee River. You can also rent rafts, and it is mellow enough for all ages. Our restaurant recommendation: Jake’s on The Lake. Perfect for a small bite, or a whole meal.
Situated on Interstate 80 just an hour from Reno, Truckee was originally settled by nomadic Native Americans. Truckee was made known by the infamous Donner Party in 1846. Truckee grew later as a railroad town (originally named Coburn Station) with the Transcontinental Railroad from Chicago to San Francisco. The town still has the feeling of an 1800s settlement, and has many delicious restaurants, art galleries and more. Stop by the Bar of America for a good bite to eat, and a great night-time bar scene.
Stay tuned for more day trips to take when you vacation in South Lake Tahoe!