For a newcomer, planning a visit to Lake Tahoe can be overwhelming with the many options for areas available to stay in. Lake Tahoe is divided into two main sections: the North Shore and the South Shore. Each shore is divided by the state line of the California/Nevada border, then into different areas, cities, and villages. For South Lake Tahoe, the different areas and neighborhoods offer visitors different benefits. Maybe you are choosing a vacation home by proximity to an event you are attending, or outdoor activities you plan to do. Perhaps you are looking for a lakefront home, a home set in a quiet forested neighborhood for relaxing, a mountain cabin with ski-in/ski-out access, or a condo right in the heart of the downtown action. Tahoe’s South Shore has an area just right for every traveler’s needs.
A very popular area for South Lake Tahoe visitors, the Heavenly Valley area is located near the California Main Lodge at the base of Heavenly Ski Resort. This area is located within close proximity to other notable amenities the South Shore has to offer like the lake, beaches, and downtown casino area. During the winter months, this area is in the heart of the ski hustle and bustle, and the summer months offer a quiet and tranquil forest setting as Heavenly is closed. This is an ideal area for any visitor looking for affordable accommodations close to the action, that is still offers a relaxing forest vibe.
Also known as the Tourist Core, the downtown South Lake Tahoe area stretches from the casinos into California for a few city blocks. This is a great area for visitors looking to be in the center of the city action. Homes and condos located downtown are within walking distance to the casinos, restaurants, shops, bars, outdoor concerts and live music, the Heavenly Gondola, the lake, and beaches.
The town of Meyers is located on the outskirts of the South Shore near the base of the mountains where Highway 50 (the main artery from Sacramento to the South Lake Tahoe) drops into the Tahoe Basin. This quiet community is set in the forest and mountains, and has a few city amenities like a grocery store, gas stations, golf courses, snowmobiling, and restaurants. This area is ideal for a relaxing getaway or if visitors are looking to ski/snowboard at Kirkwood or Sierra-at-Tahoe, it is within close proximity. Another item to note, this area gets the heaviest snowfall on the South Shore, so expect higher snow levels (especially on the roads), possible power outages, and avalanche cannon booms above Echo Summit if there is a particularly heavy storm.
The Tahoe Keys is built on a series of inland waterways and canals, so the majority of the homes in this community have direct lake access with some kind of boat slip or dock. The Tahoe Keys area is a great way to have access to the lake (if bringing a boat or other watercraft), without having to pay lakefront or beachfront vacation rental prices. Properties in this community range from condos to upscale palatial homes, and all guests have access to the Tahoe Keys amenities during their stay (for a minimal cost): indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, beach, basketball courts, and putting green.
Within close proximity to the casinos at the state line, the Kingsbury area is the first neighborhood inside Nevada on the South Shore. State Route 207 (also known as Kingsbury Grade) begins at lake level, and goes up and over the mountain ridge down to the other side to the Minden/Gardnerville area. Between the lake and mountain ridge is the area called Kingsbury, which is divided into lower, middle, and upper Kingsbury. This mountainous area, especially Upper Kingsbury, is highly sought after by visitors who are looking for accommodations close to the Nevada Side Lodges at Heavenly: Boulder and Stagecoach; there are often less crowds at the Nevada lodges versus the California side locations, which are more conveniently located to most South Shore visitors. The summer months offer quieter days with less crowds, and there are many outdoor activities available, like hiking and mountain biking.
Past the Kingsbury area is the city of Zephyr Cove. The Historic Zephyr Cove Resort is the central jewel of the city, offering a restaurant, famous beach, sightseeing cruises to Emerald Bay, watercraft rentals, beachfront bar, and snowmobiling during the winter months. Also located within the city of Zephyr Cove is a shopping center, in the Round Hill community, which has a large supermarket, restaurants, gym, and gas station. Zephyr Cove is an ideal location for visitors looking for accommodations close to the lake, a home with lake views, or just a slower pace.
The South Shore is filled with numerous areas for visitors to enjoy any kind of Tahoe vacation experience, whether it be active outdoors, a quiet and tranquil getaway, or an action-filled adventures around the casinos and surrounding shopping area. Where are some of your favorite areas around South Lake Tahoe? We’d love to hear about some of your favorite experiences!