It’s called the Jewel of Nevada, USA, and once you see it, you’ll know why. Lake Tahoe is the nation’s largest alpine lake, 22 by 12 miles of sparkling water surrounded by 72 miles of pristine shoreline. During the warm summer months, it’s a water-sports paradise. And when it snows, well, it’s a haven for winter sports enthusiasts.
The crystal-clear lake is roughly divided into two shores, north and south. South shore is the lively side, with no end of stuff to do both in and out of water. Most of the large hotel-casinos can be found here in the town of Stateline, along with the base of Heavenly Mountain Resort, Heavenly Village. It’s chock-full of shopping, dining and recreation options, all within easy walking distance of the hotels. On the southeast shore, Zephyr Cove is bursting with watercraft activities, parasailing and beach lounging. It’s also home to the famed paddle-wheel cruise boats, the M.S. Dixie II and the Tahoe Queen. There are scenic cruises, dinner cruises, specialty cruises, even charter cruises for weddings and parties.
Life is a bit more relaxed on Tahoe’s north shore, where the focus is on celebrating quiet mountain life. In the summer, the choices are limitless. With classic North Lake Tahoe hikes, mountain biking bucket-listers, and dozens of pristine beaches kissed by one of the crispest, clearest, bluest bodies of water in the United States (they don’t call Lake Tahoe the ‘Jewel of the Sierra’ for nothing), you’re going to want to dive into the North Shore’s warm-weather wonderment. The Tahoe Rim Trail is also a popular destination for hikers from all over the world. Measuring 165 miles, the trail system passes through two states, six counties, one state park, three national forests and three natural wilderness areas. Guests of the trail have their pick of several trailheads around the lake with varying degrees of difficulty and length. And for the elite hikers, there’s always the 165-Mile Club.