The Ultimate Weekend Travel Guide to Lake Tahoe South – Simply Taralynn
Where to Eat / Where to Stay / What to do
Writing these “Ultimate Travel Guides” has quickly become one of my favorite series on the blog. Being able to share my experience and relive it through the photos is so much fun. I hope you’re ready for the California series that’ll be popping up all over the blog this month. And since I like to do things in order, I’m starting with my weekend in Lake Tahoe! This destination was the spot that kicked off the fun adventure, and it’s the perfect place to spend the weekend with a group of friends.
I loved Lake Tahoe so much that I have already started planning a trip there next year with Kyle. It’s one of those places that you leave wishing you had more time there. When you travel with a group of people, it’s a bit harder to fit in everything you want to do, so I’ll need to spend an entire week there so I can visit the whole lake.
Our trip was very relaxing. We spent a night cooking at the house, a couple of nights trying new restaurants, boating, hanging around the beach, and we even brought the house down at a karaoke bar 😆 (please refer to video) Lake Tahoe is for any type of traveler. Whether you like camping, hiking, boating, shopping, dining, casinos, bike riding, fishing…you get it. They have just about any activity for any lifestyle.
After getting off the plane, picking up the rental car, and driving 50-minutes to Lake Tahoe, we were ready for a good lunch. I had eyeballed Driftwood Cafe online months in advance because I saw that it was close to where we were staying, and the food looked fantastic. They had vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options available. Half of the group ate vegetarian, gluten-free or dairy-free, so it was nice having options for everyone.
I ordered their tuna salad without swiss cheese. It came with raisins, tomatoes, romaine, slivered almonds, and tuna salad on top. Their vinaigrette dressing stole the show. The salad was fresh and hit the spot. You can also order their tuna salad on gluten-free bread, which is what I brought Caitlin after finishing her half. I can’t let their coffee go unmentioned. I’m always picky about my coffee, but theirs was fantastic. If you’re looking for a smooth medium-dark roast to spice up your day, their coffee will do the trick.
headband // necklace // shirt // shorts // hair scrunchie // shoes // pink cardigan
Since we were traveling there as a group for our friend’s thirtieth birthday, we all chose to stay in a big Airbnb by the lake. It made the most sense for the ten of us. The location was perfect! We had two pools, a hot tub, a private beach with a dock, fire pit for roasting smores, parking, enough rooms for everyone, and it was close to everything in town.
On the first night, we figured everyone was going to be a bit jetlagged and tired from traveling, so we stayed in and had a taco night. One of the benefits of staying at an Airbnb is that you can cook your meals, make your drinks, and with a group of ten, that’s a lot of money saved. The place we stayed at was called Lakeland Resort, and if you look it up on Airbnb, so many units from the resort will pop up. This was a very laid back place to stay, and if you have a big group that likes to have fun, this is the place for you! The inside of our condo was cozy and had the whole mountain camp vibe, which was perfect for a weekend in Tahoe.
BEST PLACE TO STAY FOR A COUPLES GETAWAY
If you are looking for a place to stay for a couple’s getaway, I would 100% recommend staying at Edgewood Tahoe. We spent some time there at brunch, drinks at sunset, and the views were breathtaking. The pool was right by the lake, and the staff was friendly. That is where Kyle and I are staying next year, for sure. There are more photos and details about Edgewood Tahoe later in this guide.
TACO NIGHT DETAILS
When you’re cooking for a large group, tacos are always a good idea. We made regular beef tacos, tofu & black bean tacos, had vegan cheese, regular cheddar cheese, lettuce, peppers and onions, corn tortillas, guacamole, salsa, and homemade margaritas!
HOMEMADE SKINNY MARGARITAS
In the blender, we added tequila, fresh lime juice, lime seltzer, jalapenos, and ice! Not going to lie, they were good with lemon Sour Patch Kids floating around. Don’t @ me until you try it. 🍋
One of the best parts about Tahoe was catching the sunset over the lake. It was breathtaking. Imagine being able to spend an entire summer here? Since I had a lot of questions in my DM’s while I was on this trip, I decided to include some frequently asked questions in this guide! I had a hard time keeping up with social media while I was away, but I didn’t want to leave the questions unanswered. Plus, it’ll be helpful if you’re planning a trip to Lake Tahoe in the future!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do you get to Lake Tahoe?
If you’re flying in, you’ll most likely want to book a flight to Reno Nevada, rent a car, and drive to Lake Tahoe. If you don’t want to rent a car, there are shuttles you can hop on provided by the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, which was what a lot of our group did to get back to the airport on Monday morning. If you’re staying at a hotel, chat with them about complimentary shuttles they may offer with your stay.
Is the water cold?
Unbelievably cold. When you’re on the beach near the shore, it’s not as bad, but if you’re out on the boat, you have to wear a life jacket because your body can go into shock. When your body goes into shock from being so cold, you can drown. Cold water shock is one of the most common water-related deaths in Lake Tahoe each year. Here’s an article with more details about cold water shock at Lake Tahoe. This isn’t meant to scare you about getting in the water, but I want you to be extra careful and wear a life jacket no matter what.
What should I pack in the summer?
The weather can be anywhere from 40-degrees to 90-degrees. Make sure to pack summer clothes, but also jackets and hats for the cold mornings and evenings. And if you’re out on the water, the boat ride will most likely be pretty chilly. My lightweight jacket hardly did the trick because I was freezing. I have no idea how some of our friends go into the water.
Is it kid-friendly?
I don’t have kids, but if I was a kid, I’d LOVE to visit Lake Tahoe. There were plenty of kids at the place we stayed, ice cream shops all around, trails for bike riding, and the perfect spot to roast marshmallows by the lake. What’s not to love if you’re a kid? If I had kids, I’d 100% take them to Lake Tahoe!
How do you get around?
It all depends where you’re staying, and the time of day it is. We drove to many spots; you could bike/walk the paths to get to the main strip or hop in an Uber or Lyft if it’s late at night. When we went out to the Karaoke bar, we took the best Uber in the world. She pulled out her music and did carpool karaoke with us! It’s in the video 🤭 There are also Lime scooters available if you can find them.
Would this be fun for a bachelorette party?
Absolutely! The activities are endless. You can do yoga by the lake, take a boat cruise, spend some time at the casino, dine at the best restaurants, have a spa day, sing karaoke, kayaking, and so much more. I’d 100% do this for a bachelorette/bachelor party.
Are there bears?
Yes, but we didn’t see any.
When is the best time to travel to Lake Tahoe?
Honestly, it depends on what kind of activities you like. If you like skiing, snowboarding, waking up to snowy views, the winter. If you’re like me and enjoy warm days with mimosas and boat rides, the summer for sure, I bet it’s equally gorgeous and fun no matter what time you visit, but it’ll all depend on what kind of vacation you want to have.
If you enjoy destination runs, definitely look into races in Lake Tahoe. A big congrats to the runners in the group for waking up early and running a half marathon at a crazy elevation! The views are breathtaking, so all of the running was worth it.
MAKE LAKE TAHOE A DESTINATION RUN
I believe this was the Rock Tahoe Half that they ran, so if you’re a runner, look into it for next year. It’s a great excuse to visit. 💜
I can’t believe I’m willingly sharing this photo, but this was after we got off the plane and headed to Lake Tahoe! You’re going to want to stop at some scenic spots, or maybe schedule in a hike! I wish so badly I would have gone for a hike while in Tahoe, but I’ll have plenty of time to do it next time!
SCENIC SPOTS & HIKES IN TAHOE SOUTH
De’ek Wadapush Cave Rock – to get a good look at all of Lake Tahoe’s peaks.
Fallen Leaf Lake Hike – 1-3 miles roundtrip, easy
Skyline Trail Hike – 2 miles roundtrip, easy
Van Sickle Trail Hike 7.6 miles roundtrip, moderate, waterfall views
After their race, we made it back to the resort to enjoy an afternoon at the pool and beach. It was so lovely because the pool was right next to the lake so you could change it up. I also loved having the lake views when you were spending time in the hot tub. This was the perfect spot for the whole group to hang out, grab some, eat some snacks, sip on some refreshing drinks, and relax before a night out.
BEACH DAY ON THE LAKE
It’s crazy how crystal clear the water was. Sometimes I forget how gorgeous the United States truly is.
hat // earrings (similar) // swimsuit coverup // straw bag // tassels on bag // boho slide sandals
my dress // straw bag // Meighan is wearing my outfit so I have to add in the details 😂 // skirt // eyelet top
If you’re looking for a good dinner spot to accommodate a large group, Capisce? Italian Family Restaurant is it. Not only was the food incredible, but the atmosphere and service were great.
The menu was so extensive that I had a hard time deciding what to get. One of the cool things is that they had zucchini noodles as a pasta replacement for all of their pasta dishes. I ended up ordering the apple cranberry salad with blackened salmon, and it was unreal. The salmon was cooked so perfectly that I just wanted more. The rest of the salad had fresh spring mix, apples, cranberries, toasted & candied pecans with a sweet dijon vinaigrette. Not one person complained about their food, so it’s safe to say this place was a hit.
ROJO’S FOR KARAOKE
A few of us refused to end the night at dinner. We hopped in an Uber and headed to Rojo’s for Karaoke. This place was a gem, and one of the best parts of the trip. It’s a small bar, but we met some of the friendliest locals, and they made us feel like rockstars! If you’re looking for a fun night out, please add Rojo’s to your list.
I don’t go out very often, so it was safe to say I was feeling it in the morning. What better place to recovery than at Sprouts Cafe? I had a reader recommend this place to me, and when I looked it up, I knew I had to check it out. Sprouts Cafe is the perfect spot for healthy cuisine that you can enjoy outside on their patio, or take with you on the go. We stopped into Sprouts Cafe before heading out for our lake day. All of the food at Sprouts is 100% organic, and fresh as it gets. They have pastries, juices, smoothies, sandwiches, bowls, cereals, salads, burgers, and more!
For my day out on the lake, I ordered a vegetable crunch sandwich on gluten-free bread without cheese. I had them add turkey along with the avocado, sprouts, cabbage, onions, carrots, tomatoes, and honey mustard dressing. Holy Moly was this sandwich delicious!
To recover from the night before, I ordered the ultimate smoothie! It had the “mean green machine” which came with strawberries, orange juice, vegetable protein powder, spirulina, and I had them use water instead of orange juice, added a ginger shot, and wheatgrass! I loved it, even with all the extra green goodness.
Before we left Lake Tahoe to take off for our California coast trip, Caitlin & I stopped there for breakfast. This time, I ordered the oatmeal topped with bananas, apples, strawberries, oranges, and the same smoothie on the side. Caitlin had their rice bowl which came with steamed vegetables, salsa, green onion, rice, and tortilla chips.
jacket // backpack // shoes // prescription sunglasses // PGA hat // Shorts
If you’re traveling with a group, renting a boat for a day out on the lake is a must. It’s the best way to see all the gorgeous views, relax with music, and swim in the lake water if you’re brave enough. Caitlin was the badass of the group and was designated, captain. I was impressed because I have no idea how to drive a boat, and I even grew up with my family having one.
Make sure to bring snacks, drinks, sunscreen, sweatshirts, towels, lifejackets, and your camera! If you don’t know how to drive a boat or don’t feel like being captain for the day, you can always schedule a fun boat cruise. That was one of our options while planning the trip, but since we had Caitlin, we decided to rent our own pontoon.
Take the boat to Emerald Bay State Park. This is where a lot of people anchor out to enjoy the views of the waterfalls, kayak to Fannette Island to see the old stone tea house or visit the Vikingsholm mansion.
While we were getting ready to load up the boat, one of the girls working at the rental spot told me that I needed to check out Glazed and Confused for coffee. She said they served the ultimate cup of coffee, and their specialty donuts were to die for. Locals always have the best suggestions, so I had to check this place out.
She was NOT kidding about the coffee here. I went in to grab two cups of coffee, and they also threw in some free donuts for us. The place is so fun, and it was walking distance from our Airbnb. If you like fun flavored donuts, good coffee, and really friendly staff, definitely stop in!
OTHER NOTABLE PLACES TO STOP
Base Cape Pizza
Southlake Brewing Company
shoes // nail polish color // coral-stone accessories // hat // top // shorts // necklace // straw bag // tassels on bag
One of my favorite spots to visit during the trip was Edgewood Tahoe. While the runners were out doing their thing, the rest of us had brunch at Edgewood Bistro. This spot was a gem, and I could have spent my entire day there. The views with coffee were breathtaking, and the food was fresh and tasty! Even though it’s a bit chilly in the morning, do yourself a favor and sit outside by the fire.
THE BISTRO AT EDGEWOOD TAHOE FOR BRUNCH
I started with a black coffee and a fun french lavender drink, which was one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had. I’ve never been a cocktail person, but if they all tasted as good as this one, I could quickly become one. For my breakfast, I ordered gluten-free avocado toast with a poached egg on top and a side of fresh fruit. 10/10 would recommend! If you want to treat yourself, order the banana bread-style steel-cut oatmeal with glazed pecans and banana slices for the table to share. You’ll be in for a real treat.
I also have to note how amazing our waiter was. His name was Todd, and he made our brunch experience 10x better 💜
jean jacket // coral-stone accessories // shoes (similar) // shorts // top // straw bag // tassels// necklace
Because we had such an amazing brunch experience, we knew we had to go back for drinks & appetizers with the rest of the group so they could experience it as well. If you wanted to do dinner with a large group like this, make sure to make a reservation, but if you’re just stopping by for drinks and appetizers, you’ll be able to sit outside on the cozy couch. I would 100% recommend adding this to one of your evening plans while you’re there. They even had a smores bar set up for you to roast marshmallows by the fire.
We all enjoyed drinks while the sunset and snacked on the most delicious fries with red pepper and garlic aioli. The purple drink I ordered was actually a mocktail that had blackberries, mint leaves, seltzer, and lemon. We ended our evening at Edgewood with wine and toasted to our last night together.
After drinks and appetizers at Edgewood, we headed over to The Naked Fish for some of the best sushi I’ve ever had! They had a gluten-free menu that I ordered my sushi off of. Mine had yellowtail, jalapeno, sriracha mango aioli, avocados, jalapenos, and gluten-free soy sauce. This was one of the best things I’ve ever had at a sushi restaurant. It’s safe to say that the food in Lake Tahoe did not disappoint.
This is a great spot for groups, and just like all the other places, the staff was so friendly! I recommend having a cup of warm green tea after dinner. It’s a very casual spot, so the perfect place to have dinner after a long day out on the lake.
Because I absolutely love writing these guides, I wanted to include a giveaway just like the last travel-guide as a tradition with these posts! I love doing giveaways to share a piece of my trip with my readers, and I had a lot of messages from readers saying they loved the giveaways as well.
Don’t forget to watch the travel vlog from the Lake Tahoe Trip! You’ll be able to see this blog come to life!
Questions for you!
- Have you ever been to Lake Tahoe?
- What kind of traveler are you? (leisure, adventure, or both!)
- Where was the last place you traveled to with friends?