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15 Fun Things to Do in South Lake Tahoe

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Fun things to do in South Lake Tahoe, by travel blogger What The Fab

I’m a born and raised California girl, so when I’m craving a change of scenery, I love exploring all the fun things to do in South Lake Tahoe.

Getting out of the city and into nature is one of my favorite weekend getaways, and I’m always looking for the perfect destination—for me, it’s visiting Lake Tahoe!

Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, with many year-round Lake Tahoe attractions.

In the winter, you can hit the slopes for world-class skiing and snowboarding or take a romantic sleigh ride through the snow-covered mountains.

Lake Tahoe summer activities include hikes, bike rides, and fishing in one of the nearby lakes. With stunning beaches and clear skies, it’s a great place to relax and enjoy the view.

From hiking around Lake Tahoe to visiting local casinos, there are many unique things to do in South Lake Tahoe—it’s time to start planning your next vacation!

Book fun things to do in South Lake Tahoe through GetYourGuide by clicking below:

15 Things to Do in South Lake Tahoe Any Time of Year

Fun things to do in South Lake Tahoe, by travel blogger What The Fab

1. Eagle Falls and Lake

Eagle Falls is a famous hiking route in Lake Tahoe for its must-see vistas in the heart of Desolation Wilderness.

The hike covers 3.6 miles and ends at Eagle Lake—you’ll pass by lush green forests, a waterfall, a lake, and prominent granite peaks.

Eagle Falls offers breathtaking views of Emerald Bay, making it one of the most beautiful hikes in Lake Tahoe. You’ll be amazed by the rush of water at Lower Eagle Falls. 

Hike another quarter-mile to reach the upper waterfall and follow the trail to Eagle Lake.

Once there, you can take a refreshing swim and enjoy the surrounding meadow and mountain views.

If you feel like it, you can also continue hiking to Velmas, Dicks, and Fontanillis Lake.

Since this is one of the most popular South Lake Tahoe adventures, I recommend getting an early start and packing water and snacks.

Fun things to do in South Lake Tahoe, by travel blogger What The Fab
Image via California State Parks

2. D.L. Bliss State Park

D.L. Bliss is a stunning park located on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, north of Emerald Bay.

This state park features soft sand beaches, hiking trails, a lighthouse, and campgrounds—it’s open from sunrise to sunset.

This is an excellent option for those traveling on a budget because you can camp for a low price versus renting a hotel room or Airbnb.

It gets crowded in the early afternoon, so arrive early or visit after the midday rush.

One of my favorites is the Rubicon Trail, a five-mile path that starts in Bliss and ends in Emerald Bay, offering views of the lake.

Fun things to do in South Lake Tahoe, by travel blogger What The Fab

3. Lake Tahoe Balloons

I love hot air balloons—waking up before the sun and floating in the sky takes my breath away, and it’s one of the best things to do near South Lake Tahoe.

The Tahoe Flyer team is one of the top local companies, and you can watch the balloon being inflated from the upper deck before climbing aboard.

During the ride, you’ll soar over beautiful South Lake Tahoe landmarks like Emerald Bay, Fallen Leaf Lake, Cascade Lake, and Desolation Wilderness.

If you’re lucky and have clear weather, you’ll also see the peaks of Yosemite from a distance of more than 150 miles.

Once you return to the ground, celebrate with champagne, mimosas, and snacks while sailing back to the marina. Sounds like a good morning to me!

The entire experience, including the boat ride and balloon inflation, takes 4-5 hours, but the actual flight is only 45 minutes to an hour.

Fun things to do in South Lake Tahoe, by travel blogger What The Fab
Image via Lake Tahoe Museum

4. Lake Tahoe Historical Society Museum

The Lake Tahoe Historical Society Museum is a great place to learn more about the area’s history.

The museum showcases artifacts, photos, documents, and objects from the Washoe people who have lived there since before modern times.

Explore interactive storytelling exhibits, see original paintings and photographs depicting the area’s past and present, and learn helpful tips about the local flora and fauna.

The museum is open year-round, and admission is free—they accept ticket donations as volunteers run the museum.

Fun things to do in South Lake Tahoe, by travel blogger What The Fab

5. Mountain Biking

For a banging Tahoe summer, try one of the top activities: mountain biking.

There are numerous paved and dirt paths around South Lake Tahoe, including local legends like the Flume Trail, Tahoe Rim Trail, and South Shore Bike Path.

Flume Trail, spanning roughly 14 miles, has an elevation change of over 1,000 feet, while South Shore Bike Path is a great paved option for beginners.

You can also rent a hybrid bike and explore independently—you won’t need to peddle as hard because they’re good for off and on-road biking.

Admire breathtaking views of the mountain town while exploring on two wheels.

Things to do in South Lake Tahoe, by travel blogger What The Fab

6. Castle Vikingsholm

One of the top summer attractions in South Lake Tahoe is Vikingsholm Castle, a remarkable example of Scandinavian architecture with 38 rooms.

The castle was initially built as a summer residence for Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight.

Limited parking is available at the Vikingsholm lot, which costs $10—once arriving, you must walk down a scenic one-mile road to reach Vikingsholm.

While it takes some work, there are many rest areas along the way, and the destination is charming, beautiful, and family-friendly.

Enjoy a 30-minute tour from the entrance guard to better appreciate the castle’s beauty and history of this place.

As one of the most popular things to do in South Lake Tahoe, I suggest visiting first thing in the morning.

Fun things to do in South Lake Tahoe, by travel blogger What The Fab

7. Paddleboarding

What’s a Lake Tahoe summer without a bit of paddleboarding? It’s a fun, outdoorsy activity to enjoy at the lake.

The beauty of this sport is it can be done on almost any body of water in the Lake Tahoe area.

Whether you’re an experienced paddleboarder or a beginner, there are many picturesque places to explore.

Local companies offer paddleboard rentals, lessons, and tours, so you can find something to suit your needs.

An hour-long paddleboard rental in South Lake Tahoe is typically around $20-30.

Things to do in South Lake Tahoe, by travel blogger What The Fab

8. Kayaking and Canoeing

For a more relaxed way to explore the lake, consider renting a kayak instead of a paddleboard.

Kayaking is a pleasant water activity that doesn’t require balancing or exerting much energy.

The calm and serene waters of Lake Tahoe make it the perfect spot to try this calming sport.

Opt for single or double kayaks and paddle your worries away on the scenic lake.

Fun things to do in South Lake Tahoe, by travel blogger What The Fab

9. Parasailing and Jet Skiing

Parasailing and jet skiing offer thrilling views of South Lake Tahoe in an unforgettable experience.

Parasailing involves being strapped into a parachute and listed in the sky for stunning aerial views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains.

You’ll be pulled behind a boat to enjoy the lake’s expansive beauty of the lake while soaring high above.

Jet skiing is an exhilarating activity to zip around the lake at top speeds—go as fast or slow as you want to partake in the fun.

While it’s more expensive, the price is worth the adventure.

Things to do in South Lake Tahoe, by travel blogger What The Fab

10. Fannette Island

Enjoy a day on the water at Fannette Island, a hidden gem in the middle of Emerald Bay.

The island is located in the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains and can be reached by canoe, boat, or kayak.

Remember that the island’s shoreline is rocky, so you must secure your kayak while exploring.

Swimming isn’t recommended here due to the cold water and boat traffic, but paddling there is straightforward.

The Tea House, also located on the island, is a small building constructed in the late 1920s by Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight.

This is a great place to take a break and enjoy snacks and water while admiring the view.

11. Skiing or Snowboarding

Skiing and snowboarding are can’t-miss South Lake Tahoe winter activities—this area has fantastic ski resorts and slopes for all skill levels.

All skiers and snowboarders can find something to enjoy, from laid-back bunny hills to heart-pumping slopes.

Whether you visit Heavenly Mountain Resort or Sierra-at-Tahoe, the options are endless.

You’ll also witness incredible panoramic mountain views while having fun in the snow.

Heading up on the mountain can cost a pretty penny and requires preparation. Plan ahead and purchase lift passes before going to the resort to save money.

Things to do in South Lake Tahoe, by travel blogger What The Fab

12. Heavenly Mountain Gondola Ride

Heavenly Mountain is the largest ski resort in South Lake Tahoe and a great place to spend the day.

During the summer and fall, Lake Tahoe visitors can ride the gondola for jaw-dropping views of this majestic mountain town.

Along the 10-15 minute ride, you may spot wild animals like bighorn sheep, bald eagles, and bears while admiring the heavenly village below.

There’s a lodge with a restaurant at the top of the mountain for you to enjoy a beer—sometimes, they have live music.

On the way down, stop at one of the many viewing platforms to enjoy stunning views of the Lake Tahoe landscape.

Image via Gatekeeper’s Museum

13. Gatekeeper’s Museum

Gatekeeper’s Museum is a small historical site on Highway 89, northwest of Lake Tahoe.

It serves as a memorial for the original Gatekeeper’s Cabin, which was destroyed in the 1980s.

The cabin was built to house the Watermaster, responsible for managing the lake’s water flow.

Today, the museum displays historical items, including resort memorabilia, Native American baskets, archival documents, clothing, artifacts, photographs, and more.

14. Emerald Bay State Park

A roundup of the top things to do in South Lake Tahoe would be incomplete without a trip to Emerald Bay State Park.

Tree-covered granite hills surround this park, and the water is a gorgeous blue-green.

Take a sightseeing cruise during the day or sunset for a romantic experience.

All my camping girlies will enjoy renting a site at Eagle Point Campground—easy on the wallet and the soul.

Head to Inspiration Point, 600 feet above ground, for beautiful Instagram photos of Emerald Bay. It’s a short hike, but the view is worth it.

15. Road Trip

Take a road trip to explore all the South Lake Tahoe area offers.

You can experience attractions like North Lake Tahoe, the Fort Churchill State Historic ParkSand Harbor Beach, and Reno.

Your Lake Tahoe road trip packing list should include camping essentials and a local map for easy navigation.

Throughout your journey, admire the views and appreciate South Lake Tahoe’s natural beauty.

Hopefully, this guide to fun outdoor activities and things to do in South Lake Tahoe inspires you to plan a trip today! Everyone should visit Lake Tahoe at least once, but you’ll likely want to return.

Check out my other Tahoe content for more travel guides.

The Best Lake Tahoe Airbnbs

South Lake Tahoe Summer Itinerary

A Weekend at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe

Winter Wonderland at Tahoe

Tahoe Travel Diary


When is the best time to plan a South Lake Tahoe vacation?

South Lake Tahoe is a beautiful year-round destination, and many of the top Lake Tahoe activities are seasonal, offering something new with every visit. Spring and fall are best for minimal crowds and mild weather.

What are the most fun things to do in South Lake Tahoe?

I suggest mountain biking, hiking, and a hot air balloon ride.

Is South Lake Tahoe expensive?

Planning a South Take Tahoe vacation can get expensive, but there are alternative lodging and activity options to help you save.

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