Where to Eat, Stay & Play in Lake Tahoe
A guide for the best places to eat, stay, and play in Lake Tahoe
This summer was our fourth time visitng Lake Tahoe yet every time we go, we leave feeling blown away by it’s beauty. The Sierra Mountains are nothing short of stunning and the rich blue color of the lake is absolutely breathtaking.
In a perfect world, we would retire here, enjoying white snowy winters by the fire and warm summers on the beach. But seeing how that’s a long way off for us and California real estate continues to sky rocket with every passing second, for now all we can do is soak up every minute that we’re fortunate to enjoy when we stay there.
I’d thought it would be fun to put together a travel guide for those of you who might be interested in visiting one day. Most of my recommendations are based on my personal preferences for healthy plant-based food and lots of activity so if that’s up your alley, then I think you’ll definitely find something to suit you!
Where to Eat
1. Freshies Restaurant-this place has a laid back Hawaiian vibe with an open air deck and gorgeous views of the lake. They pride themselves on sourcing the majority of their ingredients locally and organic when possible and they specialize in vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Grab a table at sunset and be sure to try a platter of their delicious tacos!
2. Sprouts Café– I will never be able to visit Tahoe again without stopping to eat at Sprouts. Everything is super fresh and healthy and the tempeh burger is to-die-for!
3. Blue Angel Café– this is a casual spot with nice outdoor tables and a creative menu that offers several vegetarian options. I personally love the marinated portabellas with gorgonzola sauce. YUM.
4. Simple Bliss Vegan Café– I should preface this recommendation by warning you that this place is not cheap. It’s more like ridiculously expensive. But if you believe that your dollar counts as your vote then it’s a great place to support. Everything on the menu is entirely vegan and we thought the lentil burgers were spot-on!
5. Mountain High Sandwich Co.– Julia took us here after our hike together and it’s a total gem! Brandon raved about his smoked tofu sandwich and my veggie sandwich was amazing. Plus they have locally brewed kombucha! My kinda place.
6. Bite American Tapas– we went here for dinner one night and even though it’s tucked away in a shopping plaza, it was actually a really fun experience. The portions are small enough that you can sample lots of different things and we loved everything we tried. Especially the mini ice cream sandwiches.
7. The Lone Eagle Grille– if you’re looking for a dinner to splurge on, this is the perfect place! The tables by the windows have beautiful views of the lake, the service is incredible and they even have a separate vegetarian menu. Highly recommend.
8. Watermans Landing– this is a great spot on the lake for breakfast or lunch. They cater to vegan, gluten-free and paleo diets and their food is super fresh.
Where to Stay
1. Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe– we’ve stayed in a few different locations in the Tahoe area but this time we chose to stay in Incline Village and it was by far my favorite. The Hyatt is in a great location, directly on the lake and the hotel is super clean and nice. What we loved the most is that they have sliding glass doors in their pet friendly rooms that open up directly to a walking path. It made it so easy to let Coco in and out to use the bathroom.
I managed to find a great deal by booking a room at the end of summer, when everyone is back in school. The room included the breakfast buffet at the Sierra Café which offered a great selection and quality. I would highly recommend staying here, if it suits your budget!
2. Cedar Glen Lodge– this was our second choice for a place to stay only because it’s not directly on the lake. It is right across the street from the lake, however, and it looks really nice. Plus they have top rated restaurant on site that looks delicious!
3. Black Bear Inn– we spent one night in South Lake Tahoe (at a hotel that was not worth mentioning) so we could do some hiking but overall, I prefer to stay on the north side. That said, if I were to stay in the south again, I would choose this cozy B&B.
4. The Cottage Inn– I initially wanted to stay here because of how cute the cabins are but unfortunately they’re not dog friendly. If you’re not traveling with a pet, then I would definitely check this place out!
Where to Play
1. Bayview Trail– this trail is located right across from Inspiration Point which is a great place to stop and take pictures of Emerald Bay. If you’re short on time, there’s a beautiful one mile hike to Cascade Falls. It’s easy enough for children and the views are stunning!
2. Vikingsholm/Emerald Bay– the parking area for this spot is notorious for filling up fast so I would recommend getting there early! We arrived at 8:30am and didn’t have any trouble but we were there in late summer so it wasn’t as busy. The views from the parking lot are incredible and the hike down to Vikingsholm is about one mile. It’s a steep incline on the way back up but the views at the bottom are worth it.
3. Rubicon Trail– if you’re up for a hike after touring Vikingsholm you can take the Nifty 50 Trolley ($2 cash per person) to D.L. Bliss State Park and hike 4 miles along the Rubicon trail back to Vikingsholm, where you parked.
This trail is really easy and is mostly shaded by the trees. It takes you right along the lake and there are even a few nice beaches to stop for a picnic or a swim, if you have time.
4. Tunnel Creek to Flume Trail– this is hands down my favorite trail we’ve hiked in Tahoe so far. It’s a steep incline in direct sunlight so it’s not the easiest, but the views are vast and stunningly beautiful. It’s really popular with mountain bikers so if that’s something you enjoy then this is the trail to do it. Otherwise, if you’re on foot, keep an eye out for them speeding down the hill!
5. Sand Harbor– Sand Harbor is a popular place and it’s not hard to see why. It’s simply gorgeous! You can either come here super early by car to claim your spot in the sand or you can kayak/paddleboard in at your leisure. Pack a lunch to bring with you or take advantage of their restaurant on site that serves chocolate & vanilla soft serve, aka my weakness.
6. Crystal Bay– If you’re up for paddle boarding or kayaking, be sure to stop by Crystal Bay and admire the beautiful homes perched along the lake. That’s right where I’ve got my retirement home picked out!