Things to do in South Lake Tahoe

Our most recommended things to do in South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe: Sightseeing Cruise of Emerald Bay

1. South Lake Tahoe: Sightseeing Cruise of Emerald Bay

Embark on a sightseeing cruise starting in South Lake Tahoe either at sunset or during the day. Take in the scenic beauty while cruising 11 kilometers across the lake to Emerald Bay, one of the top ten most photographed places in the world. Savor snacks and drinks as you sail. See the majestic mountains of South Lake Tahoe while onboard the world-class Tahoe Bleu Wave yacht. As you cruise, you will find indoor and outdoor seating with 360-degree panoramic views of Lake Tahoe, the snow-capped mountains, Fannette Island, Vikingsholm Castle, Eagle Waterfall, and the Rubicon. Navigate the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe while hearing your captain's narration about this lake. You may even get the chance to see a variety of wildlife such as the bald eagle, black bears, and wild geese. If you've chosen the sunset option, relax and watch the sun dip low below the sky.

South Lake Tahoe: Happy Hour Cruise

2. South Lake Tahoe: Happy Hour Cruise

Begin at South Lake Tahoe and embark on a 2-hour happy hour cruise. Experience a happy hour like no other on board the Tahoe Bleu Wave as it cruises on the gorgeous Lake Tahoe water. Enjoy your afternoon as you munch on delicious snacks and sip on signature drinks. Take in the scenic beauty across the lake to the pristine Emerald Bay, known as one of the top ten most photographed places in the world. Admire the mountains in the backdrop with 360-degree panoramic views of Lake Tahoe. Navigate the beautiful waters with your captain who will give a personal narration of the facts and figures of this lake. You’ll even get the chance to see a variety of wildlife such as the bald eagle, black bears, and wild geese.

Lake Tahoe: Self-Guided Driving Tour

3. Lake Tahoe: Self-Guided Driving Tour

Explore your way on this self-guided driving tour of Lake Tahoe. See the entire lake and all the best vistas, hikes, and swimming spots using an app that functions as a guide, audio tour, and map all in one. Enjoy a tour by local guides, creative writers, and professional voice artists. Begin your tour in Stateline on the southern shore. From there, take a clockwise loop around the lake. While driving, learn about the heated debate between California and Nevada over who technically owns the lake. Visit the summer home of a man who insisted people called his cabin the Vatican. Then, see a few more impressive homes along the shore, including some inspired by Viking longhouses. Next, visit Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe’s crown jewel. This bay offers stunning views of the water and the mountains beyond, as well as swimming, kayaking, scuba diving, and any other water activities you could want. If you’re in the mood for a waterfall, stop by the Eagle Falls trailhead to see the only waterfall that flows into the lake. Hear the spooky tale of how Lake Tahoe’s only island, Fannette, is supposedly haunted. As you continue, learn about the Washoe tribe who lived here long before any European explorers put it on a map. Next up, see Meeks Bay, a perfect white sand beach to catch some sun. Get the scoop on a presidential visit to the lake, famous residents who occupy the houses along the shore, and learn about the lake’s origins. Pay a visit to Carnelian Bay, where boat racing used to be a big deal in the '30s and '40s. Then, say hello to Kings Beach on the north shore, a perfect picnic spot with views that will make you feel like a royal yourself. Pass by the Cal Neva Casino next, which straddles the border between California and Nevada and was once owned by Frank Sinatra. See more stunning estates along the way. Then, learn about some of the area’s wildlife. Visit the Secret Cove, a perfect spot for those looking for some secluded serenity. Nearing the end of the tour, visit a 300-foot-high vista point for perfect photo opportunities. Conclude your tour by Cave Rock, a remnant of the lake’s most ancient history.

Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley: Full-Day Narrated Bus Tour

4. Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley: Full-Day Narrated Bus Tour

Take an enjoyable Lake Tahoe excursion that circles the lake and makes a detour to Squaw Valley, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. On this narrated bus tour, you’ll marvel at the natural beauty of the region while you learn more about the area and leave the driving to your guides. Start with pickup from selected South Lake Tahoe hotels. You travel clock-wise around the lake and make your first stop at Emerald Bay. Emerald Bay is one of the area’s most photographed sites. Its vista point offers spectacular views of the bay and Fanette Island. You’ll then continue traveling along the lake’s western shore, and make your next stop at the Truckee River Dam, which presents another great opportunity for photos. You then make a detour to visit Squaw Valley, which is located 8 miles north of Lake Tahoe. This lovely and historic valley hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. In Tahoe City, which marks the half-way point of our tour, you'll stop for lunch. You'll have a have plenty of eateries to choose from here, including sandwich shops, coffee shops, and lakeside restaurants. After lunch, your excursion continues along the lake’s northern and eastern shores, with a stop to enjoy the views and take photos at scenic Logan Shoals.

From Lake Tahoe: Yosemite National Park Full-Day Tour

5. From Lake Tahoe: Yosemite National Park Full-Day Tour

Enjoy traveling in a luxury 28-passenger mini bus to the High Sierra. You’ll leave South Lake Tahoe at 06:00 on the 3-hour drive to the main valley of Yosemite National Park. This breathtaking adventure provides an unforgettable opportunity to savor the vast array of stunning High Sierra features made famous by the likes of John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ansel Adams. The exclusive documentary tour includes a full-day of sightseeing in one of America’s favorite national parks, conducted by a Yosemite expert. The tour price includes transportation, the park admission fee, a delicious picnic lunch with an assortment of beverages, and a seasonal hike to the Bridalveil Fall or Yosemite Falls. Spend around 6 hours in the park, driving from one scenic location to the next. You can exit the bus to admire the scenery and take photos at each stop. When you reach the main valley at around noon, you’ll enjoy a delicious picnic lunch. On the way back the mini-bus will stop at O'Nelly Deli so you can have a bite to eat and something to drink. You’ll arrive in South Lake Tahoe at around 20:00.

Lake Tahoe: Lakeside Highlights Yacht Tour

6. Lake Tahoe: Lakeside Highlights Yacht Tour

Experience the shoreline of Lake Tahoe aboard a yacht and take in panoramic views of the lush scenery. Join a relaxing and luxurious guided trip around the Tahoe Keys, allowing the crew to point out some of the biggest local attractions for swimming and diving. Explore the calm and secluded Eagle Falls and Fannette Island in Emerald Bay State Park, check out the clarity of the lake in Whiskey Cove, and see exciting activities taking place along the cliffs of D.L. Bliss State Park. Watch people jump off Rooster Rock and view the estates of Rubicon Bay. Make the most of your outing by bringing your favorite beverages and snacks to enjoy during your tour. Swim off the boat, sit in the shade or sun, and customize your trip to your own interests.

Virginia City Day Tour From Lake Tahoe

7. Virginia City Day Tour From Lake Tahoe

Enjoy a full-day bus tour to Virginia City from South Lake Tahoe and discover a historic town along the Pony Express Trail. A tour guide will share the history of the city, once a boomtown of the mining industry. Discover how pioneers explored and settled the area after the discovery of silver and gold. Upon arrival, you will go to the F Street Train Depot to ride on the historic Virginia and Truckee Railroad, a 7-mile round trip through Wild West country to Gold Hill and back. After the train ride, proceed to the main C Street and Delta Saloon, established in 1859, where you can enjoy the Old West atmosphere before exploring the tiny but historic town, dominated by the piercing spire of the St. Mary in the Mountains church. Other highlights include the Mark Twain Museum, western wear stores, gold and silver stores, and a chance to go into a real mine.

4-Day Las Vegas & the Western Deserts Tour from Los Angeles

8. 4-Day Las Vegas & the Western Deserts Tour from Los Angeles

Day 1: LA - Las Vegas Today’s route is east through the desert and Death Valley area to arrive at the gambling capital of the world: Las Vegas. Stop for lunch at the outlet mall at the Nevada State Line, which is filled with all the famous brand names like, Levi’s, Nike, Reebok, Timberland and more. In the evening take a tour of the strip to see some of the truly amazing hotels and fantasies that are built in the middle of the desert. Caesar’s Palace, Mirage, Luxor, Paris, Mandalay Bay, New York New York, Treasure Island and more. Finish off the evening at one of the many shows or try your hand at one of the many casinos. Overnight: Excalibur Hotel Day 2: Las Vegas - Grand Canyon - Page Start the day traveling South East through the desert and through the Navajo Indian reservation before coming to the South Bank of “One of the 7 wonders of the world” the Grand Canyon. Tour along the south bank and learn how throughout the years the Colorado river carved its way down to the sea and created the wonderland for geologists. After lunch continue along the canyon East, stopping at some of the many Indian market places to browse the hand made arts and crafts before arriving at your hotel. Overnight: Quality Inn, Kanab Day 3: Lake Powell - Bryce Canyon Start the day where “the water runs through the rocks” as per the local Navajo folklore. We tour the lower Antelope Canyon and visit the spectacular dunes created by the wind, water and sand; words are not enough to describe these formations created by Mother Nature. After the tour, depart this amazing area and head west to Bryce Canyon home to the most amazing rock and sand sculptures honed to perfection over thousands of years of rain wind and sunshine. Experience the unique changing of the colors during the sunset from one of the vista points in the park (may change due to changing sunset times). After the visit head towards the town of Kanab. Overnight: Days Inn Kanab On certain departures tour will continue to Cedar City for overnight. Overnight hotel Comfort Inn Cedar City.   Day 4: Sunday Zion Park - Las Vegas - LA After breakfast head into Zion park. This park got its name from the Mormons that settled in the area. They gave it this name after claiming that visiting the park is like a religious experience, and it's true that the majesty of the mountains and silence of the wilderness makes you feel like you have been transported to another place. Tour the park and enjoy a short walking trail along the Virgin river that runs through the park, before heading back to LA for the evening.  

From San Francisco: Yosemite & Tahoe Sierras 4-Day Trip

9. From San Francisco: Yosemite & Tahoe Sierras 4-Day Trip

After departing San Francisco, head through California’s famous Gold Rush Country, high into the mountains of the Sierra Nevada. It’s time to experience the majestic views from Yosemite Valley with some of America’s tallest waterfalls and towering granite cliffs rising 4,000 feet from the valley floor. Your guide will help you find the perfect trail to take in this glacially carved valley. Relax on the banks of the Merced River and soak up the spectacular views before heading back to the rustic mountain resort to kick back, have some drinks and share the stories of your day. The next day, enjoy hiking and lunch among the Giant Sequoias before traversing Yosemite’s Tioga Pass viewing iconic sites like the reflective Tenaya Lake and Tuolumne Meadows. You'll stay overnight in beautiful Mammoth Lakes. Huge mountains, numerous lakes, and expansive valleys await you! Try your hand at mountain biking or take a scenic Gondola ride to check out one of the most stunning 360 degree views in California. In the morning you'll have the option to visit the Ansel Adams Wilderness area and Devil’s Postpile National Monument, or choose to take a short hike over to Rainbow Falls to snap a selfie! Next, you’re back on the road to Lake Tahoe, with a stop to experience a bit of Gold Rush history at the historic Bodie Ghost Town. in Tahoe you can try your luck at blackjack or the roulette wheel at The Hard Rock, Harrah's or one of South Lake Tahoe's other casinos. If you're not into gambling, try a sunset sail or a lake cruise to Emerald Bay. You’ll stay the night in a South Lake Tahoe hotel or campsite. On your final morning, get up close and personal with Lake Tahoe by kayak, stand-up paddleboard or bike, or take a gondola ride up to Heavenly Mountain resort where an array of adventure activities await. You can also keep it simple and go on a short hike with the guidance of your professional tour leader. You'll be dropped off in San Francisco by 9:00 PM.

Lake Tahoe: Sand Harbor Helicopter Flight

10. Lake Tahoe: Sand Harbor Helicopter Flight

Set off from south of Southern Lake Tahoe and discover the gorgeous sand and multi-colored waters of Sand Harbor from the air. Fly over some of the locals' best kept secrets, other hidden beaches, and bays along the east shoreline such as Glenbrook Bay, Secret Harbor, Skunk Harbor, and Chimney Beach. After reaching Sand Harbor, ascend for a look at Marlette Lake which is located at 7,841 feet above sea level. Take in these incredible sights from a helicopter which provides an unparalleled perspective that you will remember for a lifetime.

Frequently asked questions about South Lake Tahoe

What top attractions are a must-see in South Lake Tahoe?

The must-see attractions in South Lake Tahoe are:

Other Sightseeing Options in South Lake Tahoe

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What people are saying about South Lake Tahoe

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 267 reviews

The crew was friendly, attentive, and helpful. The dialogue provided by the captain on the sites we were approaching and the history of certain areas was perfect. I had a wonderful time.

It was a great adventure with a lot of interesting information without being boring. Smooth ride with a fun crew.

Excellent tour, crew had excellent knowledge of the area and boat was outstanding on upkeep

Our Guide was excellent very knowledgeable Awesome experience

VERY knowledgeable guide. Excellent info given during tour.