The state parks around Lake Tahoe–particularly Sugar Pine Point, D.L.Bliss and Emerald Bay–are splendid and there’s a wide range of lodging and eating choices available to the visitor. Wherever you stay in Lake Tahoe, you’ll find plenty of water and mountain sports.

The lake is crowded during the summer hiking and camping season, so plan ahead. It’s much easier to get reservations for the spring and fall, and rates drop considerably.

If you seek a relaxing outdoor retreat, head to the North Shore, which has a better selection of high-quality resorts and vacation rentals. The woodsy West Shore has the most camping spots.

Camp Richardson Resort This is an outstanding full-service facility for short visits or group vacations; at its great location, beach and woods converge, and there’s plenty of fun for all. Accommodations include campgrounds, an RV park, cabins, a hotel, and a beachside inn; many dining options, from deli lunches to elegant dinners; and organized activities and marina rentals. Book early.
1900 Jameson Beach Rd., South Shore & South Lake Tahoe; [tel] 800/544-1801 or 530/541-1801. $95– $195 double; $145– $250 cabins per day in winter, $745– $2,265 per week in summer; camping or RV hookup $20– $30 per day. Seasonal discount packages available on website. DISC, MC, V.

Ferrari’s Crown Resort It’s been family first for decades around here. This no-frills motel has clean, comfortable rooms and a great lakefront location; some suites come with kitchenettes and fireplaces. Amenities include (seasonal) outdoor pools and Jacuzzis. Bargain rates off-season make this a year-round retreat filled with warmth and welcome.
8200 N. Lake Blvd., North Shore, Tahoe City; send mail to P.O. Box 845. [tel] 800/645-2260 or 530/546-3388. \ 72 units. $65– $139 double; $99– $235 2-bedroom suite or lakefront room. Rates include continental breakfast. Packages available. AE, DISC, MC, V.

The Resort at Squaw Creek Luxury abounds at this attractively appointed full-service, prize-winning, first-class resort and spa with every imaginable amenity available for true relaxation in a natural setting. You’re close to many choices for dining, shopping, family, and business needs.
400 Squaw Creek Rd., North Shore, Tahoe City. [tel] 800/327-3353 or 530/583-6300.. 403 units. $250– $395 double; $450– $1,900 suite. Packages available. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Valet parking $15. Free parking.

The Shore House at Lake Tahoe All romance and nostalgia in this pretty bed-and-breakfast located on the lake. Cozy private rooms with individual entrances and fireplaces are made charming with knotty pine ambience and log-furnishings, and idyllic with featherbeds. Start the day with gourmet breakfast, enjoy nearby hiking trails, and relax at sunset in the outdoor hot tub by the lake.
7170 N. Lake Blvd., North Shore, Tahoe City. [tel] 800/207-5160 or 530/546-7270. 8 units, 1 cottage. $190– $250 double; $255– $290 cottage. Rates include full breakfast. DISC, MC, V.

Sunnyside Lodge Located just steps from a gravel beach, water activities, and marina, this lodge is the stuff of dreams. An historic (1908) home transformed into a great, woodsy lodge with stone fireplaces and modern comforts. The Sunnyside Restaurant occupies the ground floor, but room service is also available. Ask for a lakefront room; a real treat with views and privacy.
1850 W. Lake Blvd., North Shore, Tahoe City. [tel] 800/822-2754 or 530/583-7200. 23 units. $100– $295 double. Rates include continental breakfast. Packages available. AE, MC, V.

Wake up by the lake at Tamarack Lodge, a Tahoe classic.
Wake up by the lake at Tamarack Lodge, a Tahoe classic.

Tamarack Lodge Hollywood history converges with North Shore ambience in this classic Tahoe hideaway. Accommodations include old-time cabins nestled in the pines, along with knotty-pine “poker rooms” once frequented by Clark Gable and Gary Cooper. Far less memorable are modern motel rooms—but the price is right and the location great.
2311 N. Lake Blvd., North Shore, Tahoe City; [tel] 888/824-6323 or 530/583-3350.. 17 units, 4 cabins. $54– $145 double; $139– $379 cabin. DISC, MC, V.


Cantina Bar & Grill California-Mexican fare with a fun-loving ambience. It’s the place in Tahoe to grab a beer and a burrito, and watch the big game with a convivial group. Or enjoy an innovative, internationally influenced gourmet menu, along with classic southwestern specialties. Selection includes steak and fish, barbeque, chicken, sandwiches, and vegetarian entrees.
765 Emerald Bay Rd., South Shore & South Lake Tahoe. [tel] 530/544-1233.. Main courses $9– $16. AE, MC, V. Daily 11:30am–10:30pm (bar until midnight).

Ernie’s Coffee Shop Not health food, but mighty good eatin’. This classic local diner has friendly atmosphere and a traditional menu that’s a fine slice of Americana. Stoke up on a traditional, massive pre-hike breakfast to get up the most strenuous switchback. Arrive early; this is one of the most popular spots around—deservedly so.
1207 Hwy. 50, South Lake Tahoe. [tel] 530/541-2161. Main dishes $8– $12. No credit cards. Daily 6am–2pm.

Hearty and homemade breakfast and lunch at the Fire Sign Cafe
Hearty and homemade breakfast and lunch at the Fire Sign Cafe

Fire Sign Café North Tahoe’s legendary breakfast choice, for good reason; get here early for a pre-hike feast of authentic, homemade food, probably better than mom used to make. Or arrive in time for a post-hike salad, sandwich, or burger on the outdoor patio. Don’t miss the smoked salmon, prepared on-site.
1785 W. Lake Blvd., Tahoe City. [tel] 530/583-0871. Breakfast and lunch $6–$10. MC, V. Daily 7am–3pm.

Rosie’s CaféDown-home eats in a comfortable setting with a casual, lodge-y atmosphere. Children are welcomed with their own menu and even rewarded with balloons. It’s the place to take the entire family for lunch or dinner (or both!). Selections include salads, sandwiches, and burgers for lunch, and quality comfort food for dinner.
571 North Lake Blvd., Tahoe City. [tel] 530/583-8504.. Reservations accepted for dinner. Main courses $7–$12 lunch, $10–20 dinner. DISC, MC, V. Daily 6:30am–10pm.

Yellow Sub American good taste and fine location in one great spot. Those in the know pick Yellow Sub as the best sandwich shop in Tahoe year after year. Fresh and filling subs and wraps, and the most substantial deli food on the South Shore, are conveniently located directly across from the popular El Dorado Campground.
983 Tallac Ave., at U.S. 50, South Shore & South Lake Tahoe. [tel] 530/541-8808. Sandwiches and wraps $5–$10. No credit cards. Daily 10:30am–9pm.