Things to do in
South Lake Tahoe

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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 2-hour sightseeing cruise starting in South Lake Tahoe either at sunset or during the day. Enjoy the scenic beauty while cruising 11 kilometers across the lake to Emerald Bay, one of the top ten most photographed places in the world. 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.

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From Lake Tahoe: Yosemite National Park Full-Day Tour

2. 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.

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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.

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Lake Tahoe: 2-Hour Private Boat Trip with Captain

4. Lake Tahoe: 2-Hour Private Boat Trip with Captain

Enjoy a boat trip around the stunning natural beauty of Lake Tahoe. Take in panoramic views of mile-high mountains and the famous Emerald Bay on this private, 2-hour tour. Meet your certified captain at the Tahoe Keys Marina. Hop aboard their ship, the Grateful Red. Get ready to set sail onto the continent's second deepest lake. Enjoy spectacular views as you journey round Lake Tahoe. Pass by Camp Richardson and the Tallac Historical Site. Sail into the picturesque and photogenic Emerald Bay. See Fannette Island in the middle of the lake, and catch a glimpse of the Scandinavian architecture of the Vikingsholm mansion. Take in the beauty of the D.L. Bliss State Park. Admire the electric green and cobalt blue water of Rubicon Bay, before returning to the marina to finish the tour.

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Virginia City Day Tour From Lake Tahoe

5. 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.

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

6. 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.

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Lake Tahoe: Private Power Boat Charter

7. Lake Tahoe: Private Power Boat Charter

Sit back and enjoy a boat tour of some of the most famous sights and views that Lake Tahoe has to offer. Experience the most relaxing way to sightsee, free of traffic noise and congestion, with complimentary perks like light snacks, drinks, music, and swim gear. Heading out from Tahoe Keys Marina in Grateful Red, the luxury boat some call the Ferrari of Lake Tahoe. The tour starts with cruising by Camp Richardson, the oldest campground in the basin, and the Tallac Historical site. Next, venture past the golden sands of Baldwin and Ski Beach before reaching the entrance to Emerald Bay, one of the most photographed places in the world. Entering Emerald Bay, see the memorable Vikingsholm mansion which many consider the finest piece of Scandinavian architecture in the U.S. Pass by Fannette Island, the only island in Lake Tahoe, also located in Emerald Bay, and home to the former tea house where guests of Vikingsholm would travel to by boat to enjoy afternoon tea. After admiring Emerald Bay, continue up the west shore to D. L. Bliss State Park and Rubicon Bay where the water is electric green with cobalt blues, an unforgettable swimming spot to experience. The tour continues to Sugar Pine Point State Park with its Mediterranean blue waters and the picturesque Ehrman Mansion. Before heading back to Tahoe Keys Marina, visit Homewood, a quaint little town with a ski resort at the water’s edge.

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Other Sightseeing Options in South Lake Tahoe

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What people are saying about South Lake Tahoe

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 186 reviews

Great guide definitely a lot longer than the estimated time took me 2.5 hours to get through a quarter of it and I had to skip a lot due to no parking or parts being closed due to winter. I recommend starting early due to parking.

Excellent tour. Captain Steve was informative and entertaining. The deck hands were very helpful and great on the drinks. Lake Tahoe provides everything else. I highly recommend this trip.

Had an amazing time with a very fun crew!A good amount of time spent in beautiful Emerald Bay, I definitely recommend this excursion.

We had a lot of fun It was different, enjoyable, and fun Tour guides very kind!

This tour was perfect for relaxing ,fun and educational.