Lake Tahoe is in and of itself, a beautiful place to visit and the Lake Tahoe area offers plenty to do and see!
When you’re visiting Lake Tahoe in the winter, skiing is what much of the activity centers around. You can ski resorts like Heavenly Mountain Resort or Northstar, and there are also cheaper ski resorts in the area like Diamond Peak. Along with skiing, there are other winter activities such as sledding and tubing.
In the summer months, Lake Tahoe is just as beautiful, and you can enjoy boating, swimming or jet skiing. The water at Lake Tahoe is crystal clear, and the lake is surrounded by hiking and biking trails.
Lake Tahoe has good restaurants, shops, and villages that surround it too. Beyond these things, there are day trips and excursions in and near Lake Tahoe that you can take advantage of.
Some of the best family-friendly Lake Tahoe day trips and excursions include:
Yosemite Valley Tour
The Yosemite Valley is a place you can reasonably day trip to from Lake Tahoe, although it can make for a long day so be prepared. When you do a Yosemite Valley tour, you can see the waterfalls and granite peaks the area is known for, and many of the tours will also include lunch. These sightseeing tours may take you over Tioga Pass which crosses the Sierra Nevada Mountains. That gives you a view from nearly 10,000 feet. Choose a tour where you enter Yosemite National Park and you can see the alpine meadows and streams. Some of the well-known spots you might enjoy on a Yosemite day trip tour include the Half Dome and El Capitan. There’s also the Tenaya alpine lake, and the eight-mile Yosemite Valley itself.
Virginia City, Nevada
If you’re looking for family-friendly day trips from Lake Tahoe, consider a trip to Virginia City, Nevada. Virginia City is around 20 miles south of Reno, and it’s a historic town that once was a hub of mining. During a day trip to Virginia City, you’ll be transported back to the mid-1800s as you walk along the wooden sidewalks and visit a saloon. There are steam engine rides and haunted ghost tours, as well as the Historic Piper’s Opera House, which has played host to the likes of Mark Twain and President Grant among others. The Fourth Ward School was built in 1876, and it’s now a museum dedicated to the American West. The Virginia & Truckee Railroad is the most famous short-line railroad, and you can take a ride on it from Virginia City to Gold Hill.
Apple Hill is home to many ranches and vineyards. You can visit Apple Hill and purchase fresh fruit and in particular, apples. There are also options to purchase wine, apple donuts, and apple pies, among other freshly baked items. Apple Hill is located in the western Sierra Foothills, in El Dorado County. There are not only fruit orchards and wineries but also breweries and tree farms. Peak season at Apple Hill is in October, so be aware the crowds will be heavy at this time. You can pick your own apples at the farms in the area, or you can buy them already picked. Boa Vista Orchards is a farm where you can pick up a fresh apple tart, or you can go to Indian Rock Tree Farm, particularly if it’s near the holidays.
Grover Hot Springs
Finally, one of the lesser-known gems that makes a great day trip from Lake Tahoe is Grover Hot Springs State Park, which is in Markleeville, California. The park is on the eastern side of the Sierra, sitting at the edge of the Great Basin Province. The park has hot springs, as the name implies, as well as areas for picnicking, hiking, and camping. The hot springs are green because of mineral deposits on the bottom of the pool, and there are many trail options if you’d like to hike while you’re there. For example, the Burnside Trail takes you to a waterfall if you take a three-mile round trip. There’s also Burnside Lake, which is a 10-mile round trip. There is one hot pool you can sit in with temperatures usually ranging from 102 to 105 degrees, and that pool is fed by six mineral springs. There’s also one cool pool. You can have a relaxing soak while enjoying the 10,000-foot Hawkins Peak located to your northwest, and the 9,400-peak of Markleeville to the southwest.
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