20 Best Things to Do in North Lake Tahoe

North Lake Tahoe, CA
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Also called Tahoe North, North Lake Tahoe offers plenty of exciting things to do like its southern counterpart.

A visit to this area opens choices on various points of interest.

You can go west on the California side of the lake and east on its Nevada side.

You can pick from the dozens of North Lake Tahoe beaches that boast crisp, clear blue waters during summer.

Enjoy summer outdoor activities in this region’s extensive nature trails that draw hikers and bikers.

In winter, the North Lake Tahoe mountain wilderness morphs into one of North America’s top destinations for cross-country and downhill skiing.

North Lake Tahoe's life and leisure centers promise myriads of fun activities.

Here are the best things to do in North Lake Tahoe, CA:

Go Rafting or Tubing on the Truckee River

The clear waters of Truckee River
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Whitewater rafting and tubing on the Truckee River are North Lake Tahoe’s most popular summer outdoor activities.

The California and Nevada sides of Tahoe North offer many access points to the Truckee River.

One ideal gateway to the river is the Truckee River Whitewater Park in Reno, Nevada.

Water rapids of Truckee River
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There are many outfitters, like Sierra Adventures, for rafting, tubing, and kayaking around this park.

Similar service providers abound in the town of Truckee in Nevada County on the California side of North Tahoe.

The rafting and tubing outfitters here offer half-day trips down the Truckee River, which allows kids as young as seven.

On this side of the river, tubers and rafters can look forward to mild whitewater stretches during which they can also see wildlife and birds.

Bask in the Sun at Flagship North Tahoe Beach

There are many beaches in North Lake Tahoe, both on its California and Nevada sides.

Flagship North Tahoe Beach is one popular destination on the California side, offering public access on its 2.7-acre expanse.

This beach park is in Tahoe Vista, California, and provides many amenities on its 540-foot shoreline.

Its upper perimeter features a grassy area that leads to the beach and opens access to facilities, including picnic areas, a horseshoe pit, beach volleyball courts, and restrooms.

Turning to Tahoe North’s Nevada side, visitors can enjoy the Burnt Cedar Beach in the village of Incline.

This is a private beach worth the entry fee, given its many facilities, which are especially enjoyable for kids.

Burnt Cedar Beach provides playgrounds, a swimming pool, volleyball courts, picnic areas and concessionaires.

A jetty protects the beach waters, which are warm and relatively shallow, and thus kid-friendly.

Kayak and paddleboard rentals are available here for visitors to fully enjoy this North Lake Tahoe beach.

Explore the North Tahoe Regional Park

Hiking and biking trails are the attractions of this park on Donner Road in Tahoe Vista, California.

The North Tahoe Regional Park spreads over 124 acres, and its trails offer breathtaking natural views, including Lake Tahoe.

The park’s trail system offers a mix ideal for novice and expert mountain bikers, with challenging ascents and descents and easy stretches.

Rent bikes at Tahoe Vista stores and downtown Kings Beach.

Hikers will love its three-fourth mile interpretive nature trail highlighting critical points of interest, including native Sierra flora and the local forest system.

Treetop Adventures offers another highlight of the North Tahoe Regional Park.

This adventure park flaunts 70 tree platforms with various connecting bridges and ziplines.

You can play tennis or pickleball at the park’s courts for more traditional fun activities.

Go Camping at the Tahoe State Recreation Area

North Lake Tahoe abounds with campgrounds offering picks on tent or RV sites with lakeside views.

Their leading choice is the Tahoe State Recreation Area Campground, which has 31 tent and RV campsites.

These sites are off North Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City, located amid woodlands; many of them overlook Lake Tahoe.

The campground’s amenities include picnic sites, a fishing pier, a store, showers, flush toilets, and laundry.

As a bonus, the Skylandia State Park & Beach are only about three kilometers east of the campground.

Besides its beach with a swimming area, the 24-acre Skylandia State Park & Beach also features hiking and biking trails, a fishing pier, and picnic facilities.

Go Boating with Tahoe Waves

Boats on the water of Tahoe City
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A trip to North Lake Tahoe is incomplete without ticking off one or two items on its must-do recreational water activities list.

Besides kayaking, boating, and cruising, these leisure pursuits include paddle-boarding, jet-skiing, and para-sailing.

Rental facilities for these lake outings are widely available.

Rent your gear, outfits, and boats at Tahoe Waves within the lake area.

Located on Lake Forest Road in Tahoe City, Tahoe Waves maintains a fleet of boats for every conceivable watersports activity.

Besides boat rentals, this outfitter also provides inflatable paddleboards and wetsuits and tour guides and captains.

Tahoe Waves is just minutes away from the Lake Forest Boat Ramp for easy access to North Lake Tahoe.

Fish for Trout on Crystal Bay Point

North Lake Tahoe offers many onshore fishing spots where you can catch brown and rainbow trout.

One hotspot for anglers is the one- to two-mile stretch of shoreline extending southwest from Crystal Bay Point.

The drop-off along Tahoe Lake’s east shore between Sand Harbor and Skunk Harbor is another promising area for trout fishing.

Fishing from a boat in the lake’s deep waters can bag you schools of mackinaw at depths of 200 feet and more.

If you want to try deep-water fishing, rent a boat that holds steady against the wind.

The winds on the lake usually strengthen by late morning.

Pick Indoor or Outdoor Games at Magic Carpet Golf & Arcade

A multi-generational fun experience awaits visitors to this amusement center on North Lake Boulevard, Carnelian Bay, on the California side of North Lake Tahoe.

Families visit this facility mainly for its twin 19-hole mini-golf layouts.

You can also play on a 28-hole course overlooking views of Tahoe Lake.

Done with putting, you can shift to the facility’s arcade, with a great variety of video games and pinball machines.

Magic Carpet Golf & Arcade also provides vending machines for drinks and snacks.

Play at the Tahoe City Golf Course

Established in 1918, this nine-hole layout delights local and visiting golfers alike.

The Tahoe City Public Utility District manages this public course conveniently located on North Lake Boulevard behind the city’s Save Mart.

The family-friendly Tahoe City Golf Course offers par 33 play on its nine holes which stretches over 2,700 yards.

The layout provides one par-five hole, four par 4’s, and four par 3’s, which offer fun and challenge for golfers of all skill levels.

The Tahoe City Golf Course provides rentals, golf carts, a netted warmup/practice facility, and a full-service restaurant.

Besides hosting tournaments and special events, this course offers kids and adult players enhanced golf instruction.

The Tahoe City Golf Course has a friendly, hospitable ambiance that makes visiting golfers feel at home.

Play a New Game at the Tahoe Vista Disc Golf Course

North Lake Tahoe boasts an abundance of disc golf courses.

The Tahoe Vista Disc Golf Course, established in 2006, is on National Avenue and offers play on 18 holes over 5,900 feet.

With its tees on rubber, this course features nine holes under 300 feet of throwing distance, six with 300 to 400 feet, and three spots with more than 400 feet.

Playing here gives you a mix of open and tight holes through mountainside pines and manzanitas.

You can also enjoy a thrilling game at the Lake of the Sky Disc Golf in the North Tahoe Regional Park on Donner Road in Tahoe Vista.

For other Tahoe North disc golf facilities, try the Truckee River Regional Park, Squaw Valley, Incline Village, and Sierra College.

Experience Luxury at the Historic Border House at Crystal Bay

This luxury lodging comprises just nine guest rooms in a three-story building and historical landmark.

Border House is just a stone’s throw from the California state border and within walking distance to the Crystal Bay Casino.

Each room in Border House contains unique fossils, warm woods, textured fabrics, and marble baths.

The amenities include gas fireplaces, Wi-Fi, plasma TVs, chemotherapy tubs, eco-friendly toiletries, and a well-equipped business center.

Try Your Luck at Crystal Bay Casino

Crystal Bay Casino is a one-stop destination for gaming, dining, and entertainment in Tahoe North.

For those out to woo Lady Luck, the casino provides 262 slot machines plus ten gaming tables.

It also offers two venues for world-class touring entertainment catering to every music genre: the famed Crown Room and the intimate Red Room.

Diners visiting Crystal Bay Casino can find delightful choices from its Steak & Lobster House menu.

In addition, the casino's Steakhouse Bar offers an extensive selection of fine cognacs, vintage wines, and ports to pair with meal orders.

Raise a Toast at Alibi Ale Works

This craft brewer in Incline Village, Nevada, has three taprooms where you can sample its 16+ beers.

Some of these beers also underwent unique fermenting.

Sourcing its brewing water from Lake Tahoe, Alibi Ale Works takes pride in its talented brewmasters who ferment beers with yeast from beehives.

They also put juniper branches in their boil kettle to brew beers with unique flavors.

You can sample the beers of Alibi Ale Works at its Public House on Tahoe Boulevard.

Likewise, visit their production brewery at Barrel House.

Both places are in Incline Village.

On the California side of Tahoe North, this craft brewer has a taproom on Bridge Street in the historic downtown of Truckee.

Swim at Kings Beach Lake Tahoe

Sunny day at Kings Beach Lake Tahoe
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With so many beaches around Lake Tahoe, things can get a bit overwhelming especially during your first visit.

Kings Beach Lake Tahoe may be the best to start, however—the beach is conveniently located along North Lake Boulevard and is surrounded with tons of commercial establishments.

The beach is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and boating as it’s a public beach where lots of locals and tourists alike congregate.

The waters of Kings Beach Lake Tahoe
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There’s also a scenic boardwalk here that you can use as a photo opportunity, especially during sunsets.

Kings Beach Lake Tahoe is a great way to kickstart your aquatic adventures, so don’t miss out on visiting it.

A pier at Kings Beach Lake Tahoe
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Reach the Historic Stateline Fire Lookout

Daytime at the Historic Stateline Fire Lookout
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If you have a fondness for high places, Historic Stateline Fire Lookout is a can’t-miss destination in North Lake Tahoe.

Only just a 35-50 minute hike depending on your skill level, this vista offers amazing views of the lake and surrounding areas.

While the historic fire lookout is not here anymore, you’ll still see how it served its purpose with the views you’ll get.

Both Nevada and California can be seen here, which is rewarding for such a short and easy hike.

A great way to experience the outdoors of North Lake Tahoe in a culminating sense, start your hike at Lookout Road in the border of Nevada.

Scenic views from the Historic Stateline Fire Lookout
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Grab Breakfast at Old Post Office Cafe

Befitting the scenery in North Lake Tahoe, Old Post Office Cafe gives you 20th century, lakeside vibes when you go here for breakfast.

Formerly a post office, this restaurant has a rustic appeal both from the inside and outside because of its surrounding nature.

While the ambiance is what makes it unique, the food here is just as great.

Ranging from french toasts to chicken fried steaks, there’s a lot of hearty breakfast plates to try at Old Post Office Cafe.

Find it along North Lake Boulevard.

Trek the Brockway Summit Tahoe Rim Trail

Brockway Summit Tahoe Rim Trail takes you to the deeper wilderness surrounding North Lake Tahoe.

During winter, it’s a famous spot for snowmobiling, but you can enjoy this in non-winter months via hiking or trekking as well.

It’s known for a lot of interesting rock formations, and there are great vistas near it as well.

While it may be harder than the Historic Stateline Fire Lookout, it’s only a couple of miles long.

You can find the trailhead of Brockway Summit Tahoe Rim Trail along North Lake and North Shore Boulevard.

Take Photos with the Quirky Boulders at Speedboat Beach

Night scene at Speedboat Beach
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Speedboat Beach is one of the more interesting areas in North Lake Tahoe.

Unlike other beaches, Speedboat Beach has sprawling boulders and other rock formations all over.

The boulders are so big that they’ve become a tourist attraction on their own—many people climb them and take photos.

Because these rocks typically protrude from the ocean, kayaking towards them is also a fun activity.

Access Speedboat Beach along Lake Street in Kings Beach.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Enjoy Winter Sports at Palisades Tahoe

Welcome sign of Palisades Tahoe
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This ski resort was the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, which hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics.

Find it on Olympic Valley, California, 25 minutes away from North Lake Tahoe.

Even non-skiers will love Palisades Tahoe as they can take its Ariel Tram to the High Camp for lunch.

See skiers converge for their downhill run.

Advanced, intermediate, and novice skiers can choose appropriate options on the skiing and sledding slopes of Palisades Tahoe.

Palisades Tahoe's tramway
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They also can ski or sled on Palisade Tahoe’s nearby sister resort Alpine Meadows, linked by a cable car.

At Palisade Tahoe’s High Camp, you can visit its museum celebrating the 1960 Winter Olympics.

Palisade Tahoe also features a heated pool where you can swim during the summer.

Families will want to stop at High Camp to see the free museum commemorating the 1960 Olympic Games and see the Olympic rings.

In winter, ice skate here.

By spring break, swim in the heated outdoor pools.

People getting ready to ski at Palisades Tahoe
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Sled or Zip Line at Granlibakken

Located just outside of Tahoe City, Granlibakken is a family-friendly destination for all seasons.

It's 19 minutes away from North Lake Tahoe.

This historic resort nestles on a 74-acre private valley that offers sledding and skiing on a terrain suited for both beginners and experts.

Granlibakken provides a cozy warming hut on its sledding hill where families can bring their kids along for affordable skiing lessons.

During the summer, the visitors of Granlibakken can enjoy its Adventure Park’s popular treetops rope course and zip lines.

The resort also offers its summer visitors a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a hiking trail along the Truckee River.

After an exciting experience at Granlibakken, you can drop by for a healthy meal at New Moon Natural Foods, down the street on West Lake Boulevard.

Stay at Basecamp Tahoe City

This boutique hotel is on North Lake Boulevard in Tahoe City, offering 24 affordably priced adventure-themed rooms.

This hotel is 14 minutes away from North Lake Tahoe.

Basecamp guests can take a five-minute walk from the north shore of Lake Tahoe to the shops and restaurants of Tahoe City.

This hotel provides a cozy lobby with a bar that serves select wines and micro-brews.

Delight yourself with the bar's happy-hour specials from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily.

Final Thoughts

North Lake Tahoe is an all-season destination that offers a kaleidoscope of points of interest and things to do.

This region provides the best of both worlds for outdoor and indoor recreational activities pegged on California and Nevada.

Pack your bags for a North Lake Tahoe trip today!

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