North Lake Tahoe Areas
Experience the charming and majestic towns that line the North and West Shores of Tahoe. Each small town scattered around the Sierra Nevada mountains has its own unique personality and appeal. From the relaxed pace western feel of Truckee to the easy access and laid-back local feel of Alpine Meadows. So whatever suits your fancy, you will find it here on the beautiful shores or mountains of North Lake Tahoe. Click on each area to learn more.
One of the finest year-round mountain resorts in North America, Northstar California is the ultimate family travel destination renowned for its unique style of “California laid-back luxury”. As one of the beautiful mountain villages in North America, the Village at Northstar is now flourishing with life. Featuring luxury condominiums, a variety of shopping options from stylish boutiques and specialty retailers to a collection of cafés and restaurants all centered on a year-round skating rink. A longtime favorite of anyone who enjoys Lake Tahoe golf, the Northstar Golf Course gives summer visitors another great reason to stay right in Northstar. Add tennis, hiking, fly-fishing, scenic lift rides, and even geocaching to the menu, and Northstar at Tahoe has got it going on. At the hub, the Village features outdoor movies, TGI Thursdays, and roller-skating on the large rink.
Nestled along the northern shores of Lake Tahoe, Incline Village is a paradise for adventurers, offering exhilarating activities the whole year through. Incline Village Lake Tahoe is named for the Great Incline Tramway built by loggers in 1878. Today, Incline is home to some of Lake Tahoe’s most stunning mountain retreats.
This eastern North Shore enclave features some of the areas most relaxing beaches and a genteel approach to Lake life. In summer, theatergoers congregate to see the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival at nearby Sand Harbor. Mountain bikers can get their game on with screamers down the Flume trail, which drains into the Village.
Lake Tahoe named Kings Beach after card shark Joe King, who won the town site from George Whittell nearly a century before poker had a cult cable-TV following. Kings Beach is kicked back, in fact, this stretch of North Lake Tahoe wrote the book on mellow kick back. Kings Beach stands in the sun’s path from early morning into the evening, with a signature downtown public beach plus hip shops, restaurants, and side-street vendors. On any given hot day, the beach at Kings Beach shows why it is king, with visitors and locals alike spreading out towels along the shore and diving into the cool, crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe. There are numerous places where you can rent kayaks & paddle boards. Or if you want a little more action, venture off on one of the many hiking trails on foot or via bike. It’s wall-to-wall and tons of fun, especially with special events that happen here such as the July 3rd Fireworks and Beach Party.
Tahoe City is perched on the shore of Lake Tahoe at the headwaters of the Truckee River (Lake Tahoe’s only outlet). A mélange of playful year ‘round activities awaits every visitor. With good restaurants and easy access to a public beach, Tahoe City has everything you need. Try the free Sunday afternoon concerts on the beach, and the best golfing deal around at Tahoe City’s nine-hole course. Experience the quiet of the lake while having plenty of entertainment options close by. Enjoy four-star dining, homegrown coffee shops, shopping, galleries, and a leisurely stroll through town on the Lake-view boardwalk any time. Once a destination for travelers to and from the 1870’s Comstock Lode that featured a narrow-gauge railway stop and the steamer S.S. Tahoe, Tahoe City’s century-old heritage, historic sites (some claim haunted) and museums provide much history to explore as well.
Lake Tahoe in 1860, named Carnelian Bay for the semi-precious red and yellow stones peppering the shoreline. Today, Carnelian Bay Lake Tahoe is an annual destination for wooden boat enthusiasts coming from around the country for a weekend of cruising with the Concours d’Elegance wooden boat show. Year round, Carnelian Bay is the spot for big Mackinaw trout. The beaches are favorites with dogs, kayakers, Stand Up Paddle boarders and sunset seekers.
Halfway between Truckee and Lake Tahoe lies Squaw Valley, one of the most famed and inspiring alpine settings. Alex Cushing and Wayne Poulsen are the guys credited with opening the valley for human enjoyment. Hosting the Squaw Valley Olympic Winter Games in 1960 didn’t hurt the Valley's popularity either.
Squaw Valley is all about the spirit of adventure and exploration, offering 3,600 acres of skiing and riding across 6 peaks. Just starting out? Try Squaw’s mellow mountain tops with views of Lake Tahoe. You can also order up the steeps, bowls, and cliffs craved by experts. Squaw Valley has the longest season in Lake Tahoe, where music, spring pool parties, and Tahoe’s wackiest pond skimming contest will have you catching spring fever.
Tahoe Vista is off the beaten path in Lake Tahoe. It's away from most of the tourist areas, but still close to nature and the lake. This area of the lake is a favorite spot for water lovers and offers several boat launches.
Tahoe Vista is a great place to be outdoors. This area on the Northwest shore has some hidden beaches for kayak launching, the Tahoe Vista Recreation Area boat launch and the North Tahoe Regional Park with sports year-round trailheads for mountain biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, a disc golf course, nature trails, and sweet swing sets for the kids. The North Tahoe Marina offers powerboat rentals, a ramp launch and local fishing boats.
Donner Summit and the deep emerald lake at its feet both bear the name of the tragic immigrant party crossing Donner Pass, whose story is wonderfully displayed at a visitors center located at the site itself, less than a mile from the lake. Today, the Donner Summit and the Donner Pass, just a minute or two from I-80, it somehow feels quaintly removed from all things ultra. There are small general stores, knick-knack and curio shops, public piers, motels and cabins, pleasant cafes and restaurants, hiking trails, biking trails, endless views, fishing guides, sandy beaches, and an amazing selections of slopes that lure boarders and skiers alike to Sugar Bowl, Norden, and Donner Ski Ranch. The amphitheater of granite at the west end of the lake is lined with rock climbing routes that are among the worlds most famous.
Just a couple miles south of Squaw, Alpine Meadows is a mountain area that offers a variety of outdoor activities. From hiking on Ward and Scott’s peaks, biking, rafting or fly-fishing Bear Creek, Alpine Meadows is the resort community for recreation and relaxation. Paired with a laid-back local feel, Alpine Meadows is definitely worth a stop in the summer.
The West Shore of Lake Tahoe is the area of Lake Tahoe between Tahoe City and Emerald Bay. The string of smaller Tahoe communities and state parks along Highway 89 is collectively known as the Lake Tahoe West Shore. It’s the Black Forest of Lake Tahoe, with a history just as compelling that boasts a mossy, deep-woods aesthetic, not to mention Sugar Pine Point State Park, one of the most seductive at the Lake. Spend a day or two on the West Shore and you’ll understand immediately why it’s called the "Magical West Shore".
Ever been in two states at the same time? The California/Nevada state line cleaves Crystal Bay Lake Tahoe and you can actually stroll from state to the other along the cool waters of the bay. Very cool party trick. The Lake Tahoe town of Crystal Bay overlooks its namesake and sits upon a tremendous granite-boulder-strewn point. There are four lively Crystal Bay casinos with the gamut of Lake Tahoe lodging and dining, plus a tremendous helping of live entertainment.