Mountains vs. Lake: Enjoy Both on a Lake Tahoe Vacation
Lake Tahoe, in California, is famous for winter snow sports and summertime houseboat rentals on the lake, but it's also ideal for a family vacation getaway during seasonal school breaks. Summer temperatures rise into the mid- to upper 70s, making it ideal to spend lazy days lakeside; they stay in the upper 60s through September. Family friendly resorts and campgrounds around the lake offer activities to fill your days as a family, as well as outings designed just for the kids.
Feel the Sand Between Your Toes
The sandy beaches that dot Lake Tahoe's 75-mile shoreline let kids play in the sand and splash in the shallows of the 39-trillion-gallon body of water. Ditch summer crowds at public beaches to enjoy seclusion at the private beach at Aston Lakeland Village and Mountain Resort (3535 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, CA). Stay in a three- to five-bedroom lakefront town home with direct beach access or book a room in the lodge that's just a short walk away. Kids meet new friends at organized children's activities ranging from pizza and movie nights to field trips and crafts.
Have a Heavenly Adventure
As Lake Tahoe's tallest mountain, Heavenly Mountain, at a 10,067-foot elevation, is known for some of the best winter skiing in the region. Enjoy family-friendly, high-country adventures no matter what time of year you visit. Take a 2.4-mile ride above the treetops in a fully enclosed gondola and savor the dazzling views of the lake, mountains and forest. Get an Adventure Pass for unlimited access to the gondola, ropes courses, zip lines and tubing. Enroll kids in summer day camps where they'll get to know other children their age as they tackle activities ranging from learning outdoor skills to crafts.
Put on the Ritz
Let kids join their peers for adventures ranging from hikes to scavenger hunts when you stay at the Ritz-Carlton (13031 Ritz-Carlton Highlands Ct., Truckee, CA). Kids activities run from 9 to 5 every day, letting you pamper yourself with a little guilt-free grown-up time while they're having fun. Head to the resort's arcade on Friday for Family Night, accompanied by free beverages and snacks. Family fun doesn't stop once you enter your room. Ritz-Carlton's indoor camp-out package brings adventure inside. The kit includes a 3-feet-by-4-feet tent with a feather bed, a teddy bear and a s'mores kit to enjoy at the hotel fire pit.
Camp Under the Stars
Set up a tent at one of the only campgrounds on the west side of the lake with beach access at Meeks Bay Resort (7941 Emerald Bay Rd., Tahoma, CA). Give kids the unique feeling of camping out in nature while staying close to on-site modern amenities like showers, flush restrooms and a general store. The campground has its own restaurant, marina and beach too, meaning you don't have to leave the premises unless you want to. Prefer to sleep indoors? Rent a cabin with a picnic table, a barbecue and a fire pit.
Stay in a Cozy Cabin
Spend family vacation time in a cabin in the woods just across the street from Lake Tahoe. Cedar Glen Lodge (6589 N. Lake Blvd., Tahoe Vista, CA) has cottages and suites that come with options like fireplaces, kitchenettes and whirlpool tubs. Outside, challenge the kids to volleyball, hone your skills on the putting green or take a dip in the pool and hot tub. Take advantage of barbecues and picnic tables with stunning views of the lake and remember to visit the fire pit for nightly s'mores.
Indulging her passion for vacation vagary through the written word on a full-time basis since 2010, travel funster Jodi Thornton-O'Connell guides readers to the unexpected, quirky, and awe-inspiring.