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Things to do in

South Lake Tahoe

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 sightseeing cruise starting in South Lake Tahoe either at sunset or during the day. Take in the scenic beauty while cruising 11 kilometers across the lake to Emerald Bay, one of the top ten most photographed places in the world. Savor snacks and drinks as you sail. 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.

Lake Tahoe: 2-Hour Private Boat Trip with Captain

2. 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 White lightning, a fun boat with a 502 mag and 3,000 dollar stereo system. Get ready to set sail onto North America'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.

Lake Tahoe: Lakeside Highlights Yacht Tour

3. Lake Tahoe: Lakeside Highlights Yacht Tour

Experience the shoreline of Lake Tahoe aboard a yacht and take in panoramic views of the lush scenery. Join a relaxing and luxurious guided trip around the Tahoe Keys, allowing the crew to point out some of the biggest local attractions for swimming and diving. Explore the calm and secluded Eagle Falls and Fannette Island in Emerald Bay State Park, check out the clarity of the lake in Whiskey Cove, and see exciting activities taking place along the cliffs of D.L. Bliss State Park. Watch people jump off Rooster Rock and view the estates of Rubicon Bay. Make the most of your outing by bringing your favorite beverages and snacks to enjoy during your tour. Swim off the boat, sit in the shade or sun, and customize your trip to your own interests.

From Lake Tahoe: Yosemite National Park Full-Day Tour

4. 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.

South Lake Tahoe: Private Guided Boat Tour

5. South Lake Tahoe: Private Guided Boat Tour

Perfect for families, friends, or a combination of both, explore Lake Tahoe with a private boat trip, with the local captain as your guide. Snorkel in the clear waters of Rubicon Bay, snap a photo of Vikingsholm mansion, and learn about the geographical history of the nearby Tallac Historic Site. Take in panoramic views of the Carson and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges towering over Lake Tahoe's shores. Pass by Camp Richardson and the Tallac Historic Site and then sail into the picturesque Emerald Bay, known for its vibrantly turquoise water. Continue to Fannette Island and catch a glimpse of the Scandinavian architecture of the Vikingsholm mansion. Before returning, cruise by the stunning beauty of the D.L. Bliss State Park and jump into the electric green and cobalt blue water of Rubicon Bay.

Lake Tahoe: Self-Guided Driving Tour

6. 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.

South Lake Tahoe: Private Sunset Cruise on Lake Tahoe

7. South Lake Tahoe: Private Sunset Cruise on Lake Tahoe

Charter a custom powerboat and spend an evening unwinding on beautiful Lake Tahoe. Spend time in the company of loved ones, friends, and family. Take photos and cruise past the breathtaking scenery. Marvel at blue waters and scenic enclaves and breathe the fresh mountain air. Soak up the last of the day's sun while sipping on drinks and listening to your favorite tunes. Watch the sunset paint the sky with vibrant colors as day turns to night. 

Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley: Full-Day Narrated Bus Tour

8. Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley: Full-Day Narrated Bus Tour

Take an enjoyable Lake Tahoe excursion that circles the lake and makes a detour to Squaw Valley, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. On this narrated bus tour, you’ll marvel at the natural beauty of the region while you learn more about the area and leave the driving to your guides. This 7-hour tour departs from South Lake Tahoe hotels after breakfast. You travel clock-wise around the lake and make your first stop at Emerald Bay. Emerald Bay is one of the area’s most photographed sites. Its vista point offers spectacular views of the bay and Fannette Island. You’ll then continue traveling along the lake’s western shore, and make your next stop at the Truckee River Dam, which presents another great opportunity for photos. You then make a detour to visit Squaw Valley, which is located 8 miles north of Lake Tahoe. This lovely and historic valley hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. In Tahoe City, which marks the half-way point of our tour, you'll stop at the Boatworks Mall for lunch. You'll have a have plenty of eateries to choose from here, including sandwich shops, coffee shops, and lakeside restaurants. After lunch, your excursion continues along the lake’s northern and eastern shores, with a stop to enjoy the views and take photos at scenic Logan Shoals.

Lake Tahoe: Sand Harbor Helicopter Flight

9. Lake Tahoe: Sand Harbor Helicopter Flight

Set off from south of Southern Lake Tahoe and discover the gorgeous sand and multi-colored waters of Sand Harbor from the air. Fly over some of the locals' best kept secrets, other hidden beaches, and bays along the east shoreline such as Glenbrook Bay, Secret Harbor, Skunk Harbor, and Chimney Beach. After reaching Sand Harbor, ascend for a look at Marlette Lake which is located at 7,841 feet above sea level. Take in these incredible sights from a helicopter which provides an unparalleled perspective that you will remember for a lifetime.

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

10. 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.

Other Sightseeing Options in South Lake Tahoe

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What people are saying about South Lake Tahoe

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 267 reviews

It’s well worth the money. You can truly see the beauty of Lake Tahoe. The boat is very comfortable and clean. The crew was very helpful and knowledgeable about the history of the Tahoe area.

Great way to experience the beauty of Lake Tahoe. The scenery was outstanding. The boat really nice and an excellent crew

This guided cruise was a nice, relaxing way to tour the lake and learn fun facts about the animals & area.

Fantastic crew and their attention to passengers was amazing.

It’s was fantastic, great ride with beautiful views