Less than five hours away, tucked into the border of California and Nevada, lies Lake Tahoe, the United State’s second deepest lake and the largest, after the Great Lakes. In late September I had to pleasure of staying in a rental in South Lake Tahoe for a week of rest, relaxing, epic views, sunsets, hikes, explorations, bike rides, casino trips and cooking. Less relaxing was the need to watch out for falling pinecones and hearing about bear sightings. The days were in the seventies, while the nights cooled down into the thirties, so I packed a lot of warm and cold weather clothes. Keep reading for more photos and activities.
My favorite road trip outfits consist of slip-on shoes, comfy jeans and snuggly layers like this sleeved poncho I found recently. We left Santa Cruz around noon and got sidetracked at a few stores along the way. I swear Marshall’s is way better in bigger towns. Since we didn’t plan our drive very carefully, we hit traffic in the Oakland and Sacramento areas and definitely made our drive longer than it could have been. We got to our AirBnB cabin on Merced Avenue after dark, fumbled around with the lockbox and let ourselves in. In the morning we’d find out just how close we were to the lake shore and nearby restaurants. An entrance to the beach was less than two minutes walk from our rental, just down the sand from the main beach and recreation area.
From the beach you could see the casinos over the Nevada border in the distance. It takes more than one day to drive across this state from North to South. However, in Europe you can cross multiple countries in a few hours drive. Being from the middle of a state as big as California, it’s a novel thing being so close to a border. We left the casinos alone until the last night, not being big gamblers or drinkers. We lost $10 at the slot machines before getting bored. Then we ended up wandering around the souvenir shops and spending another $10 playing arcade games in the “kids” area.
Before finding a grocery store and stocking up for the week, we had breakfast at the closest restaurant to our cabin, which turned out to be the healthiest – Sprout’s Cafe. I highly recommend this place if you are looking for health food, fresh juices and a casual, dog-friendly atmosphere in South Lake. I got their Kale Zinger juice multiple times during the trip. I also enjoyed a great breakfast bowl the first morning, and lunched on the Ugly Gooey Nachos. We scouted out the nearby stand-up paddle board and bike rentals and set them up for later. I didn’t take any photos of the SUP experience, just know that it was really choppy, very hard, and I fell into the water a lot. Brr!
We also checked out a local thrift store. I love visiting thrift shops while on vacation – I usually discover a great find that is better than any souvenir. This time I found a big picnic basket for $4, complete with unopened plastic plates and utensils! After lunch we headed back down to the beach. Lots of people brought their dogs down to play in the sand and shallow water. You could walk out for almost half a mile with the water still barely to your knees. The water was cold, but since it was so shallow after a hot day, it wasn’t freezing. After the sun went down we did run back to the cabin and jump into the hot tub. There’s nothing better than floating warm and weightless while looking up at the stars.