The Wonder of North (and West) Shores of Lake Tahoe

As a kid, we lived in Reno, Nevada for three years thereby making it a snap to learn to ski in Tahoe  (Northstar to be specific). Back in the day Lke Tahoe was breathtaking and is just as insanely wonderful today.

Take  a Look

North (and West) Tahoe boasts twelve exquisite ski resorts, many glorious beaches, and a practically endless supply of activities for the family year-round. Seriously: year-round. (My super fave is at the bottom of this post.)


Looking for the sweet spot of a ski resort that will engage every generation in your family?

Then you want Northstar, where the red carpet is rolled out for everyone from grandparents to toddlers. Northstar — located fifteen minutes from King’s Beach (highly recommended in the summer, by the way) — is a hot spot for winter sports, but also delivers endless summer activity with a gorgeous resort-style pool, hottubs, golf, horseback riding, mountain biking on the slopes and . . . yeah, good luck being bored in Northstar.

I grew up skiing in the winter and chilling in the summer at Northstar-at-Tahoe, but today the place is barely recognizable delivering every type of snow sport, an ice rink (below), and a ridiculous amount of so much more. You have to see Northstar to truly appreciate it.

Oh My Calories in North Lake Tahoe

North Lake Tahoe locals love Wolfdale’s elegant, California cuisine, the Bridgetender Tavern and Grill for great burgers, Za’s Italian for the best pizza, and Drunken Monkey for sushi and Japanese tapas.

  • If you love your treats created in-house and with a flair for the beautiful, you definitely want the Sugarpine Cakery & Cafe in Tahoe City. Their tagline reads, “the best bakery in Tahoe” and that’s no boast. Everything is made on the spot and they also serve sandwiches, breads and you get the delicious picture. You’ll find them at 2923 Lake Forest Rd, Tahoe City, CA 96145.
Photo courtesy of the Sugarpine Cakery & Cafe.
  • Jake’s On The Lake is known for delivering a wowza lakeside view with California and Hawaiian cuisine on the menu. Their two tags read, Celebrating over 40 years of Mountain Aloha and Lake Tahoe’s Ultimate Waterfront Dining Experience! Find Jake’s at 780 N Lake Blvd, Tahoe City, CA 96145.
Image provided by Jake’s on the Lake in Tahoe City.
  • Also an awesome experience: Manzanita (Ritz-Carlton’s restaurant) is sublime, but the prices!? Okay, they’re a little steep, but this is a phenomenal spot for a special romantic dinner or a wedding party.
  • On a budget? You and the kids will love eating in the Ritz-Carlton’s Living Room (open in every season) which is less pricey than the Manzanita and a fun experience. (And, yes, the kids will be right at home.)
Image courtesy of the Rit-Carlton, Lake Tahoe.

Want a Gorgeous Lake View?

  • If I weren’t already betrothed, I’d totally marry the Sunnyside Restaurant & Lodge.  This gorgeous hot spot (check out the spectacular restaurant and lodge below) has been on the Tahoe scene since the 1950’s — and calls itself: the “iconic lakeside getaway.” You can visit for a meal (year-round) and/or spend the night. Just keep in mind: the place is jumping in the summer (i.e. endless merriment in the hot months) so if you’re looking for a quiet retreat come summer, read on.
Image provided by Sunnyside Resort in Tahoe City.
Image provided by Sunnyside Resort in Tahoe City.

Snoozing on the North Shore

Fancy schmancy: The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe … ’nuff said.

Image courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe.

Even if you don’t sleep at the Ritz, dining in one of the restaurants or on the patio is a super fun indulgence.

Image courtesy of Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe.

And P.S. – the Ritz is more kid-friendly than you’d ever guess! (The Ritz-Carlton keeps their outdoor pool — below — heated year-round  so the kids can play in the pool and wave to the  skiers as they swoosh by!)

Image courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe.

Elegant cabin vibe: The Basecamp Hotel located in Tahoe City delivers rustic elegance and is just a 3-minute drive to the popular Commons Beach (for summer movies, farmer’s market, and more). Warm up on a chilly evening with hot chocolate and/or s’mores at their beautiful outdoor fire pit.

Image provided by the Basecamp Hotel in Tahoe City.

Vintage value on the beach: Ferrari’s Crown Resort is a family-owned hotel that fronts a sparkling swath of sand. Some suites come with a kitchenette and fireplace, so be sure to ask. During your stay, you’ll enjoy complimentary breakfast, two heated pools, and hot tubs., North Tahoe is loaded with vacation homes from condos to colossal homesteads.

OMG Resort!

Forget San Francisco, I left my heart in The Resort at Squaw Creek!!  This off-the-hook resort sits five miles from the lake and nestles at the base of the world-famous Squaw Valley Mountain where the 1960 winter Olympics made history. Many of the luxury rooms have a full kitchen (with dishwasher). The resort offers awesome skiing, golfing, biking, a luxury resort-style pool, a full-service spa, and an active kids’ program. And of course, those Tahoe views! (

Image provided by The Resort at Squaw Creek.

Now, if you love Lake Tahoe too — what are you favorite Tahoe spots?




Adventure more. Panic less. Travel writer wants to shout it from the rooftops every not discussed method for safer, saner family travel. Read me before you take off!

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