Those of us who live in the Bay Area usually think of Tahoe as a winter skiing destination, but it’s also a great place to go when there’s no snow on the ground. Since my parents don’t ski, we would head up to the mountains during the summer, a tradition I continue with my kids. There are countless ways to spend time outdoors in the Sierra, here are some of my favorites:
Boating in Lake Tahoe. There are a number of places along the marina in Tahoe City where you can rent a power boat for a couple hours or the whole day. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a day on the lake jet-skiing or pulling a water toy. Be sure to wear layers and bring extra towels, the water is beautiful but can be very cold. Afterwards, enjoy lunch or dinner at nearby Rosie’s Cafe or Jake’s on the Lake.
Paddle-boarding at Donner Lake. For a quieter, more relaxing time on the lake, head to Donner Lake and rent a paddle board, kayak or pedal boat. The lake is very calm and perfect for kids, who can also spend hours searching for crawdads and making new friends.
Rafting down Truckee River. Due to particularly dry winters, the water level has been pretty low over the past couple years. But you can still enjoy a scenic and very leisurely ride down the Truckee River. You’ll spot groups pulling coolers on their rafts and carrying water guns, so be prepared for a slow ride and to get wet (from other riders!).
Horseback Riding at Alpine Meadows. Enjoy a ride on these beautiful creatures in the mountains on the bottom of Alpine Meadows. A guide will take your group out and no experience is needed, even our novice 7-year old (at the time) was able to ride on his own. We even spotted a bear along our ride, which did cause us to worry, but the horses were accustomed to their neighbors and proceeded quietly and safely.
Biking. Whether you prefer to glide along and enjoy the view or challenge yourself on the trail, Lake Tahoe is a great place for biking. There are countless places to rent a bike, so no need to haul yours up. For a leisurely ride, bike around Lake Tahoe — it’s a beautiful view and dedicated bike lanes surrounding the lake. In nearby Tahoe Donner, you can ride a variety of trails on the same runs used for cross-country skiing during the winter. Head over to Northstar for more challenging mountain-biking and their bike park.
Rope Course & Zip-lining. Have a Treetop Adventure at Granlibakken Resort in Tahoe City. They have rope courses suitable for kids over 5 years old and adults of all ages. Zip-line from tree to tree. It’s fun and exhilarating! The Flying Squirrel was enough adventure for me, or try the Monkey Course for a Amazing Race-like challenge.
Photo courtesy of gocalifornia.com. While we enjoyed all of the above activities, they may not be suitable for everyone. Always review any safety guidelines and precautions before engaging in any outdoor activity.