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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Jennifer Cook

Lake Tahoe & More!

As winter made way for spring this year, David and I both developed a bit of cabin fever. We wanted to use a little of our vacation time and actually plan a vacation to an area we hadn't been to while we were still living on the West Coast. We put our heads together and decided that Lake Tahoe (and the surrounding area) would be our destination.

It was quite a drive, but as we crested the Sierra Nevada Mountains out of Nevada this was our first epic view of the lake. As the sun peaked out of the clouds we knew we were in for an amazing time.

Before we get into specific details about our trip, I wanted to share a few fascinating details about Lake Tahoe.

  • It is the largest alpine lake in North America and is the second largest alpine lake in the world.

  • It is at 6,225 elevation.

  • It is the second deepest lake in North America with the deepest point at 1,645 feet.

  • The water is extremely pure at 99.994%. (Bottled water is 99.998)

  • Even though the lake is an alpine lake it never freezes due to the heat generated by the large body of water vs. the limited surface area.

Even though we knew the snow would be extremely deep after the apocalyptic winter that California and Nevada experienced we still chose to visit Lake Tahoe in early May. Believe it or not, we were super excited about the snow. We also knew that the crowds would be light for this tourist destination since skiing season was winding down, but the summer season had not kicked in yet either. This was absolutely perfect for us, so unless you are specifically wanting to ski or do some summer activities, I would highly recommend visiting the region in early May.

Check out how high the snow is on our drive around the lake!

Once we got to Lake Tahoe, we settled into our room at The Tahoe Beach and Ski Club. The resort definitely had the feel of an older resort and could use a bit of updating, but it is located right in the middle of town in a perfect spot, so we weren't too fussed. Additionally, we were situated right on the lake as well, so it worked out perfectly for what we needed.

Some of the highlights around the lake are Emerald Bay State Park, Kings Beach, and the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park.

At Emerald Bay there is a gorgeous waterfall near the loop road. You can only see it heading back toward South Lake Tahoe. (If you only head north you won't realize it is there.) Honestly, that whole area of the lake is worth one full day of exploration!

On the northern part of the lake is King's Beach. This little beach town is the absolute epitome of a funky little beach town. Multiple cute shops and restaurants line the Main Street. This beach boasts the largest public access sandy beach on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. Ironically, this beach also has one of the warmest swimming areas on the Lake, but given the time of our trip, we were treated to a little snow squall that came in over the lake. Of course this delighted us far more than it would other people! ❄️

Finally, we visited Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park on the Eastern side of the lake. The boulder field at this location was neat to see and fun to climb on. There are also miles of paved trails at this park, which makes for a nice stroll while looking at the water and mountains all around you.

Besides visiting the lake itself, we took a couple of interesting side trips. The most obvious choice is visiting Reno, Nevada since it is only an hour away. It was an interesting city to explore and of course we had to get a picture under the sign.

We also decided to go visit Donner Memorial State Park. This memorial is located in California and a little north of Lake Tahoe. I won't give you a depressing history lesson about why this park is here, but if you are not familiar with the Donner Party ( and how they got stuck in this area one winter) you should read their story. It is not a happy story, but it is amazing how some survived.

Based on how deep the snow was in May I can understand why they got trapped here.

Creepily it even started to snow as we entered the park. Clearly David was not as creeped out about the snow as I was.

In the end we had to cut our trip to Lake Tahoe short by one day because our first granddaughter (Ava Jade) decided to show up a bit early in this world. We quickly packed our stuff and made the drive back towards Washington. Our sweeet girl made her entrance right as we made it into Oregon!

My loving husband booked me on a flight the next day, so I could see our daughter, Savannah, and meet our first granddaughter in person. Even though we cut the trip short we loved every minute exploring Lake Tahoe and the surrounding area.

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