The Fourth of July lands on a Tuesday this year, and that means a four-day weekend. (Yay! ) Or why not just take the whole week off? Americans nowadays don’t take enough vacation time, anyway.
But this little town up here in the mountains will be filled to the gills this month with merry travelers looking for a good time. Not many places in the world offer as much as Lake Tahoe does in terms of variety of recreational activities. Where else can you camp under a brilliant Milky Way at a place like Zephyr Cove campground, then next day go see world class entertainment like Lenny Kravitz on July 14 or Jack Johnson on July 28 or 29 at the Harveys Outdoor Summer Concert Series?
If you’re one of the fortunate ones that reserved a place to stay for a week or two in the very busy month of July, consider yourself lucky, because the spur of the moment traveler will have a heck of a time getting a room. Tahoe can also be a nice day trip for residents of the Carson Valley or Reno, especially if the heat wave that happened in June continues throughout the summer. The Washoe Indians, who once inhabited the entire Tahoe Basin, had it right in spending their summers on the shores of Tahoe and even higher up along the many creeks that flow into the lake. It’s quite amazing how going six thousand feet up in elevation (or higher) can really cool things off. And of course, the 60-degrees-cool waters of the lake make things feel just right. No matter what amount of time you have to spend up here, it will be a trip well spent.
Sometimes, the problem with a coveted tourist destination is the crowds and the resultant trouble getting around town; the roads are jammed, the parking lots are full and a person’s patience is really tested. Fortunately, South Lake Tahoe is becoming very bicycle friendly, and on days when the traffic is bumper to bumper on Highway 50, the bike paths can make getting around easier. And it’s good exercise, too. A few years back, a highway project started improving existing bike paths and creating new ones; eventually, there will be a bike path that circumvents the whole 73 miles of highway around the lake. For a town in the mountains, it’s relatively flat and easy to get around South Lake Tahoe on a bike.
If you don’t bring your own bike, there are plenty of places to rent one for the day. Shoreline of Tahoe, at their three locations in the Stateline area, are ready to rent you a bike for the day, and their fleet of bicycles range from beach cruisers to full-suspension mountain bikes. The shop, located at Kahle Drive and Highway 50 next to Lakeside Inn, is a great jumping off point; the hard decision is which way to go. If you head toward California, a nice destination is El Dorado Beach, which experienced a rejuvenation over the past few years and is a very pedestrian and cyclist friendly place to park the bike to go swim and cool off. Or grab some lunch at Freshies Restaurant and Bar at 3330 Lake Tahoe Blvd (Hwy. 50), just across from El Dorado Beach. Freshies has rooftop dining with great lake views and great fish tacos. Wherever you want to peddle to, it will probably be just fine, and the friendly staff at Shoreline will gladly recommend their own favorite destinations.
The unofficial kick off to Summer at Lake Tahoe starts with Independence Day and one of the best fireworks shows in the country. Lights on the Lake blows up at 9:45 PM off the shore of Edgewood Golf Course. The next week at Edgewood, the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship starts July 11-16. After watching celebs like Stephen Curry and Justin Timberlake shoot a round of golf and interact with fans, take a stroll over to the new Edgewood Lodge — a very impressive new establishment on the South Shore. The Lodge has 150 hotel rooms, The Bistro restaurant and bar, and an outdoor Infinity Pool. Located right on the shoreline, the Edgewood Lodge is open to anybody who wants to just pop in for a bite to eat, or to just a have a nice cocktail and gaze out on the lake. A lot happens within a relatively small area at Stateline, as several casinos and other establishments, like Edgewood, strive to provide as much fun to visitors as they possibly can.
— Brendan Packer