The secret is out: Lake Tahoe is a great place to visit in the summer. Triple digit temperatures scorch places like Sacramento and Reno, so the lake becomes the obvious choice to get some relief. Just looking at the cobalt blue waters of Tahoe can cool one off mentally, and then actually getting in the fresh clean water is a rejuvenation of body and mind. In July, the area offers relaxation and entertainment for every type. From hanging on the beach to exploring the hundreds of miles of hiking trails that encircle the lake, there are limitless possibilities.
The 165 mile Tahoe Rim Trail is an amazingly scenic trail that loops the lake and can be accessed from many points. If you’re not the gonzo hiker type, just take a day hike like the Colors of Summer Guided Hike on July 14 from the Echo Summit South Trailhead. Stroll through the high meadows of the Sierra and gaze at all the wonderful wildflowers. Or access the rim trail from Van Sickle Bi-State Park right behind Harrah’s Lake Tahoe; walk up just a half mile and see the whole lake open up before your eyes.
If hiking isn’t what you had in mind for a vacation at the lake, just sit back with a cold beverage on one of the many beaches on the South Shore and think good thoughts. The lake is at full capacity, so the beaches have shrunk a little, and that makes for crowds. Here’s a tip: go to Zephyr Cove Beach or Round Hill Pines Resort later in the day, around three or four when a lot of people are packing up, and you’ll find the sun isn’t as intense, and those two beaches provide an excellent spot to watch a fabulous Lake Tahoe sunset.
Whether planning a hike or just a lazy day on the beach, you got to have breakfast; it is the most important meal of the day, they say. On a busy weekend in July, there are thousands of hungry people looking for a good place to eat and get the day rolling. There are many breakfast spots on the South Shore, but Stateline has a few especially good ones: The Red Hut Café at 229 Kingsbury Grade is an established eatery with a great biscuits and gravy special. The Hut is perhaps the most popular spot, so if the wait is too long head down to Sombreros at 219 Kingsbury Grade and have a Mexican breakfast that is muy bueno.
It’s going to be a fun summer as usual here at Lake Tahoe, and the Fourth of July is the unofficial kick off. And as fast as it arrives, it’s over just as fast. So get out of the slog of the lowland heat and enjoy summertime at the Jewel of the Sierra.
— Brendan Packer