South Lake Tahoe Travel Guide
South Lake's newest casino resort, the Hard Rock Hotel, opened just over a month ago
California owns most of South Lake Tahoe, but Nevada arguably gets the most bang for its buck because of its casino-friendly laws that make Nevada's Tahoe a lot different than California's. We described in detail the incredible differences between the two states' laws when it comes to nightlife, and now we want to take a peek inside Nevada's main draw - the casinos - and see how they do things differently.
The "big four" are all located adjacent to one another, yet the crowds and offerings you'll find in each are by no means similar:
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Driving down the main drag towards the Nevada State line in South Lake Tahoe
Most of South Lake Tahoe is owned by California, but the very eastern tip is property of Nevada. The road that runs along the border between the two states is appropriately named Stateline Avenue, and as you cruise east on the Lincoln Highway, it will be very easy to know when you are nearing the border. Especially at night.
The two states operate under two very different approaches that are never more evident than they are in the town's nightlife,when the casino lights come on and locals and tourists alike begin to imbibe.
Travelers heading out for the night should be aware of a few contrasts of the law that exist within a block of each other. Drinking in public is okay in Nevada, but a ticketed offense in California, for example. Here are the main differences to keep in mind as you head out for the night in South Lake:
Heavenly converted a ski groomer into a DJ booth
Lake Tahoe, like many ski areas across the country, have had a tough winter in terms of total snow accumulation. South Lake Tahoe's Heavenly Resort has relied on its snow-making system - one of the country's best - and the epic views to stay in good spirits. This past weekend, those views combined with sunny skies and soft snow to kick off the spring skiing a month early. And with spring skiing comes a refocused mindset, one that switches the emphasis from the number of runs to the number of beers.
South Lake Tahoe is no stranger to a good party. Split between Nevada and California, casinos and clubs mingle with a hang loose mentality to create a party atmosphere both on and off the hill. In one of the more creative efforts we've seen by a ski area in past years, Heavenly converted one of its ski groomers into a DJ booth. It can be moved around the mountain for different events, but typically finds itself parked outside of the Unbuckle Après Party at Tamarack Lodge (which, for the record, is the only on-mountain apres party we've seen that has go-go dancers).
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As the largest alpine lake in North America with over a dozen ski resorts and epic Ponderosa Pine covered wilderness, Lake Tahoe is a year round destination for active, adventure travelers. The town of South Lake Tahoe is slowly but surely developing a softer side to complement that once-rugged atmosphere, but we'll dive into that later this week. First, let's take a look at the best way to get there.
Lake Tahoe's own small airport hasn't run commercial flights in over a decade, and there remains three options for travelers flying in: San Francisco, Sacramento, or Reno. Where you're coming from will obviously determine the best fare and route, but all those things being equal, the Reno airport shines through as the clear winner in terms of proximity and convenience once on the ground. Driving times from San Fran and Sacramento are three and two hours respectively, but the drive from Reno to South Lake is just over an hour.
The SnowGlobe Music Festival is ready to ring in the New Year with performances by Snoop Lion, Tiesto, Kaskade, Zeds Dead, Treasure Fingers, and dozens more.
The fest will once again be held in the winter resort town of South Lake Tahoe, California from December 29th - 31st.
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Time is running out to get tickets for this year's SnowGlobe Music Festival, taking place in South Lake Tahoe on December 29- 31.
Deadmau5 is headlining the electro fest with an "unhooked" set along with Beats Antique, Chromeo, Wiz Khalifa, Big Gigantic, Gramatik, Polica, Minnesota, BoomBox, GRiZ, Archnemesis, Nadis Warriors, and more.
If you’ve never been to Lake Tahoe, now's the time to go, as Zephyr Cove Resort is offering 25 reasons to visit the lake and stay with them. It’s actually only about three hours from the Bay Area and eight hours from Los Angeles, and you can even swing by Yosemite National Park for a total earth lovin’ vacation—except for that carbon emissions thing.
The biggest of those 25 reasons to visit Zephyr Cove is its newest deal--50 percent off all its rooms, suites, chalets, and cabins through June 30. Just enter mayjune25 when booking, and that lakefront cabin will be yours—just try to keep the John Candy reenactments from The Great Outdoors to a minimum. If you'd rather stay in the lodge, we found rooms for less than $80 for this weekend—not too shabby.
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Going to a ski resort in the summer sounds like a half-baked idea that your dad comes up with to save a couple bucks while getting some fresh air. Can't you just imagine standing at the base of a mountain while dear old dad waxes on about how beautiful it must be all covered in snow? Next year, kids!
But what if your old man was craftier than that and took you to the new 3,100-foot Heavenly Flyer zip line at Heavenly Mountain Resort? It's the longest zip line in the lower 48 and hits speeds of 50 mph on the way down. It would be a lot cooler if you had to hold on for dear life like on the zip lines you grew up with, but insurance companies get kind of grouchy about stuff like that: You'll have to settle for being strapped into a seat.
For $30 a ride, this is a unique way to experience some of the best views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains. No doubt taking in the sights from 50 feet up at 50 mph will make for unforgettable daddy issues for decades to come.
(Btw, the Flyer doesn't re-open for the summer season until Friday, June 13.)