There are a lot of reasons anyone could love Lake Tahoe – I mean it’s a spectacularly gorgeous, alpine lake nestled in the High Sierras of California & Nevada! This fun list showcases three of my personal reasons for loving Lake Tahoe and the surrounding areas.
#1 – It’s The Best of Both Worlds
In the age of Instagram polls, I’m sure we’ve all answered the binary question of “Mountains or Beach?” at one point. To this day I still can’t just choose one of these options, because Lake Tahoe gives you both! At. The. Same. Time! Wind & wave action over the many years has made much of the shoreline of Tahoe sandy just like ocean beaches, and the legendary clarity of the water makes the shallows appear turquoise. Then the sandy beaches give way to pine forests and the steep mountain peaks surrounding the lake offer spectacular horizon views in 360˚. So let’s see, we’ve got: 1. Sandy beaches. 2. Turquoise water. 3. Pine forests. 4. Mountain views. I’m not sure why anyone would choose one over the other when Lake Tahoe offers both the mountains and the beach at the same time. *Disclaimer – Like you’d expect, the Tahoe shoreline does have some beaches that are steep cliffs and some that are just huge boulders. These are spectacular in their own way, but, I get it, they’re not the stereotypical “beach.” Doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing time enjoying these beaches. I’ve spent many a day cannonballing into the lake from the boulders; it’s a different kind of fun that’s just as epic!
#2 – Every Season in Tahoe is Spectacular
I’m pretty sure we can all think of someplace we’ve always wanted to go. Now think of what time of year you want to go to that dream destination. A lot of people don’t want to travel during the traditional school year whether because of work/school or this ingrained sense that travel needs to happen during the summer for the best weather I don’t know. Don’t get me wrong: summer in Tahoe is awesome! The warm outside temperatures make the cold lake fun to play in, and most of the thousands of hiking/biking/horseback riding trails in the area are accessible. But spring, fall, and winter in Tahoe are also just as epic. In the spring (and early summer) the mountain wildflowers wash the area in purple, blue, pink, yellow, red, and white blooms that add spectacular contrast to the striking blue of the lake and muted greens of the forest. Plus, some of the cottonwoods in the area bloom and it looks like it’s snowing! Autumn in Tahoe boasts epic colors too. The aspen trees that line much of the shore, input rivers, and surrounding peaks turn a blaze of awesome fiery yellows, oranges, and reds. Lake Tahoe winters are some of my favorites. At over 6,000 feet of elevation, Tahoe gets quite a lot of snow in the wintertime. As the snowpack increases, the forest becomes a magical wonderland of snow covered pines and offers some of the best winter-sports venues in the country. Needless to say, at any time of year Lake Tahoe is beautiful!
#3 – It’s Rich in History
Washoe Native Americans have been living on the land surrounding Tahoe for centuries. Lake Tahoe was (and to my knowledge still is) a sacred place to them. The name “Tahoe” even comes from the Washoe phrase for ‘lake of the sky’ which is just super poetically beautiful when you think about this stunning location over 6,000 feet above sea level. Besides the native history, early explorers and settlers of Lake Tahoe appreciated the natural beauty of this land so much that their estates were turned into state parks to preserve the land for future generations. While all of this textbook history is significant, my family has a history in Lake Tahoe that goes back four generations. My great-grandparents lived on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe on land that is still in our family to this day! I love seeing historic photos of Lake Tahoe in area museums & shops knowing someone in my direct family experienced those crazy past snowstorms and rode on the famous Tahoe steamer boats which were decommissioned ages ago. I love hearing stories about how in those snowstorms, before modern plows could clear roads quickly, my great-grandfather took his small boat 26 miles across the lake from the north shore to South Lake Tahoe to pick up essential food and milk. Then he would spend the day hiking through the snow delivering it to all the people who needed it because everyone was snowed in; a lot of people might have gone hungry if it weren’t for his selflessness. Then hearing my parents talk about how their families went to the 1960 winter Olympics in Squaw Valley as children. My dad remembers watching an Olympic hockey game in an arena that now only exists in old photos. It’s little stories like that that make this beautiful place so meaningful to me. The shoreline might be more built up now and the ski resorts drawing hundreds of people to the area*, but it’s still the same amazing alpine lake that my family has appreciated for generations. *I’m actually involved in preserving the natural lake clarity, shoreline, and history through various organizations who care as much as I do.
Not only is it an amazing location to explore, hike, ski, snowboard, mountain bike, horseback ride, swim, boat, snowshoe, river raft, rock-climb, cross-country ski, ice skate, SUP, kayak, parasail, waterski, wakeboard, jet ski, camp, and sooooo many more outdoor activities, Lake Tahoe is an amazing place to get married. The amount of stunning locations for your small wedding or elopement this beautiful lake has to offer are endless, and then Lake Tahoe becomes special place to remember and return to year after year after saying “I do” here. I’d be so stoked to help you plan your Lake Tahoe adventure wedding and help Lake Tahoe become as special a place to you as it is to me!
Love these landscape images of Lake Tahoe?! Check out more of my landscape photography here!