Having never been to Lake Tahoe before I tried to come into the weekend with an open mind and a general excitement that we would be exploring somewhere new with family and friends. As I've gotten older, I've learned that the best way to travel is to have a balance of must-have destinations and flexible expectations. Although we were a blended group coming together for a celebratory vacation, we managed to fill our itinerary with an equally blended mix of adventures and downtime at our beautiful Airbnb.
We begin our first full day in South Lake Tahoe by checking something off my bucket list, horseback riding through the woods. We booked one hour ride through Zephyr Cove Stables. The staff were friendly and helpful and the horses themselves were very clean and kept and you could tell that they were given the right amount of attention and care. I know this is not always the case when horseback riding in resort towns but I am grateful we were able to travel with a thoughtful and clearly kind company. Our guide, Jeff, was very patient with our group and let us through a magical forest trail. He gently reminded us to keep our heels down and to enjoy the scenery around us. I truly felt as if I had stepped back into time or into some parallel universe filled with the rustle of leaves and the light through the trees with this powerful yet graceful creature carrying me through it all. My horse, Becky, and I lead our group of seven through the trail and although she was one of the slowest horses at the stables, she provided our group with a nice long drawn out ride and made my novice self feel a lot more comfortable navigating the rocky terrain. The vistas during our ride were some of the most beautiful I have ever seen - and to view them while connecting with a beautiful horse was something out of a fairytale. If you have ever been on the fence about horseback riding or if you are planning a trip to Lake Tahoe soon this is a must do activity.
Later that afternoon we drove down into one of the small village neighborhoods around South Lake Tahoe to get a glass of wine and a cup of coffee at Revive Coffee and wine bar. I opted for a rose and cardamom spiced latte which hit the spot as we sat in the shaded back patio of the quaint little restaurant café. My sisters and mom had a nice little wine-tasting and we spent the next couple of hours swapping stories, laughing, and getting to know one another on our little ladies’ date. As if the day wasn't already perfect enough, there happened to be a row of gift shops and thrift shops just down the street from the café. My favorite spot was Wildwood Makers Market which had all kinds of gifts, stationary, and Lake Tahoe swag from local artists. The shop also featured Knits and Knots which was a small yarn supply shop that offered classes as well . My mom has been part of a knitting club for years and I was super excited that she could shop around even in Lake Tahoe.
The next 2 days were full of adventures outside around the Lake. We all spent a morning at Nevada Beach which had ample public parking (if you don’t mind a walk) and public restrooms and a snack shack. We got there early, around 9:30 am, which I highly suggest as the beaches can fill up in the summer. We took snaps, played in the shores with the kiddos and just took in the glorious views around us.
Although I loved the beach, the place de resistance (if you will) was our morning spent at Emerald Bay State Park. We arrived early - again, this helps with parking and general crowdedness at the parks - and our caravan got a few of the last parking spots at the trail head. We opted to take the Vikingsholm Trail as we also wanted to check out the famed historic mansion at the very base of Emerald Cove.
I cannot say enough good things about Emerald Bay. From the striking views to the easy trail through the woods, this place met our group exactly where we needed. The kids loved the trail’s little alcoves and waterfalls and the adults loved the ample shade and scenic views. At the base of the trail, is a small beach park with restrooms, water access, and of course the Vikingsholm castle which offers tours from 11 am. I loved spending time at Emerald Bay, watching my niece and nephews play in the shallows, and just taking in the jewel tones that enveloped us in the truly enchanted place.
In addition to our outings we also made sure to work in AMPLE down time together at the house. We enjoyed each of our evenings cooking in the kitchen, dining on the deck and enjoying one another’s company. There were lots of naps, sunset walks to the court of our road and naturally many a family photo sesh.
Have you been to Lake Tahoe? Let me know your recommendations below!
South Lake Tahoe Guide:
* Zephyr Cove Stables
* Revive Coffee and Wine Bar
* Wildwood Makers Market
* Nevada Beach
* Emerald Bay State Park
* Vikingsholm Trail
I hope this guide is helpful! Let me know where your family is headed next in the comments below!
Until the next trail…
~ A ~