How to Spend 3 Days in Lake Tahoe
A 3-day trip to Lake Tahoe lets you experience area highlights with time for a day trip to nearby attractions. Prebooking tours and tickets ensures you won’t be shut out from popular spots, whether your trip is a snowy adventure or or a warm-weather bask in the Sierra sunshine. Get started with these trip-planning tips.
Day 1: Snowy Sierras or High-Altitude Beach time
In winter, hit the slopes for a day of skiing or snowboarding, making your turns with views of Tahoe’s frozen lakeshore. Booking lift tickets in advance can be a money- and time-saving alternative to lining up to buy them on the spot, and if you need to rent skis or a snowboard, look for packages that bundle tickets, gear, and even a lesson for ease.
In warmer weather, head straight for Lake Tahoe itself. Active explorers choose from boat rentals, guided jet ski tours, and parasailing, with the option to go on your own or with a guide. For something more relaxed, board a roomy cruise boat for a laid-back trip along the lakeshore. After lunch at a lakeside cafe or a sunny waterfront picnic, rent a bike to pedal along the Lake Tahoe bike path, which winds past colorful coves and evergreen forests.
Day 2: Go Farther Afield
A central location in the Sierras means you can use Lake Tahoe as a jumping-off point for trips to Yosemite National Park, Truckee River, California wine country, and more. Coordinating transport, entry fees, and tours cuts into valuable sightseeing time, making inclusive day trips a convenient option—and someone else will do the driving.
When summer months bring long days, it’s often possible to coordinate a day trip with an early-evening activity. Favorite ways to enjoy dusk in the Sierra mountains include boarding a sunset dinner cruise across Lake Tahoe, or taking a sunset helicopter flight that’s timed to catch evening light on the high peaks.
Day 3: Off-Mountain Exploring
After experiencing some of Tahoe’s starring attractions, ditch the crowds for a day of exploring quieter spots. In winter, a snowshoe tour or cross-country ski trip is a great way to take in the peaceful woods far away from lift lines. A nostalgic option is to bundle up for a horse-drawn sleigh ride that jingles over snowy paths, sliding you right into some of Lake Tahoe’s prettiest terrain.
In summer, try exploring Lake Tahoe on a maneuverable kayak or stand-up paddle board—the smaller craft allows you to navigate into corners of the lake that larger tours and cruise boats seldom reach. If trawling for lake trout is more your style, a fishing tour is a great alternative: Head to the best Lake Tahoe fishing spots and away from busier beaches and noisy power boats.