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How to Spend 3 Days in Lake Tahoe

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. 

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8 Tours and Activities | All Lake Tahoe Tours

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Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay Cruise on M.S. Dixie II

Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay Cruise on M.S. Dixie II

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Take a boat tour on Lake Tahoe to soak up the alpine beauty of Emerald Bay, one of the lake’s most scenic spots. As you glide across the water on the M.S. Dixie II, admire the surrounding Sierra Nevadas, and cruise past Emerald Bay’s Fannete Island, the lake’s only island, as well as Vikingsholm Castle, a unique home on the shore. Plus, watch a video on board about the interesting underwater features of the lake.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$69.75
From
$69.75
Taking safety measures

M.S Dixie II Sunset Dinner Cruise

M.S Dixie II Sunset Dinner Cruise

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Watch the sun slip behind the mountains on a Lake Tahoe dinner cruise aboard the M.S. Dixie II, and enjoy champagne, live music and an elegant dinner on the water. Dance to tunes from the local Steve Walker Band, see a spectacular Sierra sunset, then sit down for a freshly prepared meal. Enjoy selections like grass-fed beef or trout, organic greens, and vegetables. Finish the evening with fresh berries and cake as the first stars appear above the peaks, and Lake Tahoe’s scenic shoreline is illuminated.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$100.52
From
$100.52
Taking safety measures

Wild West Day Trip from Lake Tahoe with Train Ride

Wild West Day Trip from Lake Tahoe with Train Ride

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Go back in time to the old Wild West on this tour from South Lake Tahoe to Virginia City, Nevada, including a train ride on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. With a guide, you’ll start your day trip by minibus, driving along part of the Pony Express. When you reach Virginia City, a National Historic Landmark District, take a 6.5-mile round-trip train ride before enjoying free time in town to explore at your leisure, perhaps visiting museums or a historical saloon.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$66.67
From
$66.67
Taking safety measures

Small-Group Day Trip to Yosemite from Lake Tahoe

Small-Group Day Trip to Yosemite from Lake Tahoe

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Explore the scenic highlights of Yosemite National Park on a full-day, small-group guided trip from Lake Tahoe with a lunchtime picnic beside Cascade Falls. Capture unforgettable images of the park’s soaring rock walls and craggy peaks then enjoy an invigorating hike to Yosemite Falls or Bridalveil Falls, where high-mountain rivers tumble from sheer granite cliffs. Spot rock climbers scaling the face of El Capitan, watch for deer in alpine meadows, and take in the timeless beauty of California’s High Sierra mountains.
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  • 14 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$205.13
From
$205.13
Taking safety measures

South Lake Tahoe Boat Rental

South Lake Tahoe Boat Rental

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Experience Lake Tahoe to the fullest with your own powerboat rental from South Lake Tahoe. With a group of family or friends, you can explore the lake at your leisure, cruising to scenic spots like Meeks Bay or Emerald Bay. Use the boat for water sports like skiing or wakeboarding, or just soak up the sun in a peaceful cove. Select the type of boat that best suits your group.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$183.37
per group
From
$183.37
per group

South Lake Tahoe Kayak Rental

South Lake Tahoe Kayak Rental

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Get an up-close look at Lake Tahoe with a kayak rental, which allows you to paddle across the water at your own pace, admiring the stunning mountain scenery or searching for hidden coves and beaches. With an easy-to-maneuver single kayak, you can paddle as fast or as slow as you wish to enjoy an outdoorsy workout or to simply relax. When booking, select a rental duration that suits your budget and schedule.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$37.98
From
$37.98

Cross-Country Ski Rental in Lake Tahoe

Cross-Country Ski Rental in Lake Tahoe

Go cross-country skiing in South Lake Tahoe, and enjoy the winter wonderland scenery while getting an excellent workout. With this cross-country ski rental package, you’ll receive the equipment you need to explore the mountain trails of the Sierra Nevada. Get fitted for boots, poles, skis, and bindings—plus you can rent or buy outerwear, if you need it. Reserving your rental in advance ensures you won’t miss out during the busy ski season.
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  • 1 to 3 days
  • Free Cancellation
From
$32.63
From
$32.63

Truckee River Rafting Tour from Reno

Truckee River Rafting Tour from Reno

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Outdoor activities are in abundance in northwest Nevada, but this rafting tour on the Truckee River in Reno is a great choice for any type of adventurous traveler, whether traveling alone or in a group. You’ll catch a glimpse of the Sierras as you go down the river, and snacks are included for added convenience.
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  • 2 to 3 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$132.31
From
$132.31
Taking safety measures


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