Incredible views of Lake Tahoe are around every turn at Heavenly Ski Resort. Photo courtesy of: Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority
Snowboarders can find plenty of big-air to catch at the Lake Tahoe ski resorts. Photographer: Charles Shapiro. Photo courtesy of: Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority
Back-country adventures await in the high Sierra mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe.
Photo courtesy of: Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority
So. Lake Tahoe is just a short drive from Placerville. As the road weaves through thick forests and you draw in the heady scent of pine, the stresses of life dissipate. But travel prepared, because cellular service also surrenders to the timbered peaks of the Sierras.
As you make your final descent into So. Lake Tahoe, the road clings to the fringes of the mountain and once again you have returned to civilization. Unlike the North Shore, the South Shore is a cluster of lodgings, restaurants, shopping centers, casinos, and businesses at the ready to serve tourists. Think Vegas, lakeside and set among conifers.
Heavenly Village, set alongside some of the biggest names in casinos, is the newest jewel of the South Shore. Village amenities include a 60 x 120 foot lighted ice rink, an eight-theatre Multiplex, and a gondola that sweeps directly onto the property, lifting skiers to their destination. With much acclaim, the Marriott Grand Residence Club has settled into the neighborhood combining condo-style lodging with services and amenities for active families.
The scenic drive around the lake is guaranteed to leave you breathless, especially as you maneuver the hairpin turns and sheer cliffs of Emerald Bay. But the experience offers a unique perspective on the diversity of communities dotting the 72 miles of shoreline.
At 6200 feet, snow comes early to Lake Tahoe, with an annual snowfall of ten feet. At least 25 feet falls every year at alpine level, providing exceptional downhill ski conditions. How about arranging for the family to go on a dog sled expedition or a sleigh ride? Or take a break from downhill skiing to try snowboarding, snowshoeing, tubing, cross-country skiing, or ice fishing.
Spend the evening at the casinos tapping along to some of the great names in entertainment. Or, just cozy up in front of your fireplace with a hot chocolate, reminiscing about the day's activities.
If you are new to the south shore, the best way to approach it is to choose a resort and rely on their expertise to direct you to the best recreation in the area. You'll find three we've highlighted that are ideal for families, offering close proximity and shuttles to winter activities and local casinos.
North Lake Tahoe is a windy, 45-minute drive from South Lake Tahoe. It is best not driven at night, especially for the first time.
Marriott Grand Residence Club
Designed as an opportunity for second home ownership, this condo-style property offers amenities you'd expect from a luxury hotel including a full-service spa, health club with steam room, year-round outdoor heated swimming pool, and concierge services. The architecture is exquisite and you can walk to almost everything. A unique feature allows the staff to lock off rooms to meet just about any configuration of space you might request, from the tiniest one-bedroom king with Jacuzzi and fireplace (no extra space, but all the amenities) to a three-bedroom that's almost 2500 square feet. The underground valet parking is a great service, but comes at a price. (Other parking options are not available.)
Embassy Suites Hotel Lake Tahoe Resort
Located next door to the Marriott Grand Residence Club, Embassy is convenient to all that Heavenly Village has to offer. They are known nationwide for their comfy amenities. In addition to the standard two-room suites, complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and an evening manager's reception are included. Valet parking is covered and secure (for an additional fee) or you may self-park for free.
Lakeland Village Beach & Mountain Resort
Located lakeside, this resort offers oodles of family activities yet is conveniently located to everything the south shore has to offer. You'll have accessibility to Tahoe's favorite ski resorts. Choose from accommodations as small as a studio suite or as large as a five-bedroom, five-bath townhome, all with fully equipped kitchens. Free parking, underground and surface.