Impressions: Lake Tahoe in November with Family
Lake Tahoe is a highly-treasured destination for many Northern Californians. When you drive around in California, you can easily spot one of the Lake Tahoe license plates or the "Keep Tahoe Blue" bumper stickers. Whenever Lake Tahoe pops up in a conversation with people who've lived in Northern California, you'd most likely hear their vacation stories, family trip memories, or how they first learned how to ski at one of Tahoe's ski resorts. Lake Tahoe sounds like an enchanting kingdom not so far-far-away.
One of my personal Tahoe stories involves swimming in the lake during a summer thunder storm (magical, but don't do it), but I'll save that story for another time. This post is about taking our wee young ones to Lake Tahoe for the very first time in the month of November.
The magic of Lake Tahoe lies in its crystal-clear water that reflects the blue skies above and the Sierra Nevada mountains around. With a surface elevation of 6,225 ft (1,897 m), Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake and second deepest lake in the United States.
Lake Tahoe sits in the High Sierra between California and Nevada, and it takes around two hours to drive the full loop around the lake. Even though Lake Tahoe is a highly touristic destination, it somehow still retains a certain peaceful, natural allure in most places.
One of the must-see places is Emerald Bay State Park on the southern side of Lake Tahoe. This corner of the lake is named Emerald Bay for a good reason, the colors are truly astonishing. The view of Fanette Island within the bay is a favorite among photographers.
South Lake Tahoe is known for its resorts and vacation developments, there are many retail and dining options around. But for a peaceful and quiet family escape, I have a penchant for North Tahoe, specifically around Crystal Bay and Incline Village on the Nevada side. We stayed at the adjacent Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort during this visit, and I highly recommend it for a relaxing family trip to Lake Tahoe. The breathtakingly beautiful Crystal Bay is within a short walking distance from the hotel, and during ski season, there is a complimentary shuttle service to both Northstar and Diamond Peak Ski Resorts.
November is a wonderful time to visit Lake Tahoe. Snow has freshly fallen on the mountains, and the ski resorts are not yet crowded. Without the summer aquatic activities around, the lake is back to its peaceful, pristine best.
We were traveling with our baby and toddler and found skiing with them a bit early, so we opted for a gondola ride up to the snow-capped hills at Heavenly Mountain Resort. Aerial gondola rides are always exciting for our young kids, as you've probably seen in our Napa trip and our Hong Kong trip.
As the gondola ascended towards the highest peaks, an awe-inspiring view of Lake Tahoe emerged behind us. We got off the gondola and landed on the Observation Deck built around giant granite rocks. A panoramic view from soaring heights awaited us.
The handsome Sierra Nevada, literally "snowy range" in Spanish, stood in a distance in its silent roar.
Mountains, lake, family, and a little bit of vertigo... it doesn't get much better than this.
We took the gondola all the way to the top. Most passengers hurried off with their snow gear and eagerly jumped onto the trails. As for us parents of wee little ones, we took it slow and enjoyed some simple play in the snow. For the ski-fiend parents out there, know that many resorts provide child care and children's ski school for kids age 3 and up.
Since we live in California, building a snowman is quite an exotic activity. Oh, don't forget to follow @travelchicmom on Instagram for this kind of mini updates!
Just like building a snowman, some of life's most satisfying things are absolutely free.
If you're a Star Trek fan like me (thus avoiding the Trekkie/Trekker debate), just this following image will make your day.
Another free and exhilarating activity idea: make your baby fly.
How about an old-fashioned game that's perfect at a place like Lake Tahoe?
...into a golden sunset on the lake...
...with people of all ages.
And that, my dear friends, is a moment of pure gold.
Here are some of our favorite places at Lake Tahoe that I have to share with you.
Where to Eat
This is a rustic-chic grocery market and deli with delicious hot food and a nice seating area. It's a perfect lunch stop for hot sandwiches, soups, and hot beverages, plus you can get your grocery shopping done at the same place. Highly recommend.
This fine-dining restaurant sits on the northern Lake Tahoe shore with an amazing view. Don't forget to reserve in advance!
Where to Stay
See more of our favorite places in the Google Map hereunder. Don't hesitate to save it for your reference!