Good-bye geese, hello beachgoers. Over time, 4 1/2-acre Commons Beach in Tahoe City had degraded into little more than a forlorn way station for Canada geese. Now, granite staircases lead down from State 28 to the revamped park, which includes a restored beachfront, a small meadow, and the town's original 1940s two-cell jailhouse (allegedly no one actually stayed there). The park isn't the only improvement in town. From Commons Beach, take Mackinaw Road south to the Lakeside Trail bike route near Fanny Bridge and the junction of State 89. Just across the bridge is a new picnic area fronting the Gatekeeper's Museum. From here, the path links to one heading south about 10 miles along State 89 to Edwin L. Z'berg Sugar Pine Point State Park. Or follow a path along State 89 north beside the Truckee River about 4 miles to River Ranch Lodge & Restaurant; relax on the patio and watch rafters tip over.
Commons Beach (free programs Tue, Thu; www.tahoecitypud.com); Gatekeeper's Museum (11-5 Wed-Sun; $3; 530/583-1762); River Ranch Lodge & Restaurant ($$$; 530/583-4264)