A spring trip to the majestic mountain getaway lets you enjoy both winter and summer activities all in one visit. Here’s why (and how!) you should go now to experience twice the fun!

Kayaking on North Lake Tahoe
Spring kayaking along the East Shore of North Lake Tahoe. Photo courtesy of Ryan Salm Photography.
Spring kayaking along the East Shore of North Lake Tahoe.

Here’s a hot take on North Lake Tahoe: While winter is a wonderland and summer is excellent, spring is one of the best times to book a trip. Savvy travelers have long known that the bridge season is prime time for visitors looking to maximize their stay to this stunningly beautiful Western destination. The pace is slower and there’s more space to roam, plus the weather is in that dreamy sweet spot where there’s abundant snow for sledding and skiing but mild enough temperatures to enjoy a leisurely day kayaking on that exquisitely clear blue lake with majestic snow-capped peaks rising in the distance. Come evening, indulge in culinary activities or simply sit by the firepit at your lodge and enjoy a quiet evening sipping hot toddies under the stars. With 12 charming towns, nature and nightlife options galore, snowy pursuits beckoning, and culinary gems around every corner, there’s an activity for everyone. Book your travel now and you’ll be lucky enough to experience first-hand how spring is twice as fun in North Lake Tahoe. Here are the four principles for planning a perfect trip:

Prep and Pledge Before Taking the Plunge

That pristine blue lake and inspiring trails and those charming little towns nestled up against the pines with snow-dusted peaks in the distance are all a national treasure worth preserving. So let’s keep Lake Tahoe precious and put responsible tourism central to how you travel. Just as you can make unforgettable memories by being fully in the moment on the slopes or the lake, you can take a similarly mindful approach to how you interact with nature and infrastructure to preserve them forever too.

Before your trip, take the region’s Traveler Responsibility Pledge, which conveniently outlines the best practices for visitors, including tips for being an environmentally and civically-minded steward of the land. The pledge includes practices such as leave-no-trace, pack-in-pack-out, fire safety, cultural respect, wildlife sensitivity, and pre-trip education. Mindfully respecting the place and the people will make for a deeper and more satisfying travel experience in North Lake Tahoe. And let’s not forget that weather, wildlife, and other travelers are variables that are constantly in flux. To get ahead of logistics around the lake, take advantage of the North Lake Tahoe Know Before You Go page, which lists best practices, includes real-time webcams and updates on weather and driving conditions, and shares public transit and parking tips to make your trip as safe and seamless as possible.

Kids Roasting Marshmallows at Northstar
S’mores and smiles at Northstar California Resort.

Photo courtesy of Northstar

Go for Four… and Explore More

To double your fun on your trip you’re going to want to double your time, which means spending at least four days in North Lake Tahoe. Whether you’re looking for skiing in Alpine Meadows or Incline Village, hoping for inspiring kayaking off the beaches of Carnelian Bay, want to play the slots in Crystal Bay, or look forward to exploring the dining scenes of Tahoe City and Northstar, your days and nights will fill up fast. Some travelers like to get a taste of the weekend energy, but also build in a couple of weekdays to have more space on the slopes, roads, and restaurants. The tough part? Picking exactly what you’re going to do from the hundreds of options.

Which is why this seasonal itinerary planner should be your go-to resource with detailed links and tips for building a perfect four- (or more!) day springtime plan. With 11 downhill ski resorts to choose from—from Palisades Tahoe, which boasts the area’s longest ski season (until May 27) to the secret ski runs of Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe Resort just 25 minutes from Reno—skiers are spoiled for choice. More mellow Alpine activities await snowshoers and Nordic skiers on the dozens of pristine trails as well as zip lines and ropes courses. Granlibakken Tahoe Ski Area boasts miles of trails for snowshoers and cross-country skiers, and a flat-groomed trail perfect for beginners. For an all-ages ropes experience Tahoe Treetop Adventure offers ropes courses for ages six and up. And since it’s spring, kayaking season is just kicking off. Starting in May, Tahoe Adventure Company offers kayaking tours of the lake, the largest alpine lake in the United States!

The region has so much more than those admittedly greatest of Alpine and aquatic hits. Whether you’re looking for a break from the action or a reset from the daily grind, there’s a high concentration of wellness activities in the region. Get into the flow at Tahoe City’s Mountain Lotus Yoga, the only lakeside yoga studio in Tahoe; book a Hana Hot Stone massage at the serene tropical-themed Aloha Spa in Incline Village; or stock up on botanical wellness products at Tahoe City’s Sage Spa Apothecary and Shop after a cupping session.

Dine and Drink Finely

Depending on which of North Lake Tahoe’s dozens of restaurants you choose, food can be tasty fuel for an adventure or a relaxed full-on fine dining experience. Alibi Ale Works’ Incline Public House is a rollicking spot for craft beer, creative pizzas, and a calendar of festivities (from line dancing to bingo). For over 40 years Fire Sign Cafe has been serving locals and visitors alike in that classic small-town diner way, with breakfast all day and an annex behind the main building offering grab-and-go items and locally roasted coffee. If you’re looking for fine dining with breathtaking views, Big Water Grille is a must-book. The modern California menu is designed to satisfy (think braised short ribs with manchego polenta) and is backed up with a smart wine list. To dial in a dining option to suit your taste or location, use this handy searchable restaurant finder.

Working on a Laptop at Lake Tahoe
Work from nature to expand your trip into the week and be inspired by your surroundings.

Photo courtesy of North Lake Tahoe

Live It up at a Homey Hotel or Luxe Lodge

Are you looking for that old-school Alpine getaway vibe? Is sleek and luxe more your speed? The hotels, lodges, motels, and resorts of North Lake Tahoe can offer you the perfect spot to call home-away-from-home during your spring getaway. There’s Tamarack Lodge, a former speakeasy built in 1927 that offers stylishly updated throwback charm nestled in nature, while Cedar Glen Lodge, with its eco-friendly ethos and cozy shingled cabins provides a picture-perfect lakeside retreat. For a more modern take on this formula, book Incline Lodge, which boasts sleek, minimalist rooms, nightly wine gatherings, and a heated indoor pool. Or truly indulge yourself at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, which offers the ultimate in luxury mountain living, with ski-in/ski-out access, panoramic views of the mountains, and a superlative spa. And for a full-service resort experience for everyone from couples to groups to families, Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort Spa and Casino offers beach access, a spa, multiple restaurants, a heated pool, and the Grand Lodge Casino. For more options, or to search for lodging by location and amenity offerings, use this online tool. And remember: The longer you stay, the more you’ll be able to slow down and enjoy your chosen hotel’s amenities to the fullest and truly make the most of your perfectly timed getaway to North Lake Tahoe, where spring means twice the fun on so many levels.