Outdoor Weekend Getaway in Lake Tahoe
1Get your itinerary started on a merry (and musical) note at the River Grill Tahoe, a festive outdoor restaurant that serves up California-centric dishes and an impressive wine list, as well as live music. Toast to the weekend amidst twinkling lights and candles on table tops, with views of the Truckee River in the backdrop. Arrive by 5 pm to take advantage of happy hour prices on drinks and appetizers.
2For dessert, indulge sweet-toothed travelers with a stop at Batch Cupcakery, at The Village at Squaw Valley, where daily rotating confections include such flavors as the Olympian (perfect for chocoholics) and Tahoe Toffee (the shop closes at 8 pm).
3Enjoy an adults-only, after-dinner drinks at Uncorked, Squaw Village's quaint wine bar. No wine snob attitudes here, just a well-edited selection of mostly California vintages, as well as flight tastings. The bar is also great for pre-dinner appetizers and drinks.
1Fuel up for the day's activities at local favorite Fire Sign Café, near Tahoe City. This local favorite has all the essentials of a great brunch spot: friendly service, a laid-back atmosphere, affordable prices and hearty, delicious fare (the kielbasa-sausage scramble and the gouda omelette are two popular choices; there are also great vegetarian options). The wait on weekends is worth it.
2Take a casual bike ride along the 8-mile lakeside path that runs from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley. The trail is ideal for children and newbie riders, with no cars (there are also several shorter rides nearby.) Bike rental shops abound in the area, but one that's been around for decades is Olympic Bike Shop. Another option for outdoor adventure: Jump on the paddleboarding craze with an afternoon lesson with Tahoe Paddle, so you can tool around the cobalt waters of the spectacular lake.
3Enjoy scenic natural beauty and wildlife at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, located on the south shore of Lake Tahoe and at the hub of four self-guided trails in the area. Take the Rainbow Trail a quarter mile to see the remarkable Stream Profile Chamber, which allows visitors to see a diverted section of Taylor Creek through a panel of aquarium-like windows and a diorama that illustrates life above and below the water.
4Lunch with the locals at Cornice Cantina, which, in addition to its reputation as a popular après-ski and dance spot at The Village at Squaw Valley, makes some mean Mexican dishes. Grab a spot on its sunny deck and tuck into hearty burrito bowls and nachos, which are grande enough to share.
5Wind down at the High Camp Pool & Hot Tub, located at the top of the 8,200-foot High Camp at the Village. The trip up via the Aerial Tram offers spectacular views of the surrounding Sierra Mountains; once you're there, frolic in the palatial free-form pool, or take a soak in the 25-foot-diameter hot tub. Tickets for the tram and pool combo are $38 for adults ($32 for kids 13-18, $15 for under 12 years), but if you haven't had enough exercise yet, you can hike to the top and reduce prices by more than half.
6Dig into old-school Italian favorites in a relaxed, warm atmosphere at Lanza's, located on the north shore of the lake. Walking into the homey restaurant, a Tahoe institution, feels more like the dining room of an Italian friend who's a master in the kitchen. Choose from classic dishes like hearty spaghetti and meatballs and baked lasagna, along with homemade bread.
1Lounge over a leisurely brunch against views of the lake at the handsome Lone Eagle Grille, located at the Hyatt Regency in Incline Village. Afterward, take a stroll out on the pier and soak up the views.
2Rest tired muscles by lounging at beautiful Sand Harbor State Beach on the Lake Tahoe shore, just outside of Incline Village. This popular family spot has bathrooms, a snack bar, and fine sand perfect for building sandcastles. More adventurous trekkers can scale a lakeside boulder or two.
3For a final taste of Tahoe that's on the way home, stop by Truckee's favorite old-school diner, Jax Truckee. Choose from well-executed classics such as homemade chili and turkey melts, or opt for the signature All Day Addiction, a monster mix-up of fried eggs, hash browns, avocado, and mixed greens with basil pesto.