Lake Tahoe, nestled in the alpine crests of the Sierra Nevada mountains bridging California and Nevada, is a year-round playground attracting skiers and snowboarders in winter, outdoor enthusiasts seeking cycling, sailing and hiking in summer, and culture buffs who want to enjoy the many arts festivals held throughout the year. While the lake’s southern shores are known for glitzy casinos and the party scene, North Lake Tahoe is considered to be more upscale and family friendly. Staying in North Lake Tahoe cabins is one way to avoid the tourist frenzies that can surround the lake’s hotel scene. When choosing where to rent a cabin in North Lake Tahoe, know that each village has its own distinct charm.
Tahoe’s Northstar Resort is a skiing wonderland, with convenient access to beginner slopes, more challenging trails, ski-related shopping and cozy restaurants. Because the resort and nearby hotels can feel somewhat congested during the busy ski season, staying at a nearby cabin allows the opportunity to relax in the quiet of a wooded lot somewhat removed from the hubbub. Expect to pay somewhat more for cabins in the Northstar region, as this upscale village attracts wealthier patrons.
Cabins near Incline Village have access to the small town’s restaurants, shops and cultural events. Built by loggers in the late 1800s, Incline Village hosts a popular Lake Tahoe Shakespeare festival, where families can gather on the sand to watch productions of the bard’s best hits. Mountain bike down the Flume trail, and hit the ski slopes of Diamond Peak and Mount Rose Ski Tahoe, as recommended by Go Tahoe North.com. During summer, Incline Village’s Sandy Beach offers outdoor concerts and other events. Travelers staying at Incline Village cabins should be aware that the area is somewhat busier than the rest of sleepy North Lake Tahoe, but generally the vibes are family friendly and relaxed.
For a rugged mountain experience rooted in the pioneer experience, stay in a Truckee cabin just outside of North Lake Tahoe. Truckee got its start as a logging town, known for its proximity to the site where the notoriously tragic Donner Party holed up, according to Go Tahoe North.com. Later, 12,000 workers helped build a railroad through town. Cabins are more widely scattered in the rustic Truckee area, so you’ll enjoy pristine mountain vistas and views of the Truckee River without much distraction by civilization
With its small cluster of gambling houses, Crystal Bay offers some south shore razzle-dazzle, with historic ties to Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and other Tinsel Town party people. Crystal Bay straddles the California and Nevada state line, and many Crystal Bay cabins are within walking distance or a short drive from casinos that have been operating since the days of Prohibition. You can bike to the beach, where mountain boulders are strewn amid Lake Tahoe’s sparkling waters, for swimming, kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding during summer. Kids love to climb on the rocks. Crystal Bay cabins offer views to the west shore’s rugged shoreline, with iconic Emerald Bay and quiet Meeks Bay Resort just across the lake.
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