This past Memorial Day I crossed another BEAUTIFUL place off of my bucket list. My parent’s recently bought an RV and embarked on a west coast journey. They reserved a campsite for 15 days right in South Lake Tahoe, so I decided I had to go check it out. I had never been to California (South Lake Tahoe counts as Cali!) and I was looking to escape the 100 degree Dallas summer. Here’s everything you need to know and do if you plan on visiting South Lake Tahoe in the early summer.
First thing’s first, South Lake Tahoe is not warm in May. Luckily I packed accordingly but if you’re looking to enjoy the water and go for a swim, wait to visit until mid or late June! It was pretty chilly in the mornings but it made for a cozy cup of coffee by the fire with lots of blankets! It stayed around mid 60’s and sunny all weekend which was actually perfect for what we had planned.
Like I mentioned, we stayed in an RV on a large campground. The campground is called Tahoe Valley Campground and hosted all sorts of campers and tents so it can definitely accommodate your travel style. The location was PRIME. It’s on the California side just a few miles from the border. Every restaurant was within a 10 minute drive and the water is just a bike ride away! We were also close enoughh to enjoy the beauty of the Nevada side – Hard Rock Casino!
We actually cooked a few times in the RV because it has a stove and oven but of course I had places in mind I needed to try! We found the cutest breakfast spot called Free Bird and it had the most delicious smoothies! We also stumbled upon a cute spot called Joasis for a snack and OMG… you have to try the vegan sloppy joe and acai bowl!
We celebrated my mom’s birthday at a breakfast spot near the water called Black Bear Cafe. It was yummy and has a large, versatile menu and the portions are huge! All of us definitely could have shared the scramble and french toast and been fine.
For dinner, you HAVE HAVE HAVE to go to Edgewood Bistro. It’s on a golf course and has the most perfect sunset view right on the water. We made a reservation the week before and everything was lovely. Its a modern, chic, atmosphere with amazing views but won’t break your bank! It’s a win for sure.
Across the grass from the Bistro is the sister restaurant called Edgewood Restaurant. We thought we wanted to dine here but it was a little fancier than we anticipated. They host weddings and anniversaries and the attire is business casual. The menu looked amazing and the windows and view are breath-taking but we were looking for a more casual dining experience and opted for the bistro.
Our days consisted of LOTS of outdoor and sunshine. We rented bikes from Lakeview Rentals, which was right in town. The staff was so nice and our total was only $150 for 3 bikes for 3 hours! I highly recommend renting their bikes (they have mountain, road, and tandems!) The weather was so perfect and the views are unbeatable. The trails run parallel to the lake and the photo opps are way too good to pass up. We stopped for a quick bite and cocktail at Beacon Bar & Grill (Camp Richardson) and it’s definitely a must-go. It’s right on the beach with umbrellas, sand, large patio, and live band! It was packed outside but we scored a few bar stools and were taken care of immediately. I will definitely be back for more rum-runners.
It was rainy and chilly our second day so we shopped downtown and did some brewery hopping – there are SO many! We only visited Stateline Brewery but it was so casual and quaint I could have stayed there all day.
The number one thing you HAVE to do in Tahoe is a hot air balloon ride. Yes, it’s a nice price tag. But it was hands-down the coolest experience I’ve ever had in my life. A hot air balloon ride was on my bucket-list and I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. We used Lake Tahoe Balloons and they exceeded all of my expectations. This balloon company is the only one in the world that launches and lands their hot air balloon on a BOAT! We drove out on the water at 6 am (again, SO worth it) and the team blew up the balloon on top of the boat. The whole tour lasted around 4 hours, with about 75 minutes in the air (12,000 feet high to be exact.) The crew was so interactive and knowledgeable and had coffee, muffins, and champagne for us to enjoy! They took a million pictures for us and even shot a go-pro video. It was a 10/10 experience and I would do it every single visit if I could!
I highly recommend visiting South Lake Tahoe in late May/Early June if you’re looking for a cooler weather experience and please drop a comment below if you have any other must-dos!