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Visiting lake Tahoe in mid December

Canberra, Australia
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Visiting lake Tahoe in mid December

Hi, my family and I are thinking. Of visiting Lake Tahoe area in mid Dec. at this stage we will be in Sacramento and will have a rental car for a few days. Is it feasible to drive up there at this time of year or is there another way to get there and stay a couple of days. Also welcome views on whether it is best to visit the north or south part of the Lake. We will probably not be skiing.

Thanks

Perth, Australia
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1. Re: Visiting lake Tahoe in mid December

I love Lake Tahoe.

Of course the weather will be a factor for driving, but you can do it.

You can go along the I-80 and get off near Truckee, which is the north of the lake. The I-80 will be cleared of snow.

I prefer to stay in South Lake Tahoe .. more t see and do, but around the lake is a beautiful drive. And lots of accommodation to choose from in the south. I think you should start looking at that now.

If its not too snowy, I can suggest one way via Hwy 50 too ... it's a very scenic drive.

There is an airport at South Lake Tahoe, but I think you will be fine with driving.

Here's a couple of websites which may help.

http://www.tahoekidsguide.com/

http://tahoesouth.com/

http://www.visitinglaketahoe.com/

Enjoy...!!

Fortaleza, CE
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2. Re: Visiting lake Tahoe in mid December

The only commercial airport for Tahoe I know of is in Reno (they call it Reno-Lake Tahoe airport for marketing purposes). Snow is, as noted, a factor. If you have a rental car, you may not be able to use chains. I-80 is usually kept clear, but then you need to get from there to Tahoe. You can take Amtrak to Truckee. I think there are local buses to North Shore but would be difficult to get around. Buses to Stateline, I believe. You can you won't be skiing. But what DO you want to do? What are your interests? What will you do in the snow?

Edited: 14 October 2012, 13:31
Fortaleza, CE
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3. Re: Visiting lake Tahoe in mid December

I lived in Sacramento for a few years and often drove to the Tahoe area for cross-country skiing. If I-80 is closed by a big snowstorm it's usually closed only briefly, but chains can still be required. Check with your rental car company re use of chains.

Edited: 14 October 2012, 13:32
Lassen National...
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4. Re: Visiting lake Tahoe in mid December

We usually get our first really big snowstorm here in the Sierra around then. If you can do the driving it will be amazingly beautiful!

Reno is only 30 mins from Tahoe. The plus of flying in there is that all their rental vehicles are equipped for the local driving conditions. It's a great airport--really easy to get in and out.

California
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5. Re: Visiting lake Tahoe in mid December

Since you will be in Sacramento visiting you can schedule your visit based on how the weather is. If you find during your visit that the weather will be good for driving on specific days you should choose those days. Typically the chain controls are only in effect when it is snowing. Once it stops, the roads get cleared of snow and everyone just moves on. If it's actively snowing I suggest waiting till stops, if you can, unless you feel comfortable driving in the snow.

As far as where to stay that's harder since you won't be skiing. Mid December won't be very busy as the busy season is at Christmas so you may be able to get a deal on lodging.

I'd probably choose the north side just because it's more acceible to a variety of places. You can Visit, Incline, Tahoe City, Northstar, Truckee & Squaw Valley. More than enough to keep you busy since you won't be skiing.

Corona del Mar, CA
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6. Re: Visiting lake Tahoe in mid December

If you are in Sacramento, head to North Lake Tahoe on I-80, because it is a major East-West transcontinental route (San Francisco to New York City), it is kept open as much as possible. It is more like freeway driving than mountain driving.

We like North Lake much, much more than the South. The South is highly commercial, has several big casinos. North Lake is more picturesque and quaint.

If I wanted to stay someplace and not ski, it would probably be Incline Village, but you could stay at Northstar-at-Tahoe in the village and have a good time too.

Long Barn...
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7. Re: Visiting lake Tahoe in mid December

I agree with Suzie. If the weather is good, the drive from Sacramento is easy and does not take long. Time your visit depending upon the weather. Use Hwy 50 to visit South Lake Tahoe or I-80 for North Lake Tahoe. It is hard to say which part of the Lake is the best to visit. There is more to do at South Shore, but the North Shore is more quiet with small towns. Myself, I like both ends of the lake and probably visit one end or the other about once a month.

California
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8. Re: Visiting lake Tahoe in mid December

When people say SLT is more commercial than the north side keep in mind that it is all relative. It's not like a big city or anything like that. It has ONE main road and the rest isn't much.Since the most desireable property is along the lake, SLT stretches along much of the south side of the lake.

Canberra, Australia
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9. Re: Visiting lake Tahoe in mid December

Thanks to all for your advice, very helpful. Although we might not ski I suspect our son will, while we might just enjoy the novelty of snow in Dec close to Christmas.

Regards to all

Manhattan Beach...
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10. Re: Visiting lake Tahoe in mid December

Check out the Hyatt Regency in Incline Village on the north shore. The resort has it all for a great holiday. There is a casino since it's on the Nevada side of the lake, Stillwater Spa, pools and hot tubs and great dining. The Lone Eagle Grille is right on the lake for beautiful sunset views, too.

Diamond Peak Ski Resort is a mile up the road. A free shuttle leaves every half hour from the Hyatt lobby. In fact you can rent ski's at the Hyatt. It's nice if you don't ski to join your son for lunch at the chalet on the slopes. There is a great view of the lake from this ski resort.