What price point lodging are you looking for? I agree staying anywhere around the lake is better than staying back in Truckee. However, visiting Truckee for lunch and walking around old town is fun for a few hours.
We enjoy July 4th week. There are 3-4 places around the lake that set off Fireworks to music. Fun to sit on the beach and watch or on a charter boat on the lake as well as a restaurant lakeside. We stay at the Hyatt in Incline Village.
My vote is South Lake Tahoe for your first Tahoe trip. There is the lake, and generally more activities to do there in South Lake Tahoe. South Lake Tahoe is the most happening town around the lake.
Truckee is located in North Lake Tahoe. It is very small, with limited things to do, and even limited restaurant choices.
Typically, we like North Lake Tahoe better, it is quieter than South Lake Tahoe. If you prefer a quieter location around the lake, I would recommend King's Beach over Truckee.
There are lots of condos and homes for rent in King's Beach. Some are right on the lake.
Both places are beautiful and lots of fun! If you want to be close to all the major casinos, South Lake Tahoe would be a good choice. What is your budget for lodging? :)
Thank you all for your responses; they have helped a lot! I'm thinking South Lake Tahoe for our first trip and from there we'll go into the other towns. We were thinking (for lodging) no more than $200/night. What hotels do you guys recommend? We are eying the Alder Inn, the Marriot Grand Residence Club and the Marriot Timber Lodge. Please feel free to throw in any suggestions.
Have stayed at the Grand many times. Love it.
Across the street from a great grocery store Raleys, close to the lake where they give you an access card to a private beach, close to dining and casinos - if you want that.
Still in the summer I like the north or west side but if the south is for you then the Grand is great. So is the Timber Lodge right next door.
>>>If you want to be close to all the major casinos<<<
All the major casinos is why we avoid South Lake.
I'd make full use of Google Maps Street Vies. Below are some Street Views, first the Hyatt Regency Incline Village, then the Marriott Grand South Lake and then the Tahoe Edgelake Beach Club in Kings Beach at North Lake.
With the Street views you can pan 360 or zoom out to see the surrounding area.
If I did stay at South Lake, the Marriot Grand Residence Club would be my first pick.
If you are a fervent skier Heavenly is much better, has many slopes and this year a lot of snow, it is a heavenly view when you are on top of the mountain. Slopes from beginners to advanced skiers. For hotels, Stardust Lodge is just across the Gondola, it has a pool, hot tub and studio's with a Queen bed and sofa bed fully furnished, includes continental breakfast. ($109.00/night + Tax) They have a discount coupon for the weekdays, Sun-Fri. ($20.00 off per night) virtualtahoe.com/VirtualCoupons/Coupons/Star…
Call directly to the hotel to apply the coupon, it is worth and you will not regret the deal.
It is better than the Marriott hotel located beside the Gondola and much cheaper. Plenty of restaurants within walking distance. Fire and Ice is a great place to hang around after a full day ski. From 3:30PM they have an open bar at the Tamarack lodge in front of the Gondola on top of the mountain.
Another option would be to stay close to South Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side, where there are many beautiful vacation rentals with private beaches near Zephyr Cove. This might be an excellent option if you want to bring your dog. Also, Harrah's Hotel (and casino) has many pet friendly rooms and suites.
Promise you'll bring your sunblock when you come out this summer.