There is no scene more evocative than racing a classic scarlet sports car around ribbons of Californian coastline next to a shimmering lake, with nothing but a bottle of champagne and the beat of a Sam Cooke song. Whilst you may question my aging music tastes, one cannot question the allure of Lake Tahoe. The lake lies in the Sierra Nevada mountains and straddles the border between California and Nevada.
What enthrals me about this cradle of natural beauty is that there is something for everybody. Your ideal holiday may involve skiing down a mountain at top speed in a flurry of snow, strolling through miles of refreshing pine woods or nestling into the sand of a beach on a hot, summer day. Whatever your ideal scenario, there is bound to be a slice of it in Lake Tahoe.
Tahoe has the second deepest lake in the United States, making it an alcove for water sports activities from paddle boarding to jet skiing. The enormity of the lake provides an exhilarating distance for motorboats and RHIBs to speed through whatever time of year.
“The north is quiet and upscale, the western shore has both a rustic and rugged demeanour, the east shoreline is tranquil and the south brims with its classic casinos and hotels near the city of Reno”
If thrashing around in the lake with all this horse power at your command isn’t for you, the Emerald Bay cruise on the M.S. Dixie II that launches from Zephyr cove flows at a leisurely pace around the best sights along the spine of the eastern shoreline. The number of small beaches dotted around the lakeside makes it a perfect place to go with a deckchair and a few Budweisers.
If you prefer exploring places on foot, then the walk to Lake Tahoe’s Inspiration Point will reward you with pine forests, waterfalls and the dizzying view 600 feet above the lake itself (if you’re not inspired at any point there are ice cream shacks nearby as a consolation). This can be a truly memorable point and may well turn into one of those few family photos you won’t mind being displayed on your parents’ mantelpiece for once.
However, if walking up hills isn’t a selling point for you (particularly after indulging in the numerous nearby restaurants as I did), then help is at hand with the Gondola cable car that takes you 2.4 miles up the mountains from Heavenly village in just 12 minutes. This will not only give you more of those astonishing panoramic views, but also houses Tahoe’s Treetop adventure park for zip lining and abseiling.
Now for those of you that are fuming about the constant false hope of snow we have in the UK, Lake Tahoe’s Squaw valley or Heavenly ski resorts give visitors up to three feet of snow, and the chance to make use of those peaks surrounding the lake and experience the thrill of the chase as they race one another down the many different sized ski slopes. It is an exhilarating place to learn, or to show off your skills as a pro. However, this isn’t all year round snow so no turning up at the beach in your ski mask and coat.
My final word about Lake Tahoe is that its greatest appeal stems from the fact that it is such a people pleaser. The north is quiet and upscale, the western shore has both a rustic and rugged demeanour, the east shoreline is tranquil and the south brims with its classic casinos and hotels near the city of Reno. There is little this place doesn’t have to offer to a visitor, and I could think of worse ways to spend a holiday than watching the temptress that is Tahoe lake winking at you in the light of a blissful Californian sun.