South Lake Tahoe Guide: Activities, Restaurants, Hiking & Parks

Lake Tahoe is one of those places that you go to and just never want to leave. The water is a stunning blue, there are secret beaches and coves all over and adventures abound for those who want to find them. This guide is to South Lake Tahoe and it includes everything from restaurants and coffee to hikes and adventures. Click on an individual photo to learn more about each one and hopefully it will encourage you to explore South Lake Tahoe yourself

Coffee & Breakfast

Nothing better than a cup of coffee to get you moving in the morning. There are a lot of great options in Lake Tahoe but one of my favorites is Free Birds which has homemade chai that is perfect. For breakfast, you can’t go wrong with a stop to Cup of Cherries as well.

Alpina Coffee Cafe
Free Birds
Rude Brothers
Cup of Cherries


This list will continue to expand as there are just so many different spots to eat in South Lake Tahoe. My personal favorite is MacDuffs (make sure you get the bread pudding) and you can’t beat the view at Artemis, but really everything on this restaurant list is fantastic.

Artemis Lakefront Cafe
Burger Lounge
Sprouts Cafe
Azul Latin Kitchen
Macduff’s Pub
Jimmy’s Restaurant


Since hiking is another category, most of the active items in this list relate to the water. I highly recommend you take the time to kayak or SUP while in Tahoe, and what better way to do that then by grabbing a kayak and heading over to Fannette Island in Emerald Bay. Also, Chimney Beach is another great spot to just relax in the strange urban decay that is a full chimney sitting on the beach.

Kayaking to Fannette Island
Stand Up Paddleboarding
Chimney Beach

State Parks

Two of the most beautiful State Parks in California are in South Lake Tahoe and they are Emerald Bay and DL Bliss. Both of them have parking lots that fill up fast so be sure to get their early. Click on the images to read more about what is available in these parks.

Emerald Bay State Park
DL Bliss State Park


In South Lake Tahoe there are hikes to massive summits, hikes to beautiful lakes and hikes to waterfalls, what more could you want. Eagle Lake is one of the most beautiful places I have been in California and is even the picture at the top of my sidebar on the right side of the website. This list will grow as well but here are a few to wet your whistle.

Eagle Lake
Lighthouse Trail
Glen Alpine Falls
Lower Eagle Falls
Rubicon Trail


If you don’t want to hike, then check out these fun attractions that don’t require you to be too active.

Heavenly Gondola
The Loft Magic Show


There are a bunch of great spots to stay in Lake Tahoe but here are a few of my favorites.

Landing Resort & Spa
Hotel Azure
Tahoe Beach and Ski Club

South Lake Tahoe Video

If you are interested in seeing what a typical trip to South Lake Tahoe looks like, check out this video I made on my last trip.

Now it is your turn, what did I leave off this list that you love exploring in South Lake Tahoe? Be sure to leave in in the comments to others can find it as well. 

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