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Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe | Best Areas & Hotels

Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe | Best Areas & Hotels

When figuring out where to stay in Lake Tahoe, you have to consider that the whole region and its villages and cities will have something to offer. To make matters easier, we’ll take you through the areas that stand out the most and that have the most attractions.

Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe

Woman sitting holding her legs while sitting on a rock enjoying a view of Emerald Bay for a piece titled Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe

Don Mammoser/Shutterstock

The lake itself is beautiful, and there are plenty of boats that you can rent or kayaks that you can take out into the middle of it all. Regardless of whether you prefer fishing or just enjoying the peace and quiet, the lake offers both.

However, most people come to Lake Tahoe for the mountain range, its hiking trails, and all the other fun activities.

There’s a reason why Lake Tahoe is popular both in the summer and the winter season. During the colder months, the region exudes pure bliss and abounds with fun winter activities.

On the other hand, during the summer, the hiking and biking trails are no less scenic, and the mountain air is no less refreshing. If you want to know where to stay in Lake Tahoe and partake in either, then we might be able to help.

Lake Tahoe’s 5 Best Areas

You’ll be able to enjoy a lot of skiing and hiking in these areas as well as a lot of outdoor activities in general. What you might not expect, though, is that there are also many great museums and other fun attractions.

Here’s where they’re situated:

  1. Carson City: The best museums and galleries in the whole Lake Tahoe area
  2. Truckee: The best hiking trails and camping spots 
  3. South Lake Tahoe: The winter wonderland of Lake Tahoe
  4. Stateline: Many fun attractions and activities for everyone
  5. Incline Village: Beaches and water-themed activities 

Lake Tahoe’s Best Areas and Hotels

Not only is Lake Tahoe chock-full of hotels and motels on every side, but you’ll also find plenty of resorts that you can visit. There are actually specific resorts that are very popular during the winter due to their location on what are some very popular slopes during that time of year. 

As you go through our article, you’ll come to find that many locations around Tahoe Village are either winter or summer getaway spots, respectively.

That’s why we’ll specifically note when you should visit a particular location. However, if we don’t draw any attention to a season in a segment, then that means you can have an awesome time regardless of when you visit.

1. Carson City

Aerial view of one of our top picks when considering where to stay in Lake Tahoe, Carson City

Jacob Boomsma/Shutterstock

Carson City is the largest town around Lake Tahoe, so it’s only natural that it would also have the most attractions as well. The city is home to plenty of shopping malls, cinemas, theaters, and other entertainment venues that you can visit.

There are plenty of noteworthy attractions in this area, but the most famous one would probably have to be the Nevada State Museum.

Here, you’ll be able to visit plenty of exhibits and displays that tell you about the history of Nevada, the people that used to live here, and a whole lot more about the history of Lake Tahoe. The Art of Nevada Gallery is very appropriately named.

Not only is it a grand art exhibition that’s located in Nevada, but a lot of the artwork was actually inspired by the landscape and history of the area as well.

You’ll be able to see paintings of sweeping plains, cowboys riding horses, and plenty of art depicting the beauty of the lake. You might also be interested in visiting the Nevada State Railroad Museum.

As you might have guessed by the name, this facility is dedicated to showcasing and conveying a bit of information on old-school locomotives and their history. Carson City might be the biggest city in the Lake Tahoe region, but that’s also its main drawback.

The city itself has many interesting attractions, but they’re pretty spaced out. Additionally, if you’re visiting Lake Tahoe to enjoy nature and its scenery, there are better options.

Things to Do

  • The Nevada State Railroad Museum is a great place to visit for anyone that’s interested in old machinery.
  • The Art of Nevada Gallery has plenty of great displays of beautiful paintings that depict the state of Nevada in all of its beauty.
  • History buffs will definitely want to visit the Nevada State Museum and maybe take one of the guided tours that are organized on an almost hourly basis.
  • You can visit and snap a few pics in front of the historic Nevada State Capitol Building.

Where to Eat

Carson City Budget Hotels

  • Carson City Plaza Hotel comes with an AC unit and a cable TV in every room, as well as dry cleaning and shuttle services that guests can take full advantage of.
  • Americas Best Value Inn provides all of the guests with free wifi in their rooms, as well as an outside pool that they can use, and even laundry facilities and free parking.

Carson City Mid-Range Hotels

  • The Federal Hotel has a front desk that’s always on call for anything that you might need, as well as a flat-screen cable TV, an AC unit, and a coffee maker in every room.
  • My Place Hotel-Carson City provides all of the guests with an a la carte breakfast every morning, access to a fully-equipped business center, and free wifi all throughout the property.

Carson City Luxury Hotels

  • Gold Dust West comes with a flat-screen TV and free wifi in every room, a fitness center where you can go to work out, a game room where you can unwind, and an in-house restaurant that’s always open.
  • Courtyard Carson City comes with a cafe where guests can enjoy a nice breakfast every morning in the sun, as well as a flat-screen TV and free wifi in every room, free parking for everyone, and even an indoor pool.

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2. Truckee

River flowing through historic Truckee, a top pick when considering where to stay in Lake Tahoe

Matt Gush/Shutterstock

Truckee has attractions for both the winter and the summer seasons. One of the biggest attractions in this area during the warmer season is the golf courses. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro or if you’ve never held a club in your life, you’ll still have a lot of fun.

The more outdoorsy vacation-goers will definitely want to head over to the Tahoe National Forest that’s located close by. The 800,000 acres of trees provide guests with an endless supply of activities that they can try out.

Camping, swimming, and rock climbing — you name it! And if you’re not experienced at any of these or don’t have the necessary gear, then there are shops that can rent you everything you need.

The same forest also has quite a few skiing trails that visitors can use during the winter if they want to try their hand at a bit of skiing or snowboarding.

Northstar California and Sugar Bowl Resort are the closest ski resorts to Truckee that you can visit, and they’re a winter wonderland for anyone that wants to spend a few days just shredding the slopes.

One of the biggest flaws about staying in Truckee is that the town is actually pretty small and doesn’t have very many attractions outside of the ones that we just mentioned.

That means that there are no restaurants or bars that you can visit. If you’re coming here for the slopes and the forest, you’re set, but there’s pretty much nothing else.

Things to Do

  • Get your skis or snowboard and head on over to the Northstar California or the Sugarbowl Resort for a bit of fun on the snow.
  • Visit the Tahoe National Forrest and try your hand at a bit of camping or maybe even some mountain climbing.
  • Grab a set of clubs and a basket of balls and either go to the driving range or get on the golf course and take a few swings.
  • Visit the Donner Memorial State Park and maybe have a picnic on the grass or simply take in the sights by the lake.

Where to Eat

  • Donner Lake Kitchen offers a quaint atmosphere and a menu that’s been full of great dishes since the place opened over half a century ago.
  • The Pub at Donner Lake is where you go if you’re in the mood for a drink after a long day.
  • Zano’s Family Italian & Pizzeria offers some great Italian dishes.

Truckee Budget Hotels

  • Northstar Original Village Studio One comes with a TV with satellite channels, a full kitchen and microwave, and free wifi throughout the property.
  • Inn At Truckee has an on-site laundrette that guests can take advantage of, as well as rooms that come with a cable TV and free wifi and a free continental breakfast each morning. 

Truckee Mid-Range Hotels

  • Best Western Plus Truckee-Tahoe Hotel has a flat-screen cable TV and an AC unit in every room, a seasonal outdoor pool that guests can use, free breakfast each morning, and free wifi throughout the hotel.
  • The Cedar House Sport Hotel comes with a hot tub that all of the guests can use, a cable TV and an AC unit in every room, as well as an in-house restaurant and bar where guests can get a bite to eat and a drink.

Truckee Luxury Hotels

  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott Truckee provides all of the guests with a complimentary American breakfast each morning, an outdoor seasonal pool that they can use, as well as a hot tub, and a sun terrace.
  • The Ritz-Carlton comes with a flat-screen Tv, an AC unit and free wifi in every room, two outdoor seasonal pools that guests can use, and a full-service spa that comes with everything from body wraps to full-body massages.

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3. South Lake Tahoe

Aerial view of South Lake Tahoe with homes with docks in their backyard in the foreground and a giant mountain in the background

DTM Media/Shutterstock

South Lake Tahoe is a very popular tourist area, and while it nets a lot of visitors during the summer, the winter is when the biggest crowds come into town.

There are plenty of resorts that you can visit and slopes that you can go down. Not only will you find some pretty exciting paths for skilled skiers, but the gentler slopes are a great place where beginners can get some practice.

The city also has the Tahoe Historical Society museum, where you can find artifacts and pictures that date back as far as the old west, giving visitors a glimpse into a different era.

Another popular attraction is the Tahoe Trout Farm, where you can take your kids for a bit of fishing or for a bit of fresh air and serenity. South Lake Tahoe also has a lot of small but still fun activities that you can try out, such as Magic Carpet Golf.

This mini-golf course is a great place to spend an afternoon and just have a bit of fun with your friends. Additionally, you can also visit the ice rink, where you can try to do a few pirouettes or just take a few laps and have some fun on the ice.

South Lake Tahoe is a decently large city, but it really doesn’t have many bars or restaurants. There are a few interesting attractions, but ultimately, this isn’t really the place for anyone that likes going for a night out in town.

Things to Do

  • Go to the mini-golf course and see which one among you and your friends can make the most hole in ones.
  • Visit the Lake Tahoe Historical Society Museum to see some pretty interesting artifacts from the olden days of the lake and the settlers that lived there.
  • Grab a pair of skates and go have some fun on the ice rink.
  • Go to the area during the winter and try out the amazing resorts and skiing slopes that can be found in this area.

Where to Eat

South Lake Tahoe Budget Hotels

  • Thunderchief Inn provides all of the guests with free parking, free wifi, and rooms that come with cable TV and a microwave.
  • Tea Garden Lodge has a flat-screen cable TV and a coffee maker in every room, and the hotel provides free wifi and daily maid services.

South Lake Tahoe Mid-Range Hotels

  • Secrets Inn Lake Tahoe comes with a 32-inch flat-screen TV and a coffee maker in every room, as well as free wifi throughout the property.
  • Heavenly Valley Lodge provides all of its guests with a shuttle service that’ll take them to the airport if necessary, as well as a flat-screen TV and a kitchenette in every room.

South Lake Tahoe Luxury Hotels

  • Hotel Azure provides you with access to a decently-sized outdoor swimming pool with a lounge area, an in-house cafe where you can grab breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a microwave in every room.
  • The Landing Resort and Spa has an in-house restaurant with a pretty diverse menu, a full-service spa that offers massages and face scrubs, and an outside seasonal swimming pool that all of the guests can use.

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4. Stateline

Aerial photo of Stateline Nevada during the winter for a piece on where to stay in Lake Tahoe

Jacob Boomsma/Shutterstock

As you might have already assumed by the name of this area, it’s located directly on the border of California and Nevada. This region is located right between South Lake Tahoe and Carson City, and it also has a lot of resorts and ski slopes that guests come to visit during the winter.

Moreover, during the summer months, you’ll be able to find a few interesting activities and attractions that are unique to Stateline. One of these attractions would probably have to be the pottery classes.

While it might initially not sound too fun, it’s actually pretty satisfying to give form to something and then take your completed masterwork home with you as a souvenir.

Another popular attraction in this area is the shooting range. You’ll be able to get yourself a gun and ammo and practice your aim in a safe environment. It’s very fun, and the sense of danger only adds to the blood-pumping excitement.

Additionally, you also have plenty of tours that you can go on. The standard walking tours can take you to the tops of the mountains for a great view of the lake, but the kayaking tours are a lot more fun and scenic.

Finally, you might also like to try the helicopter tours that tend to be costly, but they’ll give you a great bird’s-eye view of the area.

While there are plenty of great views to find and attractions to visit, the area itself isn’t exactly bustling. Stateline is a typical small-town region with practically no museums or galleries and very few restaurants and bars.

Things to Do

  • If you feel like you’d be a good marksman and you’d like to try your hand at a bit of target practice, then the shooting range is a must-visit spot for you.
  • Take one of the many tours around the area and get acquainted with the local flora and all of the beautiful sights.
  • Take home an ashtray or a poorly constructed vase that might not be a work of a craftsman, but it’ll be a great reminder of your trip to lake Tahoe.
  • If you’re a good problem solver, you might like to try out the puzzle room in this area and see if you can clear it.

Where to Eat

Stateline Budget Hotels

  • Quality Inn South Lake Tahoe comes with a cable TV and a coffee maker in every room, as well as an outdoor swimming pool that guests can use.
  • Blue Jay Lodge provides all of the guests with a flat-screen cable TV and free wifi in every room, as well as a seasonal outdoor pool.

Stateline Mid-Range Hotels

  • Harveys Lake Tahoe Hotel & Casino is known for the spectacular view that guests can enjoy from their room, but you also have an outdoor seasonal pool that you can use and an on-site restaurant.
  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe comes with free parking and wifi for all of the guests, a cable TV in every room, and a reception desk that’s available 24/7.

Stateline Luxury Hotels

  • Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Hotel & Casino provides all of the guests with access to the in-house restaurant that has quite an extensive seafood selection, an indoor pool that they can use, and a full spa with a lot of available services.
  • Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel has a wet bar, a coffee machine, and a cable TV in every room, there’s both an indoor pool and a hot tub that guests can use, and the fitness center is pretty well equipped.

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5. Incline Village

Docks along the water on Incline Village, one of the best places to stay in Lake Tahoe

Teresa Munson/Shutterstock

Incline Village has a little bit of something for just about anyone. You can find plenty of hiking trails and skiing slopes for both nature lovers that come during both the summer and the winter.

You’ll also find mountain biking trails that lead you deep into the forest, hang gliding spots, and plenty of resorts and natural spas. You’ll also find a few incredible beaches in this area as well.

As a result, there are a number of different water sports that you can try out. Kayaking is one of these sports, and while it’s very popular, you might also like to try out water skiing and maybe even paragliding.

Incline Village is also the home to a few breweries. If you’re curious about distilling alcohol and finding out a bit more about how the whole process works, then visiting one of these locations is the best way to get a crash course on the subject.

Additionally, most brewery tours end with a trip to the in-house bar, so you’ll get a drink to go along with your education. What’s not to love?

This area is a great destination in both the summer and the winter, but we’d say that it’s a bit better during the warmer seasons.

If you decide to come here late in the year, you’ll still have a lot of fun, but most of the other spots we’ve mentioned have a lot more slopes and winter-themed attractions that you can take advantage of.

Things to Do

  • Take a tour of one of the breweries in this area and learn a bit more about the alcohol-making process and all of the elements that actually go into it.
  • Visit one of the many beaches that can be found in this area and try out some of the many water sports for some fun in the sun.
  • Try out the hiking trails that can be found in this area and get as high as you can, and then take a guided gliding tour that takes you back down to the base while giving you a spectacular view of the area along the way.
  • Rent a mountain bike and follow the trails that take you up the slopes in this area if you want to get some fresh air and a bit of a workout.

Where to Eat

Incline Village Budget Hotels

  • Cedars West is an incredibly spacious holiday home with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a fully-equipped kitchen, which makes it an ideal rental for up to half a dozen people and at a pretty reasonable price at that.
  • Tahome & Tahoe Place is a pretty simple log cabin home that’s a lot better equipped on the inside than the outside might lead you to believe, and it comes with a great view. 

Incline Village Mid-Range Hotels

  • North Lake Lodges & Villas comes with a small hot tub that all of the guests can use, as well as a BBQ where you can cook some meat, and some units also come with a patio where you can sit and enjoy the fresh night air.
  • Incline Village Retreat Walk to Diamond Peak is a holiday home with a great view, a fully decked-out kitchen, and three bedrooms, as well as a flat-screen TV in the living room area.

Incline Village Luxury Hotels

  • Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa & Casino comes with a full-service spa with all of the works, a 24-hour casino that you can visit whenever you want, an in-house restaurant, as well as a pool, and two hot tubs that you can use.
  • Altdorf Vista is a holiday home that has a beautiful mountaintop view that you can enjoy from the living room or the patio, a full kitchen and dining area, a flat-screen cable TV in the living room, and four spacious bedrooms that you can use.

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So, Where Should You Stay in Lake Tahoe?

We went through the most popular vacation spots around Lake Tahoe, but if that was just a bit too much information to digest, then here’s all you really need to know.

  • Incline Village is the best place to visit during the summer because it has a lot of beautiful beaches, plenty of hiking trails, and activities for everyone.
  • South Lake Tahoe is awesome during the winter and has the best slopes if you’re partial to skiing or snowboarding. There’s even a skating rink! 
  • Carson City is a great middle-ground that has something to do during both the summer and the winter months while also having attractions that aren’t really reliant on the time of the year.

However, no matter which area you choose, you’re bound to find something to do, regardless of the season. Happy travels!