About South Lake Tahoe
Megan, Jessica, and Greta flew into Reno-Tahoe Airport. The airport is about a half-hour to an hour drive to South Lake Tahoe. To get into Tahoe you could rent a car, use Lyft or Uber (which is expensive) or take the South Tahoe Airporter. One Way Adult ticket is $32.75 and a Round Trip Adult ticket is $59.50. You hop on a bus and it takes an hour to get into Tahoe. The shuttle will drop you off at a few different casinos. We were dropped off at Harvey’s and it was a short walk to the Desolation Hotel.
Elise drove in from Napa in her Tesla. There were car chargers at our hotel and a few casinos and we drove around in the Tesla the entire time.
There are Lyft and Uber in South Lake Tahoe but taxis are the most reliable mode of transportation if you need a ride from point a to point b.
Another option for getting around South Lake Tahoe is the Free Microtransit App, Lake Link. The app is easy, you download it, enter your pick-up and drop-off location and the app will tell you where to meet the driver for pickup. They’ll drop you off on the route. You may have to take a short walk to get to your destination but it’s a free and cost-effective way to see South Lake Tahoe.
Where to Stay
Desolation Hotel – One of South Lake Tahoe’s newest hotels is Desolation. The Desolation Hotel is a premier micro resort that offers rooms, suites, and townhomes. We stayed in the Granite and Alpine Suites and enjoyed the full kitchenette, private balcony with soaking tub, indoor/outdoor fireplace, walk-in shower, and heated floors.
The decor at the Desolation Hotel is minimal with elements of the outdoors brought inside. We felt right at home with the high ceilings, wood paneling, and luxurious beds.
While the Desolation Hotel is a gorgeous place to stay, another reason we loved it was its impact as a company. Their location is walkable so guests don’t need a car and can enjoy the great outdoors through a ten-minute walk into town. It’s also landscape focused. To preserve as many trees, the hotel layout was configured to wrap around the trees native to the property. Those that were unable to be salvaged were removed and then relocated within the resort in their new forms. Pines were turned into benches seen throughout the pool and walkway areas, and a local mill turned the other trees into construction material utilized in the exterior beam.
The hotel is also solar-powered because Tahoe averages nearly 300 days of sun every year. Desolation Hotel is one of the only resorts that draw tap water straight from Lake Tahoe and there are filtered water filling stations around the resort so you can fill up your own water bottles. It’s little things like this that made us so happy to stay here and learn more about this space. Little details like this make it a must when staying in South Lake Tahoe.
Fun Things to Do in South Lake Tahoe
Ride the Scenic Gondola – A 10-minute walk from the hotel is Heavenly Village. We’ll share more about that below, but the first thing you need to do is ride the scenic gondola to the first stop. On the way to the top of the mountain, you’ll see panoramic views of Lake Tahoe. Once you get to the observation deck or the first stop, you can hike, visit the cafe and take in all the breathtaking scenery. We spent most of our time here taking photos, walking around, and marveling at how this place is too gorgeous to be real!
When you hop back in the gondola, you’ll go up again to the second stop. This stop is more activities like rock climbing and zip lining. We weren’t dressed for that today so we just stayed in and headed back down the mountain. We recommend doing this first thing in the morning before it gets too busy and getting your tickets beforehand.
The scenic gondola is available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Pricing is below!
Adult (ages 19-64) = $63
Child (ages 5-12) = $32 **Please note children the age of 4 and under are free on the gondola ride only
Teen (13-18) & Senior (65+) = $49
Explore the Shop at Heavenly Village – While you’re in Heavenly Village riding the gondola, stay and explore the quaint shops in this shopping center. There are lots of shops to pop into and places to stop and eat. In the winter there’s an ice skating rink
Clear Kayak with Clearly Tahoe – One of the things at the top of our Tahoe list was to clear kayak. We booked our tour with Clearly Tahoe and arrived at the marina half an hour before sailing to fill out paperwork and get fitted with life jackets. When it’s time you walk with the group to the Clearly Tahoe boat and ride for an hour to the kayaking spot. They have sodas, water, and pastries on board for you to enjoy and blankets if you get chilly!
We wore activewear pieces layered with hats, jackets, and leggings. Also wear shoes that slip off since you take your shoes off when you slide into the clear kayaks. You’re on the water with your guide for about an hour. The guide tells you the history of the lake and the area while you paddle around. Once your hour is up you go back to the boat and ride an hour back to the marina. It’s such a cool experience being on the water and enjoying the scenery. Don’t forget to look down and see the water through the kayaks!
Tahoe Tastings Wine Cruise – The next day we were back in the same marina for a wine cruise with Tahoe Tastings. Before getting on the water, make sure you have some sea sickness bands or Dramamine to help with sea sickness. A few of the babes were a little green after drinking wine on the water! Now back to the tasting. On the cruise, you have the option to sit inside or on a covered deck. We recommend the deck because you can see more of the gorgeous views.
You taste several different wines during the cruise and then the last hour can purchase a glass or bottle of your favorite wine. You can also pay extra for a charcuterie plate or bring your own light snacks.
Sunset Yoga with Bliss Experiences – If you want to recenter and enjoy the great outdoors, try a yoga class with Bliss Experiences. You can check out their schedule for a yoga class that will help you connect with nature and relax in your body, mind, and spirit. The outdoor classes have such a stunning view and it’s always nice doing something small for yourself on a girl’s trip.
Try Local Craft Brews on the Beer Trail – One thing you might not know about Lake Tahoe is they have a lot of great local craft brews. Designate a friend to be the DD or take Lake Link and visit the 9 different breweries on the Lake Tahoe Beer Trail. Check the map on their website to see where the stops are located.
South Lake Tahoe – Where to Eat
Sprout’s Cafe – Sprout’s is the place to go in South Lake Tahoe if you want a healthy breakfast or lunch option. At Sprout’s, you can dine on salads, smoothies, coffee, and sandwiches and you can tell it’s a popular spot based on the line out the door. We sat on the patio and enjoyed the sunshine, the dogs, and the delicious food.
Community Speakeasy – Want the scoop on an exclusive, hidden speakeasy? Well, we found it inside the restaurant Social House. We were wandering around the shops in Heavenly Village and found a Google review about how amazing the Espresso Martinis were in Social House. When we got there we were invited to visit the freezer and through the door was the Community Speakeasy. It honestly felt like something you’d find during prohibition!
It’s a small dimly lit space that’s bathed in candlelight. Groups of people sit and enjoy their drinks or listen to live music. The two bartenders on duty were mixologists from Brazil and were so fun to watch as they crafted cocktails. This is definitely worth a late-night stop!
Lakeview Social – A casual spot to stop for dinner, drinks, and live music is Lakeview Social. Come around sunset and watch the clouds change in color while enjoying wine or beer. Then when you’re hungry, you walk up to the food truck and order off their delicious menu. From there you can sit around the fire and listen to music, or play cornhole with friends. It’s kid and pet friendly and a fun spot to meet friends.
Toulouse – We were pleasantly surprised to find a New Orleans-inspired restaurant in Lake Tahoe. Toulouse is gearing up for a big remodel in the coming months but was told the outdoor patio area will still be available. While we ate, the cutest French Bulldog was running around and it’s extremely dog friendly. Reserve a table to experience their delicious food for yourself. We enjoyed the New Orleans Style Gumbo, Blackened Salmon, Crispy Cauliflower Bites, and Bread Pudding. This is at the top of the list for when we come back to Lake Tahoe!
The Bistro at Edgewood – Our farewell dinner was a sunset dinner on the lake at The Bistro at Edgewood. The Bistro serves homemade classics and favorites and everything on the menu was incredible. We started with the Roasted Bone Marrow, Napoletana Flatbread, Short Rib, and the Lodge Salad. The Edgewood property is stunning and right off the lake so you can sit in the Adirondack chairs and watch the sunset or enjoy the sunshine. This place is perfect for date night so make a reservation and get dolled up!
Maggie’s at the Desolation Hotel – We can’t say enough good things about the Desolation Hotel. On the third floor, they had a corner restaurant called Maggie’s. It’s outdoor seating in a very intimate setting. The cocktail menu is named after the dogs of the owners and employees and they also had an impressive wine menu. We enjoyed filet mignon, truffle fries, flatbread, stuffed arancini, prosciutto-wrapped scallops, and salmon confit. All of the employees were so friendly and the service was above and beyond. They also have blankets available if you get chilly sitting outside. Make reservations in advance and tell them the babes sent you.
Jimmy’s at the Landing – Enjoy a divine breakfast at Jimmy’s at the Landing, another Lake Tahoe hotel. It was a family-style breakfast with pancakes, fruit, Smashed Avocado Toast, and Chilaquiles. It was the best breakfast to start a day of hiking and exploring the beer trail. Enjoy the lake views with a coffee or mimosa and also the cute jeep in the front of the hotel is perfect for photo opps!
Looking for more travel inspo? Find our other travel guides here. And check out the Babes’ individual blog posts:
What to Do in Lake Tahoe: Girl’s Trip Guide in September
South Lake Tahoe Summer Itinerary
Thank you to South Lake Tahoe for sponsoring our trip and this post!