Lake Tahoe Travel Tips

I’ve got some messages on Instagram asking me to share some tips for visiting Lake Tahoe. You don’t have to twist my arm. I wish I knew most of these things mentioned here before heading out. Hope this trip will help you plan a perfect getaway.
What to Wear
If plan to play in the snow for more than 10 mins, wear the right clothes — beanie, snow pants, waterproof boots, jacket and gloves. I learned this the hard way. I had snow pants but I thought I could get away with wearing just two thermal leggings and jeans. Bad idea. While it looked good in photos, by the end of the day, my jeans were wet and I was freezing!

In case you forget any of the above mentioned articles of clothing…there are so many shops there where you could buy all these. And don’t worry, they’re not as crazy expensive as I thought they would be. You could even rent snow pants for $18/day.

TIP: Always keep a change of clothes in the car so you can get warm and dry as soon as snow play is over.

Watch: How to fold Bulky Winter Clothes

Check Road Conditions

Should you have your tires chained? Unless there’s some heavy snow fall, no you do not. Snow chains add traction when driving through snow and ice. We arrived the day after a snow storm so we were lucky. Still, we opted to buy tire chains from PepBoys to take with us just in case we needed it while we were there. Better safe than sorry. We could end up in a situation where we needed it.

Fortunately, we didn’t get to use it. We retuned it as soon as we got back. Please note that PepBoys charges a 20% restocking fee.

Getting There
From Pasadena, CA to Lake Tahoe, it should only take you 7 hours. But both ways, it took us 9 hours total. We were 4 adults and 2 young kids. We left Pasadena at exactly 6AM. Arrived at exactly 3PM.

Number of stops: 3.

1st stop – Breakfast at McDonald’s and Gas (Ate at the restaurant)
2nd stop — coffee and bathroom break at Starbuck (Mammoth Lakes
3ed Stop – Gas

There weren’t as much restaurants on the way. We had to exit to go to a Starbucks at Mammoth Lakes for coffee and to use the restroom. It was already 12noon and it was my first cup of coffee. Who am I?!

We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. We booked the King room and stayed on the 11th floor.

What we loved about staying here:
Free valet and parking.
The hotel is located at the end of the “strip”.
Short walk to lots of stores, restaurants, and activities.
Great view of the lake and hills.
The room was clean and the bed was super comfortable.

The only thing I didn’t like was that breakfast wasn’t included. But we managed. There was a coffee shop downstairs called, Fuel, where you could grab better coffee compared to the one you brew in the room.

Where to Eat

We always had brunch and suuuper late lunch which was like our dinner already. Yes, only 2 meals a day. We were so tired after the day’s activities, we were all in bed by 9pm.

Heidi’s Pancake House
Heaven’s Little Cafe

Naked Fish
My Thai Cuisine

Fun Snow Activities
None of us knew how to ski or snowboard so we just went snow tubing, sledding, and rode the snowmobile. For snow tubing and snowmobile, we just walked across the street from our hotel beside the parking lot of Montbleu Hotel.

The next day, when the rest of the EigenFam arrived, we went to Adventure Mountain for tubing, sledding, and some snow play. It was about 15 miles from our hotel but it was a lot cheaper and the slopes were longer and safer. We rented 2 sleds and 2 tubes for the whole family (10 adults 2 kids) which was more than enough. Expect a good workout from climbing up the slope. Haha!

Oh and please be careful! Watch us, well…just watch these videos here.

Handling the Altitude

Lake Tahoe sits at 6,225 feet in elevation. Which means, there is about 20 percent less oxygen per breath than there is at sea level. Which also means that you get dehydrated faster at this altitude. Your heart is working more at this altitude. So, you need to stay on top of hydration especially if you’re doing some snow activities. Drink water even if you don’t feel like it. And drink even more if you’re drinking alcohol or doing snow activities.

To put this in perspective, LA only has an altitude of 285 feet.

Important Read:
What you need to know about Altitude Sickness

Additional Tips:
* Even if it’s snowing, use plenty of sunscreen. Remember that at this altitude, you are much closer to the sun.
* Bring some snacks and water/drinks for the road (in case you get stuck in traffic)

I know, it’s a lot to remember, right? But planning ahead and keeping these tips in mind can help you have a Lake Tahoe vacation that is fun, memorable, and safe. If you more to add, please do so in the comments. Would love to hear from you!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *