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  • Writer's pictureGabriella Viola

A Local's Guide To South Lake Tahoe In The Summer: What To Do, Where To Eat, Where To Stay!

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

South lake tahoe summer guide

In this post, I'm sharing the best activities, where to stay (for every budget), and my top picks for coffee houses, bars, and restaurants in South Lake Tahoe.

At the time of writing this, I've lived in South Lake Tahoe for almost three years. And before moving here, I would road-trip to Tahoe from LA several times a year. So, I guess you can say I've had some time to experience much of what South Lake Tahoe has to offer.

The hikes, activities, and restaurants mentioned in this post are what I recommend putting at the top of your list when visiting South Lake Tahoe in the summer. Consider this a local's guide to the best things to do in South Lake Tahoe.

*When visiting Lake Tahoe, keep it beautiful by practicing the Principles of Leave No Trace.

*I am not sponsored by any of the businesses mentioned in this post.


Just for clarification, I consider South Lake Tahoe to be the section between D.L. Bliss State Park on the southwest side and Cave Rock State Park on the southeast side.


What To Pack

Lake Tahoe Nevada

Lake Tahoe California

Here is a quick checklist of packing essentials when visiting Lake Tahoe in the summer:

  • Hat

  • Sunscreen

  • Sunglasses

  • Bathing suit

  • Camera

  • Hiking backpack

  • Hiking shoes

  • Flip flops

  • Removable layers


Getting Around

There is so much to do and see around Lake Tahoe, so having a car, whether you're renting or driving your own, is a must for getting to popular attractions, hiking trails, and different sides of the lake.

With that being said, most of the bars and restaurants are within walking distance of many hotels in South Lake Tahoe, particularly in Stateline (the most walkable and touristy section in South Lake Tahoe). If you want to get from one side of South Lake Tahoe to the other, for example, Stateline to the Y section, Uber is an option.

A word of caution: There are a lot of cops around South Lake Tahoe. It's not worth it to speed. You will more than likely get a ticket. And it goes without saying, definitely don't drink and drive.


Where to Stay

Stateline Lake Tahoe


You will find the biggest selection of budget hotels and motels in the Stateline area of South Lake Tahoe. And if you visit during the week, prices will be cut by more than half. I'm big on budget traveling, and when I used to road-trip up to Lake Tahoe, I would always stay in Stateline for price and convenience. Here are 3 of my top picks:

3 Peaks Resort & Beach Club

Lake Ridge Inn

Base Camp Tahoe South


Here are 3 mid-range hotels in South Lake Tahoe that I would recommend:

Postmarc Hotel and Spa Suites

Station House Inn

Hotel Azure

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino


For those looking for an upscale experience in South Lake Tahoe with all the luxurious amenities:

Edgewood Tahoe Resort

The Landing Tahoe Resort & Spa


There are many campsites around South Lake Tahoe. I haven't camped in Lake Tahoe myself, but I have driven by and hiked past a few campgrounds. I think these are two of the prettiest.

DL Bliss Campground

Fallen Leaf Lake Campground

Fallen Leaf Lake in South Lake Tahoe California
Fallen Leaf Lake in South Lake Tahoe


Where to Eat + Drink


There are quite a few local coffee houses around South Lake Tahoe that have those rustic, cozy, woodsy, and all-around adorable coffee house vibes. Nothing against Starbucks, but I recommend checking out one of these local, uniquely Tahoe spots to grab a coffee, pastries, and a breakfast sandwich.

Alpina Coffee Cafe

Clyde's Coffee Roasting Company

Cuppa Tahoe

Ernie’s Coffee Shop

Clydes Coffee Roasting Company
Clydes Coffee Roasting Company

Cuppa Tahoe


I've been to a handful of restaurants in South Lake Tahoe. Here are some of my favorites. I picked these spots based on the quality of the food, the beer and drink selection, and the atmosphere. I like restaurants that have great food and fun vibes! These spots are great for lunch, happy hour, or dinner.

Lake Tahoe AleworX

Beacon Bar and Grill

Sonney's BBQ Shack

MacDuff's Pub

MacDuffs Pub


If you are looking for a fun place to go out with good drinks and maybe a little live music in South Lake Tahoe, here's a nice mix of options. I've included everything from local dives to touristy casinos.

The Cocktail Corner

Lucky Beaver

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Emerald Bay Bar & Grill