1. Raft the Truckee River.  More of a float trip than a rafting adventure, this is a great activity for the whole family.  You’ll be comfortable taking even very small children on this trip, especially during the summer when the river is so shallow in parts that you can get out and walk.  Pack a cooler and stop for lunch along the way.
  2. Do a ropes course at Tahoe Treetop Adventures.  There are three different locations to choose from, each one unique in it’s offerings.  We did the Squaw Valley Treetop course, which is an excellent choice for young kids up to adults.  One of the best parts about this course is their continuous belay mechanism, which means you don’t have to clip in and out of the safety wires.  This meant the kids could explore the course with little or no help from me, so I was free to have fun as well.  If you’re looking for a thrill, Give the Leap of Faith a try!  You climb up the side of a redwood tree and then jump from a platform and try to grab a trapeze (something my 10 year old made look easy, but that took every ounce of courage for me to do!).  This is the one activity that you will need to book in advance as time slots fill up quickly.IMG_4244
  3. Go horseback riding with Alpine Meadows Stables.  One of the best ways to explore the mountains and enjoy the scenery is on horseback.  Opt for a morning ride if you’re hoping to see some of the local wildlife.  If you’re traveling with younger children, Alpine Meadows Stables is a great choice because the minimum age of 6 to ride is younger than several other stables in the area.
  4. Take a boat trip around Lake Tahoe.  Pictures don’t do the immense size of Lake Tahoe justice. Renting a boat for the day is the best way to take in the amazing lake-side homes and explore the lake’s hidden coves and beaches.  If you’re not comfortable being the captain of your own boat, many companies also offer tour guides.
  5. Spend the day at the beach at Donner Lake’s West End Beach Park. This lovely 10-acre beach park includes paddle boat and stand up paddle-board rentals, a playground, sand volleyball courts, clean public restrooms, and a concession stand.  The beach is excellent for children, with a roped off area for swimming and lifeguards to help keep an eye on little ones.  Note that there is an entry fee of $4 for adults and $3 for children.
    Donner Lake West End Beach Park
  6. Explore the town of historic town of Truckee.  Away from the crowds and just a short drive from North Lake Tahoe is the lovely little town of Truckee.  What used to be a bustling logging town, is now a low-key Western town with several boutiques and restaurants.  Stop in at Burger Me for one of their acclaimed burgers (featured by Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives) or visit the kid-friendly Pour House, with 500 wines on hand from small vineyards around the world.
  7. Take a bike ride.  If you’re not comfortable on the water, renting bikes is another great way to see Lake Tahoe.  There are a plethora of places to rent bikes for you and the family, including tag-a-longs or trailers for little ones. Take the South Lake Tahoe Bike Path, which is paved and passes by the beautiful Baldwin and Pope beaches.  Alternatively, you can also bike the Truckee River Legacy Trail, which runs alongside the scenic Truckee River.
  8. Go off-roading at Prosser Reservoir.  There are hundreds of miles of off-road trails around Prosser Reservoir to be explored.  Several local companies rent a variety of all terrain vehicles that they can trailer to the reservoir for you or that you can pick up if you have a trailer hitch.  We rented a dirt bike for my husband and a 4-seat side by side for the rest of the family and had a blast.  Afterwards, wash off the dust and grime with a refreshing swim in the reservoir.  IMG_4199
  9. Hike Rubicon Trail.  Don’t let the length of this 12 mile trail deter you — you can make this out-and-back hike as long or as short as the kids can handle.  The trail is easily accessible from D.L. Bliss and takes you through some of the most beautiful scenery of South Lake Tahoe.  Pack a picnic lunch and don’t forget swimsuits and towels as there are many places to jump in the water and cool off along the way.
  10. Ride the Squaw Valley Aerial Tram to the High Camp. Take a panoramic 10 minute ride that climbs 2,000 vertical feet to Squaw Valley’s High Camp at an elevation of 8,200′.  Once you reach the top,  you can choose to set out on one of the walking or hiking trails, swim in the pool and hot tub, or take the kids skating at the mountain-top roller rink.   High Camp Adventure packages are a bit pricey at $55 per person, however there are discounts for booking in advance as well as discount family packages.