- The best place to stay in Lake Tahoe in winter depends on the purpose of your visit.
- South Lake Tahoe is the better option for first-time visitors, while North Lake is great for those who are visiting with the primary objective of skiing or snowboarding as much as possible.
- For non-skiers, South Lake offers easy access to nightlife and winter-fun activities such as snowparks and ice skating rinks.
Lake Tahoe may look small on a map, but it is huge, and each shore offers an entirely different experience for a stay at this Alpine Lake.
From the party scene near Stateline to the north shore with its easy access to the ski resorts, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to book a room.
Well, the good news is that we visit Lake Tahoe often during the winter, and it is our favorite destination for playing in the snow, including visiting the local ski resorts.
After so many trips and stays, we included all the details you will need to pick out the best place to stay in Lake Tahoe in winter.
Best Place to Stay in Lake Tahoe in Winter
The best place to stay in Lake Tahoe in winter is in either South Lake Tahoe or North Lake Tahoe, and which one you choose will depend on several key factors.
If you are just as interested in the après ski festivities, you will want to be closer to the nightlife and off-snow entertainment in South Lake.
For the hardcore ski and snowboard fanatics, you will want to stay in North Lake, where you will have easy access to 12 ski resorts within a short drive.
Both sides of Lake Tahoe are perfect for a snowy winter getaway as they each offer a different experience that will better suit specific groups or individuals who plan on visiting.
A family may opt to rent a cabin in the woods in North Lake Tahoe where they can sip cocoa by the fire, while a young couple may book a room at a hip lodge with its own on-site brewery in South Lake.
It’s also important to note that during the winter, it’s not very easy to transit from the north to the south or vice versa, as snowy conditions can make the drive long or nearly impossible.
The good news is that we have been staying in Lake Tahoe for years, and we know all the details you will need to find the perfect place to stay in this winter wonderland.
In our opinion, skip the north and the south shores and head to West Lake Tahoe, as we strongly believe this is the best area in Lake Tahoe to stay during winter for its natural surroundings and quiet nights.
NORTH LAKE TAHOE
North Lake Tahoe consists of six main small towns parsed along the gorgeous shoreline making it one of the most popular places to stay in Lake Tahoe during the summer and winter.
This area is where you will want to be if your primary goal is to play in the snow or to shred the slopes, as this area offers easy access to 12 ski resorts and many sno-parks.
One of the biggest benefits of a winter stay in North Lake Tahoe is that you can stay at one of the mega ski resorts, which feature full resort villages with everything you need for a fun-filled skiing getaway.
North Lake has more of a family vibe, as this area is far removed from the party atmosphere near the Stateline and all the casinos.
If you are looking for a quiet and less crowded place to rent a cabin where you can watch the snow fall across the lake’s crystal-clear water, this is the best place to stay in Tahoe in winter.
🏡THE MAIN TOWNS IN NORTH LAKE TAHOE
- Incline Village
- King’s Beach
- Olympic Valley
- Tahoe City
- Tahoe Vista
⛷️SKI RESORTS IN NORTH LAKE TAHOE: Northstar California Resort, Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley), Alpine Meadows, Diamond Peak, Homewood Mountain Resort, Granlibakken, Mt. Rose, Sugar Bowl, Donner Tahoe, Soda Springs, Boreal
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE
South Lake Tahoe is the best place to stay in Tahoe in winter for anyone who is just as interested in playing off the snow as they are in shredding the slopes.
This area of the lake is home to only one ski resort, with two others within a 45-minute drive (Sierra-at-Tahoe and Kirkwood), but the Heavenly Mountain Resort gondola is located right in the heart of the action in South Lake.
Although this area is much more built up and feels somewhat disconnected from the more natural portions of Lake Tahoe, it does offer more fun than most can handle.
From celebrated craft breweries like South Lake Brewing Company to the party atmosphere on the casino strip, the après ski action will be in full effect.
One of the big upsides of staying in South Lake Tahoe in winter is the easy access to everything you could need, from grocery stores to amazing restaurants, often within a short walk of many accommodations.
You can watch the sunset in Lake Tahoe at Zephyr Cove or you can stay near Stateline and start your evening early with a pint at one of the amazing local breweries.
While this area may not be as good for a family destination as North Lake Tahoe, there are plenty of great resorts to stay in where the kids will have a good time.
🏡THE MAIN TOWNS AND AREAS IN SOUTH LAKE TAHOE
- South Lake Tahoe
⛷️SKI RESORTS IN SOUTH LAKE TAHOE: Heavenly Ski Resort, Sierra-at-Tahoe, Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe in Winter
South Lake Tahoe
While South Lake Tahoe is the name for the entire southern portion of the lake, it is also a city located near the intersection of Highways 50 and 89 called the “Y.”
This city is situated on the California side of the southern shore and is just far enough away from the party atmosphere of the casinos to retain its mountain town vibe.
South Lake Tahoe in the winter is a perfect place to book a room or rent a cabin, as this area offers easy access to several ski resorts and sno-parks for the kids to do some tubing.
There are also many great restaurants, breweries, and even full grocery stores for stocking up a cabin in case of a snowstorm.
This area offers access to shuttle services that will get you to the base of the slopes without driving in dangerous road conditions.
This is one of the best places to stay in Tahoe during winter if you want convenience and easy access to lots of fun activities.
- BUDGET: Tahoe Seasons Resort offers incredible amenities ranging from a heated outdoor pool to a full restaurant, but the best part is that this Lake Tahoe ski resort is only 200 yards from the Heavenly Tram.
- MID-RANGE HOTEL: Postmarc Hotel & Spa Suites is conveniently located in the heart of South Lake Tahoe and most of the rooms come with whirlpool spa tubs for relaxing after a day of skiing.
- MID-RANGE CABIN: Black Bear Lodge is a favorite for visitors to Lake Tahoe for its combination of cabin-in-the-woods decor that is mixed perfectly with modern touches that make a stay comfortable.
- LUXURY HOTEL: Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge & Spa offers suite-style accommodations with lakefront views while still being located less than a mile from Heavenly Ski Resort.
Stateline is the small area where the California and Nevada borders meet on the eastern side of the southern shore of Lake Tahoe.
This area is where you will not only find Heavenly Mountain Ski Resort, but you will discover a fun-filled atmosphere of the casinos and all the adult entertainment like breweries and bars.
If you want to play as hard off the snow as you will play on it, this is the area you will want to book your stay.
The good news is that you can book a room in one of the casino towers if you’re looking for the best place to stay in Lake Tahoe in winter on a budget.
You can also opt to stay in a resort near Heavenly Village that will be much more tame and allow you to enjoy some quiet time when needed.
This is one of our favorite areas to stay in Lake Tahoe in winter for a shorter stay, as almost everything we could want is within a short drive or walk of most accommodations.
After a long day of snowboarding or skiing, the last thing you will want is to drive 20 minutes out of the way to grab something to eat.
Stateline is home to a huge variety of accommodations ranging from ultra-luxury options right on the water to charming outdoors-themed lodges with a beer garden.
If this is your first time staying in Lake Tahoe during the winter, this is a fun way to enjoy some time in the snow while making the most of this area’s amazing amenities.
Stateline is also one of the best places to stay in Lake Tahoe in December for a Christmas vacation in California, as this area is where they host the majority of the region’s holiday festivities.
- BUDGET: Basecamp Tahoe South is a super popular outdoorsy hotel located just steps from the action near Stateline, but why go out when you can sit by the fire and enjoy a pint at their on-site brewery?
- MID-RANGE HOTEL: The Jeffrey Hotel offers contactless check in to their gorgeously designed modern rooms inside a retro motorlodge just a short walk from the casinos.
- LUXURY HOTEL: Marriott’s Timber Lodge is perfectly situated inside of the Heavenly Village and is literally just steps from the gondola that takes skiers right to the top of the mountain.
- LUXURY RESORT: Edgewood Tahoe Resort is one of Lake Tahoe’s most prestigious luxury resorts with world-class amenities and stunning suites with views of the forest and the lake’s blue water.
Incline Village is an upscale area of Lake Tahoe that is known for its million-dollar mansions and luxury cabins.
This area is very limited in its accommodation options, but there are a few great options that provide easy access to several ski resorts, including Mt. Rose and Diamond Peak.
If you are looking for a quiet area for a family retreat or a romantic getaway to the snow, this area is perfect, as you will not have to deal with the larger crowds that you will find in other areas of Lake Tahoe.
The town center has plenty of good restaurants to choose from, a Raley’s grocery store, and Alibi Ale Works for a post-ski refreshment.
Outside of a few watering holes, there is little to no nightlife, which can be good for those who want to spend their evening relaxing in preparation for a day on the slopes or tubing in Lake Tahoe.
- MID-RANGE HOTEL: Club Tahoe Resort has the feel of a private rental, but you get all the amenities and service you would expect from an all-suite hotel in the heart of Incline Village.
- MID-RANGE CONDO: Perfectly Located Condo with a Hot Tub offers everything you could need for a relaxing stay in North Lake Tahoe, and it’s only an eight-minute drive to Diamond Peak Ski Resort.
- LUXURY HOTEL: Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort is the perfect stay and play getaway, complete with its own entertainment ranging from a full-service spa to several on-site dining options at this Lake Tahoe resort hotel.
- LUXURY CABIN: Woodland Home with a Private Hot Tub and Fireplace has the amenities and a comfortable space for a perfect family getaway that is only a half mile from the lifts at Diamond Peak Ski Resort.
King’s Beach / Tahoe Vista
These two towns, located on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, offer just the right amount of amenities while maintaining a small mountain town vibe.
While these quaint areas of the lake offer a perfect departure from the rowdiness in South Lake, they still offer enough options to keep you entertained and well-fed.
Along North Lake Blvd., which runs through the center of town, you will find several great restaurants ranging from small burrito shops to sit-down options with some of the best views of Lake Tahoe in winter.
This area is also supported by plenty of local shops and a full-size Safeway grocery store for supply runs.
King’s Beach is the best place to stay in Lake Tahoe in winter if you plan to ski or snowboard at Northstar but do not want to shell out the extra cash to stay in the village accommodations like the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe.
There is also a great sledding hill located at North Tahoe Regional Park where you can play in the snow for only a $5 parking fee and a $5 sledding fee, which is the best deal in Tahoe in winter.
- BUDGET: Crown Motel offers a chance to book a room with views of the shores of Lake Tahoe, while only being a short 10-minute drive to Northstar ski resort.
- MID-RANGE HOTEL: Red Wolf Lakeside Lodge is conveniently situated along the shore between Tahoe Vista and Kings Beach and is only a four-minute drive from North Tahoe Regional Park for some sledding.
- MID-RANGE HOTEL: Firelite Lodge is a modern roadside hotel offering comfortably appointed mini suites less than a 30-minute drive to most of North Lake Tahoe’s Ski Resorts.
- MID-RANGE CABIN: Tahoe Cabin with Lake Views from Every Room provides all the mountain vibes you could want from a charming cabin in the woods, but with the added bonus of a hot tub on the deck.
Tahoe City / Tahoma / Homewood
This area of the Lake is known as the West Shore and is a much quieter area with a lot fewer amenities compared to the northern or southern portions of Lake Tahoe.
West Lake Tahoe has a cabin in the woods feel as the area is mostly made up of residential and vacation homes, which are nestled up against the forest that line the edge of the lake.
This is one of our favorite areas to stay in Lake Tahoe, as it feels a lot more connected to nature and is a perfect place to relax with a good book while watching the snowfall outside.
Tahoe City is big enough to support the droves of summer tourists, which means there are plenty of restaurants and a grocery store to supply your cabin rental.
There are also some great accommodations in the area that feel very homey and are a big departure from some of the resorts in other areas of Tahoe.
This area also offers easy access on Highway 89 to many of the top ski resorts in Tahoe, like Palisades, but there are smaller resorts that are in the neighborhood, like Homewood and Granlibakken.
You can also warm up with a good soak in one of the Lake Tahoe hot springs that are located near Crystal Bay.
- MID-RANGE HOTEL: Cottage Inn at Lake Tahoe offers the feel of a cabin in the woods with the comforts of a hotel which includes a custom breakfast delivered right to your room in the morning.
- MID-RANGE HOTEL: Basecamp Tahoe City is a mountain chic hotel that draws in the outdoorsy crowd to relax after a day on the slopes at their lobby bar that offers beer on tap.
- LUXURY CABIN: Cedar Crest Cottages offers gorgeous custom-designed accommodations nestled in a forested park-like setting that is less than a half mile from Homewood Ski Resort.
This small unincorporated community was originally built up as a way to accommodate the necessary amenities and infrastructure to host the 1960 Winter Olympics that were set to be held at the connected Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort (formerly Squaw Valley).
If you choose to stay here, there are lots of hotel and accommodation options that offer direct or a short walk to the ski resorts lifts and gondolas.
This makes Olympic Valley the best part of Lake Tahoe to stay in winter for skiers and snowboarders.
A room in this area is on the pricey side, as many of the nearby hotels are upscale or luxury brands that command the appropriate pricing for the nice rooms and proximity to the resort.
This area is also referred to as the Olympic Village, as there is a small alpine-style community area with several restaurants and small stores for supplies and on-mountain munchies.
There are also several top-end outdoor retailers, including Patagonia, where you can pick up any ski gear you forgot, like a neck warmer or a new pair of gloves.
This is not the ideal area to stay in Lake Tahoe, unless you plan on spending a few days skiing or snowboarding at Palisades.
If you are one of these die-hard ski enthusiasts, the good news is that there is plenty of fun for the whole family, including an ice skating rink, a tubing area, snowshoeing, and a mountain-top happy hour at High Camp.
- LUXURY HOTEL: Everline Resort & Spa is the best ski-in ski-out Lake Tahoe resort, featuring amazing amenities ranging from a full service spa for post-ski massages and access right to the lifts.
- LUXURY HOTEL: The Village at Palisades Tahoe is located right in the center of the Palisades Village and offers eight hot tubs, a heated pool, and a sauna, and the ski lifts are just steps from the rooms.
- LUXURY RESORT: Olympic Village Inn Olympic Valley offers condo-style accommodations that feature all the comforts of home with easy access to skiing and snowboarding at Palisades Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe Winter Cabins
Lake Tahoe Cabins near Heavenly Ski Resort
- Tahoe Cabin in the Woods 2 Blocks from the Gondola – This homey cabin with a hot tub offers all the charm of a forest cabin, but it is also located just blocks from entertainment near the Stateline and the Heavenly gondola.
- Pet-Friendly Cedar Cabin – This small cabin near Stateline is within walking distance of amazing restaurants, breweries, casinos, and the gondola at Heavenly Village.
- Highly-Rated Winter Cabin with Hot Tub – If you are looking for a quiet rental away from the parties near Stateline, this homey getaway located near the town of Meyers is a perfect option for a family snow vacation.
Lake Tahoe Winter Cabins near Northstar Resort
- Modern Northstar Cabin with Hot Tub & Decks – For those planning to hit the slopes at Northstar ski resort, this stunning contemporary cabin is perfectly situated for a quiet snowcation surrounded by forest.
- Fully-Equipped Spacious Cabin – This cozy cabin located in North Lake Tahoe features a large kitchen, a hot tub, and comfortably designed decor that will make you feel right at home after a day of skiing.
- Northstar Winter Cabin Perfect for Families – If you are looking for a place that feels like a cabin but has plenty of modern amenities for a comfortable stay, then this cabin next to Northstar is perfect for a trip to the snow.
Other Lake Tahoe Ski Cabins
- Secluded Family Winter Cabin in the Woods – This cabin with a hot tub is located in the Tahoe Pines area on the West Shore and is a perfect location for those looking to hit the slopes at Homewood, which is only one mile away.
- Tahoe City Cabin with Spectacular Lake View – Booking a stay at this cabin is worth it alone for the views from the large deck and for its easy access to many of the area’s ski resorts.
- Gorgeous Creekside Cabin in Incline Village – This two-story townhouse offers a private community’s comforts but with the added bonus of feeling secluded with a creek running right outside the back deck.
Best Places to Stay in Lake Tahoe During Winter
Where should I stay in Lake Tahoe in winter?
The best place to stay in Lake Tahoe in winter is in North Lake Tahoe, which offers a perfect combination of easy access to the area’s ski resorts and high-quality accommodations.
This area comprises several smaller towns that line the waterfront with great main drags full of restaurants, breweries, and fun shops to explore.
North Lake Tahoe is also home to many options for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, along with several sno-parks and sledding hills for the kids.
Is North or South Lake Tahoe better in winter?
South Lake Tahoe is the better option for first-timers visiting Lake Tahoe in winter, while North Lake is perfect for those who are visiting with the primary objective of skiing or snowboarding as much as possible.
North Lake Tahoe offers better access to more ski resorts, while South Lake Tahoe is the perfect destination for après ski fun as the area is jam-packed with nightlife and great restaurants.
North Lake Tahoe also feels more connected to nature than South Lake, which adds to the winter getaway in the mountains that many visitors crave.
What part of Lake Tahoe is best for families in winter?
The best part of Lake Tahoe for families in winter is on the North Lake, where visitors will find a perfect combo of snow activities and amenities to entertain all ages.
North Lake Tahoe offers access to 12 of the area’s ski resorts and countless sledding hills and sno-parks for tubing with the kids.
The towns that line the lake on the north shore have lots of family-friendly accommodations and restaurant options ranging from casual take-out spots to family-friendly sit-down restaurants with views of the lake.
North Lake Tahoe is also far removed from the party atmosphere that is found along the casino areas in the Stateline area in South Lake Tahoe.
Where is the best place to stay in Lake Tahoe for skiing?
The best place to stay in Tahoe for skiing is at one of three resort-style villages with skiing areas, including Heavenly, Palisades, and Northstar.
These resort properties offer direct access to the lift chairs and have all the restaurants and additional amenities so you can focus on hitting the slopes.
Heavenly Mountain Resort is situated in the heart of the action in South Lake Tahoe, while Palisades and Northstar are isolated on their own property between North Lake Tahoe and Truckee.
Where is the best place in Lake Tahoe for snow play?
The best place for snow play in Lake Tahoe is at the North Tahoe Regional Park, less than 5 minutes from Tahoe Vista and Kings Beach.
This large sledding hill offers just enough of a hill to pick up enough speed to make it fun, but not so much that it is dangerous.
Parking will cost $5 for the car, and they charge $5 per person for anyone who wants to rent a sled and use the hill.
This is a great place for kids, and this snow play area is one of the best values in the Tahoe area in winter.
Where is the best place to stay in Lake Tahoe in Winter on a budget?
The best place to stay in Lake Tahoe in winter on a budget is in Stateline where you will find several casino hotels offering affordable rooms.
Staying in Stateline will also give you access to several budget-friendly restaurants so you can still enjoy your vacation without emptying your wallet.
Lake Tahoe in Winter for Non-Skiers
You don’t have to ski or snowboard to have an amazing time in Lake Tahoe during the winter.
The snow season represents one of the best times of year to head to this alpine lake for a romantic getaway or for some much needed quality time with your family.
You can book a room at one of the many amazing properties that line the lake with views of the blue water, or you can opt for a vacation rental.
Our favorite is to book a cozy cabin in the woods in West Lake Tahoe, where we can relax with a good glass of wine and watch the snow fall through the windows.
There are also lots of fun activities in Lake Tahoe in winter for non-skiers, including ice skating at Northstar or Palisades, tubing at one of the many snow parks, or hitting the trails on a snowshoeing adventure.
There are also countless great restaurants, along with adult activities like breweries and nightlife at the casino area at Stateline.
While Lake Tahoe is the skiing and snowboarding hub of California, there are plenty of fun things to do off the slopes for a memorable escape to this winter wonderland.
|South Lake Tahoe||✅ Lots of amenities like grocery stores and restaurants|
✅ Convenient location for access to the whole lake
✅ Close to nightlife
✅ Close to Heavenly Ski Resort and Sierra at Tahoe
|👎 This is a busy area during peak ski season or the holidays|
👎 Feels more built up and removed from nature
👎 Have to drive to ski resorts or take one of the shuttles
|Stateline||✅ Best place to find affordable accommodations|
✅ Walking distance to nightlife and the casinos
✅ Easy access to Heavenly Mountain Resort
|👎 Stateline feels disconnected from nature|
👎 The area has a party vibe that can get rowdy at times
👎 This is the most crowded area of Lake Tahoe
|Incline Village||✅ Affluent area of Lake Tahoe with large, beautiful homes|
✅ Not as touristy as other parts of the lake
✅ A short drive from Diamond Peak Ski Resort
|👎 Very few hotels or other accommodation options|
👎 Hotel and rental prices are high in this area
👎Not much to do other than ski in the winter
|King’s Beach||👎 Not as natural and forest-covered as the West Shore|
👎 It can still get busy during the holidays
👎 It’s a long drive to the casinos and nightlife in the south
|👎 Not as natural and forest-covered as the West Shore|
👎 It can still get busy during the holidays
👎 It’s a long drive to the casinos and nightlife in the south
|Tahoe City||✅ Perfect combination of nature and amenities|
✅ Relaxed mountain town vibe that is very welcoming
✅ Easy access to North Lake Tahoe’s 12 ski resorts
|👎Not many hotels to choose from in the area|
👎 Apres Ski options are limited and the town is dead at 10 pm
👎 Vacation rentals can be on the expensive side
|Olympic Valley||✅ Directly connected to Palisades Ski Resort|
✅ Secluded area away from the touristy area near the lake
✅Also has gondola access to Alpine Meadows
|👎 You will have to drive 15 minutes to get to the lakeshore|
👎Amenities are limited to resort offerings
👎 There is nothing to do outside of skiing and other resort activities
Visiting Lake Tahoe in Winter
Lake Tahoe represents the ultimate winter getaway in California and Nevada, with 15 ski resorts and countless other ways to enjoy the snow ranging from cross-country skiing to tubing.
The cold conditions in Lake Tahoe mean that you are sure to see lots of snow covering the trees and the mountains, and you will certainly feel the chill as daytime highs average in mid-40s.
Lake Tahoe in winter is the perfect way to enjoy a family vacation or for a romantic excursion where you will be surrounded by gorgeous snowy landscapes.
Visitors can look forward to all the dining and nightlife that are enjoyed during the summer but with less of a crowd.
Getting to Lake Tahoe in Winter
Getting to Lake Tahoe in winter can be super easy as there are several airports in close proximity to this snowy mountain getaway.
This includes the Reno Airport, which is less than a one hour drive to North Lake Tahoe if the road conditions are clear.
Flying into Reno does come with some risk as flights can be canceled if a snowstorm blows through, but you can also opt to fly into Sacramento or San Francisco and drive over the passes.
The best option for most visitors is to fly into Sacramento and head to the mountain first thing in the morning of the day you plan to check in to your accommodation.
If you plan to fly into Reno International Airport, there is a shuttle service that can drop you off right to your accommodation in North Lake Tahoe.
Driving to Lake Tahoe in Winter
Driving to Lake Tahoe in the winter should not be taken lightly, especially if you are inexperienced driving in the snow.
The conditions are often clear, and the drive is usually fairly safe, but you will need to take extra precautions as the weather can change in a moment.
You will need to carry chains over the mountain passes as you never know when a winter storm will drop a few inches of fresh powder.
If the roads are icy or covered in snow, officials can require chains for all cars and vehicles at any time they deem necessary, which can leave you stranded if you are unprepared.
There is an exception that in lighter snow conditions, vehicles with all-wheel drive and all conditions tires can skip the chain requirements, so take this into consideration if you plan to rent a car.
It’s also a good idea to make sure to carry warm blankets, snacks, plenty of water, and a flashlight in case Highway 50 or 80 shut down stranding motorists.
If you plan to drive from most areas in California, including the Bay Area, you will want to take Highway 50 if your accommodation is near South Lake Tahoe and Highway 80 if you are staying in the North.
For those who are also planning on taking a winter road trip from Yosemite National Park to Lake Tahoe, the Tioga Pass road will be closed for the season and you will end up taking Highway 50.
Drive times will vary greatly depending on the road conditions, and if you plan to arrive right after a snowstorm, be prepared for the trip to take an extra couple of hours.
Generally, the drive will take some additional time compared to the summer months as drivers tend to slow down to avoid hidden dangers like black ice.
To see the most recent road conditions, visit the Caltrans website and select the highway you plan to use to get to Lake Tahoe.
- Reno: 37.4 miles, 47 minutes
- Sacramento: 113 miles, 1 hour 57 minutes
- San Francisco: 200 miles, 3 hours 23 minutes
- Bay Area: 175 miles, 2 hours, 54 minutes (Martinez)
- San Jose: 232 mile, 3 hours 50 minutes
Is it safe to drive to Lake Tahoe in winter?
Yes, driving to Lake Tahoe in winter is safe, as long as you only make the trip when the road conditions are free of snow and ice, and you follow all driving laws like carrying tire chains at all times.
The road conditions can be dangerous during a winter storm, and extra precautions should be taken to ensure that you are prepared in case of a snowstorm or an ice event.
When driving in mountainous areas of California, make sure to carry tire chains, blankets, and provisions like food and water, as road conditions can change rapidly.
The weather and the chance of getting stuck in a snowstorm increase greatly after November in Lake Tahoe.
Can you drive around Lake Tahoe in the Winter?
Yes, you can drive around Lake Tahoe in winter, and if the road conditions are good, it will take around 2 to 3 hours, depending on how many times you stop along the way.
This loop around the lake can be a very fun and beautiful drive with the snow-covered forests and mountains on one side and the blue lake on the other.
While the roads are usually open, Highway 89 by Emerald Bay closes almost every year for a few short stretches after heavy snow falls in the area.
Check the road conditions before starting your adventure around the lake by visiting the Caltrans Website.
Best Time to Visit Lake Tahoe in Winter
The best time to visit Lake Tahoe in Winter is during the month of February when the base of snow is nice and thick.
For skiers and snowboarders, February represents the best time to score some fresh powder on the slopes, as this month gets the most snow on average.
As snowboarders, this has been one of our favorite months to go hit the slopes for those perfect bluebird days.
In general, February is a little quieter than during the holidays at snow parks and at ski resorts, which means shorter lines and more time playing in the snow.
On average, the temperatures are a little more comfortable with daytime highs being around four degrees warmer than December and January.
February is also the perfect time to plan a romantic getaway to Lake Tahoe just in time for Valentine’s Day, where you can book a charming cabin in the woods where couples can cuddle up around the fire.
Lake Tahoe Weather in Winter
When visiting Lake Tahoe in Winter, expect it to be cold during your entire visit as temperatures range from around 40° F for the daytime high to lows in the mid-20s.
The temperature will drop fast as soon as the sun sets, so make sure to be prepared for snowy conditions to turn icy if you are still out and about after dark.
That means that you will want to bring your warmest clothing and bring along lots of layers to adapt from outdoor temperatures to those inside restaurants and other indoor facilities.
Lake Tahoe is famous for getting an average of over 400 inches of snow a year while also having over 300 days of sunshine.
This means that you should expect to get a few bluebird days on the ski slopes or at snow parks, but it’s also important to be prepared for blizzard conditions.
Make sure you are stocked up with plenty of food at your rental in case the conditions are unsafe for going out.
Is Lake Tahoe worth visiting in winter?
Yes, Lake Tahoe is worth visiting in winter and is one of the top snow destinations in the United States.
Lake Tahoe is home to 15 ski resorts and lots of snow parks and play areas where you can build a snowman or hit the slopes.
Even if you prefer to stay off the snow, there is plenty to do ranging from lots of nightlife near the casinos in South Lake Tahoe to great restaurants with views of the lake’s crystal clear blue water.
Which part of Lake Tahoe is best in winter?
The best part of Lake Tahoe in winter is in North Lake Tahoe which is in close proximity to the majority of the ski resorts in the region.
This area offers a perfect combination of small towns with lots of amenities including restaurants and breweries, but also has access to several snow parks for tubing and building snowmen.
North Tahoe Regional Park is one of the best places for families to do some sledding and tubing, and this snow play area is just a few minutes from Kings Beach.
How cold does Lake Tahoe get in the winter?
Lake Tahoe gets very cold during the winter, with daytime highs averaging 41° F and lows in the mid-20s.
The lowest temperature ever recorded in Lake Tahoe was minus 29° F in both 1972 and 1989.
While the temperatures may be very low, Lake Tahoe gets an average of 300 days of sunshine each year, which helps keep the daytime temperatures fairly regulated.
Is Lake Tahoe good in the winter?
Lake Tahoe is very good in winter, with incredible skiing and snowboarding at the area’s 15 ski resorts and plenty of fun and nightlife near the Stateline on the south shore.
This alpine lake draws in large crowds to enjoy over 400 inches of snow each year with an average of 300 sunny days.
This combination of fun and beautiful conditions makes Lake Tahoe the top winter destination in California.
Bottom Line: Best Places to Stay in Lake Tahoe in Winter
Now that you know everything you need to know to pick out the best place to stay in Lake Tahoe in Winter, all you have to do is book your cabin or a room at a mountain resort.
So what are you waiting for? Dig out your beanie and your snow gloves and start packing for a romantic getaway or for a family retreat in Lake Tahoe.