Sunday, May 11, 2014

8 Things To Know Before You Come To Tahoe

The perfect vacation starts with a reservation
Photo Squaw Valley Lodge

1) Think Reservations. If you come to Tahoe during the High Season months, July, August, Christmas Week, February, and March, plan on making your hotel and dinner reservations in advance for all days of the week. All of which suggests that the other times of the year are great times to enjoy Tahoe without the crowds (what we call the Shoulder Seasons).
In June, September, and early October, you may not need to plan your week days, but you will likely need hotel and dinner reservations for the weekends. I recommend keeping your schedule flexible and watching the forecast. If the weather is going to be beautiful at any time during the Shoulder Seasons, you can often come up the mountain and have a great time without any advance planning. October and the beginning of November often have great weather. May is often glorious. (And often snowy, too!) If you want skiing without crowds, plan on early December, all of January, or early April.  The Shoulder Seasons provide good deals on lodging, and you can have Tahoe to yourself.
The rest of the time, come armed with reservations and you’ll be happy.

Check out the Cedar House Sport Hotel

2) If at all possible, try NOT to drive into Tahoe on Friday afternoon or evening or drive out on Sunday, especially during the High Seasons of July, August, Christmas week, February and March. At those times, the highways can become choked with stop-and-stop traffic. And when a holiday falls on Monday, the bad time to leave Tahoe switches from Sunday to Monday. Whenever possible, try to adjust your weekend to the middle of the week! If that’s not possible, try to drive earlier on Friday morning and later on Sunday.
Are these people all trying to get to Tahoe?!
Photo 7 Reasons .org

3) Remember that many if not most of the people who will help you with your lodgings and your meals and your ski/bike/kayak rentals earn their money from tips. Their hourly pay is usually pretty bleak, and most of them try hard to make your experience in Tahoe a good one. Also, remember the staff in the shadows that you sometimes never see. When your maid does a nice job cleaning up your hotel room, please tip generously. A small amount for you is likely a large amount for them.
Tips make a resort area function
The Economist

4) Yes, Tahoe is all about casual, mountain living, but we still appreciate people who wear clothes. For lots of locals, dressing up means tucking your flannel shirt into your jeans. But when you get off the beach, please put on some shoes and shirt and shorts or pants before you descend on the grocery store and other shops.
Thanks for putting on some clothes before you head to the supermarket!

5) Remember that the most popular places in Tahoe are places to avoid on weekends, especially on Saturday. In the winter, the ski resorts are the most crowded on Saturday and the second-most crowded on Sunday. On summer weekends, this means stay away from Emerald Bay, Sand Harbor, most of the parks. Locals avoid anyplace in Tahoe City on weekends because its conjunction of three highways and its one-lane-each-way road and pedestrian-friendly crosswalks and its overall attractive charm slow traffic to a stop.
Sand Harbor is one of the places that gets really crowded on weekends
Photo TouringTahoe . wordpress .com

6) Take boat inspections seriously. If you are bringing a boat into the Tahoe Basin, please get it inspected before you bring it near any body of water. Our precious lake is suffering the indignity of multiple alien species of plants and animals all because careless people thought the intakes on their Jetskis or the centerboard channels on their sailboats were clean when they weren’t. Watch for Boat Inspection signs when you come into the basin. If you don’t see them, please look up the inspection locations online and get your watercraft inspected before you launch into any of our lakes. As an added incentive, if you are caught on any watercraft without a boat inspection permit, your pocketbook will be very unhappy with the ticket. Thank you in advance for your care about this.
Please get all watercraft inspected before you put them in the water.
It will save Lake Tahoe, and it's the law.
Photo TahoeBoatInspections .com

7) Bring hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen for your kids! We constantly see families with parents wearing hats and sunglasses while their little kids - often with blue eyes and blond hair - have no sun protection! 

The children are burning their retinas and skin, getting understandably irritable, often crying, and the parents scold them for being in a bad mood! It doesn’t matter if your kids don’t want to wear sun protection. You have to teach them that it is necessary, otherwise everyone will be miserable. In addition, early, high-altitude sun exposure substantially increases cancer risk in later life.
Suns protection can prevent a vacation disaster
Photo ToastCarsonTahoe .com

8) Be certain to actually see some of the sights that make Tahoe so great. Locals often bump into tourists who spent their entire Tahoe vacation in the casinos and restaurants. That’s not Tahoe. I have personally met people who came to Tahoe and never saw Emerald Bay, never went up on the mountain either by hiking or riding the gondola or cable car, never skied or rode a bike, never drove around the lake. Get out and do stuff. It will make your vacation a thousand times more enjoyable and memorable. Gambling is fun, but you can do it anywhere. Try on some of those experiences that you can only do in Tahoe. You’ll be very glad you did!
Just Another Day In Paradise
Photographer: Jim Stamates
Jim Stamates is one of Tahoe's most famous photographers. Click on the image, check out his work, and maybe buy a piece or two. And when you get to Tahoe, go visit some of the places you found on his website! It will make your vacation!

1 comment:

  1. Speaking of crowded Tahoe..besides the 3 weeks we have planned for later July through August we are also coming up 4th of July weekend!
    We have never done it and its on my bucket list. We got a lakefront hotel room and plan on parking the car and never moving it. Very excited to see the fireworks show!!!!