Hidden gems in South Lake Tahoe

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Natalia Brusco/Staff

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Having practically spent every single summer in South Lake Tahoe since I was born, I have a few hidden gems up my sleeve. Although most of these recommendations are for warmer weather, a few stand as absolutely perfect spots to watch the snow fall down onto the lake and relax with a hot cup of coffee.

Due to social distancing guidelines, please be mindful of these locations, and if they happen to be crowded, go on a different day or choose an alternative hidden gem on this list — safety first!

Fallen Leaf Lake

Believe it or not, this lake is less than a mile away from Lake Tahoe. It’s an absolutely beautiful spot with excellent trails immersed in trees and wildlife, and there are recreational activities, such kayaking, available as well. And the coolest part — the beach is filled with rocks (no sand!), so make sure you ditch your flip-flops for tennis shoes!

Emerald Bay

This beach isn’t exactly hidden — it’s actually quite a popular destination. However, not many people realize that Emerald Bay is much more than a beach and has loads of places to explore. For instance, Vikingsholm, a beautiful mansion with 38 rooms built in the year 1929, is such a fun place to visit! There are also tons of hiking trails, and there is even a spot to go scuba diving!

Echo Lake

This is probably my favorite place in South Lake Tahoe and is a must-see in the summertime.. The lake is beyond gorgeous, and there is a hiking trail that is about 5.3 miles long and takes you all the way around the lake. Incredibly scenic, the five miles might take you forever to complete because you’ll be stopping to take in the view every few steps.

Baldwin Beach

My family and I always go here when we want to relax and escape from the crowds. This beach is extremely mellow and quiet, and it is also quite long and narrow in length so folks always spread out and give each other lots of space between each family. Despite being more laid-back, you can still rent kayaks and paddleboards to use along Lake Tahoe’s calm waters.

These are my favorite four places in South Lake Tahoe, and every time I’m up there, I go to them all! From hiking around Echo Lake, laying on the beach at Fallen Leaf Lake, paddleboarding at Baldwin Beach and exploring historical sites at Emerald Bay, these are gems for sure.

Contact Natalia Brusco at [email protected].