Great family things to do in Lake Tahoe await you and your kids as it is a superb destination for fun and recreation. With all the fresh air you could wish for, stunning mountain trails, skiing, hiking, and water sports all available in the area, your holiday can be as active as you want it to be.

    You’ll find adventure parks, an ice-skating arena, and a ski resort on our list. If you’re looking for more relaxing activities to add to your Tahoe itinerary, you’ll find some stunning picnic spots, movie nights on a beach, as well as some scenic-but-gentle trails for a stroll. Whatever your preference for your family holiday, you’ll find lots to suit in our list of family-friendly things to do in Lake Tahoe.

    1

    Heavenly Ski Resort

    Ski impressive slopes in a spectacular setting

    Heavenly Ski Resort offers some of the best skiing opportunities in the Tahoe area. There are 97 trails to choose from here, so there's something to suit all abilities. If it’s your first-time skiing or you want to brush up on your skills, there’s a ski school on-site to help. You’ll find private, group, and family lessons available. There’s still plenty to do even when the powder’s gone. There are 3 hiking trails to explore that range from easy to difficult. For those with kids in tow, the Green Trail is a good option for the family hike. It’s an easy 1-mile round trip with spectacular views of Lake Tahoe below as well as out over Carson Valley.

    To reach the ski resort, you can take The Heavenly Gondola to the top of the mountain. The views are stunning over the lake, framed by the Sierra Nevada mountains in the background. Tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis and you can buy them in advance online.

    Location: 3860 Saddle Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Open: Hours vary by season

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    2

    Treetop Adventure Park

    Go for an aerial hike in this thrilling park

    Treetop Adventure Park in Tahoe City has a web of platforms and obstacles for visitors to navigate and explore. Think of it as aerial hiking through a forest. It’s the perfect spot for kids (and adults) to burn off extra energy. With wobbly bridges to negotiate, ziplines to slide down, cargo nets to climb, and ropes to swing on, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more thrilling way to interact with the stunning local scenery.

    A lot goes on here, so be sure to allow for at least 2 hours or so for your visit. There are a variety of courses to suit all ages and abilities. There are some restrictions though – the park is only suitable for the over 5s and the maximum weight allowed is 260 pounds (just under 118 kg). This is a popular Tahoe attraction and reservations are necessary.

    Location: 725 Granlibakken Rd, Tahoe City, CA 96145, USA

    Open: Hours vary by season

    Phone: +1 530-807-1004

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    3

    Baldwin Beach

    Enjoy a dip amid majestic scenery

    Baldwin Beach in South Lake Tahoe is best known for its stunning sandy strand that stretches for a half-mile. The views here are impressive, looking out over not only Lake Tahoe, but also the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains which encircle the lake. There’s plenty to do here, besides enjoying the spectacular views and the beach. This is a popular spot for launching a kayak and heading for Emerald Bay. Swimming is also a favoured activity and the beach makes for a good spot for a picnic.

    Located just 3 miles northwest of the City of South Lake Tahoe city on State Highway 89, the beach is part of National Forest land. That means there are no campfires or charcoal barbecues on the beach. Kayaks are available for rental and there are nearby parking and toilet facilities.

    Location: Baldwin Beach Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +1 530-543-2600

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    4

    Epic Discovery

    A popular adventure park for amazing rides and views

    Epic Discovery is an adventure park in the popular Heavenly Mountain Resort. The park is reachable via a gondola ride up the mountain that offers some amazing views over Lake Tahoe. Once you’ve arrived at the top, you’re treated to a wide range of activities. You can glide through the forest canopy on a zipline, swing through a series of rope courses, or careen along the tracks on the rollercoaster. It isn’t all white-knuckle thrills, however. The Animal Abilities interpretive centre offers a gentler experience for younger kids. There are also hiking trails, climbing walls, and tubing to enjoy too.

    Remember to wear hiking boots if you fancy walking the trails, especially after it’s been raining in the area. Also, you can save a few dollars by buying a combination ticket for the gondola and the rollercoaster. If you get hungry after all the activity, The Tamarack Lodge has a delicious barbecue popular with hungry adventurers.

    Location: 3860 Saddle Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Open: June–August: daily from 8 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 775-586-7000

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    5

    Emerald Bay State Park

    Explore a ‘secret’ stone castle and picturesque trails

    Emerald Bay State Park offers visitors some of the best views in and around Lake Tahoe. You’ll also find a variety of ways to enjoy the vistas here too. From snapping photographs from the deck of a boat cruise on the lake to exploring the ‘hidden’ stone castle of Vikingsholm, there’s plenty to see and enjoy here. Hiking is one of the big draws to the area and the trails cater to all ages and abilities. The Eagle Point Hiking Trail is a good option if you’re hiking with kids in tow. The trail is well-maintained and offers non-stop views out over the lake, Fannette Island, and the surrounding mountains. If you prefer to get out on the water, boats are available for hire and there’s even the option of snorkelling and scuba diving.

    Located 12 miles north of South Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay State Park is open daily from sunrise to sunset with camping available in summer. Dogs are allowed in some areas of the park, such as the campgrounds, except on the beach or the trails.

    Location: 138 Emerald Bay Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 7 pm

    Phone: +1 530-541-3030

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    6

    King’s Beach State Recreation Area

    For picnics and parasailing at this popular family spot

    King’s Beach State Recreation Area is a great place to visit any time of the year. It’s a popular spot for family picnics and topping up summer tans. There’s a fun playground onsite to keep the kids happy and active and there are lots of water-based activities to choose from too. Parasailing is popular here and there are paddleboards and kayaks for rent too. During the summer months, tour companies do day trips out on the lake.

    While the beauty of the great outdoors is the main draw here, there’s plenty of indoor attractions nearby, whenever the rains demand a change of plans. There are lots of restaurants and bars a short walk from the beach. There’s even a small theatre too when you crave for a little culture on your trip.

    Location: Bear St, Kings Beach, CA 96143, USA

    Phone: +1 530-523-3203

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    7

    Taylor Creek Visitor Center

    Grab a map in the centre and hit the trails

    Taylor Creek Visitor Center is the perfect place to start one of 4 fascinating and accessible self-guided hikes that begin here. At the centre, you’ll find a wide range of brochures, maps, and wilderness permits available – everything you need for your hike. Among the easiest, there’s the half-mile, wheelchair accessible, and meandering Rainbow Trail that offers views over Taylor Marsh and Taylor Creek. This trail also leads to the Stream Profile Chamber, an underground viewing chamber where visitors might even catch a glimpse of salmon spawning.

    Taylor Creek Visitor Center is 3 miles north of the city of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 89. The centre opens from the end of May through late October each year. Things can heat up here in the middle of summer, so it’s best to wear a hat and sunscreen if you intend to go hiking then.

    Location: Visitor Center Road, CA-89 N, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +1 530-543-2674

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    8

    South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena

    Get your skates on and get out on the ice

    • Couples
    • Families

    South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena is the only Olympic-sized ice rink in the Tahoe area. As well as hosting hockey and curling games, the rink has scheduled public skating times for adults and children. The rink is also home to a skate school where you can book a class or private lessons to begin your skating journey – or to top up your already existing skating skills. Hockey and skates are available to rent for reasonable prices. If your visit coincides with a weekend, look out for the night and blacklight skating events – firm favourites with the kids.

    South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena is a welcoming spot for beginners and seasoned skaters. Besides skating, the arena also has a snack bar, a shop, an arcade, and private party rooms for rent. There’s plenty here to keep the kids entertained for the day.

    Location: 1176 Rufus Allen Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Phone: +1 530-544-7465

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    9

    Kidzone Museum

    Interactive exhibits for kids to engage in

    • Families

    Kidzone Museum is home to a vast array of fun, interactive exhibits that will capture and hold the attention of kids of any age. This is not a passive experience. Everything here is designed to engage the child’s interest and encourage their development in a wide range of areas. From their problem-solving skills to their physical coordination, your child will get a workout for both brain and body. For the youngest, the nature-themed Baby Zone offers the Messy Art and Messy Science experience. For the more mobile, the Jungle Gym offers an enjoyable opportunity fort some monkeying around. The Exploration Station with its science-based activities is great for curious little minds.

    The Kidzone Museum is about a 20-minute drive just north of Tahoe City in the town of Truckee. This is a popular attraction for families with younger kids, but the venue limits the number of people they allow in at one time, so things don’t get too crowded. Many of the attractions are outdoors, so be sure to come dressed for adventure. A free bus runs here from King’s Beach at the northern end of Lake Tahoe.

    Location: 11711 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 1.30 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 530-587-5437

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    10

    Movies on the Beach

    Catch a blockbuster in the great outdoors

    • Families
    • Nightlife
    • Budget

    Movies on the Beach is a great way to add a dash of culture to an otherwise outdoorsy holiday in Tahoe City. This weekly event is held each Wednesday in summer. Conjuring up images of the drive-in movies of yesteryear, screenings are held outdoors and are as much a chance to socialise as an opportunity to catch a movie. Movies range from comedies to thrillers, but they’re all suitable for viewing by the whole family.

    There’s no set charge for the movie night, but a $1 donation is suggested. If you want to get cosy for the main feature, be sure to bring some chairs, blankets, and snacks. There’s a food truck parked up too if you get the munchies, though you might want to bring a torch to help you navigate in the dark.

    Location: 400 N Lake Blvd, Tahoe City, CA 96145, USA

    Phone: +1 530-583-3796

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    Shane Mac Donnchaidh | Contributing Writer

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