You’re planning a family vacation this winter, but you’re wondering, “What is there to do in Tahoe with kids?”
South Lake Tahoe (and all of Lake Tahoe) is one of those places that has a piece of my heart. If you’re a nature lover, Tahoe is for you. If you need a little city in your life, Tahoe is for you.
South Lake Tahoe is for skiers, shoppers, snowshoers, and sun-seekers.
Winter trips to South Lake Tahoe and Shaver Lake are some of our favorite trips! To help make your trip one of the most memorable ones, ever, try some of these ideas.
Build Your Own Sled Run
More than anything, kids just want to play in the snow and drink hot cocoa. And, playing in the snow is FREE!
If you’re renting a cabin, they will likely have some shovels in the garage and you can build your own tube or sled run on a nearby hill. If you’re staying in a condo or hotel, bring your own shovel.
Sled runs can be made without shovels and are certainly more entertaining. Just watch out for the trees!
If you prefer something a little more sane and pre-fabricated, or you don’t have sleds, toboggans, or tubes, visit one of the free sledding areas.
This sledding area is geared toward young children. There’s a slight incline you can tube down but nothing too exciting. Sawmill Pond is best described as simple and sweet.
Slightly more adventurous than Sawmill Pond, this park is a great place to make snowballs, snowmen, and snow angels. There’s plenty of room to spread out and a couple of slightly steeper slopes.
Spooner Summit Slide Park
Not recommended for young children, this park is perfect for older children, teens, and adults looking for a little more thrilling experience. If you want to fly down a snow-covered slope (and not scoot), check out this park!
Resort Tube/Sled Hills
Many of the local ski resorts have groomed sled runs. Of course, these runs cost money aren’t customizable. But, if you don’t mind spending a little cash, and having facilities nearby are a priority, take your pick of one of the many options available at the neighboring ski resorts.
Allan making a sled run.
Happiness is a kid playing in the snow.
Go Ice Skating
We don’t have an ice skating rink where we live, so if we have the opportunity to skate on ice, we take it!
Heavenly Village Outdoor Ice Skating Rink
Located in the center of everything, this charming ice skating rink sits at the base of Heavenly Mountain. It looks like something straight out of a Christmas Hallmark movie. You can check their fees, hours of operation, and age limits on the Heavenly Village website.
South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena
This indoor arena is also open for public skate hours (though not currently due to COVID-19). Young skaters are welcome and, depending on your child’s age, they may even skate for free!
Take an Aerial Tram Ride
You’ll get no better view of Lake Tahoe than from high in the sky in a gondola! The scenic 2.4-mile ride starts at Heavenly Village and makes for a great family adventure.
At the top, there is an observation deck, warm drinks, and food for purchase. This experience can be a little pricey for families, so you may want to budget a little extra.
Go Skiing or Snowboarding
Lake Tahoe has some of the best ski resorts in California! There are 15 ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area, alone.
Sierra at Tahoe is one of our favorites. I feel like it’s perfect for families for a few reasons. One, because it’s smaller, the lift tickets aren’t quite as pricey as larger ski resorts. Also, because it’s smaller, it makes it easier to keep track of family members, but not so small you’re bumping elbows. Finally, even though it’s considered a smaller resort it has something for everyone with a variety of green, blue, and black diamond trails.
Warm layers make for happy snow memories
Ride the Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster
Riding the mountain coaster at Heavenly isn’t something we’ve done as a family, yet, but it’s definitely on my list of things to do! This alpine roller coaster winds its way down the mountain and looks like a fun adventure for those who like a little extra thrill in their lives.
Take a Hike at Emerald Bay
There’s something about hiking in the snow that is incredibly peaceful, likely because the snow muffles sound. We don’t have snowshoes, so we hike on trafficked trails in snow boots.
The Vikingsholm Trail located at Emerald Bay is a 1.7-mile roundtrip hike offering beautiful views. The Vikingsholm museum is closed in the winter, but you can still walk around the exterior and enjoy the beauty of nature.
The trail can be icy in spots at times, so make sure you’re wearing quality snow boots to help prevent slipping. Like you would for any hiking adventure, stick with the best hiking practices by dressing in layers, staying on the trail, and bringing snacks, and water.
Hike to Vikingsholm in the snow
Emerald Bay in the winter
Make snow slushies
It’s a bit of a family tradition to create snow slushies on our winter vacations. Sometimes it’s the simplest of things that bring the most joy.
Bring along some cups, spoons, and some snow cone syrup, soda, or juice. Find some fresh, powdery snow to fill up your cup (dirty, old, icy snow just won’t do) then pour over your favorite drink or syrup.
Tahoe is perfect for families!
ENJOY YOUR WINTER VACATION AT SOUTH LAKE TAHOE
We’ve created some amazing memories from our family trips to Lake Tahoe and wish the same for you and your family. Have you been to Lake Tahoe in the winter? If so, what is your favorite thing to do with your family?
If you’re planning a trip to Lake Tahoe, drop a note below and tell us about it!