Lake Tahoe straddles California and Nevada. An argument exists between the states about which state offers superior views. Mike and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about so we circumvented the lake in our car to compare the views. What did we find? It’s all pretty flippin’ beautiful!
We drove in to South Lake Tahoe via Highway 50 and 89 from Sacramento. The drive through Eldorado Forest is scenic, but it pails in comparison to your first glimpses of Lake Tahoe.
South Lake Tahoe is in California, but we continued on 50 (or 89 depending on your map) and began driving east and north and crossed the state line in to Nevada in no time. We kept driving north in our rental car on Highway 28 in order to hug the shoreline of Lake Tahoe. The road circumvents the lake and stays close to the shoreline. This gives you kick-ass views from slightly above the water. We pulled off frequently so that Mike could really take in the views, because, you know, driving while looking over your shoulder is not the safest!
One of the highlights for me was Sand Harbor lookout. It is this small park with picnic tables and launching point for boats, but the scenery is almost unbelievable. The lake bottom is sandy and rocky, which makes the water this bright turquoise colors. And then, the mountains in the background; it is just perfection! It reminded us of the Caribbean Ocean we saw in Exuma mixed with the snow capped peaks we marveled at in Switzerland; simply breathtaking.
We kept going and my stomach started growling. I have a problem with getting hangry! I know I can’t be along! So, we passed through a few lake side towns and saw more great views. We reached the northern most point of the lake, drove back into California and begin driving west and south.
We stopped for a lakeside lunch at Sunnyside Resort first. Priorities people!
Now that my stomach was full, and the day was just half way done, we kept driving. We drove through forests, lost the views of the water and then bam! Emerald Bay. You will know why we stopped here when you see our pictures.
It is pretty obvious right? It is gorgeous. I was a bit jealous of all the people out on the boats, but then again, I really like the birds-eye view of the water too.
Even with multiple stops and a leisurely lunch at Sunnyside, our summer drive around Lake Tahoe only took us 4 hours. Lake Tahoe is an easy day trip from Sacramento or Reno, but I would suggest staying over at least one night. The small towns around Lake Tahoe have tons of charm and a great restaurants and entertainment. Not to mention tons and tons of outdoors activities, varying greatly depending on the season you visit.