Lake Tahoe

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Lake Tahoe Flowers (Photo: North Lake Tahoe/Tom Zikas)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on February 16, 2009. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Anaheim, arts and culture, beach, Cancun, culinary travel, destination, Disneyland, family travel, Jessica Labrencis, Laguna Beach, Lake Tahoe, low-cost airline, low season, Newport Beach, New Zealand, Paris, shoulder season, Southwest, theme park, Virgin America.

Spring is the perfect time to visit Lake Tahoe if you seek an outdoorsy getaway on the cheap. The region experiences a lull between the peak winter ski season in the mountains and the summer season on the lake, so you'll find cheaper hotel rooms (particularly midweek) and fewer visitors. Although April temperatures can hit the mid-60s, from personal experience, I advise bringing cold-weather clothes, too.

In fact, CheapTickets' Value Travel Forecast named Lake Tahoe as one of May's best value destinations, with savings of 38 percent compared to peak-season prices. When I researched spring hotel rates with summer peak-season rates, I found savings of up to $58 per night.

Hotel Room Type Off-Peak Rate Peak Rate
Franciscan Lakeside Lodge, North Lake Tahoe Forestside Small Studio $77 (March 16 to May 31) $110 (June 1 to September 30)
River Ranch Lodge, North Lake Tahoe Room with one or two beds $115 (April 19 to June 11) $130 (June 12 to September 13)
Tahoe Beach and Ski Club, South Lake Tahoe Studio suite $144 (Spring) $165 (Summer)
Tahoe Seasons Resort, South Lake Tahoe One bedroom suite $146 (Spring) $204 (Summer)

Prices are per night based on double occupancy and were found on each hotel's website.

For current offers, the Blue Lake Tahoe lists more than a dozen lodging packages on the South Shore, and Go Tahoe North has listings for the North Shore.

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Spring may be a quiet season in Lake Tahoe, but there are events that may be of interest. On April 4 and 5, the Tahoe Adventure Company leads Snowshoeing the Sierra, a natural history-themed snowshoe expedition. Also on April 5, you can cruise the lake when the Tahoe Queen sets sail on its Pints and Paddles cruise from the South Shore. The two-and-a-half hour cruise includes a beer tasting, live music, and casual dining. If wine is more your style, every Friday and Saturday in April features a wine tasting at Uncorked at Squaw Valley, a North Shore wine shop and bar.

Or, celebrate Earth Day on April 25 at the South Lake Tahoe Earth Day Festival at the MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa. The free family-friendly event features live music, food, and crafts, as well as information on recycling and composting, water conservation, and other green topics. There also will be a special "Kid's Zone" with face-painting and a bounce house. The North Tahoe Trukee Earth Day Celebration is a similar North Shore option for Earth Day celebrations.

The Official Lake Tahoe Visitors Bureau websites for North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe are the best places to start planning a trip. These sites can help you identify the area that best suits your interests and budget.

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