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Drive Lake Tahoe's Spectacular Western Shore

Drive Lake Tahoe's Spectacular Western Shore
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See mansions, mountains, and an emerald bay.

If you're pondering whether or not to drive the twisty route following the western shores of Lake Tahoe in summer, stop pondering. Just go. State 89, linking the north and south ends of Lake Tahoe, is truly one of the world's most spectacular drives, an alpine thriller with glorious views of snow-capped peaks ringing a lake as clear and blue as the sky above.

Starting in Tahoe City, head south toward Homewood ski resort, site of the lively Sunnyside Cafe, a great place to check out polished-wood vintage boats while you sip a cool drink on the waterfront deck. Continue south to slip into the thickly forested region known as Rubicon Bay, where long and unassuming driveways lead to spectacular lakefront mansions well hidden from view--it's no surprise this stretch of Tahoe shoreline is also known as "the Gold Coast." Take a break at lovely D.L. Bliss State Park (but get there early; the parking lot fills up fast during peak summer months). The granite cliffs begin to get steeper around you, and the road bends and snakes around breathtaking coves, including the impossibly beautiful Emerald Bay, a state park with trails and scenic overlooks. Continue south around sobering switchbacks to Tallac Historic Site, where the elegantly restored mansions of some of San Francisco's wealthiest families from a century ago are open for touring in summer. End your trip with an ice cream at popular Camp Richardson, gateway to South Lake Tahoe. For more information visit visitinglaketahoe.com .

Tip: State 89 closes due to snow; it's usually open spring through fall.

 

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