With a heritage dating back to the Gold Rush, when fortune hunters passed through on their way to mine for silver in the Comstock Lode, North Lake Tahoe’s Tahoe City has a rich history. The town is home to museums and historical landmarks managed by the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society, and a visit to any one of them adds insights into how this town has evolved from frontier outpost to an appealing enclave of shops, boutiques, lakefront restaurants, and private estates. Lakefront Commons Beach provides acres of room to spread out and relax, hear a concert in summer, and let the kids clamber on a mini-climbing wall. At the north end, the park blends into Tahoe State Recreation Area, with right-on-the-lake campsites. The adjacent public pier makes a great place to cannonball into Lake Tahoe.
At Fanny Bridge, spanning the point where lake waters outflow into the Truckee River, go ahead and support the name by peering over the edge to see the lake’s resident trout swirling in the clear water below. Take a short stroll downriver to rent inflatable rafts to float along an ultra-mellow stretch of the Truckee River (perfect for kids and first-time rafters). Just east of Fanny Bridge, Gatekeeper’s Museum (a reconstruction of the original historic cabin that was destroyed by fire) houses an outstanding collection of Native American basketry, as well as early photographs and relics from the region. In winter, the town hosts Snowfest, North Lake Tahoe’s version of Mardi Gras, with parades, live music, and snow play.
The perfect place to stay during your Tahoe City exploration? Basecamp Tahoe City, a boutique hotel located right in the center of town, has loads of rustic charm and is five minutes from the lake. When it comes time to refuel, stop by Fire Sign Café, a family-run breakfast and lunch spot that has been a Tahoe City favorite for over 40 years, or West Shore Market & Deli for gourmet grocery items for a picnic, as well as delicious baked goods, sandwiches, and flatbread pizzas.