No matter where you live in the U.S., you’ve probably heard its name.

Lake Tahoe is famous for being a prime vacation spot for lovers of the outdoors. It’s a whopping twenty-one miles long, and sits on the border between California and Nevada. Hiking, biking, swimming, and boating are just a fraction of the things for visitors to do here. And surrounded by the Sierra Nevada mountains, this destination offers diverse activities with breath-taking views in a blue oasis of water.

Ready to plan your vacation already? We’re with you. That’s why we’ve put together the best tips and tricks on how make your Lake Tahoe vacation unforgettable. It’s a big place, with a lot going on, so keep reading and start planning your adventure!

Pick your activity

First, you must decide what exactly you want to do at Lake Tahoe. Are you a big skier? Or perhaps you’ve got the kayaking bug. Want to spot some wildlife in the woods, or soak up the sun on a sandy beach? Maybe you want to do a little bit of everything.

That’s great! You’ll have plenty of opportunities to do all of these things. Just write down the activities you most want to do, then take a look at a map of Lake Tahoe. This one marks all the hiking trailheads, where to go fishing, horseback riding, ice skating, and even where to launch your boat.

This will give you an idea of which areas are best for the types of activities you plan to do. Then you can coordinate where to stay, what to do first, and so forth.

It’s also helpful to know that Lake Tahoe is generally separated into North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe. The north is where you’ll find most ski resorts, while the south is known for its casinos and nightlife.

Looking for luxury, or roughing it in nature

Next, figure out where you’d like to stay.

If you’re looking for a more rustic experience, Lake Tahoe has many campgrounds surrounding its waters. You can immerse yourself in nature and save on nightly accommodation costs. Or maybe you’ve got your own camper you’d like to take with you. Whatever your preferences, you can find the perfect spot and make reservations here.

Not one for sleeping bags and bonfires? No worries, Lake Tahoe has got you covered with some of the finest resorts and hotels. You can find personal, cozy cabins, or a lakefront lodge with a fireplace in every room. Many hotels offer relaxing spa services, heated pools, and hot tubs.

However, if you want to go easy on your wallet, they’ve got options for you as well. Check out just a taste of all the hotels to choose from here.

Check their event calendar

Lake Tahoe always has events and activities going on, no matter the time of year. So before you book that vacation, look through their daytime events calendar or South Tahoe nightlife calendar.

To give you an idea of some of the recurring activities available, they’ve got regular paddle yoga, sunset wine cruises, live music events, arts festivals, and farmer’s markets. Whether you’re traveling with your spouse or the whole family, you can find something for everyone.

But that’s not all: the lake has larger, yearly events as well. They are particularly known for their fireworks displays at New Year’s and 4th of July, their Rock Tahoe Half Marathon, Oktoberfest, and even a Celebrity Golf Championship.

Make sure you read through all of their events before reserving your hotel. You don’t want to miss out on a special celebration!

Check the weather

This one goes for any vacation, but it’s especially important at Lake Tahoe. Even in the summer, temperatures can drop during the night, so always make sure to pack an extra pair of jeans and a sweater. If the forecast shows rain, have no fear! The fun doesn’t have to stop just because the sunshine does. Prepare with a DVD or board game, and you’ll keep the family in good spirits.

If you plan on venturing into the mountains, you should also be prepared for the potentially dry, severe weather. Bring extra-strength sunscreen and plenty of water.

Tahoe Shakespeare Festival

This is another one of Lake Tahoe’s most popular attractions, deserving of its own mention. Starting from modest beginnings back in 1972, the Tahoe Shakespeare Festival grew bigger and bigger each year, to become the sought after activity that it is today.

Even if you’re not so much into theater, the views alone are worth it: the outdoor stage sits right in front of the water, with performances often happening during sunset hours. You can enjoy a glass of wine or a plate of food and watch an entertaining performance at the same time, all right on the beach.

So bring the whole family and get ready for some drama!

Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to a dream Lake Tahoe vacation. Whether summer or winter, spring or fall, whether alone or with the whole family, this wonderful and picturesque area has something to offer every visitor.

Can’t wait? Get a taste of Lake Tahoe with their live webcams in both north and south Lake Tahoe. These cameras are posted from Timber Cove to King’s Beach to West Shore, capturing live video of sparkling waters and vibrant sunsets. If that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will!