#TravelTuesday: North Lake Tahoe’s Secret Season

by Robin Barr Sussman on November 12, 2019 in Travel,
00 NORTH LAKE TAHOE scenic view e1571976949702

Now with direct flights from Houston and Dallas to Reno, it’s easy to visit this breathtaking destination, which spans both California and Nevada.

Known for its world-class skiing, sunny skies and fun summers, North Lake Tahoe has a third side: fall. As crowds thin out, the region takes a fresh breath as it prepares to segue from swimming and camping to ski runs and chalet evenings. In the autumn, hiking and riding trails are roomier, hotels are more affordable, lake waters are calm, and there’s leaf-peeping, too. Here’s what to do, where to dine (alfresco, of course!) and where to stay.


Photo courtesy Chris Bartkowski

Lake Tahoe’s panoramic views and endless recreational activities are incredible, and fall is a prime time for water sports like parasailing on the stunning cobalt blue lake amidst the vivid foliage of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Sports shops rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards well into the season or hop aboard a catamaran for a Sierra Cloud cruise to glide across the glassy water at sunset.


Photo courtesy North Lake Tahoe Resort Association

A few short weeks following the annual Lake Tahoe Food & Wine Festival September 18-20, an epicurean weekend that combines fine food, wine, shopping and outdoor adventures, is the 31st annual Tahoe Chocolate and Wine Festival on November 2. Another hot ticket for foodies is Passport to Dining on November 7, featuring a fundraising evening showcasing 30 restaurants, wineries and breweries for tastings, a silent auction and a raffle.


Photo courtesy Ritz-Carlton

If yoga is more your jam, book the Granlibakken Wellness Weekend November 8-10. Restore yourself with yoga activities, classes, health-related talks and socials. A spa treatment or two at the gorgeous, sprawling Ritz-Carlton resort can be just as invigorating. Signature experiences reflect the surroundings including a foot ritual to decompress and a massage using stones from Lake Tahoe. The spa features 17 treatment rooms, relaxation areas with fireplaces, a eucalyptus steam room and heated outdoor lap pool looking out over the slopes.


Photo courtesy Ryan Salm

Challenge yourself or the entire family on one of many hiking trails among the majestic fall foliage and snowcapped mountains. Biking enthusiasts will find many choices for a prime cross-country mountain workout (Tahoe Rim Trail is popular) or choose a leisurely open road group experience.


Photo courtesy North Lake Tahoe Resort Association

Craving experiential dining with water views, epicurean surprises and mountain town vibes? Pull your boat up to the dock and grab a table on Sunnyside Lodge & Restaurant’s enormous deck for beautiful views of lake. The “East-West” cuisine at celebrated Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique is some of the best here, but it also touts gorgeous patio views, a bocce court and killer cocktails. The Hyatt’s Lone Eagle Grille on its private beach offers locally sourced High Sierra cuisine with seafood, creative takes on vegetarian fare, and game specialties. Guests sip cocktails and wine at the lakefront fire pit year-round.


Photo courtesy North Lake Tahoe Resort Association

Thirsty for a local craft beer? There’s a Brew Tour map marking stops around the lake for beer-hopping if so inclined. Cheers to local suds!


Photo courtesy Ritz-Carlton

Tahoe Mountain Lodging encompasses a luxurious collection of four-star studios to four-bedroom residences—the ultimate setting for relaxation and exploration. Guests are steps away from Northstar ski slopes, shopping, dining, skating, live music and the Northstar Gondola. The Ritz-Carlton is a luxury hotel with lakeside and slope-side mountain access, full service spa and restaurants. Its Lake Club provides a access to a private pier, kayaks, food and beverage and more. The Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, conveniently centered in one of North Lake Tahoe’s historic towns, offers a private beach with stunning views and new Lake Club.

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Cover photo courtesy North Lake Tahoe Resort Association

Robin Barr Sussman (rbs@pdq.net) is a freelance culinary and travel writer who studied at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, Calif. As a chef for Sonoma County wineries, her specialty was food and wine pairing. Sussman is a columnist for Houston Modern Luxury Magazine, Prime Living and Houston House & Home. Her work also appears in Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.