Lake Tahoe’s South Shore is one of my very favorite places on the planet. I’ve been lucky enough to visit many times over the years, but some of the best memories I’ve made have been from vacations our family has taken with our close family friends and their kiddos.
So I was really looking forward to our family/friend trip to South Shore last month. Our own kids – at ages 7 and 8 – were old enough to enjoy much of what Tahoe has to offer and because we rented a house together, had a ball playing with their friends from sunrise to sunset.
As anticipated, our recent sojourn more than delivered. Driving into the region, the views of deep gorges, craggy mountains and snow flocked tall green trees are singularly beautiful. The day after we arrived, Lake Tahoe received its first real snowfall of the season – the landscape was magically transformed into an amazing, wondrous wintry land – to which visitors descend by the scores each season to snowshoe, cross-country and downhill ski and snowboard to their hearts delight.
Don’t give up on the 2015/2016 ski season just yet. Kirkwood, about an hour’s beautiful drive from Tahoe, has the geographical advantage of being situated at a higher elevation than most other Lake Tahoe resorts. It rests at the high point on the western slope of the Sierra, allowing the resort to take full advantage of powerful winter storms as they peel off the Pacific Ocean. This ideal location regularly results in Kirkwood receiving more snow than any other resort in the nation. The upshot? Snow that dumped in March will last a bit longer at Kirkwood than other resorts in the area. That means you still have a shot at the mountain.
Kirkwood is a true destination resort; just close enough to town to make it easily accessible, while being just far enough away to really take advantage of alpine height and all the powder that goes with it.
With over 2,300 acres of ski-able, ride-able terrain, Kirkwood is a great family ski destination, with a little something for everyone. Get a few hours in on the blacks and blues while your little ones get their skiing/riding legs with the help of Kirkwood’s friendly, expert instruction staff (snack breaks included). For the bigger kid in all of us, there are terrain features speckled throughout the mountain. And of course there’s hot chocolate waiting at just about every turn, and that’s a family snow sporting tradition to embrace no matter how far into Spring we get.
Find out more about Kirkwood by visiting www.kirkwood.com or calling 209.258.6000.
A unique way to experience the lake is to take a daytime scenic cruise or an evening dinner cruise aboard one of the two spacious paddlewheelers - the M.S. Dixie II or the Tahoe Queen (800-23-TAHOE). Our group opted for the family-friendly Tahoe Queen boat tour of Emerald Bay – an absolutely must for amazing photo opportunities. Take in some of the most incredible scenery in the world, enjoy lunch, hot cocoa and a good dose of South Lake Tahoe history with the Captain’s live narration. The kids had a ball exploring the boat’s three decks while the adults sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the view.
For a more comfortable, cozy and convenient option to staying in a traditional hotel room, The Tahoe Keys Resort and Lake Tahoe Reservation Bureau (www.tahoevacationguide.com or 800.698.2463) offers an extensive selection of rental homes, condos and cabins to suit your specific needs – whether you’re a couple looking for a romantic retreat, a family of five or a large group of friends.
Traveling with four adults and four children, renting a house for our long weekend stay was the perfect choice – we had plenty of space to stretch out, everyone had their own rooms to retreat to and we saved time and money by being able to cook our meals and dining in rather than eating out three times a day. The home featured here is ideally situated right on the water in the prestigious Tahoe Keys community within minutes to area attractions, the casinos and, of course, the lake.
This newly constructed 3000-square-foot luxury home located at 936 Glorene Avenue features four bedrooms - including a room with two sets of twin bunk beds which was a huge hit with our little travelers, a game room with a pool table and LCD TV (perfect to keep the kids entertained) and private hot tub – what better way to wind down after a day on the slopes?
For our part, we all agreed that the very best thing about this property was its proximity to nearby recreation - we could easily bike to the nearby beaches and the Camp Richardson area.