39 Trillion Gallons of Adventure in Family-Friendly Lake Tahoe by Carmel L. Mooney

Northern California vacationing families have some wonderful choices for world class destinations, all within a day’s drive and South Lake Tahoe, California is one of the best.

When temperatures soar elsewhere in the United States, families can escape the heat and enjoy North America’s largest Alpine Lake, just a couple of scenic hours from the Sacramento Metro area. An equally beautiful time to enjoy Lake Tahoe is in the early Fall, when most have returned to school and work, and crowds are non-existent.

We’ve enjoyed Lake Tahoe as a family for over twenty years, and it was my favorite family vacation spot even when I grew up several hours away in Carmel, decades ago.

Fortunately for families in 2015, Lake Tahoe not only offers the same beauty and activities it has offered for nearly a century, but there are even more choices now. With a little planning, a family can experience this destination that draws visitors from every corner of the globe, and at a reasonable price.

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The best South Lake Tahoe hub to enjoy all the fun and excitement is Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel at Heavenly. Literally a few feet from the California/Nevada State Line, this gorgeous, well-appointed, and completely family-friendly property leaves nothing out of the equation.

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For families looking for value, Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel offers fabulous Family Break Packages. A few highlights of this great deal include a game board at check-in, a pizza dinner, informational Tahoe DVD, and a fantastic dessert masterpiece made by Chef Salvador Cortez Delgado, called the Mt. Tallac. This is an unforgettable monstrous banana split extraordinaire, consisting of two bananas, nine scoops of ice cream and all the trimmings.

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Don’t worry about burning off all that sugar and calories because there is enough to do, just within walking distance of the property, to keep you busy and energized for days. Every day after a hearty, hot, and freshly cooked breakfast included with the stay, your clan can venture out to Van Sickle Bi-State Park to hike miles of gorgeous alpine trails. Or you can walk along the street just yards from the hotel and enjoy wonderful boutiques, gift stores, souvenir shops, theater, and eateries.

Every guest of Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel gets a pass for the duration of their stay, to a wonderful private beach just minutes away, with grill, swimming beach, dock, and miles of trails.

Another fantastic option for adventure minded kids is Heavenly’s new Summer Day Camp Program. Just a minute or two from the edge of the hotel property awaits a real adventure where kids start their day with a scenic 2.4 mile gondola ride up to the top of Heavenly Mountain Resort, including a stop at the observation deck with panoramic views of Lake Tahoe. At the pinnacle, their day is filled with activities ranging from high ropes challenge courses, team building, hiking, relay games, scavenger hunts, conservation education, rock climbing, and nature crafts.

After an invigorating day on the mountain, back at the newly renovated hotel property you will have access to a lovely pool, spa, fitness center, and Echo Restaurant, where Chef Sal creates delectable offerings on his Adventure Menu, utilizing only the freshest locally sourced ingredients and his wonderful cultural nuances and memories of his childhood to create cuisine that is not only spectacular and delicious but a special memory with meaning. He even offers numerous specialty cocktails for the grown-ups and equally refreshing and delicious non-alcoholic versions for the kids, infused with delicious and local fresh fruits and herbs.

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Chef Sal has a special gift in the ability to serve families with passion and joy and the flavors of everything he creates reflect this. However, other team members throughout the property also love to share their passions and hobbies with the guests by suggesting spots, tips, and stories about their favorite Tahoe-area outdoor past times whether it be fly-fishing, mountain biking, water skiing, golf, stand up paddle boarding or rock climbing. Each team member has his or her favorite activity on their name badge which creates a great way to build conversations, break barriers, and foster friendships.

For many years we have become acquainted with the bar tender Anne, who serves up cocktails for the parents and non-alcoholic specialties for the kids in the late afternoon during the nightly cocktail reception hour where complimentary snacks and $2 beverages are offered. It’s hard not make friends with the staff, many of whom have been there two decades or more. Even the same bellman has assisted us for years. You will certainly make friends and feel as though you are at your home away from home.

Part of the exciting renovation of this beautiful atrium-style property, are new state of the art, specially engineered sofa sleepers. These are new in the suites, and provide a comfortable slumber without the old styled “bar in the back” that so many travelers have learned to endure on hide-a-beds.

Guests can’t help but appreciate the many Eco-friendly advances that the property has made over recent years, garnering respect and prestige throughout the area.

Overall there is no better place from which to savor the many facets of Lake Tahoe than from Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel.

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Many wonderful activities are within walking distance and just less than a half hour away is the Virginia Truckee Railroad which runs from nearby Carson City to Virginia City, for a step back into the wild west days, and into an adventure that the whole family can take pleasure in. After boarding the train in Carson City, passengers relax and are slowly immersed into the Gold Rush and Silver Mining days when Virginia City was experiencing its own Mother Lode. The guided, narrated train tour is fascinating as well as educational which means little ones can learn without even realizing it. Wild horses, tailings from mines of yesteryear, and scenic vistas, make this a captivating hour and a half voyage.

When you arrive in Virginia City, relaxed and refreshed, the family can meander old-fashioned wooden side walk streets where mock gun fights, saloons, museums, historical shows, and old-time fun, history, dining, and shopping are easy to find from corner to corner of every western block. The helpful and friendly visitor center is an excellent starting point to plan your visit and hear about the offerings from knowledgeable folks who are passionate to share the gem they enjoy and cherish.

After a full day of memory-making you can board the return train back to Carson City and finally meander back to South Lake Tahoe where comfort, elegance, relaxation and family-friendly hospitality wait to welcome your tribe back at Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel.