Emerge refreshed from an eventful day and a relaxing night at one of the best hotels in South Lake Tahoe. Enjoy a perfectly balanced latte at the coffee bar in the lobby before setting off on a new day of adventure. Start the morning with a sunrise hot-air balloon ride by boarding the “Tahoe Flyer”—the only hot-air balloon recovery vessel in the world—with Lake Tahoe Balloons. The breathtaking ride high above the ground affords rare views of the lake’s depths; witness the hues changing from sapphire, to cobalt, to azure as you drift farther from the shore. Savor every minute in the clouds before drifting back to land with a new perspective on life.
With the sun high in the sky and your feet back on the ground, breakfast time is officially here. The Getaway Cafe is a short drive away and full of mouthwatering dishes such as coconut-crusted French toast. Piled high with three thick slices of coconut-crusted sourdough and fresh bananas—all drizzled in a rich, house-made coconut cream sauce—this dish is a total showstopper. For a more savory route, opt for the veggie eggs Benedict featuring fresh produce, creamy avocado, delicately poached eggs, and silky hollandaise sauce over a soft English muffin.
After a satiating breakfast, hop back on Highway 50 and drive toward the state line to return to SUP Tahoe so you can switch out the paddleboards for kayaks and embark on an entirely new adventure to enjoy all of South Lake Tahoe’s activities. Starting just east of Camp Richardson at Pope Beach, kayak westward along the shores to experience a portion of the Lake Tahoe Water Trail, which extends around the entirety of the largest alpine lake in America. Paddle for roughly 1.5 miles to Cove East for an easy 3-mile round-trip trek, or go for the 10-mile excursion and paddle all the way to the state line and back.
The calm waters are a welcoming outdoor escape, serving as a respite from the stresses of everyday life. A refreshing paddle around the South Tahoe rim of the lake inspires further adventures; indeed, the 72 miles of the Lake Tahoe Water Trail can easily be broken up into a seven-day expedition—a future experience that you will undoubtedly want to plan.
After spending a perfect morning on the lake and dreaming of trips to come, a bit of rest is in order. Swing by SUP Tahoe to return the kayaks, and then head back to the hotel for some downtime before the excitement continues. Sink back into the comfort of the lobby couches, pamper yourself with Malin & Goetz bath products, go for a relaxing dip in the pool, and play a round or two of cornhole as the hot sun drifts into cooler temperatures.
By the late afternoon, you have probably worked up an appetite, so a quick walk to California Burger Co. is up next. With vegetarian options; old-fashioned shakes; and certified-natural, free-range, grass-fed beef, this joint has something for everyone. Choose between the “Californian,” featuring avocado, spinach, Jack cheese, pesto, and house-made roasted garlic aioli; the “Blues Burger,” starring blue cheese, grilled onions, and grilled mushrooms; and the “Pretender,” comprised of a chipotle black-bean patty topped with spinach and avocado. Grab the onion rings or sweet potato tots on the side for a fresh take on the traditional burger and fries, but don’t pass on the homestyle vanilla milkshake, which will transport your taste buds back to simpler times.
With your hunger satisfied, stroll back to the hotel, jump in the car, and venture out to the Bayview Trail to walk off your meal. Starting at the Bayview Campground, this leisurely trail stretches about 1.5 miles round-trip and provides picture-perfect views. Look out onto Cascade Lake and Lake Tahoe, and witness the rushing waters of Cascade Falls tumbling down 200 feet and landing between the rocks below.
After the hike that left you inspired by the great outdoors, drive back toward town on Highway 89, cruising for five miles until you reach Camp Richardson Corral. Take the 50-minute guided horseback ride for a scenic tour through the Tahoe National Forest, where you can savor beautiful views of the mountains, meadows, forests, and lakes that make the region an outdoor enthusiast's dream. With so many fun things to do in South Lake Tahoe, the days fly by in an instant.