Travel, Uncategorized, USA

Free Summer Activities in South Lake Tahoe

Free Summer Activities in South Lake Tahoe

Free summer activities in South Lake Tahoe, you say? Can it really be?! It so often happens that when you’re searching for things to do in a new city, nothing comes for free. Since we are unemployed and traveling on a budget, it’s not always possible for us to pay out the pocket for activities everyday.  We have had to use our creativity to find things to fulfill our days, while spending the summer in South Lake Tahoe. Here are five free summer activities in South Lake Tahoe that we have enjoyed over the last two months.

Go Swim in a Lake

It goes without saying that spending time at the lake or on the water in South Lake Tahoe is a must do. The gorgeous 80km circumference body of water has multiple bays and beaches with gorgeous azure water and mountainous surroundings. We spent multiple days hanging out on my uncles boat, trying wake boarding and floating on the water in our tubes.

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If you aren’t lucky enough to know someone with a boat, there are multiple beaches and picnic spots along the waters edge. Due to this winter being the heaviest snowfall in the last five years, the lake is at its fullest leaving us very small to no beaches. Our favorite (and just about only one left) beach has been Reagen Beach. It has a teeny tiny stretch of sand and some stairs leading down to it, as well as a large stretch of luscious green grass. It comes complete with some benches, picnic tables, a jungle gym, beach volleyball court and bathrooms as well as a few spots of shade. Hanging at or on the lake is probably our most favourite of free summer activities in South Lake Tahoe!

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Live at Lakeview

During the summer the beaches are home to some live music concerts. Our favourite has to be at Lake View commons. The concerts take place every Thursday evening from the last week of June till the end of August. The concert starts at 4pm and ends at around 8pm. You can read about the lineups at liveatlakeview.com .People take their blankets and sit on the steps, or even their slackline and hammocks and hang out on the grass of the commons. Some even pump up their float tubes and enjoy the music from the water. If you take along your ID you’ll be allowed into the beer garden and can have a few beers as you watch the sun go down over the mountains. For sure, a great way to bring in the weekend! Don’t forget to bring along your wallet in case you find something you love at the small flea market stalls.

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Frisbee Golf

I’ve heard of golf, and I love to play frisbee, but call me old fashioned for not ever hearing about frisbee golf (otherwise known as disc golf). Turns out this is a pretty popular game and such fun! In South Lake Tahoe, there are two disc golf courses that we know of, both of which are FREE! Yes, you only need to have your own discs in order to play. They go for around $10 each. You could probably get away with only having two (as long as you don’t lose one like I did). The concept is the same as golf. You tee off, but instead of using a golf club you throw the frisbee towards the “hole” which is actually a big metal bucket/crate with chains to catch your frisbee.

free summer activities in south lake tahoe

We played at Zephyr Cove Park and it was a gorgeous course – kind of like doing a small hike. As you go up the hills, you are rewarded with gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe itself. The other course is at Bijou and is apparently a bit easier and flatter.

Hiking around the Tahoe Basin

With the entire perimeter of the lake being surrounded by mountains, why wouldn’t one hike? The Tahoe Basin is filled with an abundance of hiking trails for people of all abilities. Our favourite had to be hiking Mt Tallac, one of the higher peaks in Tahoe standing at 9735 ft. Less strenuous hikes can be found around Echo Lake. An even shorter hike is down and up to Lower Eagle Falls. Whichever you choose, remember to take ample amounts of water, especially in the summer months. I’d possibly even a swim suit – those alpine lakes are hard to resist when you’ve been in the sun for a few hours! Read more about Hiking in South Lake Tahoe here.

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Left: Wildflowers and snow on Mt Tallac. Right: Lake of the Woods from Echo Lake

Tailgating at Harvey’s Outdoor Theatre Concerts

During the summer particularly, The Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys hosts some big name music concerts. Tickets for popular acts sell out fast (and are often very expensive). Don’t worry – park outside Edgewood Golf Course (across the street from the Outdoor Arena) and set yourself up for an evening of tailgating! We packed a picnic blanket and some chairs, beers and UNO cards. We were so close to Jack Johnson we could almost see him (well, we could see the sides of the video screen at least)! Some sang along while others even danced alongside the road. Another group enjoyed the concert from atop their campervan parked streetside!

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Tailgating outside the Jack Johnson concert

Support Local Softball Games

Now this may seem random to some, but there is a Thursday night softball league that runs every week. Since we were staying with my relatives, we went weekly to watch my cousin and my other cousins boyfriend play. We didn’t know much about softball, initially, but definitely grew to love the game. Even though we didn’t know many people playing it was still a good evening out. Mark loves to watch any live sports and we totally got into it. Each week we would pack some snacks and refreshments and a blanket, and sit on the bleachers enjoying the game.

free summer activities in south lake tahoe

We were lucky enough to spend 8 weeks over the summer in South Lake Tahoe. While in Tahoe we stayed at my aunts home and spent lots of time hanging out with my cousins and family. We spent time fishing, hiking, going to yoga classes and getting to enjoy a bit of the Tahoe lifestyle.

We hope you can someday enjoy these free summer activities in South Lake Tahoe, or at least be inspired by them!

16 thoughts on “Free Summer Activities in South Lake Tahoe”

  1. I love Lake Tahoe all year round. I lived in the Bay Area for 20 years and loved escaping to this beautiful region, doesn’t matter the season, there is always great things to do!

  2. Seems like a pretty decent day out! The background reminded me of river sliding in Laos. Though need to be a bit more sober to remember I guess:) Google and you will understand why?

  3. I’d love to play a round of disc golf, this sounds like so much fun! Especially because you also see a bit of your surroundings. I’d probably loose my disc as well though 😀 And after that I can totally see myself lying on the beach with some beers, friends and listening to a concert. This sounds all so awesome!

  4. It looks like you had a blast! We’ve spent a few summers in North Lake Tahoe but haven’t seen much of the South. I really want to go back now and explore South Lake Tahoe. It looks so beautiful.

  5. Loved this post. I don’t see many written about Tahoe. We used to go there with our kids many years ago when their cousins lived in Reno. We’d all meet at the lake and go swimming in those icy waters! (They never get warm, do they?!) The kids would also look for crawfish. The water was so clear they were easy to find. What a great place for a summer getaway!

    1. They really don’t – you just have to get used to them!!! My cousins also used to live in Reno and are now up in Tahoe…. so much better if you ask me!

  6. I don’t know anyone who would have a boat but I would love to visit and go swimming from the shore. A day at the beach with a picnic sounds amazing in my book! Reagen Beach sounds like it has great facilities – thanks for the tip!

    Live at Lakeview sounds like a really fun gig – will have to plan my trip to coincide with it!

    1. Hahah I know right?! We only went out on the boat 3 or 4 times but the beach and swimming from the shore are just as good! Actually this summer the lake was the highest its ever been (thanks to all the snowmelt) so there was literally only 1 meter of beach at Reagen (but lots of grass hence it becoming our favourite).

  7. You had me at free and Lake Tahoe! 😉 Seriously though, what a gorgeous place to stay a few days and explore, perhaps after visiting Yosemite NP nearby. In terms of activities, hiking the Tahoe Basin would be high on my list of fave things to do!

    1. We actually did it the other way around (stayed in Tahoe and visited Yosemite for a few days) but that is definitely doable!

  8. My cousin lives close to Lake Tahoe, and I have lost the count of the number of gorgeous pics she sends me every time she visits! Yes, photos every single time, so I already know how amazing this place is. Now, you are talking about some free activities and I want to go there already! I would definitely do the hiking as I am totally into mountains & views.

  9. Lake Tahoe has been on my list for a while. It’s one of those all-season destinations. I’d love to do some hiking around the lake and then relax later on listening to some of the live beach music. That sounds like the perfect chill vibe of a summer day.

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