Where to stay in Tahoe: 5 best cities near Lake Tahoe

Published Date: July 26, 2023

Bird's eye view of Lake Tahoe from South Lake Tahoe.
There’s so much to love about Lake Tahoe, from its world-class skiing and snowboarding to the sparkling clear waters of the lake. Conveniently located right on the border of California and Nevada, this outdoor lover’s paradise draws more than 15 million visitors every year. And they stay on all sides of the lake, as each town offers something unique. If you’re considering visiting Lake Tahoe (or maybe even buying a second home there), picking the right location is key. Here’s what you need to know about the five most popular cities near Lake Tahoe so you can pick the right home base for all your adventures. 

1. Tahoma: Quiet and natural

While many parts of the Lake Tahoe area can get crowded during peak summer and winter seasons, the hamlet of Tahoma on the lake’s western shore remains blissfully low key. While you won’t find any glittering casinos or apres-ski hotspots here, you will find plenty of unspoiled lakefront and easy access to hiking trails and campgrounds. Accommodations in Tahoma include cozy cabin rentals, small lakeside resorts and cozy bed and breakfasts. Don’t miss: Meeks Bay Beach and Sugar Pine Point are perennial favorites for swimming, boating, picnicking and playing in the water.   

2. Truckee: Action packed 

Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains just 12 miles from the north shore of Lake Tahoe, Truckee is the perfect home base for year-round outdoor adventures. In the winter months, Truckee is between 15 and 45 minutes from seven ski resorts, including over 3,000 skiable acres at Northstar and the beginner and intermediate-friendly terrain of Sugar Bowl.Once the snow melts, a whole new world of adventure awaits in and around Truckee. Go whitewater rafting on the Truckee River, hike Johnson Canyon for views of Donner Lake or golf at one of nine area courses. When you’re sufficiently tired, head to Truckee’s Old West-inspired downtown for California cuisine, locally brewed beers and live music. Accommodations in Truckee run the gamut, from small historic inns to luxury vacation rentals and mountainside resorts. Don’t miss: Learn about the famous Donner Party with a visit to Donner Memorial State Park and the Emigrant Trail Museum. 

3. Incline Village: Upscale living

The town of Incline Village is tucked away on the far north end of the lake, within a short drive of both Mt. Rose Ski Resort and Diamond Peak Ski Resort. It’s located right on the water, on beautiful Crystal Bay between Speedboat Beach and Lake Tahoe State Park. It was once a humble, 19th century logging town, named for its Great Incline Tramway, but today it’s arguably Lake Tahoe’s most upscale destination. Visitors can enjoy championship golf, luxury hotels, incredible dining and indulgent spas. The town also plays host to the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival every summer. You’ll find accommodations at every price point in Incline Village, from budget-friendly inns to family-friendly hotels to massive, all-encompassing resorts.  Don’t miss: Take a hike on the 19th century Flume Trail — 14 miles long and reaching a peak elevation of over 8,100 feet! It’s not a casual stroll, but adventurous hikers will be rewarded with unparalleled views from high above Lake Tahoe’s eastern shore. A shorter, 4.4-mile out-and-back trail is also an option. 

4. Tahoe City: Family fun

Located on the northwest shore of the lake, the Gold Rush town of Tahoe City is a great destination for families and history buffs alike. It’s located where the Truckee River meets Lake Tahoe, which means it’s also a great place for watersports. Warm-weather days are best spent splashing in the lake and barbecuing at Commons Beach, browsing the farmer’s market or floating the Truckee River. In the winter, skiers and snowboarders of all ages flock to nearby Homewood Mountain Resort and Palisades Tahoe. Formerly known as Squaw Valley, Palisades Tahoe is the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. Feel like sledding instead? The Granlibakken Ski and Sled Area is the place to be.Year-round, Tahoe City boasts family-friendly dining, museums that showcase the interesting history of the region and casual shopping. When it’s time to rest, choose from casual inns, vacation rentals and cozy condos. Don’t miss: Get your adrenaline pumping at Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park. With elevated aerial trekking courses, a high ropes course and ziplines, it’s challenging fun for the whole family. 

5. South Lake Tahoe: Something for everyone

As the largest city along the lake, South Lake Tahoe is the ideal jumping-off point for any kind of Lake Tahoe vacation. You’ll find abundant natural spaces, plenty of recreational activities and incredible views, among other attractions. The South Lake Tahoe area straddles the California-Nevada border and sits right at the base of the world-class Heavenly Mountain Resort. In the winter, Heavenly boasts more skiable acres than any other Lake Tahoe resort, with everything from wide-open runs for beginners to challenging backcountry conditions for pros. During the summer months, ride the gondola to the peak for incredible lake views. Off the mountain, the south shore boasts watersports on the lake or two rivers, great hiking, championship golf, local craft breweries and casinos — on the Nevada side of town. As the largest lakeside town, you’ll have plenty of options for lodging. Choose from convenient ski-in, ski-out condos or hotels, rustic lodges, luxury resorts and more. Don’t miss: Just 12 miles south of town is Adventure Mountain, 40 groomed acres built for tubing. Groomed runs are designed for every age and thrill level, from mini tubers for the youngest visitors to long, fast runs up to 500 feet long.  

Live the lake life

Can’t get enough of Lake Tahoe? Once you’ve found your favorite part of the Tahoe area, why not set down roots? With its year-round recreation, beautiful surroundings and convenient location, Lake Tahoe is the perfect second home destination.Pacaso second homes in Lake Tahoe gives you the benefits of owning a vacation property without having to shoulder the full cost. As a ⅛ owner of a Lake Tahoe second home, you’ll enjoy luxury living without the hassles of maintenance and management.

Jen Headshot

Jen Lyons

  • Share this post:

Featured articles


A couple on a hike on the island of Maui, one of the best vacation spots for couples.


Don't miss out

The best properties sell fast. See the latest listings, inspiring holiday homes and buying tips.

Want to chat? Contact us.