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As you cruise down Highway 50, just north of Cave Rock, you will see a sign for this beautiful viewing area. Be sure to stop and have your camera ready. You will be treated to panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and see valleys that were carved out by glaciers millions of years ago. Emerald Bay is one of these incredible valleys. You will marvel at the crystal-clear blue waters that make Lake Tahoe famous. This is a wonderful place to bring a picnic lunch or just relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
What a wonderful place to spend an entire day relaxing next to this beautiful blue lake. The area is dotted with groves of aspen and filled with mountain meadows flowing with wild flowers. Encompassing this pristine lake is a 2.3-mile easy walking trail that will lead you through breathtaking meadows and thick forests full of conifers and aspens. Be sure to keep an eye open for the abundance of osprey, ducks and geese that live in the mountainous area. Fishing at this lake is catch and release only, and the lake has been stocked with trout of all sizes. The picnic area is available by reservation only and is limited to 25-people on the weekends and 100-people during the week. Call early for your reservations.
Sail along the scenic shore of Lake Tahoe on one of two yachts owned by Captain Steve Dunham. The Woodwind I is a 30-passenger boat complete with a glass bottom viewing area, a full bar, outside seating and private cabin with bathroom. The Woodwind II is Tahoe's largest sailboat, accommodating 50 passengers. You can choose to sail the California or Nevada side of Tahoe, or relax and enjoy a sunset champagne sail regardless of your location. Winner of the 1997 Governor's Tourism Award, this is an adventure to remember.
Built in 1936 by San Francisco millionaire George Whittell, Jr., the six-acre lakefront Thunderbird Lodge consists of a main lodge, three cottages, a card house, a boathouse, an elephant house, a lighthouse, three garages, and a gatehouse. A tour is the only way to see the expansive property. Although pricey for an hour, the experience is unforgettable. For instance, the entire garden, staged from mountain to lake, was a fountain filled by waterfall; a 600 foot granite tunnel serves as a direct path from the lodge to the boathouse—the home of Thunderbird, a brushed stainless steel and mahogany boat powered with dual 1100 horsepower aircraft engines. Today, Thunderbird still operates flawlessly for water tours and special events. Reservation is required to join the tour. Tours operate from Tuesdays to Fridays.
For an exhilarating experience, try the gondola ride. The ride lasts for about 12 minutes, taking you over two miles (three kilometers) up the mountain. As you travel look out the windows for an amazing view of the ground far below. Make sure you get out at mid-station deck at an elevation of 9123 feet (2781 meters) where you will enjoy spectacular views of the Tahoe basin. At the very top you can enjoy a delicious meal at the restaurant while looking out at the breathtaking view. Hiking trails are available if you are feeling adventuresome and energetic. The gondola can hold up to eight people, so this is the perfect ride for the whole family.
To enjoy the beauty of Lake Tahoe from a different perspective, take a cruise on the Tahoe Queen. The three deck, 500 passenger paddlewheeler cruises the scenic south shore and Emerald Bay. A portion of the vessel has a glass bottom for viewing the mysteries of the deep. For a romantic evening, the Dinner Dance Cruise offers complimentary champagne and live music; discounts are available for seniors. Lunch is available for an extra charge. Departure times vary with the season, call ahead for schedule and reservations.
This area is considered by many to be the most beautiful beach at Lake Tahoe. All the amenities for an enjoyable stay can be found including boat launches, beaches and picnic areas. You can also check out some of the gorgeous homes along the shore like the Wattel Mansion, home of one of California's former governors. The beach's outdoor amphitheater is the setting for the annual Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival that takes place during the five weeks before Labor Day.