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As summer turns to fall and the temperature drops, travelers look less towards beach destinations and instead opt for seasonally evocative trips, from leap peeping road trips to ski getaways.
One of the most scenic, enduring spots in the US is Lake Tahoe. This picturesque region on the border of California and Nevada has been popular since the turn of the 20th century, its global reputation sealed when nearby Squaw Valley staged the 1960 Winter Olympics.
The largest Alpine Lake in the United States, Lake Tahoe defers only to the five Great Lakes in terms of size, and this natural wonder has evolved as a tourist hotspot. It is most well known today for its ski resorts, crystal clear lake waters, and hiking trails, but motorcycling, golfing, hunting, and gambling also make up a sizable chunk of its allure.
Late November through early May especially sees an uptick in visitors as skiers and snowboarders of all levels flock to the region. Given its size, there are a number of choices in terms of towns to stay in. South Lake Tahoe (the largest town) and Tahoe City top the list, with historic Truckee, Tahoe Vista, Homewood, and Incline Village also offering a number of accommodation options.
I’ve been visiting the region for many years and have witnessed the development of the region as a tourist destination. For my pick of the best, I selected hotels based on the following criteria:
- While the hotels I’ve chosen range from affordable boutiques to luxurious ski-in/ski-out stays, all are well-appointed with exceptional offerings such as high-end amenities, excellent access to ski mountains, stunning views, or luxe standalone cabins that are ideal for social distancing.
- Popular skiing and snowboarding areas can be notoriously expensive, but every property listed offers strong value, currently ranging from $99 to $239 per night for the fall season.
- However, these prices are seasonally sensitive. March and November are the best times to snag a deal, with more expensive times being July to August and mid-December to January, with peak ski season seeing especially high prices.
- Additionally, all hotels offer attractive locations to enjoy nature, while still being close to town.
- The hotels are well-reviewed by past guests on trusted traveler sites such as Trip Advisor and Booking.com, with every property receiving 4 out of 5 stars or higher on the former and an 8 out of 10 or higher on the latter.
Of course, during these times of COVID-19, Lake Tahoe is subject to the same potential restrictions and safety precautions as the rest of the country and you should check for any local changes in regard to mandatory policies or quarantine periods. And if you’re wondering if travel is safe right now, we talked to medical experts on how to mitigate risks with hotel stays, as well as flights, rental cars, trains, and more. Many hotels are also implementing new guidelines for both staff and guests.
However, without a vaccine, there is no guarantee with regard to safety. It’s crucial to follow guidelines and advice from organizations such as the CDC and WHO, and practice safety measures including wearing a mask, washing your hands, and maintaining social distancing. Additionally, consider your own level of risk, and whether you’re traveling from or to a hotspot, so as not to increase the rate of infection.
As such, I’ve made sure to choose Lake Tahoe hotels that have clear and updated COVID-19 protocols, listed with each hotel’s description below.