Over the Memorial Day weekend, we took a quick family trip up to Lake Tahoe. We always stay in Truckee when we visit Lake Tahoe, and we tend to visit the same hiking trails, beaches, and attractions every time we visit. This time around, we decided to explore the west side of Lake Tahoe; and we are so thrilled we did!
Anywhere you go in Lake Tahoe, there is natural beauty all around. So when I say my breath got taken away in Emerald’s Bay, that says something. It has to be the most beautiful hike I have ever done in the Lake Tahoe area. The hike we went on was at Vikingsholm.
Vikingsholm is an early 1900’s estate which has been turned into a public attraction. Initially I thought we were going to tour a mansion; much like the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. I was wrong! When we drove down highway 89 and approached the parking lot for Vikingsholm, I realized this was not your usual fancy house tour. The parking lot is quite small, and if you do not arrive when the lot opens at 10am, then chances are you will not find a parking spot. We snagged one of the last two open spots in the lot. Score!
While my husband was purchasing a parking pass, my kids discovered some huge rocks behind the parking lot office. They climbed up the rocks and discovered the beautiful Emerald Bay, and a roaring waterfall. It was beautiful!
I had no idea how long the hike from the parking lot, to the Vikingsholm mansion, would be. I thought it would be quick and easy, boy I was wrong! My daughter slipped on some rocks on the hike down, bruising her knee, and all of my kids started to complain about how long the hike was. Thankfully, we packed water and snacks for the kids, so that helped us get down the hill without too many complaints from the kids. Despite their tired feet, they were amazed at the beauty of the bay as we hiked down the hill.
At the bottom of the hill you are rewarded with a pretty, private beach and the Vikingsholm house. Unfortunately for us, the house wasn’t open yet for the summer season! We had to peer through the windows to see inside. I cannot believe I was able to get this shot of the dining room! Aren’t the details on the ceiling amazing!
The hike at Vikingsholm continues past the house, along the beach, and up a small hill where it meets a beautiful, roaring waterfall. To hike down the hill, be a Peeping Tom at the house, walk along the beach, hike over to the waterfall, and back up the trail to the parking lot took us one hour, and forty-five minutes. We were a little slow-going up the hill since the kids stopped a few times for water breaks and to rest their feet.
If you are looking for a beautiful hike, with a beach, and pretty house, then I highly recommend Vikingsholm on your next Tahoe trip! You can learn more at their website Vikingsholm.com.
Treat a visit to Vikingsholm as you would treat any hike. Be sure to wear hiking shoes or boots, wear pants to protect your legs, wear a hat to guard from the sun, wear sunscreen, and bring a first aid kit, snacks, water, a whistle, and anything else you pack when you hike.
We normally cook most of our meals at the cabin in Truckee, but sometimes we do venture out and enjoy a restaurant here or there. We ate at two restaurants this trip, Thai Kitchen and Sunnyside.
We have eaten dinner at Sunnyside a few times now and love the water-side ambiance, and delicious food. If you want to enjoy a meal by the water, at a buzz-worthy spot, then be sure to book reservations at Sunnyside a few weeks in advance; especially if you would like to dine on the patio! They are also a popular brunch spot. Parking is limited so be prepared to valet or park on the street a couple blocks down from the restaurant.
Thai Kitchen was a new spot for us. We were coming back from our hike at Vikingsholm and discovered it on our way back to Truckee. Thai Kitchen is located in Tahoe City, and has a small, shared parking lot. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, so if we were not starving for food, we may have walked past it. We are so glad we didn’t! Despite the dated decor, the food is fabulous! Seriously, I lived in San Francisco for ten years and have enjoyed a lot of different Thai food, so I feel like I can confidently say this is some of the best Thai food I have tried! LOVE it!
They have a lunch menu, and a dinner menu, so it is a great spot for either meal. Love!
Of course, when the weather is warm, the beaches at Tahoe cannot be beat. We enjoyed a restful day at Meeks Bay Beach over the Memorial Day weekend, and we loved it! The beach is tucked off the highway, so you don’t hear any street noise. Before you reach the beach, there is a general store where you buy a day pass for parking. It is really quick and easy. Then, you continue a few feet behind the building and park in the lot. There are picnic areas, camping sites, and a beautiful beach!
If you want a serene beach area, which is less busy then King’s Beach, then check out Meek’s Bay Beach. You will love it! Plus, if you have a raft, they have a pump you can use for free to blow up your raft. Love that!
Have you ever been to the west side of Lake Tahoe? If so, where are your favorite spots?
My round beach blanket can be found online here.
Thanks for stopping by!