Four of the Best Free (Or Cheap) Family Winter Activities to Enjoy in North Lake Tahoe


Four of the Best Free (Or Cheap) Family Winter Activities to Enjoy in North Lake Tahoe

By: Kayla Anderson

Before we get into where some of the best places are to play in the snow in the Lake Tahoe Basin, it’s worth mentioning that California State Parks offers SNO-PARK sites that provide areas to cross-country ski, ride snowmobiles in, and hold epic snowball fights. Day passes to park at a SNO-PARK are just $5, a season pass costs $25; for more information on Tahoe SNO-PARKs and passes, click here.

Here are some other fun and affordable North Lake Tahoe winter activities:

Slide Down a Hill on a Saucer at Granlibakken

As one of Tahoe’s oldest snow parks (established in 1922), the 74-acre property that’s tucked up on the mountainside on Highway 89 outside of Tahoe City is still going strong. Granlibakken is the perfect winter family getaway as it provides everything from a hotel, restaurant, and swimming pools to rope tows and a controlled sledding hill that keeps visitors safe. Sledding costs $20 per person but slash that price in half if you stay at the resort (which means “hill shelter protected by firs” in Norwegian, btw).

Some other spots for Sledding in Lake Tahoe: Four Fantastic Free Sledding Hills in Lake Tahoe

Go Ice Skating at the Tahoe City Winter Sports Park

Tahoe City ice skating rinkIn the heart of Downtown Tahoe City located right behind the Savemart, the Tahoe City PUD runs a golf course that is converted into a sports park in the winter. The park includes a restaurant, bar, four kilometers of cross-country ski trails, sledding, a snowshoe loop, and an ice-skating rink. What’s nice about it is that it’s all within view of the lodge where parents can relax inside by the fire with a hot cocoa. An ice-skating package (rink and rental fee) costs $5-$12 and its free for kids 14 and under to access the Park’s ski trails.

Grab a S’more or Two at Northstar California

Owned by Vail Resorts, Northstar California is another decent-sized winter sports spot that caters to families by providing a village comprised of a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars as well as kid-centric activities such as tubing, an ice-skating rink, and 3,170 acres of skiable trails. Lift tickets to enjoy these activities can be pricy, but Northstar offers something that is totally free that not very many people know about- complimentary s’mores handed out daily at 4pm over by the fire pits at the ice-skating rink. S’mores are first come first serve and s’mores kits are available to buy at the rink’s cabana bar.

Take Your Dog (Or Just Get Some Exercise) at Aspen Grove/Village Green

Over in Incline Village next to the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe lies a small event center, picnic tables, a dog park, and an exercise loop trail right there on Lakeshore Boulevard. The short quarter mile or so exercise loop is open year-round and has fun weatherproof workout machines that are fun to try with your family. Across the street from Aspen Grove are the Incline Village General Improvement District beaches and additional playgrounds; they are technically only open to Incline Village residents, but they don’t staff the gates in the wintertime.

When it snows in Tahoe, it snows and pretty much any open areas can provide your family hours of free fun. However, the key is to be safe and go to established locations that offer bathrooms so that your kids keep smiles on their faces all day long.


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Winter Activities that don’t require a lift ticket

Lake Tahoe offers a wide array of winter activities that don’t require a lift ticket! Instead of standing in the rental lines for ski poles and a helmet, step aside and try one of the many activities that Tahoe towns can offer for a more unique, winter experience. From Ice Skating to Snowmobiling check out some unique experiences that don’t require a lift ticket.

Lake Tahoe Wine Bars | Recommendations

But one may ask when planning their vacation, are there wine bars in Lake Tahoe? And the answer is a resounding YES. From the casual to the elegant, slope side to Tahoe’s sandy shores, there are all kinds of Lake Tahoe wine bars where one can go to relax and enjoy a glass (or a bottle) of vino. These are some of the best places to buy wine in Lake Tahoe:

Ski Resort Guide | Lake Tahoe – California – Nevada

The Lake Tahoe is home to an amazing array of ski areas. With ski resorts on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe as well as the California side there is something for everyone. Which resort is best for families? What resort has the most vertical? and how much are the lift tickets at each of the Tahoe ski resorts? This ski area comparison covering Lake Tahoe – California – Nevada will help you plan your visit.

Lake Tahoe Winter Webcams | Road – Resort – Mountain Conditions

Winter links to Lake Tahoe webcams. Plan your visit using the webcams available in ski resorts, mountains, lake and roads, and have a live view of the weather and traffic conditions.

Lake Tahoe & Sierra Nevada Brewery Guide

From South Lake Tahoe to North Lake Tahoe and beyond the basin, there are plenty of delicious choices to explore the one-of-a-kind brewery scene that embody the magical Sierra Nevada mountains and crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe. Check out this Lake Tahoe brewery guide to find the best places to visit on your next trip.

Adaptive Sports Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe organizations have molded their outdoor recreational activities to provide Tahoe adaptive sports, meaning there are activities available for those that are physically or intellectually disabled. With adaptive programs such as water skiing, hiking, equestrian, paddle boarding, and more; Tahoe is arguably the epicenter for inclusive year-round outdoor activities.

Lake Tahoe Casinos – Historic Mountain Staples

Like other landmarks in the area, Tahoe’s casinos have embedded roots and tell tales of the past, making them a desired destination on one’s trip through the mountain towns that surround the lake. Each Tahoe casino holds its own bit of extra magic that one can only experience when stepping foot inside.

Boating Lake Tahoe – How to get around by boat

Whether you are visiting or have lived in Tahoe for years, getting out on the lake at least once in your life with all your friends is a must. Thankfully, there are plenty of marinas and businesses in Lake Tahoe who are around to help make that happen. We’d like to share some of biggest and best places to rent a boat and/or jet ski in the area, but first…

Staying Healthy and Active When Smoke Moves Into Lake Tahoe

Summer in the Western U.S., including Lake Tahoe means that smoke and fire have the potential to impact plans. While the smoke never lasts, if you happen to be in Lake Tahoe (or planning to), here are some options for things to do and tips for making the most of Lake Tahoe when the smoke comes calling

Off Road Adventures in Lake Tahoe

Off road adventures in the Sierra Nevada offer an amazing way to see the Tahoe Region. From four-wheeling quads to 4-person vehicles, this adventurous sport will showcase areas of the Tahoe region that only are accessible by off-roading – providing you with a memorable experience that’ll last a lifetime.

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