Last month I took a vacation of a lifetime to Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Upon our arrival in Reno, we immediately jumped into a car and twisted and turned up the mountainous roads of Incline Village, Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The car came to a stop as family piled out and I was urged to hurry outside. I stepped out of the car, as instructed, and was led towards what they called “the overlook.” On four hours of sleep, I was a bit cranky I might admit, and slowly walked over to a ledge. As I inched closer, I was asked “okay, are you ready?”
This. This is what I walked up to. Not a single filter needed.
The rest of the trip unfolded just as beautifully. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed up for this trip, but it blew my expectations in every single way. I can only imagine the beautiful wedding ceremonies that could take place in the mountains overlooking the lake, or down on the beach with the rushing waves in the background.
The true beauty of this place is the endless adventures offered just by stepping outside. You can hike the long mountain treks in the morning, and find yourself on a beach chair in the afternoon. Or, you can hike smaller treks to see the beautiful sights, and attend a delicious also beautiful dinner by evening. Five days in Tahoe truly wasn’t enough.
As I mentioned, sightseeing began as soon as we started driving up the mountain. Lake Tahoe in the summer is transformed from a winter ski town, to an exciting mountainous hiking town. Guests are offered access to ski resorts and their mountains, making the stops on the way up just as exciting as the stops on the way down when skiing.
Although Lake Tahoe preserves its nature well and tries to keep the small town feel as much as they can, they also embrace the numerous tourists that come each year. After about a half mile hike in Incline Village, you can see the famous “monkey rock.” This rock has sat on this hill, carved so hilariously for as long as they can remember. It is a must see in Tahoe, as the hike is quick and surprising for unexpected guests.
The monkey is none the less cute, but the waterfalls are breathtaking. The immensity and power of the water rushing over the rocks makes you stop and silently stare, and the pictures truly don’t do it justice. During hikes, you’ll hear the water far before you see it tucked away like a hidden gem behind tall shadowing trees. Although they are not constant during your hikes, they make each stop worth it. Can you imagine a destination wedding taking place in front of one of these beautiful waterfalls?
In addition to the beautiful sights, the long treks on the way up to the sights are just as adventurous and exciting. Mount Tallac, the highest peak in Lake Tahoe, is arguably one of the toughest hikes in that region. Although it takes your entire day to reach the top, the view is worth every step. As an unexperienced hiker, it took us 8 hours, burning 2,000 calories and taking 35,000 steps to conquer Tallac. Although this was a tough day physically, it was so incredibly rewarding when we reached the top. This day felt like the perfect honeymoon activity for an adventurous couple.
On your way up, you’ll pass waterfalls, hidden lakes thousands of feet above sea level, hundred year old trees, and if you’re lucky- snow! In the winter, the mountains freeze so even in the summertime, there are still patches of snow on the mountain that have not quite melted. I am proud to say I build a 2 ft snowman with acorns eyes!
Conquering a major trek such as Mount Tallac is extremely physically and emotionally rewarding. When we made it to the top of Tallac, tears welled up in my eyes as we overlooked 40 miles of lake from the tallest peak surrounding it. The beauty and immensity of the sights around you is something you want to witness with the people you love. This is truly a romantic hidden spot 9,000 feet in the air.
The mountains bring all the beauty one could ever want, but relaxing by the beach is another noteworthy moment of vacations there. The “beach” looks almost identical to an ocean, however the water is clear, there are little to no fish near the shore, and the water is a bit chillier than what native Texans may be used to. The beach offered boat rentals to water ski and wakeboard, jet ski rentals to drive through the waves and many other activities to do. My personal favorite was renting a chair and sticking it in the sand.
The beaches vary in material around the lake, so you can experience large boulders, normal “sand” or smaller pebbles all with your toes in the water. The sandy beaches are the perfect backdrop for a traditional beach wedding- without the salty air ruining your hair! The more rocky areas of the shoreline provide the most beautiful and unique backdrops for a destination wedding ceremony or reception to take place.
Lastly, the dining in Lake Tahoe was the icing on top. After a day of travelling to Tahoe, we were taken over to Garwood’s, the local Incline Village “tourist” place to eat. Embracing our tourist excitement, we sipped on the restaurant’s fancy drink options while overlooking the beach. What a way to start a vacation! Garwood’s patio provided the atmosphere for a fun, laid back, reception “party” for family and friends to feel at home while celebrating someone’s special day.
At night, the views are strongly encouraged at various beach view restaurants. We were able to sneak a drink at one of the coziest restaurants down the street from the home we stayed in. The temperature dramatically drops at night, making it the perfect sweater + glass of wine beside a fire weather. By far the most romantic view of the trip, this sweet spot is the epitome of a honeymoon restaurant destination.
All in all, I would recommend Lake Tahoe to anyone who has even the slightest urge to be outside. It offers more in a 40 mile proximity than I ever could have hoped for, and I left feeling as if I didn’t do enough. I cried a little leaving, and promised to come back very very soon. Hopefully, I’ll come back with our next client planning their destination wedding there.
Until next time, Tahoe! Thank you for everything.