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California Road Trip – The Perfect Two Week Itinerary

South Lake Tahoe is certainly the busier of the two sides of the lake in California. While the north side of the lake is all about nature, quiet family run lodges and rugged and historic ski hills, the South sits directly on the Nevada border and feels kitschy and commercial. 

It was nice to see the two contrasts though and we loved having so many choices to dining within minutes from our door. 

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california road trip heavenly

The Village at the Base of Heavenly Mountain in South Lake Tahoe

People come to South Tahoe for skiing and snowboarding at Heavenly Mountain Resort. 

Oh, how we wish the weather didn’t turn on us the day we arrived in Lake Tahoe South. We were nearing the final day of our Catch the Winter Wave California Road Trip and while we had been blessed with sunny days throughout, by the time we reached the views of Heavenly, the rain had arrived. 

california road trip south lake tahoe village

It was two days of fog and wet, but we did manage to explore the town and see more of the south shore of the lake. 

Being on the border of Nevada, the casinos were in full neon force with slot machines echoing in the night. We took a walk to the Nevada side as our hotel was located directly beside Bally’s and instantly knew this wasn’t our scene.

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california road trip casinos

The Casino’s of South Lake Tahoe

It was a different crowd of bachelor and bachelorette parties mixed with young families flocking to the pool. 

I think South Tahoe has marketed itself well for the party and family crowds, but for us, we would have preferred staying in the North with a day trip to the South. 

Cedar Cres Cottages california Road Trip

If you have your heart set on skiing Heavenly, it is only a 50-minute drive from Cedar Grove Cottages.

We drove 50 minutes from our cottage to Sugar Bowl one way, so it wouldn’t have been out of the question to drive the other way for Heavenly.

I do know that many people like to be in the center of it all though, so if you want some action, South Tahoe is the place for you. 

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Things to do in South Lake Tahoe

There are plenty of things to do in town to keep you occupied. There are plenty of bars and eateries and lots of coffee shops and shopping. 

California road Trip: South Lake Tahoe

California road Trip: South Lake Tahoe

We enjoyed taking a stroll through the village at the base of the gondola to watch the kids skate on the outdoor arena and to sip a cappuccino by the outdoor firepit. 

If you don’t like skiing or snowboarding, you can board the gondola for a view of the lake.

The 2.5-mile gondola ride will take you to an observation deck for a panoramic view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Lake Tahoe. 

You can also take a UTV tour at the top of the mountain. So once you are up on the Gondola, you don’t have to rush down. Enjoy a snack at Cafe Blue, take in the views and hop on the UTV for a great outdoor adventure. 

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