Escape the Bay: A Weekend Getaway to Tahoe
An insider’s guide on where to eat, stay, and play this Labor Day Weekend
For those of us who live in San Francisco, August is typically one of the coldest months of the year. "Karl the Fog" slowly creeps through the city, cooling things off to a brisk 55 degrees. If you are in need of some vitamin D and a few blue skies before summer comes to an end, escape the Bay Area and head to the mountains this Labor Day Weekend.
Growing up in Tahoe, August was always a time filled with sunshine, swimming, and long warm days. Located only 3.5 hours from San Francisco, this little piece of heaven is the perfect place to decompress, enjoy the great outdoors, and share some cannabis with friends.
Use our travel guide below if you are up for an epic adventure, and want to enjoy the best places to eat, stay, and play around Lake Tahoe.
North Lake Tahoe
Where to Eat: Tahoe City is a hub of popular restaurants ranging from inexpensive cafes to fine dining. If you are looking for high-end cuisine, Wolfdales and Christy Hill are two local favorites offering unique, sophisticated California menus and great wine lists. For an inexpensive breakfast or quick lunch, head over to The Dam Cafe or Syd’s Bagelry & Espresso. The Dam Cafe’s breakfast burrito is a signature item but they also offer sandwiches and other chef’s specials. Syd’s is known for its chill vibes and amazing bagels. Located down the road in Carnelian Bay, Gar Woods Grill is another great option with incredible lakeside views, delicious food, and the famous Wet Woody cocktail.
Where to Stay: Sunnyside Lodge is a beautiful place to stay along the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. The hotel is fitted with an upbeat restaurant, outdoor seating, and marina. Basecamp Hotel in Tahoe City is another reasonably priced option. This newly developed hotel has a boutique feel and is only a 5-minute walk from the lake and downtown. We also love to recommend renting a house or condo, especially on Labor Day weekend. There’s nothing better than grilling on the deck and enjoying some herb with friends without having to worry about hotel neighbors. If you are open to the idea of not staying on the lake, Squaw Valley is our other favorite accommodation location option as it is filled with hotel rooms, house rentals, and a bustling nightlife. Look for rooms at The Village at Squaw Valley or the Resort at Squaw Creek.
Where to Play: If you are traveling through Incline Village, be sure to visit NuLeaf Dispensary - the only recreational dispensary in Lake Tahoe. With a wide selection of flower, prerolls, vape pens, concentrates and more, NuLeaf is the perfect place to pick up some premium product during your getaway trip. We’d also suggest renting a boat, paddle board or kayak if you love water sports. Tahoe Water Adventures in Tahoe City has the best selection of boat and jet ski rentals plus all of the sports equipment you’ll need for a day out on the lake. Just be sure to drive safely and know your boat manners. Craving some adrenaline? Labor Day weekend is the last weekend visitors can ride the Truckee River down to River Ranch Lodge at the base of Alpine Meadows. Truckee River Raft Company offers the perfect voyage for family and friends ages two and up. Just be sure to hold on to the paddles if the river gets rough!
South Lake Tahoe
Where to Eat: South Lake Tahoe is known for its plentiful food options due to the vast number of hotels, casinos, and Heavenly Ski Resort. If you love amazing sushi, one of our favorite places to eat is The Naked Fish located on Highway 50. This trendy restaurant features a large selection of sushi, sashimi, nigiri, and creative Hawaiian infused rolls. It is by far one of the best sushi spots in Tahoe. For more a casual dining experience, Artemis Lakefront Cafe is a favorite among locals. Offering outdoor seating and breathtaking views, you can enjoy classic Greek and Mediterranean style dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you are looking for a healthy alternative, Sprouts Natural Food Cafe on Harrison Avenue has a great selection of vegetarian items including baked tofu bowls, fresh fruit smoothies, pressed juices, salads and more.
Where to Stay: Decorated along Highway 50, visitors can find a number of accommodations ranging from luxury resorts to small intimate lodges to inexpensive motels. Harrah’s and Montbleu Resort are known for the nightlife while the Grand Residence by Marriott offers a more private, sophisticated atmosphere. Cabin rentals are also a popular choice, so be sure to check out websites such as Airbnb and VRBO to find the best prices. Rentals are also recommended for Labor Day weekend as it’s nice to have the extra space plus full kitchen for early morning breakfasts before hitting the lake. If you love the outdoors, there are also some great camping options in the summertime including Eagle Point, Camp Richardson, and Nevada Beach Campground. Tahoe weather stays warm through the end of September, so take advantage before ski season begins.
Where to Play: Since the majority of downtown South Lake Tahoe falls onto the Nevada state line, visitors tend to visit the local casinos to try their hand at blackjack or the poker tables. While gambling isn’t our favorite pastime, there are many other outdoor activities that you can enjoy. One of the best day hikes in the area is Fallen Leaf Lake. This 8.1-mile walk is located off Fallen Leaf Road and allows dogs. If you are looking for a great cannabis stop, be sure to visit Tahoe Wellness Cooperative located on Lake Tahoe Boulevard. Their friendly, knowledgeable staff will show you a wide selection of products to choose from including some high-quality flower strains, delicious edibles, and locally made topicals.
Where to Eat: Only a 20-minute drive from Lake Tahoe, Truckee is the perfect place to visit for Labor Day weekend. Old town Truckee offers some of the best eateries including Moody’s Bistro Bar & Beats and Pianeta Ristorante. Moody’s is a trendy choice for craft-cocktails, a farm-to-table menu, and fun, eclectic music. Pianeta’s offers high-end Italian cuisine, intimate seating, and a lively happy hour Sunday - Thursday from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Located just across the train tracks is Cottonwood, one of Truckee's historic ski lodges converted into a restaurant and bar. You can find many locals here on a warm Friday night enjoying the patio seating with views of downtown. For breakfast, head over to Squeeze In located in Old Town Truckee. Their signature omelets are the best in town. For lunch, some of the best Mexican food in the area can be found at Tacos Jalisco next to 711 on Donner Pass Road. If you love authentic street tacos, this is the place for you and it won’t break the bank.
Where to Stay: Truckee offers a variety of accommodation options but for Labor Day, we suggest renting a house or condo. Tahoe Donner offers a lot of choices but finding a place close to downtown is best so you can easily walk to the restaurants and bars in Old Town Truckee. If you prefer to camp, check out Donner Memorial State Park Campground next to Donner Lake. Located close to town, this campground offers Labor Day travelers a place to camp, picnic, boat, swim, hike, and fish. Campers are also welcome to visit Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center exhibit that tells the story of the infamous Donner Party - a group of emigrants that spent the winter of 1846 to 1847 snowbound in the Sierra Nevada that went through extreme measures to survive. Another great accommodation location option is located just outside Truckee at Northstar ski resort. You can rent condos in The Village and enjoy the many shops, restaurants and day hikes. For an ultra-luxury experience, stay at The Ritz Carlton located just up the road.
Where to Play: In the summer, nothing beats swimming in Donner Lake. The water is warm at the end of August and visitors can take advantage of the public docks that align the north shore. China Cove is another great stop where visitors can enjoy a picnic or rent a kayak. Dogs are also welcome. If you are looking for a breathtaking day hike, drive west along Donner Lake and take Highway 40 up the summit. From the top, you can access Mount Judah Loop Trail. Known as one of the best hikes in Truckee, hikers can experience 360 sights of the Sierras and an unforgettable view of Donner Lake and the surrounding areas. If you’d rather kick back and relax with a nice glass of wine, visit Truckee River Winery off Brockway Road. Sit on the patio or play bocce ball - this is a fun spot to be on a warm sunny day. To stock up on herbal products, visit Green Trees Wellness in Truckee. Known for their wide selection of premium lab-tested cannabis, this local dispensary is a great stop to pick up some supplies while you are in town. Be sure to bring your medical marijuana card as they only serve patients.
Others Areas to Explore
Offering some of the most scenic views in Lake Tahoe, be sure to make a mandatory stop at the following locations during your weekend getaway. There is nothing like experiencing the beauty of these four locations first hand. This is what Tahoe is all about!
We hope you enjoy the beauty and bounty that Lake Tahoe has to offer these last few days of summer. Happy Labor Day!
Peace, Love, Cannabis,
The Herb Somm