20 Favorite Winter Activities in Lake Tahoe for Families

If you are taking a winter trip to Lake Tahoe with your family, you are in luck, as the entire area offers a lot of fun things to do. From stargazing to sleigh rides, and world-class skiing, there are a hundreds of winter activities in Lake Tahoe for families.

Here are some exciting ways to spend winter with your whole family in Lake Tahoe.

20 Fun Winter Activities in Lake Tahoe - Groups Are A Trip

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1. Heavenly Ski Resort

Heavenly Ski Resort, a premier North American skiing destination, offers a winter wonderland with endless fun. With 4,800 acres of terrain, it’s ideal for skiing and cross-country adventures.

Beyond the slopes, the village provides a variety of experiences including shopping, dining, movies, and ice skating. Set against breathtaking canyons, pine-covered mountains, and offering Lake Tahoe views, families won’t be disappointed by this location. A ski and snowboard school caters to children aged 4-13, ensuring fun for all.

2. Palisades Tahoe

Previously known as Squaw Valley, Palisades Tahoe is a renowned ski resort featuring an aerial tram that ascends 2,000 feet. Activities like snowshoeing, sledding, snowmobiling, and tubing are available. The resort has some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Lake Tahoe. Families will find lodging, shopping, and dining in this area.

3. Donner Memorial State Park

This picturesque park boasts trails leading to the serene Donner Lake. The Emigrant Trail Museum, located within the park, narrates the history of pioneers and their struggles navigating the Sierras in the winter.

4. Tahoe City Winter Sports Park

This park is a haven for Lake Tahoe winter activities such as snowshoeing, ice skating, and cross-country skiing. A single ticket grants access to all park activities.

5. Tahoe Ice Arena

The Tahoe Ice Arena is a hub for winter sports, including skating and hockey. This is sure to provide entertainment for the entire family.

6. Emerald Bay State Park

Emerald Bay State Park, renowned for its beauty, offers trails for all skill levels. Snowshoeing around the lake provides stunning vistas. The park also features Vikingsholm Castle, showcasing Scandinavian architecture, which is accessible via a scenic hike, but not open for tours in the winter.

7. Olympic Museum

One of the top things you can do in Lake Tahoe in winter is visit the Olympic Museum. Located in High Camp, the museum commemorates the 1960 Winter Olympics with artifacts, footage, and exhibits. Visitors can also enjoy an aerial tram ride for panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and the High Sierras. 

8. KidZone Museum

KidZone is a perfect place if you are on vacation with young children. This small museum works as a play and learning center for kids of all ages. Here, you will find interactive exhibits and activity centers aimed at improving children’s skills while having fun. 

There is the Arts Studio Space for kids to create art, a Jungle Gym where children can climb and jump, an Exploration Center with fun scientific experiments, nature programs to learn about the flora and fauna of the region, and indoor play spaces. KidZone museum also has a Baby Zone that is perfect for infants and young kids.

9. Skiing

Lake Tahoe, host of the 1960 Winter Olympics, boasts 12 world-class ski resorts. Popular destinations for family skiing include Heavenly Ski Resort, Kirkwood Ski Resort, Northstar, Homewood Mountain Resort, Alpine Meadows, and Sugar Bowl.

Ski Lift in Lake Tahoe winter activities

10. Lake Tahoe SNOWFEST 

In late February to early March, Lake Tahoe hosts ones of the largest winter festivals on the west coast. SNOWFEST is a collection of events organized by North Lake Tahoe and the surrounding communities. There are over 40 events for families to enjoy from a snow sculpture contest to a snow golf tournament and a polar plunge. It is a great way to spend time with your family when visiting Lake Tahoe in winter. 

11. Sledding

Sledding is a fun activity in Lake Tahoe, with multiple sledding hills and snow tubing runs. Favorite spots include Granlibakken, Sawmill Pond, and Everline Resort.

12. Apres-Ski

Even if you don’t want to hit the slopes, you can still enjoy apres-ski in Lake Tahoe. Many ski resorts and restaurants have apres ski happy hour, so check them out while you are here.

13. Ice Skating

Since water sports aren’t popular in the winter, you can enjoy other outdoor activities like ice skating. Lake Tahoe has many areas and spots featuring ice skating rinks perfect for indoor and outdoor skating.

Check out ice skating at Northstar Village Ice Skating Rink, Heavenly Village, and Truckee. Ice Rink.

14. Gondola Ride

For non-skiers, you can still enjoy views of the area by taking a gondola ride. At Heavenly there’s a 2.5-mile ride that will take you to an observation deck with stunning views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountains. This is one of the best winter activities in Lake Tahoe.

15. Sleigh Rides

Visiting Lake Tahoe for the holidays? Several resorts and even state parks offer family sleigh rides.

16. Snowshoeing Tours

With high snowfall levels, Lake Tahoe is ideal for snowshoeing. Tours are available, with equipment and clothing provided. Check out Snowshoe Tahoe for tours.

17. Lake Tahoe Road Trip

Visitors in Lake Tahoe often stick to one part of the lake during their vacation. However, don’t miss the opportunity to take a road trip around the lake. You can complete the 72-mile road trip in 3 hours without stopping. We recommend stopping to take it all in at major viewpoints like Memorial Point and Emerald Bay Viewpoint. 

View of Lake Tahoe winter

Another option is to take a boat tour of the Lake to see some of the most beautiful parts of the lake. Depending on your preference, you can take a day tour or a sunset cruise. There aren’t many tours available during winter, but you can find a few companies that will go out on the lake.

If your budget allows, consider a helicopter tour. This usually lasts about 20 minutes and takes passengers to some of the prettiest destinations in Lake Tahoe. These include the South Shore, Zephyr Cove, Fallen Leaf Lake, and Emerald Bay State Park. 

18. Go shopping

Winter is the perfect time to head to the stores. Lake Tahoe has some great shopping areas including downtown Truckee, The Village at Northstar, and The Village at Palisades Tahoe. You can also pick up some new ski gear before you hit the slopes.

19. Check Out The Beaches

While at Lake Tahoe, you might love to check out the amazing beaches such as King’s Beach, Sand Harbor at Incline Village, Commons Beach, Carnelian Bay, and Emerald Bay. Winter and beaches usually don’t go hand to hand, but Lake Tahoe has many beautiful beaches with soft sand and play structures perfect for kids. These beaches are less crowded during winter, making it the perfect season to enjoy some quality family time. 

20. Relax at the Hot Springs

There is no better way for the whole family to relax and soothe tired muscles after a day of skiing than to stop at a hot spring. There are many options to pick from, but a personal favorite is David Walley’s Hot Springs which features an outdoor pool, saunas, and spa treatments. You can also check out Travertine Hot Springs, Historic Carson Hot Springs, and Sierra Hot Springs Resort.

Winter Activities in Lake Tahoe Don’t Disappoint

With a lot of fun options, ski resorts, festivals, and attractive destinations, it’s easy to see why Lake Tahoe is a favorite destination all year round. You and your family will definitely enjoy the stunning views, the quiet atmosphere, the attraction sites, and the winter adventures that will get your adrenaline pumping.