12 things to do in South Lake Tahoe if you don’t ski and/or gamble

1.  Adventure Mountain Lake Tahoe sits right at the top of Echo Summit, before you begin the ascent into the Tahoe Basin. One of the area’s best sledding and snow play resorts, there are up to 16 machine-groomed sledding runs and lots of room for building snowmen or fortresses.  Bring the entire family, pack a lunch, or grab one from the concession stand.

2.  Visit the Haldan Gallery at the Lake Tahoe Community College and get some culture. After several years of fundraising through the college foundation, plus help from the state, the 2500 square foot gallery opened along with the new library.   The library is opened Tuesday through Saturday with rotating exhibits.  The gallery also has a hands-on discovery center so you can get involved in the visuals. Contact info is 530.541.4660, ext.711 or Lake Tahoe Community College Halden Art Gallery

3.  Dogsledding! Yahoo!!  Ok, you get the idea. It is a ton of fun and all you do is sit there! What could be better? The dogs are fast, strong and bred to run, they have as much fun as you do.  There are several options for dogsledding in the south shore.  The first is Running Creek Sled Dogs out at Kirkwood Mountain Resort on Highway 88. Contact info is 775.266.4720 or www.Runningcreek.info.  Another is the Husky Express just a few miles down the road in Hope Valley at 775.782.3047 or www.Highsierra.com.  If you want to visit the north shore, there is Lake Tahoe Wilderness Adventures Dog Sled Tours, based out of Sugar Bowl and the Resort at Squaw Creek.  They offer a journey of a lifetime.  Contact info is 530.550.8130 or www.tahoedogsledtours.com.

4.  Go ice skating!  South Lake Tahoe is fortunate in having two ice skating rinks.  The first one is in the downtown area in the Heavenly Village, close to the movie theaters and behind the Marriott. The South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena has an indoor rink with drop-in hockey classes and public skating.  If you don’t know how to skate,  take a lesson. Contact info is 530.542.6262

5.  Lake Cruises.  The lake is still open in the winter.  There is the M.S. Dixie departing daily from the Zephyr Cove Resort and the Tahoe Queen, departing from the Ski Run Marina.  The cruises are fun, educational and offer restaurant quality food and drinks.

6.  Go for a snowmobile ride!  Or drive one yourself!  Sierra Mountain Sports will rent you one, along with a trailer, maps, safety instructions, and helmets. They have maps for trails all over the Tahoe Basin, including Truckee.  Contact info is 1.800.696.7797 or www.tahoesnowmobiles.com.  If you want a guide, try Lake Tahoe Adventures at 530.577.2940 or www.LakeTahoeAdventures.com.  If you are closer to the Nevada side and want fabulous Lake Tahoe views, try the Zephyr Cove Snowmobile Center. You’ll get a great tour and if you plan it right, you can go to the historic Zephyr Cove Lodge for one of their legendary hamburgers with a chocolate shake.  Contact info is 775.589.4908 or www.zephyrcove.com.

7.  While there are not vineyards in Tahoe, there is a winery.  Go wine tasting at Picchetti Winery Tahoe Tasting room.  The winery itself is located on an historic ranch a short drive from Silicon Valley.  The tasting room in Tahoe is a short walk from the lake, across the street from campground, and is open 11 am – 4 pm daily.  Contact info is 530.541.1500 or www.picchetti.com.

Another option is Apres Wine Company, located in the Ski Run Center, 3668 Lake Tahoe Boulevard.  For a truly unique wine tasking experience, 50 wines can be sampled daily. The wine bar also features tapas style meals and over 300 fine wines.  They can be reached at  530.544.9463.

8.  Fishing!  Both the Zephyr Cove Marina and Ski Run Marina offer year-round sport fishing. The captains at Tahoe Sport Fishing provide experience and the latest fish-finding technology and equipment.  All gear is supplies and you can purchase a California fishing license on the spot.

9.  Snowshoe!  If you can walk, you can snowshoe!  One of the best things about snowshoeing is that it is easy and makes many places accessible.  Want an easy stroll?  Rent some showshoes and take a walk along the lake where it’s flat. There are many places along the lake available to the public, Camp Richardson, Pope Beach, the Baldwin Estate, El Dorado Beach. Camp Richardson, rents snowshoes and offers groomed trails.  Then after that little walk, you can stroll over the the Beacon and have one of their famous ‘Rum Runners’.

10.  Helicopter Rides. Reno/Tahoe Helicopters departs from the South Lake Tahoe Airport and gives you a birds-eye view of Emerald Bay, Zephyr Cove, Sand Harbor and onto the north shore. Their popular sunset tour gives you a 60-minute tour of Lake Tahoe as the suns drops and the sky becomes alive with color.

11.  Go for a sleigh ride.  On the meadow next to Montbleu, the Borges Family has been providing sleigh rides since 1967.  Pulled by big and beautiful Blonde Belgian Draft horses, the holiday sleighs give a nostalgic history lesson, along with some fabulous views. In addition to the sleigh ride, the Borges’ provide buggy rides in the downtown area.  Enjoy this fun and romantic treat.

12.  Get some down time.  Grab a book, a glass of wine, sit by the fire, and listen to the quiet.  Watch the snow fall.  Stare at the fire.  Think deep thoughts.  Have quiet conversations about life and love.  Get a massage.  Relax.  After all, you’re in Tahoe.

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