Lake Tahoe is a beautiful, crystal-clear blue lake nestled among mountain peaks. During the summer, boating, camping, and hiking are popular activities. Winter sports are popular during the colder months (December-April).
Lake Tahoe has been a tourist destination since the turn of the 20th century, when steam trains and improving roads made it possible to visit with ease. The 1960 Winter Olympics, held at Squaw Valley, popularized winter sports at Tahoe.
From the Bay Area or Sacramento, take highway 80 East.
Beyond Donner Pass
If you are heading east from the Bay Area, you have some skiing choices. These resorts are all on Highway 80 going East, before you hit Donner Pass.
[Sand Harbor], northeast shore.
Several charter services offer boat tours to the mansions that dot the lake shore.
Gambling is a popular activity year-round. There are also bicycle and boat rentals (both canoes and power boats) available in South Lake Tahoe.
You can rent skiing or snowboarding equipment directly at the mountain. However, to save money and increase your available choices, you might want to rent from one of the many Ski Shops in the Tahoe Area. You can also rent from REI, Any Mountain, and Marmot Mountain Works in the Bay Area (and probably other places too).
In South Lake Tahoe:
Hotels are, of course, an option. Book in advance, especially in the winter or summer seasons. You can get a room for as cheap as $30/night in South Lake Tahoe, or spend several hundred dollars a night for a large cabin that can hold a dozen people.
Homeowners in the area do a brisk business renting/leasing out their cabins for the winter and summer seasons. They vary in price from $800/mo for a 1-room condo, to $3,000/mo and up for 4 bedroom houses with hot tubs and other amenities. Leases are advertised with real estate agencies as well as in the local papers.