How to Experience Lake Tahoe Without Burning Down Your Cabin

Resized_20170923_105516A billowing pile of smoke was rising from the fire we had lit inside the antique wood-burning fireplace that was housed inside the authentic, hand-made old-fashioned log cabin we rented in South Lake Tahoe through Airbnb. I could feel my eyes begin to water as the white indoor clouds reached the vaulted, lodge-pole daring ceilings upstairs.

“Maybe we should open up a window?” My friend was attempting to stifle the smoke in the fireplace after trying to circulate the heat from the flames around the living room.

“Yeah, maybe that’s best,” I coughed. I took a quick look upstairs to possibly open up another window. I couldn’t tell at first if we had killed our other friend, who has asthma and was lying in a bed upstairs until I heard the sounds of snoring from underneath the comforter return to their normal steady rhythm.

IMG_0246The cabin we had stayed in during our weekend trip to the mountains was perched on the historical site of the original post office of South Lake Tahoe during the 1800’s (the horse hitch is still visible) about a block away from Lake Tahoe’s Regan Beach.

I definitely recommend renting a cabin in the cooler months (the best times to visit Lake Tahoe are from Mar. to May and from Sep. to Nov., but you can go anytime during the year), as many older houses and authentic cabins around the large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains straddling the border of California and Nevada do not have AC.

The cabin was perfect to stay in after driving up from Southern California and watching the small flurries of snowfall between the tall Aspen and Pine trees in the mountains.

During our trip to Tahoe, we managed to take a short and easy 3-mile round trip hike to Lower Eagle Falls before renting a powerboat from the Ski Run Boat Company at Tahoe Keys Marina. We ended up speeding by the small island in Emerald Bay on the southwest shore, where visitors can find Emerald Bay State Park, which contains the 1929 Nordic-style mansion Vikingsholm.


The boat rental company actually also offered paddleboard rentals, kayaking, paddle boating, parasailing rides, and Jet Ski rentals, but those other options weren’t the best choice for the chilly weather that we were in.

That weekend we had some amazing drinks and delicious pizza at Base Camp Pizza Company at The Shops at Heavenly Village, and grabbed hot chocolate for the cold nights, which you can grab from Heavens Little Café, Nestle Toll House Café, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, or Starbucks in the shopping center.

The last time I went to Lake Tahoe, it was during one of the summer months, and we ended up going to Kings Beach State Recreation Area to wade in the cool clear waters before returning to our hotel to get ready for a wedding in which I was a bridesmaid.

Along the lake’s northeast side visitors in the summer can find Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, which includes Sand Harbor Beach and Spooner Lake, a gateway to the long-distance Tahoe Rim Trail. However, our trip this time around in September to the south of the lake had us bundling up in our coats and watching the sunset on the smaller beach near our cabin.

I’m definitely glad we chose to take a trip to Tahoe and rent a cabin near the lake. It ultimately turned into a wonderful experience where my friends and I can share great memories with forever.

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