My family used to vacation in Lake Tahoe when we lived in Northern California. I hadn’t been since I was six years old but always had fond memories of building snowmen with my parents and sledding through magical lush forests with my brother. I imagine it’s the first place where I discovered snow! What a treat that must’ve been.
I always dreamt of seeing it as an adult, so while visiting my friend TC in Sacramento, we decided to take a weekend road trip to the mountains. Without much of a plan, we explored as we pleased and had a blast channeling our inner 6 year olds exploring pine forests, crystal clear lakes and staying at the coziest Basecamp South Lake Tahoe.
Where to Stay: Basecamp South Lake Tahoe
Located in the heart of South Lake Tahoe, Basecamp is the perfect spot to explore the area’s multiple trails and mountains. Only a 5-minute walk from the lake and located directly across from Heavenly Village, it’s a convenient jumping off point for an array of activities and also includes many food options.
Staying at Basecamp felt like going to adult summer camp. With the main communal area being an open courtyard and Beer Garden full of games like Corn Hole Bean Bag Toss and table tennis, it was both inviting and friendly. After a day of skiing and exploring, everyone gathered around communal fire pits roasting s’mores, enjoying winter drinks and getting cozy in the hot tub with views of the mountains. Every afternoon they had an open hot cocoa bar with endless toppings like marshmallows, peppermint candies and chocolate syrup.
There are 73 rooms in total at Basecamp ranging from king bed rooms with a balcony and mountain views to a family room with two queens and two twin-sized loft bunkbeds overhead. There’s even a Great Outdoors room that replicates a campsite with indoor tent, camping chairs, faux log fire and picnic table!
I appreciated the cozy campy feel without having to sleep outside. Also you could tell their consideration of all the details both in decor and function like having a gear rack for storing/drying your gear, cute branded coffee cups and an indoor lantern light.
Continental breakfast was included in the room stay. We didn’t have lunch or dinner on site; instead went to Heavenly Village, which was right across the street and had more than enough options. Keep in mind the popular restaurants like Basecamp Pizza get busy so definitely make reservations!
I appreciated the communal, no fuss vibes and convenient location of Basecamp and would definitely stay again. I hope to come back during the summer to see the lake’s blues in full effect.
Where to go for the best scenic spots
Lake Tahoe has a plethora of winter activities for everyone to enjoy. It’s popular for skiing and snowboarding but also cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, hitting up a snow park or relaxing by the fire. TC and I had just gone through a long work week and both needed a chill weekend so during our weekend getaway we drove to a few scenic points and we did some short hikes.
A few of my favorites spots include:
Sand Harbor: I had seen images of this area’s magical cobalt blue waters on Instagram so many times. Since we went on a semi-cloudy day in the winter, it was not bright as what I image it’d be on a hot summer’s day, but you could still see the crystal clear waters and picturesque rock formations. I’ll definitely be coming back in the summer for some stand up paddleboarding, kayaking and scuba diving!
Emerald Bay: One of the top scenic spots in the area, this bay located in the southwest shore is unique in its beautiful blue-green color and the perfectly placed Fannette Island right in the center of the bay. With multiple pull-out areas off Highway 89, there are multiple spots to get those perfect panoramic views. There’s even a castle on the shore called Vikingsholm, a replica of a 9th-century Scandinavian castle.
Heavenly Gondola: We were told this 2.4 mile ride up the mountain had the best panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and they were right. There’s an Observation Deck at around 9,000 feet and it’s possible to see the entire expanse of the lake at that point! Even better, Basecamp was only a 5-minute walk from Heavenly Village.
Bonsai Rock: This popular photo spot is something truly magical—a giant boulder in the middle of the lake with four small trees growing out of the top. Located along Route 28 between Hidden Beach and Sand Harbor, it’s a quick walk from the road!
Our quick weekend getaway to Tahoe was the perfect introduction to this beautiful area in Northern California. Like I mentioned multiple times, I can’t wait to come back here during the summer to explore more and fully immerse myself in the beauty of the lake and surrounding mountains. Basecamp has two locations around the lake, and I’ll definitely be staying with them again as my base!
Thank you Basecamp South Lake Tahoe for hosting me in your cozy lodging. All opinions and photos are my own.