North Tahoe is perfect for a summer family vacation and gives you the chance to experience the mountains throughout the region. The crowds are far less than during the winter and it’s great to get up high in the mountains when it’s warm out and the sun is shining. We’ve visited Tahoe plenty of times before, but this was our first vacation with the little ones in tow, so it was a special and new experience. We’ve outlined our itinerary, which was a little slower paced to accommodate nap time and feedings, but also offered just the right amount of fresh air and picturesque views that we crave.
4 pm: Check-in to Northstar California Resort. When we first arrived we were actually caught in a summer thunderstorm . Summer storms occasionally pass through Tahoe, but they pass quickly. We checked in at Northstar’s main check-in building, located at the resort’s entrance where they explained where our unit was, parking, wifi, etc. We stayed at one of the Ski Trails units, which are all individually owned and rented. The units are are located right above Northstar Village (10 minute walk) and was very peaceful and perfect for our family stay. These condos come fully equipped with towels, bedding, and kitchenware. Maid service can be arranged daily and there is plenty of parking. We asked for a crib that was promptly delivered upon arrival.
6 pm: Dinner at Manzanita Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe. When it comes to dining in North Tahoe, Manzanita is a top-notch choice. They have terrific meat choices and tasty seafood options. We love the family style main courses that they offer. We ordered the Colorado Lamb, which is perfect for a large group and could easily feed 3-4 people. The lamb was perfectly roasted and was served atop tri-colored potatoes. The restaurant has a sophisticated vibe, but is very child friendly as well. They have high chairs available and a yummy kids menu.
8pm: Relax! After putting the little ones to bed, we relaxed with some ice cream and a glass of wine in front of the fireplace. There is no AC in the units, but the temperature is perfect with windows open and a fan going. Especially since most units are surrounded by towering trees which help with keeping the temperatures down. It’s the perfect way to wind down!
9:30 am: Breakfast at Copperlane in the Northstar Village. For a quick bite before hitting the trails we chowed down on some breakfast burritos and got some much needed caffeine into our systems at Copperlane! Aside from breakfast and lunch, they also sell a bevy of picnic and snack items to fill your backpack for an afternoon of outings.
10:30 am: Gondola Ride and Hiking at Northstar California. The whole family enjoyed the scenic gondola ride up to the top of the mountain. Once we reached the top we went for a short hike on the sunset loop trail. There was only a mild incline, making it easy, even when carrying the sleeping babies. We even found beautiful patches of daisies making for a fairytale-like view!
12:30 pm: Lunch at Mid-Mountain Lodge. After our hike, we headed back down to the Mid-Mountain Lodge for some lunch. They have a pretty extensive menu to choose from and a variety of snacks and drinks. It is set up cafeteria style, so order what you like, pay, and they give you a beeper that goes off when your food is ready. Plenty of seating and high chairs are available for the little ones.
3 pm: Explore Northstar California’s Village. The village at Northstar has plenty of shops to pass away the afternoon. In the summertime, there are some great sales going on too!
5pm: Dinner at Rubicon Pizza. We grabbed some pizza to go from Northstar Village so we could relax at the condo. We decided on pizza and pasta from Rubicon since it was fast and easy. While waiting we browsed the nearby shops until our tasty hot pizza was ready to go!
10am: Breakfast, Checkout & Picnic Shopping. We had a light breakfast in our condo and packed up for check out at 11am. We then stopped by the grocery store to grab some munchies for a picnic and some snacks for the drive home.
12pm: Donner Train Tunnels Hike. These train tunnels have a long history and make for a unique hike! The tunnels were once used to protect the railroad tracks from winter snow. There are a couple of ways to access the tunnels and we decided to start at the entrance near the Viking Ski Club. From here, the hike did not require any climbing and the walk was flat, perfect for all abilities. Lighting can be a bit dim in the tunnels, so bring a flashlight or plan to use your cell phone light. Don’t forget to peek outside the tunnels at the openings for a great aerial views of Donner Lake!
3pm: Road Trip Home. After the hike we filled our gas tank and hit the road. During the summertime there are always road repairs in the mountains, so be prepared for some stops along the way. Also check google maps occasionally for side roads that might save you some time. Plan to stop in Sacramento or Davis for dinner, they have plenty of dining options and it’s a nice half way point.