Friday, June 25, 2010

Eight Free or Inexpensive Family Summer Activities in South Lake Tahoe

My extended family just returned from a short vacation in beautiful South Lake Tahoe. Our group included teenagers, adults and one senior. As with many families during these tough economic times, we searched for free or inexpensive activities all could enjoy. Here is a partial list of what we did or wanted to do, but didn't have time for (not in any particular order):

1) Tallac Historic Site: I never knew this existed until this year. Three estates within a short walking distance from each other are free to explore on the outside. $5 ($3 for kids) tours of the Pope Estate are given every day except Tuesdays during the summer. Picturesque ponds, gardens and historic vehicles are on display. Paved flat paths are easy even for small children. Parking is free.

2) Kiva Beach: Parking is free. We didn't go here, but saw the parking lot was fairly full.

3) Baldwin Beach: Parking is $7. We go here every time we visit Tahoe. It is our favorite beach because it is quiet, clean, and the bathrooms are close by. Pope Beach is also $7 for parking. You can puchase one parking pass and visit both beaches on the same day.

4) Watched a movie in our hotel room. We stayed at the Embassy Suites and eight of us watched Date Night for $12.99. That's $1.62 each! We also ate a free full breakfast every morning. Yum!

5) Harrah's Arcade: We found coupons near the concierge desk at our hotel for $10 worth of arcade tokens for $5. Some of us took the teenagers to the arcade while other adults gambled. I think they went through the tokens in about half an hour, then took another fifteen minutes deciding what they wanted to exchange their tickets for.

6) Explore Tahoe Interpretive Center: Between our hotel and the Heavenly Gondolas is a roundish building with a colored sidewalk leading up to it. The Interpretive Center is geared mainly for younger children, but our teens enjoyed reading and playing with the exhibits. A scale model of Lake Tahoe with points of interest lights up when you press buttons. Floor puzzles and coloring can keep young ones busy. Admission is free.

7) Cascade Falls: Near Cascade Lake. We didn't go here, but will save it for next time. A short, moderate hike leads up to a series of waterfalls. Free.

8) Taylor Creek Visitor Center/Rainbow Trail: Another interpretive center and easy, flat, paved trail. We will save for next time. Free.

Directions and other info to all these places can be found on the Internet.

Travel articles are not the usual topics of my blog, but I thought reviews of the different places we visited would be helpful for families planning a trip to South Lake Tahoe this summer. We went when it was relatively uncrowded, but as the summer wears on, the number of visitors will increase.
Next: The Heavenly Gondolas: Not Cheap, but Relatively Inexpensive

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