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Sunset in South Lake Tahoe

A year-round playground of pleasure, Lake Tahoe is the perfect holiday destination if you simply cannot resist the call of the great outdoors. If skiing is your thing, then winter is the time to swoosh down the lake-side mountains, where an abundance of snow falls. If amazing scenery, water sports, swimming and hiking tick your holiday boxes, consider a stay in Lake Tahoe hotels during spring, summer or autumn.

Spanning the borders of California and Nevada, and nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the sparkling waters of Lake Tahoe have attracted American holidaymakers for years, while remaining relatively low key on the international radar compared to other big mountain and ski resorts in the United States of America. But Lake Tahoe has lots to offer to intrepid travellers, and hotels in Lake Tahoe are the perfect place to relax after a long-haul flight from the UK.

Your holiday adventures will vary depending on which part of the lake you choose to stay on. Speckled with forests and encircled by mountains and state parks, the dramatic panoramas of this stunning region do not change much from one side to the other, but the hospitality offering and the towns and villages of the lake present quite different views on this destination.

Stay in hotels on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, where you'll find upmarket resorts: some quiet, some busy. Resorts on the Nevada side of the lake, such as Incline Village and Crystal Bay, boast five-star hotels and casinos where you can wager on card games and spin the wheel of luck. On the Californian lakeshore you'll find the village of West Shore, which is a peaceful place to stay, while in the north are resorts such as Kings Beach, Tahoe Vista and Carnelian Bay, which all offer a large variety of lodging, from luxury hotels and beach clubs, to self-catering accommodation and cosy inns. Mountain villages, where the magic happens in winter, include Squaw Valley, Northstar and Alpine Meadows.

There are a range of hotel brands in the lake area, especially motel-style places to stay. Look for properties from the likes of Howard Johnson, Super 8, Courtyard by Marriott, Holiday Inn Express, Days Inn, Quality Inn and Residence Inn.

In Tahoe South, which is also split between the two states, you are likely to enjoy more tourist attractions, more bars, more casinos, more dancing - more, more, more of everything. It's certainly the busier end of the lake, and this is the place to be if you like your evenings action-packed, without losing any of the beauty associated with the day-time pursuits of Lake Tahoe. You'll find a good range of accommodation, with hotels, motels, inns and holiday rentals trying to catch your eye.

Top five attractions                                                                                                 

Helicopter tour

Take to the skies and see the breathtaking scenery from a different angle. Prices start from around $60 for a flight over Emerald Bay.

Steamship trip

A guided and narrated trip aboard a steamship; learn about the wonders of Tahoe as you amble across its magnificent waters.

Sleigh ride

Weather permitting, obviously, there's no better way to take in the beauty of Tahoe than being pulled along on a sleigh. It's a magical winter treat (though you can take a carriage in summer).

Vikingsholm

Nestled into Emerald Bay State Park is this remarkable mansion and one of the most attractive Scandinavian-style buildings in the USA. It is best seen in spring when the roof is covered with wildflowers.

Eagle Falls

Get a taste for the wild with a picnic at Eagle Falls - just a short walk from the designated picnic area lie the pretty falls, where you can brave a dip in the cool waters.

Events

Earth Day; April: This relatively new event has become a huge annual celebration of nature. It's a green-themed festival including music and stalls, all set to the backdrop of some wonderful scenery.

Truckee Duckee Derbee; June: Possibly the world's best duck race combined with a host of riverside festivities. Thousands of rubber ducks are sent battling for position down the Truckee River in this huge family charity event. It's worth taking part too, as the first prize often exceeds $200.

Autumn Food and Wine Festival; September: Enjoy two days of cooking contests, demonstrations of culinary skills and some of the finest food in America before raising a glass to one of California's most celebrated products - the grape. This festival of wine and food takes place each year at the Northstar California Resort.