A Guide to Lake Tahoe with Teens in 2024 (Best Restaurants and Activities!)

We think that Lake Tahoe is a great place to take teens. With it’s variety of places to visit and activities, teens can find something to do in all parts of Lake Tahoe. In this article, we’ll explore the best teen activities, family-friendly attractions, and hidden gems at Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe with teens photo of teens ice skating at heavenly lake
Ice skating at Heavenly Village

Outdoor Activities

Heavenly Ski Resort

If your teens are itching for a skiing or snowboarding adventure in Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain Resort is the place to be! Packed with diverse slopes and terrain parks, it’s perfect for all skill levels. But it’s not just about being on the snow – they can kick it up a notch on the Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster or soak in epic views with a gondola ride. And when they’re not out on the slopes, there’s the Heavenly Village for some shopping, grub, and cool vibes. Prices for lift tickets hover around $100 to $150, but keep an eye out for deals and discounts, especially if you book online or go for multi-day passes.

Address: 3860 Saddle Rd South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Hiking and Biking Trails

Hike to Vikingsholm Castle

The hike to Vikingsholm Castle is a scenic and relatively accessible trail, making it suitable for teens. Located in Emerald Bay State Park on the western shore of Lake Tahoe, the hike descends approximately 1 mile from the parking lot to the castle. The trail takes visitors through a forested area, and while it involves a downhill slope on the way to the castle, the return trip requires an ascent. The trail is well-maintained, and there are interpretive signs along the way providing information about the natural surroundings. Pack a picnic lunch for your teen and relax.

Vikingsholm Castle visitors are treated to a pretty cool historical site. Vikingsholm is a stunning Scandinavian-style mansion built in the 1920s, showcasing intricate architecture and surrounded by lush gardens. Visitors can explore the exterior of the castle, take guided tours during the summer months, and wander through the surrounding grounds. It’s a great place to take selfies and photos!

Biking Donner Lake

We love biking to Donner Memorial State Park with our teen, soaking in the mesmerizing scenery and enjoying quality family time. The paved trail circling Donner Lake offers a gentle and beautiful route suitable for most skill levels, making it an ideal outdoor activity for teens. If you don’t have bikes, no worries – local rental shops in Truckee provide a range of options, including mountain bikes and cruisers.

We make it a point to take a break along the trail to savor a picnic by the lake or we stop at the ice cream shop for a sweet treat! After the ride, we try to explore Truckee and get dinner at a local spot!

Lake Tahoe with teens photo of Donner lake pier
Donner Lake pier

Remember to stay hydrated, apply sunscreen, and encourage your teens to capture the nice scenery that the biking adventure around Donner Lake promises to offer. It’s a casual and enjoyable way to blend outdoor exploration with family fun in the heart of the Truckee region.

Beach and Water Sports

One of the best beaches in Lake Tahoe to take a teen is Sand Harbor Beach. Located on the northeastern shore of the lake, Sand Harbor is one of our favorite places for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and its sandy beach. Our teens love it for the variety of activities it offers.

During the summer months, they can enjoy swimming, paddleboarding, and kayaking in the calm and clear waters. The sandy shoreline is perfect for just relaxing with good music or a book. The surrounding landscape, with its rocky coves and vibrant blue hues, provides an Instagram-worthy backdrop for all those photos teens love to take. Sand Harbor also hosts the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival during the summer, adding a cultural and entertaining element to this area.

Take a boat tour or cruise to experience Lake Tahoe from a different perspective. It’s a relaxing way to enjoy the scenery and kids of all ages can participate.  Most teens may think boating on the lake could be boring but there are boat tours like that offer water skiing and tubing out on the lake.  We have used Lake Tahoe Boat rides and really enjoyed our afternoon on the water!

Rafting Down the Truckee River

Rafting down the Truckee River offers teenagers a unique outdoor adventure, blending the excitement of whitewater rafting with the stunning backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains. This dynamic activity is perfect for teens seeking a break from the ordinary, providing a mix of rapids and calm stretches along the river. We like this activity because it’s one of those family-friendly activities that involved the entire family and that includes young children!  

Lake Tahoe with teens photo of person floating down Truckee river

The cost of rafting down the Truckee River can vary, with prices typically ranging from $40 to $80 per person. Different guide services offer various packages, including half-day or full-day trips, allowing flexibility for families or groups of friends. 

Thrill activities

Tahoe Tree Top Adventures

Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park is an absolute blast for teens seeking an adrenaline-packed outdoor experience. Nestled in the captivating surroundings of North Lake Tahoe near Kings Beach, this adventure park offers a cool treetop course featuring ziplines, suspended bridges, and challenging obstacles. It’s more than just a physical challenge; it’s an opportunity for teens to immerse themselves in nature while navigating through thrilling courses.

The park not only provides an exciting way to stay active but it’s also the perfect place to foster teamwork, as many of the courses are challenging and sometimes those in the trees need encouragement, making it an ideal adventure for friends or family members. Our teen was nervous going on some of the more challenging parts of the course but we all cheered her on and she completed it!

When it comes to the cost, Tahoe Treetop Adventure Parks tickets can be expensive and they vary depending on factors like age and the complexity of the courses. Generally ranging between $45 to $70 per person, teens can choose from a variety of courses suitable for different skill levels. Discounts are often available for booking online, in advance, or for groups. 

All participants need to come prepared in comfortable athletic wear, closed-toe shoes (like sneakers or hiking shoes), and, importantly, a signed waiver if they are minors.

Address: 1901 Chamonix Pl Olympic Valley, CA 96146

Mountain Coaster

If your teen craves excitement take them to the mountain coaster at Heavenly – it’s an absolute game-changer for teens seeking a dose of thrill amidst the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This coaster, officially known as the Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster, isn’t your run-of-the-mill ride; it’s perched on the mountain, providing a unique experience.

Teens get to control their speed, adding a layer of personalization to the adventure. The track winds through the picturesque landscape, offering breathtaking views that you won’t find on your typical roller coaster. Whether they’re craving high-speed excitement or a more laid-back journey, the Ridge Rider caters to all preferences. 

Lake Tahoe with teens photo of the mountain coaster
Mountain Coaster photo courtesy of VisitLakeTahoe.com

To get there, take the gondola ride up the Heavenly Mountain.  We usually try to stop at the observation deck halfway up to enjoy the view of the crystal clear waters of the lake.  Head back up to the top where the coaster awaits!  It’s pricey to utilize the gondola and the mountain coaster but we think it’s a great special treat during the summer season. 

Note: Drivers must be at least 16 years old (if accompanied by a passenger), between 54 – 84″ tall. Closed-toed athletic shoes are required for all activities.

Indoor Activities

Ice skating at South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena is a good bet for teens who like that sort of thing.  Freeskate sessions are abundant and this is a fairly affordable activity in the area.  Ice skating in Lake Tahoe is not just a blast; it’s a perfect mix of fun and exercise. It’s a great activity whether your teens are skating pros or just starting, it’s all about having a good time together.

For anyone ages 12 and over, renting skates and day passes for skating at the Ice Arena are around $20.

Address: 1176 Rufus Allen Blvd South Lake Tahoe, CA 96152

Entertainment

Escape Room

Lake Tahoe has several escape rooms and the best one in our opinion is in South Lake Tahoe. Puzzle Room Tahoe allows your teen to solve cool puzzles, tackle tricky challenges, and work together to beat the clock. It’s like stepping into a real-life adventure or mystery story.

These escape rooms bring out their problem-solving skills, creativity, and teamwork in the coolest way possible. It’s not just a game; it’s an experience that gives them a sense of accomplishment and a ton of fun memories. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon in Tahoe!  Make sure to snap a pic of your teen before they leave the space and after they solve the puzzle!

Address: 55 Hwy 50, Stateline, NV 89449,

Summer Concert Series at Harrah’s

Out of all the casino entertainment options, we think the Harrah’s summer concert series would be the best bet for teens. For the 2024 season, there are magician shows plus Lainey Wilson who is a popular country star.  The Harrah’s concert series takes place outdoors in their amphitheater.  The arena typically has a good number of drink stands and about 3-5 food stands, although the prices are high.

Parking is available at multiple locations, both at Harveys Resort and Casino and Harrahs Resort and Casino. Harvey’s outdoor arena is a great venue right by the lake and if the right performer is on stage, your teen should have a blast!

Address:  15 Hwy 50, Stateline, NV 89449

Bowling at Incline Bowl

Incline Bowl in Incline Village is a retro bowling alley with a solid restaurant attached to it that offers families and teens a great time. Incline Bowl has an arcade, patio, axe throwing upstairs, and good music.

photo of Incline village Incline bowl exterior

Incline Bowl is a great place for parents to sit down for a meal or drink while their older kids bowl or use the arcade.  Big screen TVs are installed on the back wall of the alleys for those who need to watch sports while they bowl. For those wanting to bowl, the alleys have adjustable bumpers for learners to be less frustrated by taking gutter balls out of play which is great for kids and learner teens.

Unfortunately, parking is tight so bring your patience! 

Address: 920 Southwood Blvd Incline Village, NV 89451

If Incline Village is too far from where you are staying, then Bowl Tahoe is a great option in South Lake Tahoe. Bowl Tahoe is a small but fun place with decent food. Tahoe Bowl is like the ultimate hangout for teens who want to mix some friendly competition with a whole lot of fun. 

Address: 1030 Fremont Ave South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Dining in Lake Tahoe With Teens

Local Restaurants

Fire and Ice in Tahoe is like the ultimate spot for a family meal – especially when you’ve got teens in tow. The restaurant features a cool grill where you get to build your stir-fry exactly the way you want it. The vibe is super laid-back, making it a perfect place for families. Teens can dive into a meal that is really good food but is also totally their creation. Plus, the chefs cook it all up right in front of you, adding an extra bit of flair to the whole experience.

You can order from the menu, but we did the interactive grill which was around $34 per person for unlimited trips. Be aware that if you are allergic to certain foods or don’t eat certain proteins the grill and utensils are shared with all the items being cooked. 

Address: 4100 Lake Tahoe Blvd South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Insomnia Cookies

Insomnia Cookies in Tahoe is a sweet treat haven for teens and families, serving up warm and gooey cookies that are practically irresistible. Teens love the late-night delivery service – because who doesn’t crave cookies at all hours? Families can enjoy the convenience of ordering freshly baked cookies straight to their door, creating a cozy and indulgent experience.

Lake Tahoe with teens photo of chocolate chip cookie

With a variety of cookie flavors and even options like cookie ice cream sandwiches, Insomnia Cookies is a dessert shop that caters to everyone’s taste buds, especially teens! 

Address: 4125 Lake Tahoe Blvd Ste D South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Where to stay in Lake Tahoe with Teens

Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino (Incline Village)

This resort offers a range of amenities, including a private beach, outdoor pool, and a variety of water sports. Teens can enjoy activities like paddleboarding, kayaking, and the Lakeside Beach Adventure Zone.

Basecamp South Lake Tahoe

A more budget-friendly option, Basecamp is known for its rustic charm and offers a variety of outdoor activities. It’s close to the Heavenly Mountain Resort and the bustling atmosphere of South Lake Tahoe.

Marriott’s Timber Lodge (South Lake Tahoe)

Situated near Heavenly Village, this Marriott property provides easy access to the Heavenly Gondola and various shops and restaurants, making it convenient for teens to explore.

General tips for Lake Tahoe with Teens

If engaging in outdoor activities, ensure you have the necessary safety gear, especially for adventure sports. Be mindful of weather conditions and follow guidelines.

Teenagers need downtime too. Plan for some relaxed moments, we like to go strolling by the lake, enjoy a scenic drive, or simply hanging out at a local café or beach.

Lake Tahoe offers stunning backdrops. Encourage your teens to take photos, creating lasting memories of the trip.  My teen likes to use their phone or Instax mini!

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