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Venetian Gondolas & Nude Bathing: 10Best Romantic Things to Do in Tahoe



Lake Tahoe has repeatedly been voted one of the top places for a romantic getaway. It's also one of the best places to pop the question–with a view of the big, blue lake in the distance. Most of the activities on this 10Best list are located outside and some activities are seasonal, but you can choose between summer's parasailing over the North Shore or even wintertime spa treatments in front of a fireplace.

If you and your partner are hikers, visit the Emerald Bay area (one of the most picturesque places on the lake) and hike either down to Vikingsholm Castle or up into Desolation Wilderness. If you want to just sit on a beach and relax with a picnic and bottle of wine, check out Sand Harbor all times of the year. The beach is especially nice in the fall and winter when the summer crowds are gone and you can spend some time alone. For the ultimate in romance, check out the area's natural hot springs–including the clothing-optional Sierra Hot Springs.


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One of the most fantastic views of Lake Tahoe is from the seat of a parasail. North Shore Parasail is the original parasailing company on the lake, so you'll certainly be working with experts. North Shore Parasail takes off by boat from Kings Beach and your parasail trip will fly you over the North Shore of Lake Tahoe where you might even get dipped into the clear, blue water. You can choose from several different parasail heights as well as pickup and drop-off service from your hotel. There is also free parking at Tahoe Paddle & Oar. The costs are $70 per person for a 500-foot flight and $80 per person for a 800-foot flight.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Most parasails can only fit two people which makes North Shore Parasail perfect for couples.

Christina's expert tip: Sometimes North Shore can fit you in at the last minute, so check with them the day before or early in the morning.

Read more about North Shore Parasail →


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South Lake Tahoe


Get an amazing view of the lake from a balloon run by Lake Tahoe Balloons and launched from a 21 ton, two-deck catamaran aircraft carrier vessel. Tahoe Balloons launches their tours early in the morning near the Tahoe Keys Marina. A continental breakfast is served before launching and while the balloon is readied, passengers will have a chance to watch the crew inflate the balloon. The tour takes passengers about 8,000 to 10,000 feet in the air which will offer you views of Emerald Bay, Fallen Leaf Lake, Cascade Lake and Desolation Wilderness. Some clear days, you can see all the way to Yosemite. The flight takes about an hour, but about four hours should be reserved for the entire trip.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: What is more romantic than a balloon ride? Tahoe balloons offers champagne with their views.

Christina's expert tip: The launching platform is the only one of its kind and was designed specifically for Lake Tahoe.

Read more about Lake Tahoe Balloons Inc →


Walley's 1862 Hot Springs Resort
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann


David Walley's 1862 hot springs resort is nestled in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in Genoa, NV. This year-round resort features a a fitness center, separate women's and men's steam rooms and dry saunas, and a heated freshwater outdoor pool. There are another five outdoor hot pools with various temperatures. The large pool is not as hot and is best for families. The resort also has dozens of outdoor lounge chairs and wonderful views of the Carson Range, Job's Peak and the Carson Valley and the local wildlife protection area. If you get hungry, the 1862 restaurant serves lunch and dinner with a menu featuring meat from local ranches.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Walley's 1862 not only has natural hot springs but also eucalyptus steam rooms and dry saunas.

Christina's expert tip: Walley's has several hot pools to choose from and amazing views of the Sierras.

Read more about Walley's 1862 Hot Springs Resort →


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Every summer for over 30 years, Tahoe residents and visitors have been entranced by the timeless words of William Shakespeare, set against the dramatic backdrop of Lake Tahoe and a starry sky. Comedies, tragedies, and even a special performance featuring Shakespeare's complete condensed works delight patrons who settle into Adirondack chairs and munch on gourmet fare from several booths set up by local restaurants inside the gates. This annual festival is perfect for a first date or a family outing. Many visitors bring their own picnic baskets and wine to enjoy during the performance. Get to the gates early to get in line for a good seat.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: You can bring your own picnic dinner and wine to the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival

Christina's expert tip: Get to the beach early for good parking and spend the day at the lake before heading to the play.

Read more about Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival →


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East Shore


Secret Cove on the Nevada side of the lake has long been known as the one place in Tahoe that you can enjoy a bit of skinny dipping. Located about two miles south of Sand Harbor, this tiny beach can be accessed by a 1/2 long gravel trail where you will see a few signs warning of nude bathers. This pristine beach has some nice sunning and shady spots as well as a beautiful bay for swimming and launching small boats. There is no bathroom and not trash cans, so be sure to use the vault toilet at the trail head and pack out all trash.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Secret Cove is a protected, private bay that is popular with the area's nude bathers.

Christina's expert tip: During high water years, the beach at Secret Cove does get smaller, so plan to get there early.

Read more about Secret Cove →


Village at Northstar California
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann


Many of the ski resorts in the Tahoe area have villages which feature restaurants, special events and lots of shopping, but only one of them includes a free ice skating rink in the winter. The stores at the Village at Northstar near Truckee include ski-centric shops like Burton, Butterbox, Oakley and Patagonia. Other stores like The North Face and True North feature high-end and quality clothing for both on and off the mountain. Restaurants and bars include the brand new Bourbon Pub, Rubicon Pizza Company, White Rabbit Eatery and the popular Rink Bar with its hot and frothy (and boozy) adult beverages

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: There are plenty of bars, outdoor fire pits and a public skating rink for couples.

Christina's expert tip: The Village at Northstar also has an enclosed gondola that takes riders up to The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe.

Read more about Village at Northstar California →




The gondola at the Heavenly ski resort is open during the winter for skiers and non-skiers and open all year long for visitors to the lake who want a spectacular view of Lake Tahoe. The ticket to the top is a little pricey if you don't ski, but you can stay at the top as long as you want. Each 8 passenger car leaves from Heavenly Village on the Southeast side of the lake and takes about 5-7 minutes to get to the top of the mountain. At the first stop you can get out and walk around on the platform. There are seats and some picnic tables as well. Once at the top, enjoy the activities at the Epic Discovery. They include a mountain coaster, ropes courses and zip lines for more adventurous couples.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: The Heavenly Gondola takes riders up to the Epic Discovery activity area which includes zip lines and mountain coaster.

Christina's expert tip: If the weather is nice, bring your own picnic to the first platform and eat at one of the outdoor tables.

Read more about Heavenly Gondola →


Sierra Hot Springs
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann


Sierra Hot Springs is located about 40 minutes north of Truckee in the Sierra Nevada mountains. This non-profit retreat and workshop center has several options for clothing optional bathing including a large warm swimming pool, a hot pool inside the Temple Dome and a few forest pools scattered among the pine and aspen forest. The center also offers spa services and a sauna. The main lodge is open for guests to relax during the day or as a hotel during the night. The lodge has a community kitchen where guests can cook meals and the Philosophy Cafe offers dinner on certain nights (please check with the hotel). The cozy lobby has a large wood stove, a library and large soft couches for lounging around after your soak in the hot water.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Sierra Hot Springs is a clothing optional, natural hot spring. Now that's sexy.

Christina's expert tip: The Sierra Hot Springs dressing room is a co-ed room with private showers.

Read more about Sierra Hot Springs →


The Ritz-Carlton Spa
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann


If you want a real touch of luxury, the spa at the beautiful The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe at the Northstar California ski resort has some amazing therapies to choose from. This luxurious spa features 17 treatment rooms, a fitness center, a wellness program with a variety of fitness classes and a heated co-ed spa lap pool that looks out over the ski runs of Northstar California. The spa also features a lounge with fireplace and a eucalyptus steam room. The spa features dozens of treatments that can only be found here. Along with massages there are also copper mud wraps, CBD pedicures, and biodynamic facials.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: The Ritz-Carlton Spa has a special couples-only room as well as couples treatments.

Christina's expert tip: The Spa at the Ritz-Carlton also offers customizable spa treatments for winter and summer sport enthusiasts

Read more about The Ritz-Carlton Spa →


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South Lake Tahoe


Tahoe Amore brings the romance of Venice to the South Shore of Lake Tahoe. Not only can you enjoy a private gondola ride on one of their authentic boats, but the company also has several tours to choose from. The trips take off from the Tahoe Keys Marinaâ€"which do resemble the canals of Venice. Each tour includes your own gondolier and extras can be added such as scattered rose petals or a special message in a bottle. The classic Venetian Gondola Experience ($145) is a one hour cruise for two and additional people can be added for $25 each. The Lo Speciale de la Mattina ($110) cruise takes place in the morning and you are free to bring a bottle of your own champagne for mimosas. The Starry Eyed Surprise ($155) is for those who love the starry skies. This cruise is a late-night cruise perfect for popping the question.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Tahoe Amore offers a unique, romantic way to see the blue waters of Lake Tahoe.

Christina's expert tip: The most popular Tahoe Amore trips are the sunset cruises (for good reason), so be sure to book yours early.

Read more about Tahoe Amore →


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Meet Christina Nellemann

Christina has lived in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area since she was a baby. A first-generation Nevadan, her Danish parents instilled in her an intense love of travel and the wild, rugged outdoors...  More About Christina

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