10Best Budget Stays in Lake Tahoe: From Casinos to Cabins

Lake Tahoe has a wide range of places to stay including elegant ski resorts and casinos to cozy cabins and bed and breakfasts. Visitors will be happy to know that budget prices can be found in all of these areas and you can find deals at various locations around the lake.

If you want to stay where the action is, try some of the casinos on the Nevada side. The Crystal Bay Casino has both weekday and weekend specials and is located in the more quiet and laid back area of Crystal Bay. Harrah's Tahoe and other casinos are closer to nightclubs and bars in the city and contain restaurants, shopping and access to various ski resorts. In the same area is the fun and budget-friendly Basecamp Hotel with camping themed rooms.

For another great view, visit the Beach Retreat in South Lake Tahoe. This hotel has their own beach and a restaurant on their over the water pier. Another package hotel is the Hampton Inn which services both Lake Tahoe and Truckee. If you want to stay in the heart of Truckee, visit the Truckee Hotel, one of the oldest buildings in town.

If you want to get away from the ski or summer crowds, but you still want to be near the lake, visit the tiny town of Genoa on the other side of Kingsbury Grade and stay at the White House Inn where you can stay in a charming historical house in the country while watching the local wildlife.


The Inn at Truckee is conveniently located in Truckee, California and just minutes from Donner Lake, Lake Tahoe, Downtown Truckee, Northstar-at-Tahoe and other and numerous world class ski resorts. They offer a very competitive rate, nice and clean rooms, a free continental breakfast with fresh coffee and juice, friendly staff and numerous dining options within walking distance. The Inn is also one of the only pet-friendly hotels in town. They offer double, queen and king sized beds a hot tub and views of the local mountain range. $90 and $150 depending on the time of year and size of the room.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: Pets are welcome at the no-smoking Inn at Truckee. They also have a nice complimentary breakfast.

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The Crystal Bay Casino has been voted one of the best casinos in the Lake Tahoe area, but they don't let it go to their head. This casual and friendly casino on the North Shore has become known for its excellent selection of live shows as well as for their lively casino. Many locals hang out at the Crystal Bay on the weekends to enjoy the numerous entertainment that the Crystal Bay books. Acts include legends like Dick Dale and Los Lonely Boys as well as fun bands like Lil Brian and the Zydeco Travelers, the White Buffalo, Super Diamond and Tainted Love. The Crystal Bay also has comedy acts and special events with bands like the Sierra Leone Refugee Allstars. And the best thing? A lot of these music events are free. During the shows in the Crown Room, there is no smoking allowed, but dancing is. The Border House is a 10-room guesthouse built in a historical building with amenities like amenities chromotherapy tubs, gas fireplaces, plasma televisions, wireless internet, eco-friendly toiletries and more. Complimentary self parking and business services are available. Each room is furnished with rich, warm woods, unique fossil and marble bathroom and textured fabrics.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The Border House guestrooms are decorated in a classic style with great pretty wood beds and tiled bathrooms.

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The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Stateline is a 539-room hotel with 25,000-square-foot casino, several restaurants and bars, including the Fire Break Kitchen & Bar, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and the South Shore's only oyster bar. The hotel's rooms include king, queen and double queen suites, as well as un upcoming poolside terrace suite. Many of the rooms have mountain or lake views and include amenities like down pillows and duvets, natural bath products and private bars. The Hard Rock offers stay and play packages that include ski, golf or casino amenities for around $60 per night.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The Hard Rock Hotel has great amenities and rooms for less than $100 per night.

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The Pepper Tree Inn is conveniently located in Tahoe City just steps away from the lake. Each non-smoking room in the hotel has mountain home decor as well coffee bean grinders, coffee makers and some whirlpool tubs. The Pepper Tree has some rooms in their tower that look out over the lake and Tahoe City. The hotel itself has an outdoor, seasonal heated pool, complimentary breakfast in their communal dining room and a shuttle service. The Pepper Tree Inn sometimes offers special stay and ski deals in the winter. The hotel is located right across the street from the Tahoe City Boardwalk.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The Pepper Tree Inn is in a great location and they provide rubber duckies to take into their whirlpool tubs for two.

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Harrah's Lake Tahoe Resort & Casino
Photo courtesy of Harrah's and Harveys Lake Tahoe

The Lake Tahoe Airport is located approximately 9 miles from the Harrah's Lake Tahoe. Several area attractions include the Zephyr Cove Beach, Emerald Bay State Park, Lake Tahoe-Nevada State Park and South Lake Tahoe. There are over 500 guest rooms and suites at the Harrah's Lake Tahoe. These accommodations are complete with cable televisions, video game consoles, ironing equipment, clock radios, wireless Internet connections and telephones with voicemail features. Private bathrooms come with showers, bathtubs, hair dryers and complimentary toiletries. The Harrah's Lake Tahoe offers spa services, an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center and a game/arcade room. This 18-storey property also features a casino, a 24-hour business center, meeting/banquet facilities, a concierge desk, an ATM and a nightclub. Wired and wireless Internet access is also available throughout the hotel.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: You get a lot while renting a room in any Tahoe casino: amenities, location and service. Harrah's has some good seasonal deals.

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The Granlibakken Conference Center & Lodge has some great package deals. They include accommodation specials as well as special dinner deals, adventure packages at their Treetop Adventure Park, spa deals and yoga deals, and holiday packages. Their Thanksgiving dinner deal is only $156 for a room and a full dinner (with leftovers to take home). The beautiful lodge amenities includes cable television with DVD, a complimentary hot breakfast buffet, elegant rooms and suites with high ceilings and fine linens. For families, the Lodge Suite is a one bedroom suite with an alcove for extra sleeping arrangements, nestled in the woods. This spacious suite can accommodate up to four people, with a king bed in the bedroom, and a sleeping alcove with a double bed.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The Granlibakken offers townhouses with lofts that can accommodate up to eight people.

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The Cedar Glen Lodge rooms start at around $179 a night and offer amenities such as a large outdoor heated pool, hot tub and sauna, a putting green and a firepit with nightly s'mores. This award winning lodge is close to the lake as well as the North Shore ski resorts. A continental breakfast is included with your stay as well as beautifully decorated rooms and access to the resort's restaurant, The Rustic Lounge, which serves seasonal dishes and has a wine bar with a cozy fireplace. The Lodge will sometimes have special rates during special events held in Lake Tahoe.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The owners of the Cedar Glen Lodge are long-time Tahoe residents and world travelers.

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Many of the Tahoma Meadows cottages have been in the area since the 1950s and they make a charming place to bring the entire family--including the dog. Each cabin is uniquely decorated with mountain decor and surrounded by pine and aspen trees. All the cottage are private and have separate entrances, baths with claw foot tubs, living spaces and some even have lofts. The common space serves breakfast in the morning and complimentary refreshments in the afternoons. Also from the common room you can relax by the fire and see the lake from the windows. Weddings and special events can also be held on the property.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: One of the best deals in Tahoe: these cute cottages can fit entire families and their dog!

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The Beach Retreat and Lodge gets you up close and personal with the shoreline of Lake Tahoe for lower prices than many Tahoe resorts. Rooms are around $170 a night for a double, but the views are pretty amazing. The Beach offers amenities like complimentary wireless Internet, gas fireplaces, On-Demand movies, a 1,000 foot pier jutting into the lake, a heated pool, free parking, a full-size beach volleyball court and pet-friendly rooms in certain first floor standard rooms for only $30 extra. The hotel has recently gotten a facelift and a new restaurant, the Tavern, is opening up in fall of 2014.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The 1,000 foot pier in front of the hotel is the longest in Lake Tahoe. The resort is perfect for weddings and special events.

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The Basecamp Hotel is a fun, outdoors inspired hotel that celebrates the outdoors with camping themed rooms, some complete with canvas tents and faux campfires. The hotel includes a buffet breakfast as well as an outdoor hot tub and access to the Heavenly ski area. The stylish rooms are designed with outdoor adventure in mind and include rustic wood elements, camping supplies, lanterns and lounge chair, wool blankets and luxurious linens all with prices that reflect an affordable motel. The main lobby is filled with warm accents, leather sofas, books and Tahoe sport memorabilia and the outdoor deck has a gas firepit where you can roast marshmallows.

Recommended for Budget Hotels because: The Basecamp Hotel caters to both budget travelers and those with a sense of adventure. We love the room with the canvas tent!

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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