South Lake Tahoe - El Dorado County, CA

Labor Day Weekend Road Trip:
South Lake Tahoe


 

To be honest, I always make the mistake of packing the day of my trip... but I was diligent and created a packing list with address information and a small itinerary. We ended up leaving Thursday 08/31 around 8PM. I've never driven past Simi Valley so I wasn't sure what to expect. Thankfully traffic wasn't bad, which was ultimately what I was hoping for.

I somehow managed to drive all the way from Carlsbad to Chowchilla, where we made a pit stop and arrived around 2:00 AM. Our destination for Friday AM was Rocklin, which is about a two-hour drive away from that point, so I finally handed over the wheel so I could get some rest :) We ended up arriving around 4:00 AM (woohoo!).

Our friends were nice enough to let us stay at their place on Friday because we weren't leaving until Saturday morning for Tahoe. We were given the royal treatment that morning - Pancakes with strawberries, mimosas, coffee, snacks, pool time, beer - it was a perfect start to our weekend (Thanks, Alyssa & Fern!)

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Since it was legit hot as balls in Rocklin (100・F), we only lasted at the pool for a few hours and then it was off to dinner at this cute rustic restaurant called Boneshaker Public House for happy hour. $8 pizzas, hummus, mac & cheese, etc. - heck yes - I even found a new fave IPA there. They were serving a limited release of Belching Beaver called Swerve City IPA that's a combination of passion fruit, orange, and guava. Highly recommend giving it a try if you like IPAs!

Let's fast forward to Saturday morning...

We got the cars ready and headed to South Lake Tahoe where we were staying in the cutest Air BnB. Tahoe was PACKED. I mean, I figured with the weekend and all but I've never seen so many people in such a small vicinity.

Once we got settled in, we wanted to go on a moderate hike (5 miles, or so... nothing too insane). However, we somehow forgot to write down directions or look up where we were going before heading out. There was no service. Traffic was insane. It was literally a nightmare for a while until we came across a Service Center where there were plenty of friendly people willing to show us where to go.

We wanted to do the Cathedral Lake Hike but somehow managed to take the route for the Mt. Tallac hike, which unbeknownst to us was a 10.5-mile hike. Yikes. Personally, I would've LOVED to hike to the top but serious lack of hydration, elevation, and probably because I'm not in the best shape, it was a pretty hard hike for me. Most of the hike is stepping on rocks, so if you've got weak knees, ankles, etc. be prepared for that!

Just when I was about to give up and head back, a guy told us we were close to a lake which was one of two before reaching the top. I thought to myself, "Thank God!" because let's be real, who wants to be that person that ruins a hike for everyone? Definitely not me lol.

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Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take pictures while at the lake... and what I mean when I say that is I took too many shots before heading there - Don't judge me... When you're left with a bunch of people taking shots, it's kinda hard not to get caught up in the mix. Any-who, we settled on Zephyr Cove to layout and chill at for the day (this part of the lake has a bar on the lake ladies & gents). Once we got there, I got so excited that I immediately got in the water... but somehow managed to leave my crop top on 🙈 lol. Whoops.

Overall the "beach" as I'd like to call it, was incredible. Lake Tahoe is SO clear, and it might've been extremely cold but thankfully I had a liquid blanket, just kidding, that shit was still cold but the overall ambiance of the place was so fun! People were playing beach volleyball, beer pong in the water, there were boats everywhere, friendly strangers offering drinks, snacks, I mean it felt like I was a high school student going to Ocean City again for Senior Trip. Except I'm over the legal drinking age and no one was throwing up in the sand.

I hope you're taking this article as lightly as I am ;)

After the lake, we all headed back to the house to rehydrate, refeed, and get ready to go out. I had no idea that there was a downtown or just how nice it would be. We went to Harrah's casino and ate at a restaurant inside. After dinner, we went to their mini Hard Rock club which had table/bottle service, a full bar, dance floor, and even bouncers - which was kind of funny to me considering the overall size of the place, but whatever, it was fun AF!

Next time - because I definitely plan on going back - I do plan on doing things a bit differently, like making a full itinerary, absolutely NO shot taking (lol), drinking tons of water, and I'm most definitely flying there. I mean, the drive wasn't all that bad, but the traffic on the way back home was terrible. I should've been more prepared for that, but sometimes fun takes precedence over adulthood... like leaving when you say you're gonna leave (6-7am) lol nope. Monday morning I needed to rejuvenate and we ended up leaving before 9 AM. Which wasn't extremely bad, but it would've paid off a hell of a lot more if I left earlier. All in all, we got home around 6 PM and still had time to unpack, and unwind before the next work day. I'd say that's a success right there!

I had an amazing time with some great people, made new friends, and gained a new perspective on Northern California. It's breath taking and also makes me want to go back during the winter months. I highly recommend making this a destination spot if you're ever considering traveling north!

Hope you enjoyed this travel log.