Best Ski Towns: Lake Tahoe region

Planning a family vacation to the snow in Lake Tahoe? There are multiple hamlets dotting the north and west shores of Lake Tahoe that deserve recognition! And to the south, the towns of Kings Beach, Tahoe City, and Homewood are also great ski communities, with their own activities and dining options. Here’s the scoop on the Lake Tahoe region in winter! asked me to share my favorite activities and tips for exploring Tahoe in winter, so start here as you plan your wintery vacation.

Tahoe with kids

West Shore:

West Lake Tahoe includes Tahoe City and Homewood, and is known as a quieter, more authentic–if you will–Tahoe. Families staying in this area will love the solitude, but will also need to drive about 30 minutes to most major ski areas.

homeaway rental

Where to ski: The closest ski area on the west side of the lake is Homewood, which is also one of the oldest. Tahoe locals love Homewood for it’s amazing lake views, affordable lift tickets, and hometown vibe. We love it for beginners and for sleeping-in mornings while staying in a west lake vacation home! Also nearby: Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are less than 30 minutes away (located between Tahoe City and Truckee).

Where to find snow play: For fun sledding and very basic, beginner skiing, head to Granlibakken, located in Tahoe City. For nordic skiing and general snow play, follow North Shore Drive just a mile or two from Tahoma and Homewood to Sugar Pine Point State Park. Also along North Shore Drive are multiple state sno parks (just get a CA sno park permit to put on your car). Want to go ice skating? Head to Squaw Valley, and take the tram to the Olympic ice skating rink at mid-mountain.

getoutfitted ski gear

North Tahoe:

North Tahoe is known for great eateries, lakeside lodging, and proximity to Northstar California. The town of Kings Beach is both sporty and artsy, with plenty to do in both summer and winter. We love the ‘ski town’ vibe, which is very casual and kid-friendly.

Northstar Village s'mores

Where to ski: As you can tell, we love Northstar! This resort has everything for all level of skiers and riders, and some of the best lessons in Tahoe as well. We recommend getting a private lesson for your whole family (more fun, and also more economical). Also on the north shore are Diamond Peak and Sugar Bowl (near Truckee-Donner area).

Where to find snow play: Families looking for snow play in North Tahoe can head to Truckee to ice skate on their community rink, or ice skate at the Village at Northstar. Sledding is fun at Kingvale sledding and tubing center, or at Soda Springs ski area, located near Sugar Bowl. As with the west side, it’s always a good idea to head to sno parks, too.


For South Lake Tahoe, see our South Lake Tahoe Best Ski Town page.