Lake Tahoe Lingo and Lore

Mesh in with the Tahoe locals in no time with these tips and key terms.

Photo by: Tahoe South While Lake Tahoe is beautiful in the winter, driving conditions can become more dangerous. Exercise caution when navigating the area in wintry weather.

Good to Know

For your information:

  • Drive the speed limit. There's only one main two-lane road around most of Tahoe, so don't dilly-dally while driving. While the lake is captivating, pull over if you want to look at something or don't know where you are going. In snow, drive SLOW, downshift and don't ride the breaks. Get chains if you don't have all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Chain-control workers won't let you on certain roads if you don't.
  • There is a very eclectic mix of people who live in Tahoe. Many are seasonal, low-paid young adults who are just living the dream and enjoying life. There is also a large South American and New Zealand population during the busy seasons. They come to Tahoe to work and make money.
  • The southern portion of the West Shore near Emerald Bay is closed due to snow most of the winter. Know this in advance to avoid getting your hopes up about driving around the lake. Sometimes you won't realize it until you get up to the barrier, which is super annoying because you have to drive the complete opposite direction, so check in advance if you plan to travel that direction.
  • Being a mountain town, many restaurants close relatively early and may be closed completely certain nights a week during the off-season. Call ahead before heading out to save time and disappointment.
  • The TART, Valley Express and Night Rider make getting around Lake Tahoe without a car fairly simple. The Night Rider is a complimentary service that begins at 6 p.m. While there is no ferry on the lake, there are water taxis to certain areas that make things easier instead of driving. Check for schedules.

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