Locals know best: Favorite ways to spend summer days around Big Blue

Claire McArthur
Special to the Sierra Sun

No one knows how to spend an epic summer day in Tahoe better than the people that call this place home.

From the South Shore to Truckee, Tahoe Magazine asked a handful of our accomplished locals how they get out and enjoy Big Blue this time of year, and they delivered.

Lila Lapanja

Professional alpine ski racer, Truckee

“Swimming in the refreshing Tahoe water is the ultimate experience and one of the feelings I live for.”Lila Lapanja, Truckee

“Summer in Tahoe is magical. I capitalize on the few weeks I get at home by being outside, mostly mountain biking, hiking, paddleboarding, and swimming. The West Shore near Homewood and Squaw Valley offer great hikes (such as Blackwood Canyon and Shirley Lake Trail), and you can end your day dining right on the water.

“On another day, explore Tahoe’s North Shore and hike Diamond Peak or the Flume Trail for the best view of the lake anywhere to be found and enjoy a delicious meal at the Soule Domain in Crystal Bay. Regardless of where I go or what I do, I always end up at the same place: the lake. If you’re feeling brave enough, jump in. Swimming in the refreshing Tahoe water is the ultimate experience and one of the feelings I live for.”

McAvoy Laynew

Mark Twain impressionist, Incline Village

“In that most of my friends have been dead for a hundred years, I tend to hunt up living history programs to reunite with them. Reading Tahoe Magazine and communing with the lake are my very favorite things to do. They put a song in my heart and a spring in my step.”

David Polivy

Owner of Tahoe Mountain Sports and Mayor of Truckee

“Being a Truckee resident, my ideal summer day might go something like this: After I pick up a new pair of trail running shoes from Tahoe Mountain Sports, I would head out for a nice trail run on the new section of the Donner Lake Rim Trail, then head down into town and after a quick stop at Alibi Ale Works to fill my growler, I would grab my shade tent and the family and head over to Donner Lake at China Cove Beach or visit the ‘Big Lake’ and hit up Moon Dunes Beach.”

Travis Ganong

Professional alpine ski racer, Tahoe City

“Summer in Tahoe is unbeatable. Our home base is in Tahoe City, so it is really easy for us to sneak down the West Shore for some hikes up into Desolation Wilderness or along the cliffs and deep water pools of the Rubicon Trail. It is also really close for us to take the Truckee River bike path to Squaw Valley and go jump in the amazing swimming holes and play in the waterfalls in Shirley Canyon.

“Going the other direction, we can zip over to the East Shore to enjoy the crystal clear turquoise water, and sunbathe on the white sandy beaches. We also have many amazing local restaurants to enjoy everywhere along the North Shore, but I am most excited for the grand opening of Tahoe National Brewery in Tahoe City this summer. They will have an amazing lakeside outdoor patio. For coffee, Pacific Crest Coffee Company is a local small batch coffee roaster and cafe located in the Pioneer Center in Truckee!”

Matt Levitt

Founder and CEO of Tahoe Blue Vodka, South Lake Tahoe

“What I really love about Tahoe summers are my evenings at the beach. Every night we can, I finish work and grab the kids and head to one of the South Shore’s beaches for a picnic dinner, sunset and swim to cool off. Add the biking and hiking and wakeboarding, I firmly believe there’s no better place in the world than Tahoe during the summer.”

Corey Rich

Lifestyle and adventure photographer/director at Corey Rich Productions, South Lake Tahoe

“One of my favorite things to do in the summer is the really early mountain bike ride. I always say the best mountain bike ride is the one you can do from your back door. I feel so fortunate to live in such an amazing place. My go-to ride is to the Cold Creek Trail to High Meadows. It turns out at 5 in the morning, there aren’t many people out there. In the afternoons, we hang at the beach. It’s one of the amazing aspects of South Lake Tahoe, we have lots of public beaches.

“I enjoy Nevada Beach and Baldwin Beach. For dining, I like to do take-out food and either bring it to the beach or walk up to one of the overlooks at the lake. In our forest surrounding the lake, there are lots of ovTruckeeerlooks that are oftentimes just a few minutes from the road, and you can find those by studying topo maps. There’s something special about being outside watching the sunset with your friends and family.”

This story was first published by Tahoe Magazine, of which the summer edition is available at newsstands in high-traffic areas all around the Tahoe-Truckee communities.

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