The small, rustic Lazy S Lodge (609 Emerald Bay Rd., South Lake Tahoe, 530/541-0230, www.lazyslodge.com, $105–140) has a great location away from the center of town, and some of the most reasonable room rates in the region. The 20 guest rooms all have microwaves, wet bars, TVs, phones, and private baths. You can choose from a studio room, with a nice bed, bath, and bar.
Or choose a two-room cabin with sleeping room for several people, a kitchenette, and a nice warm fireplace that’s perfect for chilly winter evenings. Facilities of this small lodge include a year-round hot tub, summer swimming pool, barbecue grills and outdoor picnic tables, and easy access to hiking and biking trails, warm lake swimming, and Heavenly ski resort.
Perhaps the most famous accommodation on Lake Tahoe is Camp Richardson (1900 Jameson Beach Rd., South Lake Tahoe, 800/544-1801, www.camprichardson.com, $145–275). Whether you just need a spot to pitch your own tent, or you want a luxurious private two-bedroom cabin to call your own, you can find the right space for you somewhere at Camp Richardson.
Choose a room in the refurbished hotel or one of the many individual cabins, and you’ll find rustic-style furnishings smoothed out by the luxurious fabrics and appointments. The hotel rooms are comfortable and quaint, with private baths and nice upscale amenities. Cabins offer full kitchens and linens, but no TVs or phones. (Note that all cabins are rented by the week in the summer months.)
Outside your room, is a group recreation area, a beach, a marina, a restaurant, and the southern edge of the Tallac Historic Site , all on Camp Richardson’s property.
For a condo on the South Shore, head on over to The Lodge at Lake Tahoe (3840 Pioneer Trail, South Lake Tahoe, 800/874-9900, www.lodgeatlaketahoe.com, $132–190). As Tahoe condo complexes go, it’s not much to look at from the outside, and you might mistake it for a budget motel. But inside, the rooms have the elegant look of proper vacation condos, with colorful furnishings and tasteful prints on the walls. And the price is right for moderate budget travelers who want to save a few dollars by cooking for themselves.
The smallest studios have only kitchenettes, but the larger condos offer fully equipped kitchens with utensils provided, as well as a nice table and chairs. Complex amenities include a summertime pool and spa, swing set, horseshoe pit, and outdoor barbecues near the pool area. Heavenly skiers will have easy access to the resort, and gamblers can get to the Stateline casinos in a few minutes.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition