Daydreaming of a family vacation? Planning a staycation with the kids? When you think of the best places to visit with kids your pre-COVID bucket list was probably full of the most popular theme parks, crowded zoos, and packed museums. These days, a lot of parents are looking for alternative destinations for family trips. Lake Tahoe has great kid-friendly attractions and family-friendly activities, plus world-class trails, crystal clear beaches, scenic mountain views, and so much more! If you’re looking for inspiration for your next vacation with kids, we’ve got you covered. Check out some of these amazing kid-friendly activities right here in Lake Tahoe! As you’re planning your family time, be sure to check with each business for specific hour changes, temporary closures, and more.
1. KidZone Museum
The KidZone Museum is an exciting children’s museum in Truckee, California, that is designed for kids age 7 and younger. It’s full of great experiences for learning and play that kids will love. There are also volunteer opportunities for teens to get involved through volunteering and more. While currently closed until further notice, check out the KidZone @ Home opportunities for some physically distanced fun from home!
2. Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster
Looking for a thrill? The Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster is an awesome alpine coaster that is set to reopen this summer. It will send you soaring through the beautiful Tahoe forests and rock formations. It’s perfect for kids who are looking to shake things up and experience a little adrenaline during their Tahoe stay! Kids 3+ can ride with an adult.
3. Ice Skating
Ice skating is an awesome family activity, even if you don’t have a budding figure skater or peewee hockey player on your hands! Take some time to enjoy the ice in Lake Tahoe with your kids. A gorgeous outdoor rink at Heavenly Village is open from November through Easter — complete with music, lights, and amazing mountain views. The South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena is a year-round indoor ice rink that offers both hockey and figure skating lessons, open skates, and more! Currently operating under “day camp guidelines”, there are currently no public sessions available, but check them out for future excursions!
4. Mini golf
Nothing says family-friendly like a rousing game of mini golf. During the summer months, you can play an exciting 18-hole mini golf course at Heavenly Village — surrounded by all the amazing Tahoe mountainscapes of course. If you’re looking for something a little more challenging, older kids and teens may enjoy a day at one of Lake Tahoe’s world-class golf courses, including Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, Lake Tahoe Golf Course, and Genoa Lakes Golf Club & Resort.
5. Helicopter Rides
See some of the best destinations in Lake Tahoe — including Emerald Bay, Fallen Leaf Lake, Desolation Wilderness, Crystal Bay, Sand Harbor, and more — from the air with a one-of-a-kind helicopter tour. Kids of all ages are allowed to fly and will have the unique opportunity to learn about helicopters and aviation! Check out Tahoe Helicopters for a variety of great tour options.
6. Hot Air Balloon Rides
There’s something really magical about hot air balloons — and the amazing views of Lake Tahoe you’ll see during a hot air balloon ride! You and your kids can enjoy scenic flights over Minden, Gardnerville, Carson Valley, and more! Plus, if you’re lucky, you may even be able to spot some wildlife like eagles, hawks, and deer. Hot air balloon rides from Lake Tahoe Balloons are suitable for kids age 8 and older.
7. Sleigh Rides
There’s no better way to enjoy wintertime in Lake Tahoe than dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh. If you’re visiting during the holiday season or just want to enjoy the snow and beautiful winter views, a sleigh ride is the perfect all-ages activity. Lake Tahoe Sleigh Rides are open via reservation in November through March. During the summer months, you can also take a fun carriage ride, so there’s no shortage of year-round fun.
8. Boat cruises
All aboard the M.S. Dixie II — a 500-passenger paddlewheeler that’s a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The boat is a novelty in and of itself and kids (and adults) will love seeing the spectacular Tahoe views from the water.
9. Heavenly Scenic Gondola Ride
A gondola ride is a must for both kids and adults. The 2.4-mile ride features some of the best views Lake Tahoe has to offer. Plus, there’s plenty of places to stop and snap some memorable family photos and grab some hot chocolate. You and your kids will love it!
10. Truckee River Rafting
Enjoy a leisurely raft ride down the beautiful Truckee River with the Truckee River Raft Company. It’s a great way to enjoy some family time during the summer months and kids will love spending the afternoon on the water. They are currently accepting reservations for summer 2021. Pack a lunch and soak up the sun!
11. Heavenly Village Cinema
Who doesn’t love movies? We sure do! Heavenly Village Cinema is currently closed due to COVID-19, but is part of the CinemaSafe program and committed to implementing expert-backed, industry-specific health and safety protocols! When they reopen, this will be the perfect spot for a break from all the exciting outdoor recreation — skiing, snowboarding, hiking, biking, etc.! It’s an 8-plex movie theater with all the latest family-friendly films.
12. Taylor Creek Visitor Center
The Taylor Creek Visitor Center is typically open from Memorial Day weekend through the end of October 31 and serves as a starting point for many great hiking/biking trails that are perfect for kids and families. It’s also home to the annual Fall Fish Fest, which celebrates the Kokanee Salmon with family-friendly activities and educational opportunities.
13. Emerald Bay State Park
Emerald Bay State Park, located 12 miles north of South Lake Tahoe, is truly a gem in the area. Families can enjoy taking in the amazing views along the trails and vistas. Kids and adults alike will also love exploring Vikingsholm when it reopens. It’s a beautiful “castle” and a prime example of Scandinavian architecture.
14. Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival
Let your kids experience a little culture with the annual Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. The festival is a unique outdoor theater experience that highlights the iconic works of the Bard and other shoes throughout the summer months. They also offer a variety of educational opportunities for youth throughout the year for families to take advantage of. Currently, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival is planning for a normal season at Sand Harbor for summer 2021!
15. Play a getaway to Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel
Sometimes just a fun getaway with the family or a few friends is just what you need. Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel is one of the most family-friendly hotels in Lake Tahoe, with awesome amenities like an indoor pool, a koi pond, game tables, and spacious suite-style rooms that are perfect for families!
This is only the beginning. There’s no shortage of family-friendly and kid-friendly activities in South Lake Tahoe. Grab the kids and come experience the fun for yourself!