Camping in South Lake Tahoe

We recently felt as though we needed to take a break from a few busy areas of our lives and unwind as a family together. Since we are moving out of the state towards the end of summer, my mother and father in law thought the best way to do this was together on vacation—and they couldn’t have been more right! A camping trip to Lake Tahoe it was!

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Vacation to Lake Tahoe

Sometimes we all just need to take a break. A break from technology, social media, work, our mundane every day chores, et cetera. It cleanses the mind and gives your body a rejuvenating fresh start when you return to your routine. Or, perhaps it inspires you to create a new routine. We recently felt as though we needed to take a break from a few busy areas of our lives and unwind as a family together. Since we are moving out of the state towards the end of summer, my mother and father in law thought the best way to do this was together on vacation—and they couldn’t have been more right! A camping trip to Lake Tahoe it was!

Looking out onto Lake Tahoe from the southern shores of South Lake Tahoe

Choosing South Lake Tahoe

Living in southern California, it made sense for us to choose the lower region of the lake. My mother and father in law would be making the drive there and back in one day each way in order to give all of us the most quality time at the destination, considering work schedules and time off. My mother in law found South Lake Tahoe’s amenities to be overflowing, and right at the center of it was a campground that was affordable. More importantly, it still had availability and the accommodations that we needed. South Lake Tahoe is a bustling mountain city on the Nevada/California state line and was a great choice in where to pitch tent—so to speak.

surrey tahoe bikes baby
Surrey rental from Tahoe Bike Company was a blast

Road Trip to Sierra Nevada Mountains

Our drive up the 395 was full of gorgeous scenery we had no idea even existed! To put it in perspective: the highway essentially comes up behind the eastern side of Yosemite National Park. We have never been to Yosemite, but we have only heard the best things about it. Even being near the vicinity of the park I could see why! Someday (hopefully soon) we will make it out there!

Mammoth Lakes is also in that same area along the drive, and we stayed there overnight at Juniper Springs Resort. Mammoth Lakes was another place we have never been before, and it is a refreshingly gorgeous ski town. In the start of summer, there obviously wasn’t any skiing to be done, but there were still beautiful sights to be seen! We saw the mountains out of our resort window, and there is a scenic gondola ride you can take to get a bird’s eye view of the area. The elevation is over 8000 feet, so remember to take it easy for a bit.

Campground by the Lake

While my in-laws have an RV, we wanted to unplug even more. It worked out considering the RV isn’t big enough for all of us anyway (haha!). My amazing mother-in-law found a great middle ground where they could sleep in their RV, and we could all use it for cooking dinners together. Meanwhile, we stayed in a canvas tent across the campsite. Our campsite was called Campground by the Lake, and we stayed in one of their tent cabins. Both the site spaces for the RV and the tent cabin were more spacious than expected! We could have easily put a tent up on the site that the other half of our party was renting and still had room to spare. Maybe next time…


Campground by the Lake is nestled next to busy streets in the heart of the city, but we didn’t mind the noise much. We actually anticipated it would be a lot louder and busier, but, perhaps due to the fact that it was a week shy away from peak season when we visited, it was not bad at all. The library, a small beach, a bike and ski rental shop, quick service diner, and liquor store were all right across the road from the site! The location of the RV site in loop B that we had for the week was at the far end of the campsite, and nearest to all except the library. The library was right next to our tent cabin!

What is a Tent Cabin?

This borderlines on glamping, I’ve got to be honest. Though there is no electricity or heating, it was so convenient having our tent already set up for us when we arrived—so much less hassle. Basically, a tent cabin at Campground by the Lake is a large, military grade canvas tent that is placed on top of a wooden deck to help control bugs and temperature. There were already beds with mattresses inside, so all that needed to be brought on our end was linens and pillows. How easy is that?! We set up our little guy’s pack ‘n play at the center to allow him another fun space to play with toys we brought, and each had a sleeping bag for the cool nights. It got to be in the high thirties one of the nights we were there, and that was in June. You are in the mountains, so be prepared for any type of weather.

tentcabin camping laketahoe
Tent Cabin 001 at Campground by the Lake, South Lake Tahoe

Things to Do Nearby

There is such an abundance of family friendly activities to do in South Lake Tahoe and the surrounding areas that it could easily be its own separate post. Within a five to ten-minute drive from the Campground, you could find everything you would need on your vacation. This includes a Safeway for groceries, gas, and firewood, and a lot of fun recreational activities. A few of our favorite excursions we enjoyed during our stay were:

  • El Dorado Beach
  • Magic Carpet Golf
  • Tahoe Bike Company

The Beach, and Lakeview Commons where you could buy refreshments as well as rent water equipment, are right across the street. Tahoe Bike Company is also right across the street, and they rent anything from beach cruisers to four-person surreys by the hour. We had so much fun exploring the couple miles surrounding the campsite by bringing a surrey around. The adults sat inside, and our little sweetheart strapped up in the front cart. It was a blast, and a great way to see the town. There were also Lime scooters scattered all over the area in case you wanted to rent those for a bit to get from point A to point B. Grandma was a total beast and learned how to ride one the last evening we were there! All you need is a smartphone to pay. Magic Carpet Golf has locations in both South and North Lake Tahoe, and the themed holes are something fun and classic for the kiddos and grownups alike.

south lake tahoe magic carpet golf
Magic Carpet Golf was a fun place for the entire family!


What else would you like to know about our trip to South Lake Tahoe? Let us know how we can help you plan your next vacation by commenting below 😊 As always, you can find us and reach out on social media as well (please do!)

Happy adventuring!




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