Stipulated: the perfect travel time for a three-day weekend getaway is four hours. More, and you waste your vacation. Less, and you’re still near home. Hence our series, The Four-Hour Rule, dedicated to revealing the best destinations that are far away, yet still close to home.
Tahoe’s shoulder season is short but spectacular. Do you like autumnal colors? Do you like s’mores around the fire pit … without sub-zero temperatures? Do you like having some of the best hiking trails in the country to yourself?
Do you like … deals?
Welcome to Tahoe in September. Go now. Winters a-coming, snow is (literally) in the air, hotels are discounted and a bunch of our top shoulder-season activities wrap up in a few, short weeks.
WHERE TO STAY
Pack your bags for the newish (and much-lauded) Edgewood Tahoe, right across the Nevada state line. Get there by mid-October to take a spin through Tahoe’s only lakefront golf course before it closes for the season; you’ll want to grab your phone/camera for a #nofilter walk through the bright-gold aspen groves. All the “Edgewood Suites” have a view of the lake, plus a fireplace.
Oh, heavenly days: to get a space at the D.L. Bliss State Park without a wait — at least until Oct. 6, when the park closes to campers and cars. It’s a 7.3-mile out-and-back down to Emerald Bay State Park, with jaw-dropping, once-in-a-lifetime views of the lake all the way around. If you’d rather stay on the Nevada side, head north to Mount Rose. On the 10.7-mile out-and-back trail, you’ll get alpine lakes, waterfalls and Tahoe views right before the summit.
WHAT TO EAT & DRINK
Get those fiery autumn colors on the lake’s shore while you can — ideally from the deck of the restaurant. Your hosts at Edgewood Tahoe would be happy to offer dinner along with your room, and the views are appropriately incredible. If you’d rather eat off-campus, consider Jimmy’s, with equally good views, an extensive wine cellar, and no fewer than five fire pits; the vibe is “wood-fired Californian.” And if you do head to Mt. Rose, stop in Incline Village on your way back to the hotel at Le Bistro, with a French-fusion menu and a wine list that takes a hard look at Bordeaux and Burgundy.
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