Longer days, fewer crowds, and abundant sunshine make the South Shore of Lake Tahoe the ideal place to spring into the vernal season. Whether you’re a skier or rider searching for soft snow, a nature enthusiast on a quest for quiet trails, a night-owl seeking a dance party, or a family looking to recreate, you’ll find it all here. Read on to discover everything that makes spring on the South Shore well worth your vacation days.

You’ll get the best of spring skiing and boarding…

Photo: Visit Lake Tahoe

World-class ski resorts, pristine backcountry skiing, and 300+ days of sunshine a year make Tahoe’s South Shore a hub for skiing and riding. Soak in panoramic lake views and perfect, creamy corduroy at expansive 4,800-acre Heavenly Mountain Resort, relish glade skiing and riding park rails and halfpipes at family-friendly Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort, or charge steep chutes and open bowls at easygoing Kirkwood Mountain Resort, known for the deepest snowpack in the Tahoe area. Sierra springtime means a tanktop and sunglasses one day and bundling up for a blizzard the next, so come prepared for all weather.

Follow the sun’s path to carve softening snow and forgiving slush bumps. Long afternoons stretch into après-ski leisure time — enjoy a cold drink on one of Heavenly Village’s shady patios, or sample craft beer under the pines at local favorite Hangar Taproom and Bottle Shop.

Springtime on-mountain events draw daredevils, mogul mavericks, and curious spectators. Not-to-be-missed competitions include Kirkwood’s hilarious Slush Cup Pond Skim and Heavenly’s thigh-screaming Gunbarrel 25, where winners complete 25+ laps on a long, double-black mogul run. For something more relaxed, join a guided ski tour at Heavenly and Ski with a Ranger to learn about Tahoe’s unique alpine ecosystem. You’ll scout for birds like the Clark’s nutcracker and the chickadee, known as the “cheeseburger bird” because of its three-syllabled song.

Experienced backcountry enthusiasts will find both adventure and perfect corn snow in the peaks around the Tahoe basin and the Carson Pass area. Remember, only experienced backcountry skiers should enter avalanche terrain, and make sure to always carry a beacon, shovel, and probe. Check the Sierra Avalanche Center site for the daily forecast before heading out.

…along with ultimate nature escapes.

Photo: Visit Lake Tahoe

Spring in Lake Tahoe provides the novel experience of shredding snow and relaxing at the beach in the same day. Get off the slopes and onto the water in a kayak and glide across the glassy lake (fewer boats mean calmer waters) — just be mindful of early-season cold water temperatures. Once the lake-level snow melts, you can also hop on a bike to pedal the South Shore Path, which runs from the Stateline casinos, past the national forest beaches, to shady Pope Beach, dog-friendly Kiva Beach, and picturesque Baldwin Beach. Closed beach parking lots in spring mean quiet strolls through mixed pine and fir forests with abundant opportunities to spot and photograph bald eagles, great blue herons, Canada geese, busy chipmunks, and awakening bears. Bring a picnic, but pack out all garbage, don’t leave food in your car (to avoid bear break-ins), and never feed wildlife.

Don’t miss the Instagrammable Emerald Bay, which you reach by ascending the ribbon of road where a glacial moraine creates a natural land bridge between Lake Tahoe and Cascade Lake. Pro tip: Go early or later in the day as there is limited parking. And to discover secret spots and snag the best selfies, book a guided snowshoe tour with local fitness coach Jen Spina. The full-moon nighttime tour to the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion is a must as well, if you can make the timing work for your trip.

Swollen waterfalls tumble with impressive power in late spring, and you can get your own up-close view of some of the South Shore’s best. Take a hike (or snowshoe) to Cascade, Horsetail, and the lesser-known Hawley Grade Falls. If you’re lucky, you’ll even spot one of the Sierra’s first springtime flowers, the strange and beautiful snow plant — just remember to never pick this crimson flora, as the rare beauties are protected by law.

Back at the resorts, grab your furry best friend and crosscountry, skate ski, or snowshoe on 37 miles of machine-groomed trails at Kirkwood’s Cross Country and Snowshoe Center. Another option is to head to capacious Hope Valley and glide through meadows along the meandering West Carson River — afterward, refuel by a crackling fire at Desolation Hotel’s cozy Sorenson’s Café.

You can get the party started…

Photo: Visit Lake Tahoe

There’s always a party going on in the South Shore, and if you can’t find one, start your own. Elevate your aprés-ski festivities with drink specials and live outdoor music at Heavenly’s slopeside Tamarack Lodge. Follow this up by heading down the mountain to sip your favorite vintage on the lakeside balcony at Idle Hour.

Beyond the slopes, check out the schedule at Tahoe Blue Event Center for a slew of concerts, festivals, and sporting events. Play to win at the Stateline casinos and then while away the small hours dancing to a lineup of top-notch DJs at the chic, see-and-be-seen clubs: Peek Lounge and Opal Nightclub.

…or plan the perfect family trip.

Photo: Visit Lake Tahoe

The South Shore of Lake Tahoe provides a playground for both the young and the young-at-heart. Get the best out of winter with some sledding at Adventure Peak, tubing at Heavenly or Tube Tahoe, and by perfecting those figure eights at the outdoor Heavenly Village Ice Rink or the South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena.

To really impress the kids, book a scenic helicopter tour or a hot air balloon ride. Or slow it down and board a paddle wheeler and cruise to Emerald Bay, a journey that gives you views of Vikingsholm Castle and Fannette Island’s historic teahouse. And the whole family will be in awe at the Alex Ramon Real Magic Show, featuring the most adorable assistant on the planet: canine star, MJ the Magic Doxie.

A spring trip will help you relax and recharge.

Photo: Visit Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe’s South Shore is an idyllic setting to engage in a spring-fling with the most important person in your life — you! A massage at the upscale Edgewood Spa, followed by an appetizer at the Bistro’s lakeview fire pits, is an indulgence you don’t want to miss. And if your ski-tired muscles need to be stretched and strengthened, visit the expert yoga and Pilates instructors at OMNI Tahoe or Bliss Experiences. A springtime bonus: Outdoor and stand-up paddleboard yoga are offered with the warming weather.

Don’t stop there: Balance nature with culture as you browse art at Marcus Ashley and Sun Art Gallery, shop for local and fair trade souvenirs at GaiaLicious, sample healthy, vegetarian fare at Sprouts Natural Food Café, and steal a quiet afternoon to read and sip a cappuccino in a cozy nook at Cuppa Tahoe.

Winter and summer may be the busiest seasons on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore, but spring is the perfect season to visit. Hit the slopes, then go beyond and see for yourself.