The Tahoe Queen, an authentic Mississippi paddlewheeler, is offering opportunities to meet and take photos with Santa on the 12 p.m. Saturday cruises. Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort continues its Christmas tradition with a two-day kids' festival, Dec. 23-24 with events, music, sack races and a snowman competition.
We cruised around Lake Tahoe on a Tuesday--very few people--on a catamaran sail boat.--it was one of the highlights of our week there. We took our 5 year old and 6 month old and they did great. We brought our own snacks and drinks and the staff did not seem to mind, although, they were selling snacks and drinks onboard also. On the boat they had huge soft pillows so we could sit comfortably outside--it was beautiful! Great way to see the lake.
• Tahoe Queen Paddlewheeler, 9090 Ski Run Boulevard, South Lake Tahoe; (800) 238–2463; www.zephyrcove.com. Emerald Bay cruises and special Mark Twain and Tahoe Tessie cruises. Off-season family discounts. Huge, beautiful paddlewheeler makes day and evening trips to Emerald Bay. Besides summertime cruises, you can ride the Queen in the winter to Tahoe City and meet shuttle buses for major ski resorts; there is a big breakfast buffet in the morning and live music and food on the afternoon return cruise. Adults $$$$, children $$.
• Woodwind II Sailing Cruises, Zephyr Cove Marina, South Lake Tahoe; (888) 867–6394; www.sailwoodwind.com. This fifty-passenger, 50-foot trimaran with a glass bottom and indoor/outdoor seating is a comfortable boat, but a breezier experience without the indoor space of the paddlewheelers, so it’s probably not a good choice if you have toddlers. You can also book cruises on a classic 40-foot powerboat and a gorgeous 80-foot motor yacht, and on the Woodwind I out of Camp Richardson on the south end of the lake. Adults $$$$, children 3-12 $$$; Web site discounts.
• MS Dixie II Paddlewheeler, 5 miles north of South Lake Tahoe on Zephyr Cove; (800) 238–2463; www.zephyrcove.com. Several Emerald Bay cruises a day. In the wintertime, the Dixie becomes a ski shuttle, taking skiers from South Lake Tahoe to ski resorts on the West Shore. The paddlewheeler was a cotton barge on the Mississippi in 1927, then a floating casino at Tahoe, when it sank and was raised and converted into a tour boat. Adults $$$$; children $$.