Summer wellness: Replenish and restore at Lake Tahoe

With its clean mountain air, clear waters and ample recreation opportunities, the communities surrounding Lake Tahoe have always had a wellness culture long before the term “self care” took over.

Escaping to Big Blue for a weekend of sweat-inducing fun, nourishment and pampering is undoubtedly a recipe for rejuvenation. Thousands of miles of trails, knowledgeable healing practitioners, health-focused eateries, and the gorgeous weather beckoning you outside make it an easy decision to choose Lake Tahoe for your weekend of wellness.

Kick off your morning with a quick dip

Wim Hof, a Dutch extreme athlete known for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures, traveled to Tahoe to film a show for Netflix, The goop Lab, about the benefits of cold exposure through a polar plunge in Lake Tahoe. Though Hof’s beliefs that cold therapies could potentially contribute to longevity is currently unproven, anecdotal evidence shows that a cold shower — or better yet, an early morning dip in Lake Tahoe — can improve alertness and boost your mood. In June, surface water temperatures are still hovering around 50-55 degrees, but by August and September, they’ve warmed to 65-75 degrees.

Head to SUP or beach yoga

After a better-than-coffee jump in the lake to wake you up, it’s time to get your stretch on. Forgo the traditional yoga studio and opt for a class outside, either on a standup paddleboard or the beach. For SUP yoga, check out Mountain Lotus Yoga in Tahoe City or Lake Tahoe Yoga in Zephyr Cove. There are dozens of other yoga studios around the lake, depending on where you’re staying, and many offer regular beach yoga classes or private sessions.

Skip the studio and head outside for SUP yoga on the water; your balance will be tested like never before. Photo: Lake Tahoe Yoga.

Nourish with healthy bites

While rocking that post-yoga glow, head to one of Tahoe’s health-centric eateries for a nourishing bite. Sprout’s Natural Foods Café in South Lake Tahoe has an extensive menu with a focus on lean proteins, meat alternatives, whole grains and lots of fresh produce. Don’t forget to try one of their 30-plus juice and smoothie options. Poke on the Lake in Truckee serves up bright Hawaiian-inspired poke bowls with fresh fish and lots of veggies, while Uncommon Kitchen in Tahoe City concocts globally inspired dishes — falafel, pad thai, sushi and Vietnamese spring rolls, to name a few — with vegan and gluten-free options.

Go on, take a hike

With a belly full of goodness, it’s time to hit the trails. While it may be tempting to pick a popular trail that comes up as No. 1 in an online “listicle,” do yourself — and Tahoe’s already strained natural environment — a favor, and do a deep dive for a lesser-known hike. The free app AllTrails is an amazing resource for discovering trails near you. You can filter by location, difficulty, terrain and more. The app also has reviews and photos from previous hikers so you can see what your hike will be like and read about its current conditions.

Treat yo’ self

There are plenty of spas around Lake Tahoe offering everything from body wraps and massages to acupuncture and sound baths. Elevate Wellness Center in South Lake Tahoe is well-known for its acupuncture treatments as well its “farmacy” and apothecary offering up bulk herbs, tinctures, functional teas and more. At Well Being in Kings Beach, unwind with a sound bath meditation or reiki, an energetic healing technique originating from Japan. The wild herbal relief wrap at Stillwater Spa in Incline Village pairs a warm body wrap of ginger, rosemary, clove and eucalyptus with a scalp massage and reflexology. The options for relaxation are endless.

Midwife, doula and herbalist Misty McBride mixes up teas and tinctures in the apothecary at Elevate Wellness in South Lake Tahoe. Photo: Indigo Photography.
Gyongyi Ridenour leads a sound bath meditation at Well Being in Kings Beach. Photo: Jarvis Photography

Explore the water by night

Skip the bars and head for a night scene unlike any other: floating in a kayak on Lake Tahoe with the stars up above and a full moon shining. According to NASA, full moons are slated for June 5, July 5, Aug. 3, and Sept. 2 this summer. A number of kayak rental companies offer guided full-moon tours that start around sunset and continue until the full moon rises. Tahoe Adventure Company offers full-moon paddles from Tahoe Vista, while Tahoe City Kayak and Paddleboard takes off from the West Shore for it’s night ‘yak rides. It’s the best way to cap a day of #selfcare in beautiful Lake Tahoe.

From sunset to moonrise, take a guided full-moon kayak tour on Lake Tahoe instead of hitting the bar scene. Photo: Claire McArthur.
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