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Truckee 4-Day Early Summer Family Itinerary

May 15, 2024
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Day 1

Get to know Historic Downtown Truckee through its family-friendly, interactive museums.

Travel back in time with the kiddos at a Truckee museum or on the self-guided walking tour. The Old Jail Museum, one of the few surviving 19th century jailhouses in the West, and Truckee Railroad Museum, located inside a Southern Pacific Railroad caboose, are two family favorites with interactive exhibits for little ones. Inquire about a private tour and see history come alive with a guide in historical costume!

Downtown Truckee in early summer. Credit Scott Shots Photography.

Shop and enjoy outdoor dining on patios, porches, and decks.

After diving into Truckee’s wild west history, enjoy a stroll through our quaint Historic Downtown to shop and dine at locally-owned boutiques, galleries, restaurants and shops. Kid-favorites include Truckee Variety Co. for toys, games, and t-shirts and Word After Word Books, our local independent bookstore with a huge kids section. Both locations accept Sustainable Truckee Gift Cards!

Shopping in downtown Truckee. Credit Paul Hamill.
Outdoor dining at Cottonwood in Truckee.

Influenced by the San Francisco Bay Area, Truckee’s mountain cuisine is all about healthy, fresh, local, sustainably-grown ingredients. Check out new restaurants including  RMU, Great Gold, and family-favorites like Best Pies and Jax At The Tracks. For beautiful outdoor dining, head to 1882 Bar & Grill, Bar of America, and Cottonwood.

Take a peaceful hike in the forest on Truckee’s new, all-inclusive nature trail.

Built by our friends at the Truckee Trails Foundation, the Ridgeline Nature Loop is a beautiful new trail for those seeking a peaceful meander through the Tahoe National Forest. Just over 1 mile long, this easy loop is great for young kids and accommodates strollers, wheel chairs, and strider bikes. Be sure to stop and have a snack at the overlook and soak up the gorgeous views of Truckee, Castle Peak, and Donner Pass.

Day 2

Learn the amazing story of the Donner Party at Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center.

Donner Memorial State Park is a great place to start your day and get oriented to Donner Lake. Pop into the Visitor Center to grab a map and learn about local Native Americans, the Donner Party, and builders of the transcontinental railroad. Then, go for a mellow stroll on the lakeside interpretive trail to stretch your legs. There’s beautiful picnic areas and beaches along the way!

Beautiful Donner Lake. Credit Paul Hamill Photography.

Grab lunch at Donner Lake and a sweet scoop of homemade ice cream.

Donner Lake’s dining options are local gems with a welcoming vibe that will make you feel right at home. Grab lunch at Donner Lake Kitchen or The Pub at Donner Lake and then stop by the Little Truckee Ice Creamery for an affogato or scoop of homemade ice cream, non-dairy options too! And on Fridays, Tacos Herrera serves up tasty pop-up street tacos at the creamery.

Soak up the afternoon sun or dunk in the water at Donner Lake’s beautiful beaches and piers.

After lunch, it’s time for fun and relaxation at the water. On the west shore of Donner Lake, West End Beach Park offers a wide-open sandy beach, kids playground, lifeguard supervised swim area, picnic tables, and boat rentals. Along the north shore, 37 public piers are great places to lounge, have a scenic picnic, or launch a paddle board or kayak.

Kayaking on Donner Lake. Credit Tahoe Donner.

Day 3

Explore magnificent Lake Tahoe, just 12 miles from Truckee.

Truckee is only 12 miles from the north shore of Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America! The drive takes about 20 minutes from downtown Truckee, and once you’re there, there’s plenty to do - hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, splashing around the shallows with little kiddos, and soaking up panoramic mountain views.

Lake Tahoe from above. Credit Karen Hutton.

Plan a beach picnic with Truckee takeout in a reusable Green Box.

On your way to the lake, grab lunch to-go from Red Truck, located near the Truckee-Tahoe airport, in a reusable green box. Browse the list of Tahoe public beaches to find a beautiful spot for lunch with a view. Remember to take care of Lake Tahoe and leave no trace during your picnic lunch.

Family beach time at Lake Tahoe. Credit Paul Hamill Photography.

Quench your thirst at Truckee’s family-friendly breweries & try beer made with Lake Tahoe water!

After a fun-filled day at the lake, stop by Truckee’s family-friendly breweries and beer gardens for cold brews you can’t find anywhere else. Alibi Ale Works - Truckee Public House is a great spot to bring kiddos and all their beers are brewed with Lake Tahoe water!

Day 4

Rent bikes and ride the Truckee River Legacy Trail, a scenic paved trail minutes from downtown Truckee.

The Truckee River Legacy Trail is a 9.5 mile roundtrip scenic paved trail over gently rolling terrain. It’s perfect for riding bikes (open to Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes), pushing a stroller, or going for a easy walk or run. Well behaved dogs are welcome, and please remember to pick up after your pet. There is no poop fairy! Start from one of the three trailheads, East River Street (closest to downtown), Truckee River Regional Park, or Glenshire Drive.

Biking on the Truckee River Legacy Trail. Credit Paul Hamill Photography.

Indoor option: Truckee pool and state of the art climbing gym.

If the weather isn’t cooperating or if you’d like a break from the sun, take the fam to Truckee’s world-class indoor climbing gym, High Altitude Fitness. With over 12,000 sqft of indoor climbing, this is a great place to learn rock climbing basics and have fun monkeying up the walls. Another great option is the Truckee-Donner Community Pool which features a lazy river and water slides! 

We hope you enjoy these ideas for your trip to Truckee. For more, including year-round activities by the season, check out our Truckee-Tahoe Family Fun page!

Family biking at Lake Tahoe. Credit First Tracks Productions.

Take the kids to one of Truckee-Tahoe's best playgrounds!

Looking to keep the little ones entertained? From sprawling recreational parks to lakeside play areas, Truckee-Tahoe offers a variety of options for kids to run, jump, and play. Here are our top picks for the best playgrounds in Truckee-Tahoe.

Five tips for an early summer visit to Truckee

  1. Check the Truckee-Tahoe Travel Alert for daily weather, news, and event updates. Bookmark this page and be sure to check it before visiting and while you are here.
  2. Chat with Sustainable Truckee Ambassadors. Look for Sustainable Truckee Ambassadors in Historic Downtown Truckee, Donner Lake, and various trails. Say hello and learn about Truckee from knowledgeable locals. 
  3. Dine, shop, drink, play, and support stewardship with the Sustainable Truckee Gift Card. Our digital card is redeemable at 47 locations - restaurants, breweries, outdoor gear shops, boutiques, yoga studios, adventure guides - and 25% of card value is matched for stewardship projects like meadow restoration and graffiti removal.
  4. Give back & take care. There are many ways to support Truckee’s environment and community during your trip. Got time? Sign up to volunteer with a local non-profit. We call that voluntourism! Heading to the trail? Check out Keep Truckee Green's Grab a Bag program. Simply grab a bag from a participating business, pick up litter during your hike, and get a prize when you return the bag.
  5. Work remotely for a day or more at a Truckee co-working space. For parents that have the option to work remotely, Truckee offers spacious lodging and comfortable co-working spaces with high-speed wifi to keep you connected. Check out these tips for working remotely in Truckee-Tahoe for your next vacation.
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