Bachelorette parties are no longer just booze-filled nights outfitted with sparkly gowns and neon-dyed cocktails. Many brides are skipping the clichéd glittery sashes, overcrowded clubs, and limos and opting for a few days of hiking, skiing, and brunching instead. So, for brides who prefer ski boots to heels, mountain air to smoke-filled casinos, and massages to clubs, a bash in North Lake Tahoe is a better fit than Vegas. Known the world over for its epic ski slopes, the large, oval-shaped, crystal-blue lake for which it’s named, and a vibe that’s posh yet relaxed, this area has long been the playground for Silicon Valley techies. Although it doesn’t boast the vast nightlife of South Tahoe, it does offer some of the lake’s best dining, beautiful spas, incredible ski runs and hiking trails, and artisanal boutiques. And while it may not have the neon lights of Reno or the shows of Vegas, it’s got plenty to keep any active and nature-seeking bride happy.
Skip the formality of a hotel and opt for a luxury home nestled in the fir trees, overlooking the pristine blue lake and the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountain range. Tahoe Luxury Rentals offers a house for all budgets. On the higher end, there’s the $8,000-a-night Tewesi Manor, boasting sweeping lake views, nine bedrooms (and a private cottage), a massive patio, a private pier, and enough floor-to-ceiling windows to bathe the mountain decor in endless natural light. For something more modest, opt for the four-bedroom, 3,400-square-foot Tahoe City Serenity with a hot tub overlooking the woods and a beautiful kitchen, large patio, and fireplace.
Once you’re settled, head to Christy Hill, a small American-style bistro with sweeping views of the lake. The menu changes seasonally, with dishes like pork belly dashi braised with kimchi and a perfect egg, and fresh tagliatelle pasta served with mushroom ragù and truffle oil. The restaurant is known for its olives, though, so don’t skip out on ordering a few warm batches for the table. No bachelorette is complete without a nightcap, so head to Uncorked in Squaw or Tahoe City for a wine tasting. The selection is unique, and they offer rare collections of wines from all over California, the Pacific Northwest, and around the globe.
Wake up early for an aerial yoga session at Tahoe Flow Arts Studio. Owned by performance artist and certified yoga instructor Kelly Smiley, the studio offers a wide range of classes—ranging from introductory dance, hula hoop, and yoga classes to the challenging, albeit effective, aerial fabric training. A local to the Tahoe and Truckee region, Smiley has a relaxed demeanor and light-filled studio that will make every powerful (and slightly uncomfortable) pose worth it. Be sure to book a private class for the girls as Smiley books up weeks in advance.
Refuel with some much-needed carbs at Fire Sign Cafe. A local favorite, this pre- and post-ski spot is famed for its eggs Benedict, rubicon special (made with three eggs, sausage, and the works), and whole-wheat waffles topped with granola or fresh berries.
After breakfast, head to Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows—one of North Tahoe’s premier ski resorts. In winter, you can ski or snowboard down the mixed-level mountains, ranging from a bunny slope to a black-diamond peak. Thanks to a recent $4 million renovation, including a new B3 helicopter, the slopes are safer than ever. The season lasts from late November to early April, and there’s a fully stocked rental shop at the bottom to outfit the entire party. In summer or fall, the Stateline Lookout Trail offers stunning views from the 7,000-foot peak. From the lookout, you’ll get the Crystal Lake vista, which is astonishing during sunrise or sunset.
What’s better after a rugged day on the slopes than a cozy après-ski cocktail? Have cocktails and enjoy the views of Northstar resort at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe. In the winter, the Living Room boasts floor-to-ceiling views of the mountains and a fully stocked bar. In summer, no place is better for a girls’ cocktail hour than the Lake Club's expansive lawn that extends all the way to the water's edge.
Celebrate the bride-to-be with a fancy dinner and a view at Lone Eagle, the newly refurbed lakeside restaurant right outside the Hyatt Regency in Incline Village. The restaurant touts tall, wood-planked ceilings, large windows overlooking the lake, and a menu that’s a mix of hearty American fare and innovative vegan and vegetarian options. The cocktail menu is equally impressive, offering the bride-to-be sumptuous libations, like the Coal Miner’s Daughter, made with vodka, or the Whiskey Cobbler, made with Woodford Reserve. Since it’s the night to go all out, don your fanciest dresses and head to the Crystal Bay Casino. More than just gambling, the casino has live music and even DJs.
After a long night out, treat the tired bride to a massage and mani-pedi package at the Hyatt Regency. The award-winning Stillwater Spa offers plenty of packages for a girls’ pampering day, like the Stillwater Retreat, which comes with a full-service massage, a facial, and a manicure and pedicure. Plus, lunch is included. If you opt for just massages, make your way to the Ritz-Carlton for a champagne brunch at Manzanita. The brunch comes with all-you-can-drink mimosas, a carving station, charcuterie boards, and more.
Before the girls dissipate, spend a few hours exploring the public parks in King’s Beach, Crystal Bay, or neighboring Truckee—once a mining gold-rush town that’s now a colorful mix of rustic charm. Wander into Coffeebar, an industrial and beatnik java shop serving up the area’s finest drip coffees, along with home-brewed kombucha and Italian gelato. If time permits, burn off the calories of brunch with a hike to Donner Lake; the three-mile trek offers gorgeous views of the Donner Summit, a hot spot for paddleboarding, swimming, and sunbathing.