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Lake Tahoe at Thanks Giving

Seattle, Washington
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Lake Tahoe at Thanks Giving

***I posted this question in Lake Tahoe of Nevada forums, but it should be here, so posting again here***

I am in Torrance and planning to visit lake Tahoe and San Francisco at ThanksGiving. I will be driving own car and we are a couple in thirties. We are not not into sking. I have planned it as below.

27-Nov Will leave from Torrance at 12:00 in noon and will reach Folsom in night. Google maps says 417 miles (6 hours) by I-5N. Overnight stay at Folsom.

28-Nov Will leave for South Lake Tahoe in morning. Whole day and overnight.

29-Nov Will leave for San Francisco in morning. San Francisco.

30-Nov San Francisco

1-Nov Leave for Torrance in afternoon.

I have few questions on this itenerary

1- Should I stay midway somewhere, instead of Folsom, just to not get too tired driving so long ?

2- Will there ice on road all the way from Folsom to Lake Tahoe at that time ? This will be first time, I will drive at some snowy area so I am little worried.

3- Lake Tahoe is so big. Which place should I choose to stay ? I can see there is a good deal on Groupon for Heavenly Inn. Is it located at ok place according to my plan ?

4- Are there any worthy nearby places, where I give a day from my stay in San Francisco ?

5- There are 3 routes on google maps from Lake Tahoe to San Francisco --> US-50W & I-80W / US-50W / US-50W and I-5S. Which route I should pick during that time ?

I will plan for days for San Francisco separately and post question on SF forum, once Lake Tahoe is decided. Please suggest.

Regards

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Lake Tahoe at Thanks Giving

Sacramento native here with lots of experience going between Tahoe/Sac/San Francisco. I have family in Folsom.

Folsom is a decent place to stay. There are lots if restaurants and a cute downtown area.

The weather that time of year is unpredictable. It might be clear, icy, or snowy. You just won't know. I would only book a reservation I could cancel just in case 50 is bad.

I personally would not drive to Tahoe for just one night. I think you'll spend lots of time in the car and have little time to do much else. But that's just me.

From 50, you'll come in on the south shore area. Because your time is limited, I would stay on that side of the lake.

The best route from Tahoe to San Francisco is 50 to 80 then 80 into the city.

Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: Lake Tahoe at Thanks Giving

Thanks ProfandMom. Folsom is defintely a decent and cute place. But I was asking keeping in mind that I would drive that long on 27th Nov. Still I should drive down to Folsom or shall spend a spent a night before that somewhere ?

Second question is about nearby areas. I am still in planning phase so can extend my holidays for one more days. In this case, can I go (spend night) somewhere else also near to Lake Tahoe or SF or in around 200 miles from either of them ?

Third question which I just though, if I stay at Heavenly Inn, will be driving or walking to visit Lake Tahoe ? Or how to commute in nearby areas ?

Long Barn...
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3. Re: Lake Tahoe at Thanks Giving

Since you are spending so little time at Lake Tahoe, I would not stop and stay in Folsom, but continue on to Lake Tahoe. It is only about a 90 minute drive although it is mountain driving. This will give you more time at Lake Tahoe. It is hard to predict the weather this time of the year, but it is early for a lot of snow and ice.....but it could happen.

I have never stayed at the Heavenly Inn, but the location is good as it is within walking distance of Heavenly Village and the casinos. I am familar with the property and it looks O.K. from the outside. Please check the reviews on this site for feedback from people that have actually stayed at this property. I see mixed reviews.

The route ProfandMom gives is the correct route from South Lake Tahoe to S.F.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: Lake Tahoe at Thanks Giving

If you just have the long weekend I would spend that whole weekend in that area instead of trying to do both Tahoe and SF in 4 days. You can circle the lake, go check Reno out, perhaps even get a rental for the weekend close to the lake

Dublin, California
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5. Re: Lake Tahoe at Thanks Giving

If you can extend one more day I'd spend it at either Tahoe or SF, and not think about a third location. You'll run into heavy traffic on I-5, 50 and 80 due to Thanksgiving weekend.

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Lake Tahoe at Thanks Giving

I think that driving all the way from Torrance to Tahoe in one day is a LONG one with the mountain driving at the end of the day being a lot of stress. 50 is not an easy drive for people unfamiliar with driving in mountains, and I have been on it many times, but I would not want to drive it at night after coming up from Torrance that same day, especially if I had never driven it before. So, yes, I would recommend stopping in Folsom due to fatigue and safety issues. I tend to be kind of cautious that way though.

If you think Folsom is too far for you to make in one day from Torrance, then perhaps look at something in Sacramento? The problem is, if you stop before Folsom, you're going to have a longer drive to Tahoe the next day. I wouldn't want to go further south than Sacramento because it just adds to the driving time the next day.

Driving in the Tahoe area itself is slow going because it's mountain driving, and that weekend will probably be busy due to the holiday.

I'm not sure what you plan to do in Tahoe. Casinos? Going to the beach (it's going to be cold there of course)? Hiking? Driving around and admiring the landscape? You are not going to be able to do all of it because the lake is quite large, and it seems you only have less than a day.

And I notice that you said you have never driven in the snow. Please, keep track of the forecasts. If the weather is going to be bad, change your plans. This is not the place to learn how to drive in the snow.

I also agree with others who have recommended doing either SF or Tahoe but not both on such a short trip. It's about 4 hours between Tahoe and SF under normal traffic conditions which as someone else said could be heavier than normal because of the holiday weekend.

Santa Clara...
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7. Re: Lake Tahoe at Thanks Giving

Hi again. I remember you from your Monterey trip. I also agree about picking either SF or Tahoe. I have driven Torrance area to South Lake Tahoe many times. I also suggest you spend the night somewhere in the Sacramento area. I wouldn't recommend driving on the 50 in the dark for someone who has never been on it and no winter mountain driving experience. Besides, you want to drive it in day time as it is scenic - next to the river, then Echo Summit. I would not go any further than Placerville.

Do leave as early as you can as that Wed before Thanksgiving is probably the busiest travel day in the US. It has taken me close to 3 hr from the Torrance area to the Grapevine one year. But we left in the afternoon after work.

Fremont, California
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8. Re: Lake Tahoe at Thanks Giving

1- Should I stay midway somewhere, instead of Folsom, just to not get too tired driving so long ?

I would just drive to Folsom. Fog can start to be an issue that time of year - but if you get an early start, you should be ok. We usually stay at Larkspur Landing as several restaurants walking distance as well as movies. Nice place, breakfast included in morning. Popular - so if interested, book in advance.

larkspurhotels.com/larkspur-landing/folsom

The drive from Folsom to Lake Tahoe is scenic so I would do it during day light hours.

2- Will there ice on road all the way from Folsom to Lake Tahoe at that time ? This will be first time, I will drive at some snowy area so I am little worried.

Its too far in advance to know the weather conditions. Check in advance the weather conditions but closer to the date. Usually, we find the roads ok this time of year with snow, etc. more by Christmas.....but it can happen. For road conditions, a good site on the web to check is

http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi

Put in 50 - that will let you know road conditions. Popular drive so expect people on the road.

3- Lake Tahoe is so big. Which place should I choose to stay ? I can see there is a good deal on Groupon for Heavenly Inn. Is it located at ok place according to my plan ?

Heavenly Inn would be fine to stay at.

Another place just for a night - walking distance to the lake - and usually

http://www.alpenroseinntahoe.com/

You probably can even find one on short notice, but due to the holidays I would book in advance.

4- Are there any worthy nearby places, where I give a day from my stay in San Francisco ?

If interested in wine, popular places are Napa and Sonoma.

Muir Woods just north of San Francisco has some nice redwoods - but its a day trip type thing from San Francisco.

5- There are 3 routes on google maps from Lake Tahoe to San Francisco --> US-50W & I-80W / US-50W / US-50W and I-5S. Which route I should pick during that time ?

Pick the US50W - not sure how you are driving up but it could be that you will be on highway 5 and then take 5o to Folsom. The other major route would be 99. I would probably choose 5 just because its faster.

Seattle, Washington
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9. Re: Lake Tahoe at Thanks Giving

Thanks Mini for detailed answers for my every question.

ProfandMom, as most of travellers suggeted here, I will choose to stay at Folsom or Sacramento.

I am not much not into Casinos, but I liked visiting them when I was in Vegas. I am not into Sking also, but driving around or small hiking is fine. If I start from Folsom in morning to Lake, I would have full day and next half day to spent there, till I leave for SF. I drove on mountains in India, but never drove on road with snow.

Of course I remember you and your help Chinita, which made my that very beautiful.

If I consider crowd of holiday season on road, two more questions here.

1- Being Thanksgiving holidays ahead, I5-N will be still fastest, in comparison to US-395N or I-15N & US-395N (which will bypass LA traffic) ? I think, Tioga Pass will come on the way to US-395N which closes in winters but not sure. 395 is 40 miles shorter.

2- From Secramento, where "Not to drive in night" road will start, may be because of scenic (and I should cover in day time) or may be because of curves/with snow ? And how will be condition from US-395N ?

I am still in deciding state, so please forgive if I am starting altogether new question with this new route.

Santa Clara...
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10. Re: Lake Tahoe at Thanks Giving

No to 395 unless you only do Eastern Sierras and Tahoe. Much too long. It will not bypass traffic. Folks will be going on 15 to Vegas and you will be stuck in the Inland Empire. Tioga will be closed. I have never driven north past Mammoth Lakes so can't help you there.

Back to 50...

Don't drive past Placerville your first night. Beyond that is the curvy mountain driving. Placerville is an Gold Rush town. Might be fun to stay.

Honestly I would say go to SF for your whole trip. Plenty to do for 4 days. I like Tahoe in the summer or mid winter full of snow. Thanksgiving might just be cold and wet.

Edited: 3:03 am, September 13, 2013