Labor Day weekend marks a big turning point at Lake Tahoe. Activity slows down after that busy weekend, tourists go home, kids go back to school and communities around Big Blue breathe a sigh of relief. Lodging rates go down, too, making it a great time to visit with your dog.
If you’ve been to Tahoe, you know the lake is virtually surrounded by cabin and cottage motels and resorts in every price range, many of them dog-friendly. That said—and despite the fact that virtually every Tahoe restaurant with outdoor seating welcomes well-behaved fur babies—you’ll inevitably run into “what to do with Fido” conundrum if you want to go to a casino, play golf or otherwise engage in activities where four-legged companions aren’t allowed.
The pet-friendly Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Stateline, Nev., on the lake’s southeast shore, has a solution: Hair of the Dog Pet Concierge, offering an array of services including daycare, overnight boarding, grooming, training, massage, nutrition counseling, a self-service dog wash, dog chauffeur service (including pickup and drop-off from South Shore locations), in-house or in-condo care and off-site activities such as walks, hikes and splash time. It opened in January and is housed in a former ski shop in the valet area of the Hard Rock complex.
Now, back to your cabin or cottage! We have a few South Shore favorites, including Zephyr Cove Resort, a cluster of lakeshore cabins on the southeast (Nevada) side of the lake just minutes from South Shore restaurants and casinos. Most of the nicely updated cabins have kitchens, so you can whip up your own breakfast or afternoon repast without going out. A bonus: while the sandy beach at the resort is off-limits to dogs, the rocky shoreline to the north of it is fair game for cutting the tether and letting your pup splash and run free.
Also in South Shore, Fireside Lodge B&B is a luxury establishment with log cabin-style cabins, river-rock fireplaces and knotty-pine woodwork. Spruce Grove Cabins, just off Ski Run Boulevard at the foot of Heavenly Mountain Resort; and Holly’s Place, a cabin property on two securely fenced acres, are other options. Although it’s not exactly a cottage retreat, Pine Cone Resort is a favorite with DogTrekkers for its units with pass-through pet doors leading to fenced outdoor kennels with dog houses.
All are just a skip from gorgeous Nevada Beach, the longest and widest beach at the lake, where dogs can be off-leash on a sandy strand at the boat-in campground at the far end of the strip.