South Lake Tahoeview website
Off highway 89 at the head of Emerald Bay
11001 W Lake Blvd
Tahoma, CA 96142
Emerald Bay/Vikingsholm Description
Kids won't care that Emerald Bay was the site of the first summer homes in Lake Tahoe, but they will enjoy exploring the one that still remains: a castle-like house called Vikingsholm that was built in 1929. Vikingsholm was a private residence until the 1950s but is now owned by the State of California. It's said to be one of the best examples of Scandinavian architecture in the country, and kids will want copies of all the elaborate dragon carvings for their own rooms. The external rafters that look like sea serpents swimming out of the roof are especially cool. To get to the house, you can choose one of two routes. The first is a very steep, one-mile path that starts from the main parking lot (it's better suited for school-aged kids). The second trail is 1.7 miles -- you access it from the "Day Use" parking lot -- but is an easier walk.
Toddlers & Pre-K: Kids this age may have a hard time with the trails leading up to Vikingsholm, even the easier one. Be sure to build in extra time, or bring a stroller.
School-Age Kids: A challenging but doable walk for kids 5 and up.
Pre-Teens & Teens: They may be impressed with the stately house, and the hikes to it are relatively easy for this age group.
- Bring your own food and water. There is no concession stand available.
- Take a tour. Thirty-minute tours are offered daily from the middle of June through September, beginning at 10 a.m.
- Free parking is limited. Make this a first stop on your day's to-do list, or you can park in the "Day Use" lot, a few hundred yards from the main lot, for a $3 fee.
Just the Facts
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., from mid-June through Sept.
Fees: Under $10
Recommended Time: 2 to 4 hours