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Crystal Bay is a very small town that straddles the California/Nevada state line on the northern shore of Lake Tahoe. It’s primarily a tourist town, serving the needs of summertime visitors coming to enjoy the azure waters of this high elevation lake. However, it’s also not too far from all the attractions and amenities of a major metropolitan area; Reno is only a short drive away. Nevada’s capital, Carson City, is even closer, abutting Lake Tahoe and without all the neon lights and activity of Reno.
In the winter, Crystal Bay is a bit less happening, but it still sees many visitors seeking the fresh powder that falls on the slopes of nearby Diamond Peak Ski Resort.
You’ll certainly want to block off a few days at the lake when you get a travel trailer rental in Crystal Bay. Kayak rentals are available if you’d like to paddle around the peninsula and there are loads of great hiking trails in the woods behind it.
One of the lake’s best stretches of sand can be found at Burnt Cedar Beach near Incline Village, right next to Crystal Bay and at the base of Diamond Peak Ski Resort. There’s an excellent swimming area just off the beach where the water remains relatively shallow and doesn’t see any big waves. A swimming pool is located close by if you don’t feel like taking a dip in Tahoe’s frequently chilly waters.
Another option is Wild Willy’s Hot Springs near the town of Mammoth Lakes. These naturally fed springs are great for relaxing sore muscles after a hard day's hike, and they have some fantastic views of the Sierra Nevada Range. While most hot springs simply pipe water into small swimming pools for visitors to lounge in, Wild Willy’s remains undeveloped. Those wishing to use the springs will need to hike a quarter of a mile to access them and then lower themselves onto some rocks that sit around the spring’s edge; a completely unique experience that’s ideal for nature lovers. When you book an RV in Crystal Bay, this is probably where you’ll want to spend your evenings.
The Lake Tahoe region is full of places to stay when you get a camper rental in Crystal Bay. Coachland RV Park in Truckee has amenities that include full hookups, laundry facilities, an RV washing station, playground, and dog park. The park is also adjacent to Interstate 80, making it very easy to get around when you choose an RV rental in Crystal Bay.
Another option in Truckee is the Truckee River RV Park. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, this park could be a great place to make your basecamp, with whitewater rafting, loads of hiking trails, and some of the best fishing in Northern California all located nearby. An even more rustic camping experience can be had at Lake Forest Campground on Lake Tahoe’s northwestern shore. There are no hookups here and only simple bathrooms and a pump for drinking water. If you prefer the quiet of the woods to the noise of your fellow campers, this could be an excellent choice.
If all else fails, there’s a Walmart in Reno where you might be able to stay for a few nights. You’ll need to ask for the manager’s permission first, and there won’t be any amenities, but it’s not bad for a short visit when you get a motorhome rental in Crystal Bay.
Outdoor pursuits will always be the highlight when you rent an RV in Crystal Bay, but that’s not to say there aren’t other great attractions in the area. As with most towns in Nevada, full table gambling is permitted; if you’re looking to play a little blackjack or craps stop by the casino in town. For something more family-friendly, book an afternoon of mini-golf in the nearby town of Carnelian Bay.
Most of the major cultural attractions are a bit farther away though, with many of them located at the southern end of Lake Tahoe. There are quite a few art galleries in South Lake Tahoe along with some of the best restaurants in the area, serving everything from budget ethnic cuisine to fine seafood. It’s also where you’ll find some of the best shopping near Lake Tahoe, with dozens of souvenir and antique shops to peruse.
The Gatekeeper’s Museum in Tahoe City is also quite popular if you want to learn more about the history of the area. You’ll find artifacts dating back hundreds of years from Tahoe’s Native American inhabitants, through the mining and logging days in the 19th and early 20 centuries, up to the present when tourism has become the defining industry. Artfully displayed photographs, maps, and clothing all tell the story of how Tahoe came to be what it is.