Lake Tahoe, 1,600 feet deep, is the big draw in these parts, but gold-rush hub Truckee, 12 miles away, doesn't suffer the same crowds as South Shore and Tahoe City. Plus, Truckee is within 10 miles of 10 other lakes: Donner, for fishing or swimming, and Prosser, glass-smooth in the morning and motor-free, for standup paddling.

Getting There: Fly to Reno; drive 40 minutes west.