29. Truckee, California
Why go: A half hour northeast of Lake Tahoe, on the California side, Truckee sits within 10 miles of 12 downhill and eight cross-country ski resorts (including Squaw Valley, Northstar, Sugar Bowl, Alpine Meadows, Tahoe Donner, and Royal Gorge). If you prefer lake activities, there’s paddleboarding (wetsuits provided) and winter lake cruises (which may be freezing, but offer a whole new perspective on the mountains). If you’re not into the Lake Tahoe “scene” you might experience on the Nevada side, you’ll feel right at home in Truckee without sacrificing any of the outdoor adventures.
Where to stay: The Truckee Hotel dates back to 1873 when it served as a stagecoach stop. It’s been renovated, but it’s Old Western motif makes it the perfect entry point into the Sierra adventure world.
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