How Far Is Sacramento To Reno – Whether you’re looking for a ski weekend or a relaxing lake vacation, Lake Tahoe is the perfect getaway from Sacramento and the rest of the Bay Area. You won’t want to miss a quick stop in Reno where you can not only try your luck at the slot machines, but also find some of the hippest shops and restaurants in all of California!
Today I want to share with you a super fun Lake Tahoe/Reno road trip from Sacramento, CA. and the boats of historic gold and silver mining towns.
How Far Is Sacramento To Reno
If this sounds like your journey, read on! This is where the largest mountain lake and the largest town in the world come together.
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I’m sure some of you are thinking of western cities and mining towns? (Yes, they’re my guilty pleasure.) If you’re not into historic, gold-drenched towns, don’t worry! There are many more fun things to do on this road trip.
In this post, you’ll find great things to do from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe and Reno, stopovers along the way, hidden gems along the way, and cities and mining towns in the west that you probably can’t handle.
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This 3-day road trip starts in Sacramento and takes you to some of the most fascinating historic mining towns and lake views this part of California has to offer! Here is a summary of the route:
Tripp Drive, Unit 7, Reno, Nv 89512
Sacramento, CA – Auburn, CA – Grass Valley, CA – Nevada City, CA – Truckee, CA – Reno, NV – North Lake Tahoe, NV – Carson City, NV – Reno, NV – Virginia City, NV – South Lake Tahoe, CA – Sacramento, CA
NOTE: This Lake Tahoe trip from Sacramento assumes you will spend two nights in Reno, CA as it is based on our own Lake Tahoe/Reno trip. Ever since we decided to take a surprise trip, hotel prices in Lake Tahoe have skyrocketed. That’s why we decided to stay in Reno, NV to save on housing costs.
Lake Tahoe is the only lake I’ve been to that actually looks tropical. I mean, looking at these pictures you would think we were vacationing in the turquoise waters of Cancun or the Caribbean.
You are completely wrong! This incredibly clear turquoise water comes from Lake Tahoe, California. It is a beautiful place that you must see with your own eyes.
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Tahoe also has many beautiful beaches that many lakes don’t. This means that you can not only participate in some of the usual water sports, but also hit the beach and sunbathe.
No matter the season, Lake Tahoe offers a lot of fun. In the warm season you can supplement it with swimming, water sports, golf, cycling, mountain biking and hiking. In the winter, there’s world-class snowshoeing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and downhill skiing.
Throughout the year, visitors can enjoy several touristy fun towns around the lake, perfect for exploring after a day of outdoor recreation.
Reno offers a great weekend getaway for much less money than Las Vegas, making it one of the best alternatives to Vegas. Compared to Vegas, it costs less to gamble or see shows and offers one of the best ways to escape the heat, if that’s what you want: the Truckee River or Lake Tahoe!
Plan Your Visit
Reno is also a great place to visit, even if you get rid of all the penny slots, cheap cigarette smells, and vintage neon lights. Midtown Reno is one of the most exciting and vibrant neighborhoods.
While Reno isn’t worth a three-day stay, a day or two in the largest small town is great fun!
Because you will enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables! Because you feel like a kid again! Because you will learn a lot about the Gold Rush era and the mining history of California and Nevada!
Not to mention, who wouldn’t want to get out of the city and feel like you’ve been transported back a few centuries in these old mining towns? These “other stops” turned out to be some of the most interesting parts of our road trip.
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Sacramento to Lake Tahoe takes 2 to 3 hours if you beat rush hour traffic.
If you are traveling to North Lake Tahoe (Tahoe City), take I-80 East to Highway 89 South. If you are going to South Lake Tahoe, it is best to take Highway 50 East. You have great views along the way!
There are several ways to get to Lake Tahoe and Reno. The nearest airports to Lake Tahoe and Reno are:
You fly into Sacramento International Airport. Simply rent a car at SMF Airport and hit the road on your merry way.
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Need a rental car for your trip? I recommend using Rentalcars.com to find cheap rental cars. Their search feature is one of the best I’ve found!
If you’ve never been to Sacramento, California’s capital city, this is where you should start. The city of Sacramento deserves at least an entire weekend to explore (and even then you’re barely scratching the surface).
Start in Old Town Sacramento (Old Sacramento State Historic Park), where you’ll be instantly transported back to the Gold Rush era, and continue your journey at the California State Railroad Museum, one of Sacramento’s most popular museums.
Visit the California State Indian Museum to learn about California’s rich history. The mission of this museum is to present three different themes that are important to Indian life: nature, spirit and family. The museum is filled with photos and artifacts that show how Native Americans have thrived in California for thousands of years.
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For a taste of art, visit the Crocker Museum of Art, home to artwork from the Gold Rush to today. If you’re traveling with kids, consider spending a few hours at the Sacramento Zoo. , featuring 400 animals from around the world.
In the heart of Sacramento is the California State Capitol Museum, where you can learn about California history! In addition to being a museum, it also functions as an active government building.
You can opt for a guided tour of the museum (you can learn a lot during the tour) or explore the building on your own.
Let’s start with Old Town Auburn. This place has been a hit since gold was discovered! This charming neighborhood has a variety of restaurants, local shops and interesting antique shops.
Sacramento To Lake Tahoe/reno Road Trip: All The Best Stops In Between
We recommend a leisurely 30 minute to an hour walk to enjoy the delights and treasures of Old Town Auburn.
You should definitely stop by Ikeda’s for the best burgers, pies and shakes you’ll ever taste!
I definitely recommend enjoying a piece of fruit pie – your choices are endless. Choice of Dutch apples, French apples, blueberries, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, cherries and bananas. You can buy by the piece or buy whole to go in later!
Along with the large burger and shake we ordered, we had a slice of Dutch Apple and Marionberry Cobbler. Both were very nice.
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Got some extra time and looking for an adrenaline pumping activity? White water rafting is huge here! Check out this full-day Whitewater Rafting trip on the Middle Fork from Auburn.
From here we go to Nevada County! Stop along the way for all the sweeping views and Vista points.
Our next stop was Grass Valley, California. Let me tell you, this cute town blew me away! When researching cities to visit in Lake Tahoe, I found Nevada City more content as a mining town. Grass Valley was always mentioned as an afterthought.
Grass Valley is so much more than you think! Here you will find a vibrant city that has served the community since the Gold Rush days.
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HISTORY: Let’s step back for a quick history lesson. Grass Valley used to be a gold mining town. Until 1850, when gold was discovered in quartz, it was common practice to mine free gold from rivers and gravel. In just a few months, the town grew from 20 huts to 150 buildings!
The downtown you see is not just about history and mining. Strolling Main Street is an old time! You will find numerous vintage and antique shops, but also modern fashion boutiques and interior design shops. Don’t miss the Bank of Nevada County shops.
While you’re here, Lazy Dog Chololateria, cute
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