How to vacation like a celebrity at Lake Tahoe

Submitted to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Lake Tahoe has been the backdrop for an array of blockbuster movies, sitcoms, and reality TV series that showcase Tahoe’s famous turquoise water, snowcapped mountains and towering pines. The newest addition to the list is the recently released “Top Gun 2: Maverick” adding to the Hollywood classics like “The Godfather Part II,” “City of Angels” and “The Bodyguard” as well as “Smokin’ Aces.”

In recent years, TV shows include “Keeping up with the Kardashians” series finale, “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” season 11, ABC’s “Modern Family” season 9, “The Bachelor” season 22, Nat Geo’s “Breaking Bobby Bones” Season 1, “The Hills: New Beginnings” Season 2, HBO Max’s “12 Dates of Christmas” and Gwyneth Paltrow’s “The Goop Lab” season 1 on Netflix.

South Lake Tahoe Mayor Brooke Laine, Tom Cruise and South Lake Tahoe Film Commissioner Kathleen Dodge on the set of Top Gun: Maverick. | Provided/Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

“We live in a magnificent place that translates well to the big screen and we look forward to sharing it with the world,” said Carol Chaplin, president and CEO of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “News of the celebrity stays has inspired visitors to spend time here living vicariously like a star.”

Living like a star begins with palatial accommodations. The Sherman Estate is a sprawling 15-acre property providing stunning lake views, hot tub, indoor pool, movie theater, game room, fireplace, expansive kitchen, multiple outdoor lounge spaces, and wet bar with 17 bedrooms and 18 bathrooms that can host up to 40 guests. 

Celebrity cribs

It’s no wonder that casts of Real Housewives and Kardashians stayed there as well as filming locations for the rose ceremony of the ABC’s The Bachelor. The property is in high demand and now requires a minimum stay of 30 nights with rates starting at $9,000 per night. In addition, Bliss Experiences/Lake Tahoe Yoga offered private yoga sessions for casts staying there.

Edgewood Tahoe’s Ice Rink was featured in the series finale of “Keeping up with the Kardashians” 
Provided/Kourtney Kardashian


ABC’s The Bachelor season 22 with Arie Luyendyk Jr. featured his accommodations at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe, and the women were nearby in Stateline at a Buckingham Luxury Vacation Rentals. In season 10, Dr. Andy Baldwin, a navy lieutenant, used the Black Bear Lodge (at the time Black Bear Inn) on Ski Run Boulevard for a romantic date.

Bally’s Lake Tahoe, Edgewood Tahoe, Hard Rock Hotel, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Harveys Lake Tahoe, Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel, and The Landing Resort & Spa have housed numerous cast/crews during shoots. As the official host hotels for the American Century Championship during the annual celebrity golf tournament, Harrah’s and Harveys have welcomed hundreds of sports and entertainment stars.

The possibilities are endless to create a memorable, romantic getaway like casts/crews did in Lake Tahoe.

Where to play and dine

Aerial Adrenaline: Catch a glimpse of the snowcapped peaks with scenes from “Top Gun 2: Maverick” via helicopter tours, which take flight year-round from South Lake Tahoe Airport. Feeling daring, try Sky Combat Ace and experience pilot-for-a-day with the Top Gun package, aerobatic maneuvers over the Lake Tahoe landmarks shown in the movie, including Emerald Bay and Maggie’s Peak.

Get over the water with parasailing at Zephyr Cove Resort like “The Bachelor” did on their date followed by a picnic at Baldwin Beach. Another iconic date included Arie and his suitor with a horseback ride through Camp Richardson Corral to Fallen Leaf Lake. Spoiler alert there’s not a hot tub along the trail but many accommodations do offer hot tubs for guests. Dinner at Hard Rock’s Park Prime followed by a concert inside the hotel was another special evening. Casey Webb, Travel Channel series, “Man v. Food,” recently visited Cold Water Brewery, Artemis and Fox & Hound. Other dining establishments for cast/crew included Edgewood’s Bistro, Brooks’ Bar & Deck, and Riva Grill. 

Tahoe Blue Wave mesmerized casts of both RHOBH and Kardashians. Camera crews utilized outfitters Tahoe Sports and Lake Tahoe Boat Rides to make scouting and filming possible. Camp Richardson Resort’s marina was the headquarters for “Modern Family” boats, jet skiing, canoeing, while the Marina Duplex and cabin were transformed for parts of the episode. During winter months stars were skiing/snowboarding at Heavenly Mountain Resort, snow tubing and ice skating at Edgewood Tahoe. 

“You can’t buy the kind of exposure these various films and shows earn,” added Chaplin. “Through the El Dorado County Film Commission and our local partners, we continue to generate buzz and garner millions of impressions of our incredible destination.”

For a guide to South Lake Tahoe film locations check out the El Dorado County Film Commission’s movie map.

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