Survey: South Lake Tahoe most expensive New Year’s Eve destination |

Survey: South Lake Tahoe most expensive New Year’s Eve destination

Most expensive California destinations for New Year’s

1. South Lake Tahoe $345

2. Napa $246

3. Los Angeles $239

4. Santa Barbara $234

5. Santa Monica $221

6. San Francisco $211

7. Long Beach $209

8. Sacramento $199

9. Laguna Beach $198

10. Carlsbad $184

11. Riverside $179

12. San Diego $177

13. Oakland $155

14. Fresno $154

15. Morro Bay $150

16. Monterey $149

17. Anaheim $149

18. San Jose $115

19. Eureka $76

20. Bakersfield $67

A recent survey awarded South Lake Tahoe the title of “most expensive California destination” to ring in the new year. However, the claim is not as clear-cut as it might seem, according to an area lodging and travel expert., which promises to help users find the latest hotel deals in Los Angeles, compiled the rankings after surveying 20 popular destinations in California. The site used the cost of lodging, specifically the rate for the cheapest available double room at a minimum three-star hotel on Dec. 31, to make the comparison.

A press release from reads, “At an overnight price of $345 for its most affordable room, South Lake Tahoe is by far the priciest destination. According to Diane Muller from, the Sierra Nevada locale is the only destination in California that is virtually sold out for New Year’s Eve. Procrastinators, however, can still find a bit more affordable rooms if they are willing to stay at least three nights.”

That finding is not exactly a surprise, said Carol Chaplin, president and CEO of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.

The New Year’s holiday has always been a big one in this community checkered with ski resorts. That fact has become increasingly true as annual events, such as SnowGlobe and Heavenly Holidays, gain in popularity, Chaplin added.

It’s about timing and location, or supply and demand. You would expect South Lake Tahoe to be a more popular destination around this time of year, much like you would expect Santa Barbara to be a top destination in the summer, said Chaplin.

“Some of those destinations totally outpace us at other times of the year.”

In 2011, the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority commissioned a look at the annualized average daily rate (ADR) for hotels in other popular locations around the state. Those numbers showed that Napa, which ranked No. 2 on’s list, had an annualized ADR of $233 while South Lake Tahoe’s was $80. Those numbers have increased since then but the percentages are about the same, Chaplin stated.

As for the designation of “most expensive California destination” for New Year’s Eve, that might not be entirely accurate when considering the whole vacation experience.

Going out for a good meal or some retail shopping may not cost as much in South Lake Tahoe as it would in other locations, Chaplin said. And while room rates are higher here on New Year’s Eve, hotels in South Lake Tahoe do not have some of the additional expenses, such as expensive parking rates, that you would find in more densely populated areas.

“It’s important to look at the overall vacation,” Chaplin said. “When I saw the survey I said, ‘OK, I can go ski all day, have my après ski experience … go to my room and have live music at Heavenly for free and a New Year’s Eve experience … go have a nice dinner and go to a nightclub.’ … Other places you’d go and have dinner and dance and that’s that.”

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