Who hasn't dreamed at some point about a cabin at the lake, especially Tahoe, with its grandeur and year-round recreation. As we round into the final dog days of summer, this week is possibly the best time of year for seeing those lakeside cabins. The days are hot, and the afternoons are often broken by thunderstorms that blanket the forest with cool rain and invite a welcome retreat to the shelter of a covered porch.

In the spirit of summer, I'd like to to offer you 7 of my personal picks for charming cabins at or near a lake in Tahoe (plus a few tips for buying one that will also serve you well throughout the winter).


537 Log Cabin Rd, Meeks Bay  $595,000 

Built in 1936, this cabin is a testament to a generation that looked to Tahoe for a wilderness retreat from the bustle of the city. With its simple construction and pristine setting, it offers great possibility for the right buyer



8569 Meeks Bay Ave  $3,390,000


Old Tahoe cabin with 80 feet of private, white-sand beach plus private pier with a boat lift. Beautiful lakefront for the buyer looking to create a legacy.



15719 Spruce St, Donner Lake  $680,000

Charming log cabin (with an adjacent vacant lot) just 2 blocks from the West end of Donner Lake, a "walkable" neighborhood that has to be experienced to be appreciated. While Donner Lake is junior in size to Tahoe (7.2 miles around), it can be warmer for swimming, and the West End offers easy access to Sugarbowl and excellent backcountry options.


2340 Sunnyside Lane  $32,000,000 

This 3.5-acre lakefront estate retains the "cabin" feel with 3 separate living areas connected by a breezeway and finish materials reminiscent of a Cape Cod beach house (including a 3-bedroom guest cottage



3980 Doe Ave, Tahoe Pines  $875,000

Five blocks to the beach, and just a short way from Blackwood Canyon, this West Shore home is centrally located. With its tasteful remodel, it's an old cabin that looks like new.



5020 West Lake Blvd, Homewood   $19,995,000

This storybook home on the shores of Homewood, with a great room reminiscent of a Julia Morgan design, combines the superior craftsmanship of its predecessors with a modest approach to finishes that makes the home both stunning and earthy.



 865 Ward Creek, Pineland  $789,000

Forested setting on Ward Creek. Nice spot for the buyer looking for privacy. Unpretentious cabin near Lake Tahoe and far from the crowds.


When you find your perfect cabin in the dog days of summer, keep these tips in mind:

1.) Access   

Is the road graveled or paved? Steep? Imagine how it would look after a storm that dumped 10 feet of snow (which can happen)  If it is far from a main road, consider a backup generator or other forms of heat and lighting. In the big snows of 2016-2017, some homes were without power for a week or more.

2.) Windows and insulation  

Not to be a buzz kill, but I have seen some buyers fall in love with a 100-year-old cabin with no idea of what they were getting into come winter. Some cabins with charming single-pane windows and no forms of heat beyond the wood stove are really better built for summer living. The hardy can make it work all year, but it takes work. If you're game for stacking up a few cords of wood before winter and warming the house to temperature before turning the water back on, the lifestyle and solitude many of these homes afford can be well worth the effort. 

3.) Rooflines  

Where does the roof of the home shed?  If all your snow is dumping on the driveway and the decks ... or your front door, you are in for daily shoveling to assure access.  (If it's a vacation home, you might have to hire a service to keep the door and driveway clear, or you won't be able to dig out after several days of snow have solidified into ice.)

As a realtor who has lived in Tahoe for 20 years, I try to offer clients honest advice. Please contact me if you have questions about buying or selling here. ~ Jackie

Posted by Jackie Ginley on


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