Where to Fly into Lake Tahoe + Best Shuttle Options (2024)

Need to know where to fly into Lake Tahoe? I've been to all four of the closest airports and I'm here to tell you about each of them.

Living in Northern California, I’ve visited Lake Tahoe countless times over the years. It’s about an hour and a half away from me, perfect for a weekend trip. 

And what’s so special about Lake Tahoe is that you can visit in the summer AND winter. 

The summer offers unbelievable fun in the sun, in the most beautiful, crystal clear lake. In the winter, the mountains are packed with skiiers and snowboarders (or people sitting in the lodge with a bev, like myself). 

Any time is a good time to visit, and there are four different airports that you can fly in to get there – but there are pros and cons for each. 

I’ve flown in and out of, plus picked up and dropped off people, at each of these airports and I’m going to tell you all you need to know about them! 

Key Takeaways

  •  The closest airport to Lake Tahoe is Reno International Airport, in Reno, Nevada. It’s about an hour drive to Lake Tahoe and there are two airport shuttles. 
  • The second closest airport to Lake Tahoe is Sacramento International Airport in Sacramento, California. There aren’t any airport shuttles, but there is train and bus service to Lake Tahoe.
  • The furthest airports from Lake Tahoe are Oakland International and San Francisco International Airports. There are no airport shuttles and are about a 3 hour drive to Lake Tahoe.

Table of Contents

Heading to Lake Tahoe with kids? 

Check out my guide on a summer weekend in South Lake Tahoe with kids by clicking here.

Or read my North Lake Tahoe with kids guide by clicking here. 

4 Closest Airports to Lake Tahoe + Map

The four closest airports to Lake Tahoe are in Reno, Sacramento, Oakland, and San Francisco. 

The details of each are below, along with where they fly non-stop, shuttle services to Lake Tahoe, and car rental links. 

Because Lake Tahoe is split into North and South, I’ve noted miles/drive time to both areas. 

 

1. Reno - Tahoe International Airport (RNO)

Location: Reno, Nevada
38 miles to North Lake Tahoe / 50 minute drive time
59 miles to South Lake Tahoe / 1 hour drive time

While Reno is the closest airport to Lake Tahoe, it’s also a small regional airport. That means that it has the least amount of non-stop flights and it’s usually expensive to fly into. 

The good news is that because it’s so small, it’s easy to get in and out of, and the rental car area is in the airport so it goes quickly. 

Nonstop flights to Reno

There are non-stop flights to Reno from 20 cities.  Most of these cities are on the western side of the country, in the states of California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Arizona, and Texas. 

Check the list of non-stop destinations to Reno here.

Airport Shuttle Services to Lake Tahoe

I always find the best rental car rates at rentalcars.com.
Click here to check prices from Reno Airport.

Other Transportation Options from Sacramento

  • Taxi / Ride Share: If you don’t need a car while you are in Lake Tahoe, consider Uber, Lyft, or taxi service. 
  • Hotel Shuttles: Several resorts offer shuttle services for their guests from the airport. Double check with the resort you are staying at. 

2. Sacramento International Airport (SMF)

Location: Sacramento, California
120 miles to North Lake Tahoe / 2 hour drive time
114 miles to South Lake Tahoe / 2 hour drive time

Sacramento is the second closest airport to Lake Tahoe. It offers many more non-stop flight options from cities across the country. Because it’s a smaller airport, it’s easy to get in and out of and to rent a car from. 

The downside is that there are not many options to get to Lake Tahoe outside of driving yourself. The drive is pretty lengthy at 2 hours one way, but it’s a fairly easy drive.

Nonstop flights to Sacramento

There are non-stop flights to Sacramento from 41 different cities. These airports are the more major airports in the country.

 Check the list of non-stop destinations to SMF here. 

Airport Shuttle Service to Lake Tahoe

Unfortunately, there are no airport shuttles from SMF to Lake Tahoe. 

Other Transportation Options from Sacramento

3. Oakland International Airport (OAK)

Location: Oakland, CA
204 miles to North Lake Tahoe / 3 hour 20 minute drive time
193 miles to South Lake Tahoe / 3 hour 20 minute drive time

Oakland is the third closest airport from Lake Tahoe. It’s larger than Sacramento Airport, but still small enough to navigate easily. It also has the private airline JSX, which is an added treat. 

You’ll most likely find a non-stop flight to Oakland, but the drive to Lake Tahoe will be long. You can consider staying a night or two in the Bay Area to explore before heading to Lake Tahoe.

Nonstop flights to Oakland

There are non-stop flights to Oakland from nearly 50 cities across the world, including most of the major cities in the US. 

Check the list of non-stop destinations to OAK here.

Airport Shuttle Service to Lake Tahoe

Unfortunately, there are no airport shuttles from OAK to Lake Tahoe. 

4. San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Location: San Francisco, CA
211 miles to North Lake Tahoe / 3 hour 30 minute drive time
200 miles to South Lake Tahoe / 3 hour 32 minute drive time

SFO is the furthest airport from Lake Tahoe. It is the largest airport in the area though, and has non-stop flights from many cities. It’s usually less expensive to fly into too. 

Flying into SFO is only a good idea if you are planning on exploring the city for a day or two before heading to Lake Tahoe. And if that is the case, I would fly into SFO but fly out of Reno with an open-jaw flight.

Nonstop flights to San Francisco

SFO has non-stop flights from over 100 cities all over the world. 

Airport Shuttle Service to Lake Tahoe

  • There are no airport shuttles from SFO to Lake Tahoe.

Other Transportation Options from San Francisco

  • Weekend Shuttle: Tahoe Convoy is a luxury weekend shuttle that offers weekend trips to Lake Tahoe from San Francisco. Trips start on Friday evening and return on Sunday evening. CURRENTLY ON PAUSE.
  • Fly: If you want to get to get to Lake Tahoe the fastest way, you can fly to Reno from San Francisco. There are several non-stop flights daily, and the flight is about an hour. 
  • Train: Go to the BART station in San Francisco and go on the Richmond line to the Richmond station. Once you get there, take the Amtrak train from Richmond to Truckee on the California Zephyr line.
  • Bus: The Greyhound Bus has a few trips a day from San Francisco to Truckee (North Tahoe). 
  • (Winter only) Ski Bus: Tahoe Ski Trips and Sports Basement are two options for round trip transportation to Lake Tahoe during the winter months. This is primarily for one day trips, but there is an overnight option as well. 

Wrapping Up: Flying into Lake Tahoe

And there you have it! Whichever airport and transportation option you choose, I am sure you will have an amazing time in Lake Tahoe. 

If this is your first trip to Lake Tahoe and you are heading there with kids, check out my guide on a summer weekend in South Lake Tahoe with kids by clicking here or read my North Lake Tahoe with kids guide by clicking here. 

And if you end up flying to San Francisco or Oakland, be sure to explore that area before heading to Lake Tahoe. You will not regret it! 

Enjoy your trip! 

where to fly into lake tahoe
besa at beaches and babies
MEET BESA

Your Go-To Girl for Beach Travel

Hi! I’m Besa. I’ve always been a travel-loving beach bum… and then I had kids. Two boys, born 19 months apart. But I didn’t let that stop me. I still travel, even with a couple little boys in tow – and I want to help other parents like you do the same!

I’ll be sharing all my travel tips, beach hacks, and guides for some of my favorite family vacation beach spots.

POPULAR POSTS

Why Trust Beaches and Babies?

Why Trust Beaches and Babies?

Besa has been a frequent traveler for almost 20 years, and the last five years of her travels have included her two toddler boys, 19 months apart.
Years of flying and beach bumming with her kids has given her plenty of hard-earned experience in the travel world.

Need Help Booking Your Trip?
Use My Favorite Resources!

FLIGHTS
Kayak searches hundreds of travel sites for the lowest prices plus the flexible calendar tells you which days are the cheapest to fly.

LODGING
booking.com is easy to use and gives options for all types of lodging. When I know I want a big rental house, I use VRBO.

RENTAL CARS
rentalcars.com scans multiple agencies at your destination to give you the best price.

ACTIVITIES
Viator lets you search for a specific activity at your destination or scroll all available.

Read over my full list of the best sites to book with on my Resources page.