It's hard to imagine how captivating Lake Tahoe can be until you see it. Mark Twain declared it "the fairest picture the whole earth affords." Surrounded by the imperious peaks of the Sierra Nevada, its waters soak up the colors of the sky and the mountains, creating a kaleidoscope of sparkling blues, greens, and purples – a display that will fill your camera with screen-saver moments. The view is only a fraction of Tahoe's enchantments: Nearly every outdoor activity that exists is done here, and the lakeside casinos provide 24-hour indoor entertainment. Think of Lake Tahoe as the most awesome summer camp for adults ever. Just lounging on a deck under the pines with a book and a warm summer breeze is heaven. Float down serene Truckee River in an inner tube, take a leisurely bike ride along the Truckee River Bike Trail, or soak in the sun on a gold-sand beach. In summer, you can partake of boating and water sports, mountain biking, golf, tennis, hiking, camping, rafting, ballooning, horseback riding, rock climbing, bungee jumping, parasailing, skating, and so on, with seemingly endless possibilities. In winter, Lake Tahoe is one of the nation's premier ski destinations, with 15 downhill ski resorts, snowmobiling, and other snow play. Nearly half of Lake Tahoe belongs to Nevada, the state that never sleeps. Casinos abound on both north and south sides of the lake, but true night owls will prefer the South Shores's big-name entertainment at Harrahs, Horizon, Harvey's, MontBleu and more. If casinos aren't your thing, there are plenty of pubs lining the lake: micro-brews at The Bridgetender, legendary Rum Runners at The Beacon, and margaritas on the lakeside deck at Sunnyside are just a few. Fine dining options are just as plentiful.