Lake Tahoe has been named the "Best Lake in America," according to results of a recent readers' poll released Monday by USA Today.
Various magazine editors narrowed national nominations to the top 16; readers weighed in, and the largest and most popular alpine lake in North America took home top honors by garnering more than 5,000 votes via Facebook and Twitter.
"We're into the champagne," said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, in a Monday press release. "All of the USA is invited to visit today - or soon to celebrate with us. You'll discover first-hand why we call this destination home."
According to a Monday article by USA Today, Michigan's Lake Charlevoix was runner-up. Alabama's Lake Martin, Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and North Carolina's Lake Lure, New York's Blue Mountain Lake, New Hampshire's Newfound Lake and Washington's Crescent Lake all saw many votes. Read the full story at travel.usatoday.com.
In the end, however, Lake Tahoe was recognized for its timeless beauty and an international reputation as an outdoor recreational mecca. The combination of great outdoors, entertainment, nightlife, dining and gaming identify its unique character.
"I'm looking forward to revisiting some old haunts and discovering new ones for a story and photos that will appear in USA TODAY Travel on Aug. 10," wrote Laura Bly, travel editor for USA Today, in the Monday article.
The distinction adds to the list of top rankings and wins for the Lake Tahoe area. Other awards include top rankings from TripAdvisor, Orbitz.com and Rand McNally as the No. 1 ski destination in the U.S.; and numerous designations from Forbes.com, MSNBC, SKI Magazine, Skiing Magazine, Transworld Snowboarding for diverse categories such as snow quality, scenery, apres, off-hill activities and terrain parks at various Tahoe ski resorts.
"The Sierra ... around Lake Tahoe (clinches) the deal," wrote Dick Goodrick, a former Michigander who now lives in Dayton, Nev., in Bly's article. "Year-round recreation, skiing, hiking, casinos, mountain bike riding, fishing, wake boarding, sailing on big boats, paddle wheel dinner/cruise boats, clear deep blue water, spawning salmon, zip lining, historic homes to visit, and much more. No lake can match it."