12 Best South Lake Tahoe Beaches — With nearly 70 miles of shoreline looping around its beautiful, ultra-blue waters, Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the United States. Although the majority of the Tahoe shoreline is made up of jagged granite rocks and cliffs, the lake also offers a number of public beaches that are ideal for swimming, picnics, BBQs, or simply relaxing in the Sierra sun.
Some beaches charge parking fees, and the majority of them do not accept dogs. As a result, this Top 10 list should assist you in locating the greatest beaches for your summer activities.
Lake Tahoe is rich of natural treasures, from breathtaking snow-capped mountains to crystal-clear freshwater rivers. An assortment of beaches tucked away along the lake’s shoreline, concealed between dense pine woods and rugged hillsides, are among the attractions.
The Sierra Nevadas’ high peaks serve as a beautiful background for Lake Tahoe’s beaches. Most of the beaches feature beautiful picnic places in covered pine woods and provide stunning alpine vistas.
The main draws of Lake Tahoe beaches throughout the summer are sunbathing and water activities. Other activities include hiking and biking along routes that overlook the lake’s gorgeous shoreline, as well as camping in the lake’s campgrounds.
The Lake Tahoe Water Trail is ideal for water sports enthusiasts. There are 29 launching locations for kayaking and paddleboarding along the 72-mile circuit. Many of the nicest beaches on Lake Tahoe are within walking distance of these launching spots.
Best South Lake Tahoe Beaches
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1. Lester Beach
The D.L. Bliss State Park on the West Shore is where Lester Beach is located. This lovely beach features a lagoon-style swimming area, running water facilities, and plenty of sand and sunshine.
Drive down Highway 89 to D.L. Bliss and through the park and campground to get to the beach. The beach has limited parking near the ocean at the bottom of the hill. It is permissible to launch kayaks, paddleboards, and small craft here.
Early in the day, the beach might become congested, so visitors should keep that in mind (before noon). By 11 a.m., the parking area is usually completely full, and people are no longer permitted to enter.
The beach is in a peaceful setting with breathtaking views. It’s a two-mile walk from the parking lot to get here.
Visitors should be aware that the shore edges a section of Lake Tahoe known as the “Rubicon Wall,” which has unusually deep waters and no permitted swimming area. Water sports like as paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing are popular here.
Lester Beach has a variety of amenities, including public restrooms, showers, and picnic tables. In the region, there are additional camping and fishing opportunities.
2. Sand Harbor Beach
The 55-acre Sand Harbor is located on the east (Nevada) side of the lake. This area features everything you’d expect from one of the nicest beaches on the lake, including a visitor centre, picnic tables, trees and large stretches of sunny sand, swimming places (of course), and even a beach and cove dedicated to SCUBA divers.
A boat launch and tow truck parking are also available in the park. Each summer, the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival takes place in Sand Harbor.
Sand Harbor State Park’s Main Beach, a half-mile stretch of sandy shoreline, attracts large crowds of sunbathers on hot days. Swimming, paddleboarding, water skiing, boating, and volleyball are just a few of the outdoor activities available to visitors.
The views of the lake’s eastern shoreline are breathtaking from this vantage point.
3. Kings Beach
During the summer, visitors flock to Kings Beach in droves. There are enough recreational activities to appeal to everyone, making it a popular resort for families and groups of friends.
Swimming, fishing, boating, paddleboarding, and windsurfing are all available at Kings Beach State Recreation Area. A half-court basketball court and a children’s playground are also available.
The beach, with its large sandy beachfront and lots of space to lay out on beach towels or beneath a parasol, is the leisure area’s feature. Kings Beach is an excellent area to sunbathe in the summer because of the consistently warm weather and the south-facing beach.
Many snack shops and casual restaurants that serve to-go meals are located nearby. A shaded forest of Jeffrey pine trees shelters a picnic area. On a first-come, first-served basis, tables are available.
The community of Kings Beach has a lively vacation atmosphere. Summer visitors are catered to by a variety of stores, restaurants, sidewalk sellers, and motels.
4. Vikingsholm Beach
This beach is technically part of Emerald Bay State Park, although it’s just in front of the Vikingsholm Castle at the bottom of the Vikingsholm Trail, which can be reached by Highway 89. Park in the Vikingsholm car park and walk one mile down to the water. The castle, Emerald Bay, Fannette Island, and its tea house can all be seen from this little beach.
Vikingsholm Beach, located on Lake Tahoe’s spectacular Emerald Bay, overlooks a stunning vacation residence built in 1929. Vikingsholm Castle is a magnificent example of Scandinavian construction, and guided visits are available during the summer (Memorial Day weekend through September).
The beach at Vikingsholm is well-suited to boats and swimming. Ramps make it simple to launch boats from the beach. Kayaks and paddleboards are available for rent, which adds to the convenience. A section of the beach (south of the pier) is dedicated solely to swimming.
Restrooms and picnic tables are available for use at Vikingsholm Beach. Vikingsholm Shore has a parking area off Highway 89, which is a one-mile trek from the beach. During peak season, the parking lot fills up quickly.
A steep route leads from the parking lot to Vikingsholm Beach. Visitors should keep in mind that getting to the beach is a difficult downhill trip, as well as getting back to the parking lot is a strenuous uphill journey. (The trail gains around 500 feet in elevation.) This beach is not advised for persons who have mobility concerns.
5. Kiva Beach
Check out Kiva Beach, which is dog friendly, if you want to bring your best buddy to Lake Tahoe (near Baldwin Beach). Dogs are allowed to swim off-leash here, but must be leashed on the beach.
Another advantage of Kiva is that parking is completely free. There are no bathrooms (just portable toilets), however that means this beach is usually less crowded than others.
This little, scenic beach is located on National Forest Service land within the Tallac Historic Site. The sand and pebble shoreline spans for about 200 yards and is bordered by a grove of pine trees.
Protected fauna can be found in a nearby marsh zone. A coastal route leads to the Tallac Historic Site, with beautiful lake views along the way.
There is a free parking space at Kiva Beach, as well as a pleasant picnic spot with tables facing the lake. The public restrooms are temporary toilets, so there aren’t many options.
From Memorial Day weekend to the end of October, the beach is open.
6. Hidden Beach
Hidden Beach, despite the fact that it has undoubtedly been discovered by tourists, has the air of an isolated nature location. Visitors should be aware that the beach might be crowded on holiday weekends and during the peak summer season.
Hidden Beach is tucked away on a rocky shoreline with sand areas and boulder-strewn alcoves. This section of the Lake Tahoe shoreline is known for its mesmerizingly crystal-clear turquoise waves.
Hiking trails can be found in the region surrounding Hidden Beach. There are few amenities, and parking is limited to the highway. Hidden Beach is a “load it in” and “pack it out” destination.
Hidden Beach is only visible if you park along Highway 28 near Incline Village and peer over the guard rail. Locals commonly access this small, but relatively empty beach by parking on the side of the road and walking down the different trails above the shore. This beach is fantastic for snorkelling, sunshine, and quiet if you can get parking early in the day.
Hidden Beach is a one-mile walk from Incline Village on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe.
7. Pope Beach
This three-quarter-mile-long sandy beach, located near the city of South Lake Tahoe, is bustling with activity during the summer. Swimming, kayaking, and other water sports are popular on Lake Tahoe’s south side. On-site rentals of paddleboards and kayaks are offered.
Pope Beach is a popular year-round destination near Camp Richardson on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore. There is a parking fee, and dogs are not permitted, but this beach is ideal for picnics, paddle boarding, kayaking, and a variety of other water activities. There is also a boat launch.
Pope has a lot of pine trees, which provide plenty of shade, but keep an eye out for ones that fall from the trees or land on your feet (ankle roller).
Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the lakeside beauty with the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the background from the beach and picnic tables. The beach’s concession stand offers casual bites to eat, snacks, and refreshments.
Pope Beach, which is owned by the National Forest Service, has public facilities and a parking area. There is a day-use fee to park in the lot, but the beach is otherwise free to access.
The beach is close to public transportation stops and may also be reached by bike through the Pope Baldwin cycling trail.
From Memorial Day weekend until mid-October, Pope Beach is open.
8. Zephyr Cove Beach
The Zephyr Cove Beach is a fantastic choice for individuals who seek a tranquil beach. The one-mile-long sandy beach provides plenty of space to relax and take in the natural environment. Rentable beach chairs and umbrellas are available.
Swimming and other outdoor activities are popular at Zephyr Cove. Beach volleyball players are welcome to utilise the courts for free.
Waterski boats and paddleboats are available for rent at Zephyr Cove’s marina. It’s also where you can go parasailing and go on half-day or full-day sportfishing excursions.
The Zephyr Cove Resort is a unique location in Lake Tahoe, and many families return year after year. A magnificent old lodge, as well as quaint lakeside bungalows and chalets, are available at the resort.
9. Commons Beach
One of the nicest sites in South Lake Tahoe Beaches for a lakeside picnic or BBQ is this family-friendly beach. Commons Beach is a four-acre public park with a huge BBQ location for large groups, as well as plenty of picnic tables and barbecue pits.
The little sandy shoreline of Commons Beach is suitable for sunbathing. A children’s playground is located beneath the park’s dark pine trees, surrounded by lawns.
Free music performances on Sunday afternoons and free movie screenings on Wednesday nights are highlights of visiting throughout the summer.
Commons Beach, located in the heart of Tahoe City’s downtown district, is well-designed for visitors. The location has public restrooms and is close to a variety of shops as well as public transportation stops.
The Granlibakken Tahoe, one of Lake Tahoe’s most popular lodges, is only a five-minute drive from Commons Beach. This three-star resort hotel is nestled in a forested valley and has a spa, yoga studio, fitness centre, tennis courts, and an outdoor swimming pool.
Single guest rooms to multi-bedroom townhouses are available, all designed with an alpine flair. A simple restaurant with a nice tree-shaded patio is available at the motel.
10. Crystal Bay
Crystal Bay’s dazzling waters owe their stunning azure colour to its location at Lake Tahoe’s deepest point. The waters are over 1,600 feet deep just off the shoreline.
Crystal Bay is framed by snowcapped mountain peaks and pine tree groves, giving it a secluded feel. Granite boulders line the shoreline and are strewn over the shallow part of the waves, adding to the unique environment.
Crystal Bay is located near the town of Incline Village on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. Great restaurants, intriguing boutiques, and expensive hotels abound in this upmarket town. The four-star Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort and the Parkside Inn at Incline are two of the best-rated hotels in Incline Village.
Beautiful hiking and mountain bike paths are also available in the vicinity.
11. Meeks Bay Beach
Meeks Bay Beach is regarded for its broad and unspoiled shoreline, which is protected as part of National Forest Service territory. A large cluster of pine trees surrounds this sandy beach.
Swimming, boating, hiking, and cycling are among the activities available at Meeks Bay Beach. Water sports such as windsurfing and kayaking are also popular.
Despite being in an untouched setting, Meeks Bay Beach is well-designed for visitors. There are public facilities, a parking lot (with an entry fee for day usage), and a picnic area available.
Near the shore, there is a campground. Nearby, there are other fishing spots.
12. El Dorado Beach
El Dorado Beach was one of the first small beaches I came across while touring Lake Tahoe’s many locations. It is visible from Highway 50 and features a beautiful stone amphitheatre. It’s one of the best spots for swimming and picnics, as well as sunset viewing.
El Dorado Beach provides free parking and a boat launch, ensuring that watersports enthusiasts will find their heaven right here. Although dogs are not permitted, it is a wonderful location for a stroll and to take in the natural beauty of the area. Many birds make their home in El Dorado, so birdwatchers will enjoy observing them flitting from tree to tree.
So this was our list of best South Lake Tahoe Beaches, hope you liked it.