20 Lake Tahoe Beaches

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Lake Tahoe is a four-season vacation paradise revered for its clear waters and world-class ski resorts. The lake is the largest alpine lake in North America, the second-deepest freshwater lake in the United States. It has a coastline that stretches for more than 72 miles (116 km), needless to say, it’s a pretty special natural landmark.

With that much shoreline comes many stunning beaches and coves perfect for lazily lounging about during the summer or taking in the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains during winter, making Lake Tahoe a beach bum’s dream destination. Here are the best Lake Tahoe beaches to visit. 

Lake Tahoe Beaches

Top Tours

2 Hour Sailing Cruise on Lake Tahoe

North Lake Tahoe Beaches

1- Sand Harbor Beach

Clear Kayak Tour of Lake Tahoe

Renowned for its crystal-clear water and captivating granite rock formations, Sand Harbor Beach is deservedly one of Lake Tahoe’s best beaches.

The beach is within the Sand Harbor State Park and has a boat launch, restrooms, dedicated picnic areas and concession stands during peak season.

Surrounded by picturesque mountains and a range of serene nature trails, Sand Harbor Beach is the perfect destination to head to if you’re looking to cool off during the sizzling summer months in style.

Recommended experiences:

2- Kings Beach

Nestled within the Kings Beach State Recreation Area, Kings Beach is the largest public beach on Lake Tahoe’s popular north shore.

Kings Beach enjoys plenty of sunshine during the winter months, making it a four-season beach destination that’s perfect for visiting all year round.

The beach offers a variety of fun beachside activities and access to kayak, paddle board, boat and jet ski rentals, as well as several volleyball courts and an eclectic collection of nearby shops and eateries.

3- Hidden Beach

Hidden Beach is, as the name suggests, is away from Lake Tahoe’s other tourist attractions, however, it’s still among the busiest and most popular beaches along the lake, attracting large crowds over weekends and holidays.

The 750-foot-long (229 m) beach falls within the borders of Nevada and is less than a mile (1.6 km) from Incline Village.

Despite its limited facilities and sparse parking, Hidden Beach is a real treat to visit because of its rugged natural beauty and private feel. 

4- Secret Cove

One of only a handful of beaches along Lake Tahoe where clothing is optional, Secret Cove is a scenic and secluded beach that’s only accessible via a 1.2-km (0.75 mi) nature trail.

Secret Cove is one of the most stunning beaches along Lake Tahoe and is perfectly suited for swimming thanks to its sheltered nature and gradual slope.

Situated near Chimney Beach and roughly 17 miles (27 km) from Carson City, Secret Cove is ideal if you prefer a more relaxed and private beach experience far removed from Lake Tahoe’s large resorts and busy tourist attractions.

5- Commons Beach

The 4-acre (1.6 ha) Commons Beach Park is a family-favourite Lake Tahoe destination that’s best known for its beach.

Commons Beach swells over the busy summer months when tourists flock towards Lake Tahoe’s sublime shore, with many preferring Commons Beach over the lake’s other swimming spots due to its proximity to Tahoe City.

The beach borders the Truckee River Inlet and treats beachgoers to free live music and a range of exciting amenities during peak season, making Commons Beach a dream destination for all ages and interests.

6- Skylandia Park Beach

Skylandia Park Beach is, as the name suggests, within the scenic 24-acre (10 ha) Skylandia Park near Tahoe City and is a fairly quiet beach destination with stunning natural vistas.

Skylandia Park Beach provides beachgoers with access to the park’s bike trails and hiking pathways, as well as plenty of shade and picnic areas to make the beach experience that much more memorable.

Ideal for a quick afternoon visit, Skylandia Park Beach is just 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the busy shops and popular attractions of nearby Tahoe City.

7- Chimney Beach

Treating beachgoers to sweeping vistas of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the glistening waters of Lake Tahoe and several eye-catching rock formations, Chimney Beach is a fairly secluded beach situated within Lake Tahoe’s Nevada side.

The beach was named after the chimney of a nearby cabin and is one of the most photographed beaches along the lakeshore due to its stunning location and remote feel.

It’s only accessible via a ½ mile-long (800 m) trail.

Chimney Beach is just a short drive north of Secret Cove, making it a great alternative for beachgoers who prefer to keep their bathing suits on while still enjoying similar vistas to the nudist-friendly Secret Cove.

8- Whale Beach

Straddling the eastern shores of Lake Tahoe less than a mile (1.6 km) south of Secret Cove, Whale Beach is a compact, 100-yard-long (91 m) stretch of sand less than a mile (1.6 km) from nearby Secret Cove.

The beach was named after a nearby rock formation which shares a striking resemblance to a whale emerging from the water, however, many also refer to the beach as “Black Sand Beach” due to its unusual dark sand.

Although Whale Beach is among the smallest public beaches along Lake Tahoe’s scenic shores, it remains a great beach to lounge about during a sizzling summer afternoon, treating beachgoers to some majestic vantage points of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

South Lake Tahoe Beaches

9- Kiva Beach

Stretching 200 yards (183 m) along Lake Tahoe’s Tallac Point, Kiva Beach is a sliver of golden sand sandwiched between shimmering Lake Tahoe on the one side and a protected marshland on the other.

Kiva Beach is a popular beach destination among dog owners and comes complete with a fully-equipped visitors’ centre, which educates beachgoers about the fascinating past of the nearby Tallac Historic Site.

Not only is Kiva Beach among the most visually appealing beaches along Lake Tahoe, but its rich history, off-the-beaten-path location and cleanliness make it one of Lake Tahoe’s top beaches to spend an afternoon lazily lounging about at.

10- Baldwin Beach

Situated just 1.3 miles (2 km) north of Kiva Beach, Baldwin Beach is the busier of the two Lake Tahoe beaches, especially among avid kayakers, with kayak-renting facilities readily available along Baldwin Beach.

Baldwin Beach treats visitors to a stunning 1/2-mile-long (800 m) stretch of golden sand that offers beachgoers 360-degree vantage points of the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The beach is renowned for its cleanliness, accessibility and proximity to the city of South Lake Tahoe, and is home to several picnic spots to make sure beachgoers are royally entertained all day long.

11- Lester Beach

Lester Beach is a pristine white sandy strip of outdoor heaven situated within Lake Tahoe’s D.L. Bliss State Park that serves as the start of the scenic 20-mile-long (32 km) Rubicon Trail.

The beach is near the Rubicon Wall, the deepest section of Lake Tahoe, and is a busy destination for water activities such as paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking.

Open from sunrise to sunset, Lester Beach offers beachgoers plenty of camping and fishing opportunities and is among the most picturesque public beaches southern Lake Tahoe has to offer.

12- Nevada Beach

Lake Tahoe’s Nevada Beach is a ½-mile-long (800 m) stretch of unblemished lakeshore near Zephyr Cove that’s a popular spot among campers and kayakers.

Nevada Beach can be found along Lake Tahoe’s southeast shore and is a free-to-visit, public beach that features amenities such as picnic areas, concession stands and several rentals to get beachgoers onto the lake as swiftly as possible.

Not only does Nevada Beach treat visitors to some of the most scenic Sierra Nevada Mountains vantage points, but it’s also among the more laid-back beaches along the lake, making it excellent for those who prefer a quieter beach experience.

13- Pope Beach

Popular Pope Beach is a blissful stretch of unblemished sandy lakeshore situated just five miles (8 km) outside the city of South Lake Tahoe.

Pope Beach spans a length of roughly 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) and is tucked away behind a dense pine tree forest, giving Pope Beach a secluded feel despite being one of the most popular beaches along Lake Tahoe.
Falling under the protection of the National Forest Service Pope Beach comes complete with a range of amenities and access to the Pope-Baldwin Bike Path, not to mention unobstructed vantage points of the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains.

14- Vikingsholm Beach

Resembling the look of a typical Scandinavian fjord, Vikingsholm Beach along Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay is among the lake’s most visited beaches thanks to its unrivalled natural beauty and proximity to western Lake Tahoe’s biggest resorts and attractions.

The beach was named after the Vikingsholm mansion, one of the finest examples of Scandinavian-style architecture in the Western Hemisphere which beachgoers can see just a few feet from the beach itself.

Perfect for beachgoers who’d like to experience a few of Lake Tahoe’s historic landmarks during their trip to the beach, Vikingsholm is more than worthy of a visit when in the region to sample the best Lake Tahoe has in store.

Recommended tour: Emerald Bay Helicopter Tour of Lake Tahoe

15- Regan Beach

Reagan Beach enjoys the title of South Lake Tahoe’s oldest beach facility and has built a reputation as one of the lake’s must-visit swimming spots with a range of useful amenities for beachgoers to make use of.

The world-class restaurants and shopping venues of South Lake Tahoe are just a stone’s throw from the beach itself and is one of the most accessible beaches along Lake Tahoe’s southern shoreline.

Complete with volleyball courts, picnic areas and an on-site restaurant, Regan Beach is perfectly suited to satisfy all your Lake Tahoe beach needs and promises to be a hit no matter what time of year you decide to swing by.

16- El Dorado Beach

Suitable for boat launches and kayak rentals, El Dorado Beach is the largest public beach area in South Lake Tahoe and, as a result, has a little something in store for everyone.

The beach comes complete with rental stalls, picnic areas, restrooms and designated swimming spots, and is situated right next door to Regan Beach, making it possible to visit both South Lake Tahoe beaches in one afternoon.

Bordering many of South Lake Tahoe’s top eateries and attractions, El Dorado Beach is your typical urban beach destination and a real treat to visit when travelling around Lake Tahoe’s southern shores.

17- Zephyr Cove Resort Beach

Zephyr Cove Resort Beach is without a doubt among the most famous private beaches along Lake Tahoe, accessible to visitors to the Zephyr Cove Resort along the lake’s southern shores.

The beach provides beachgoers with access to the resort’s world-class amenities and offers visitors a more laid-back and private beaching experience while still being close to some of Lake Tahoe’s biggest attractions.

Famous for its luxurious beachside cabins, sumptuous restaurant and one-mile-long (1.6 km), crescent-shaped beach, this is one Lake Tahoe destination you definitely wouldn’t want to miss out on.

18- Meeks Bay Beach

Situated roughly halfway between the cities of South Lake Tahoe and Tahoe City along Lake Tahoe’s western shore, Meeks Bay Beach is a quintessential Californian beach that’s perfectly suited for windsurfing and kayaking.

Meeks Bay Beach is renowned for its cobalt waters and white sandy beach and offers beachgoers a quieter beach experience without having to sacrifice world-class amenities or natural beauty.

Speaking of natural beauty, Meeks Bay Beach is as picturesque as any beach along Lake Tahoe’s shores, making it an excellent option to visit when travelling around western Lake Tahoe.

19- Camp Richardson Resort Beach

A private beach that’s accessible through the award-winning Camp Richardson Resort, the Camp Richardson Resort Beach is a sublime stretch of golden sandy shoreline conveniently situated about halfway between Pope Beach and the Tallac Historic Site.

The beach is approximately ¼ mile long (402 m) and is nestled along Lake Tahoe’s southern shores, less than 6 miles (9 km) from the city of South Lake Tahoe.

Since it’s a private beach, it offers visitors a more laid-back feel and is sparsely crowded even during the peak summer season, ideal to relax and unwind away from Lake Tahoe’s notorious summer crowds.

20- Emerald Bay Beach

Within Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay State Park, Emerald Bay Beach can only be accessed by boat or by hiking the scenic Rubicon Trail, making it one of the hardest public beaches to reach along Lake Tahoe.

Emerald Bay Beach overlooks Fannette Island, the only island on Lake Tahoe, and is just a stone’s throw away from the historic Vikingsholm mansion and the city of South Lake Tahoe.

Even though the beach is notoriously tedious to reach, it remains one of the most spectacular stretches of lakeshore along Lake Tahoe and one of the few places left along the lake that’s mostly untouched by outside forces.

Recommended tour: Emerald Bay Helicopter Tour of Lake Tahoe

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Mark Westwood is a Seattle-based writer who writes for various online blogs and travel websites. In 2017, he went on a 12-month road trip across the USA visiting many iconic landmarks and small towns along the way. Having explored over 20 countries, his favourite places to date are along the west coast of the USA but he is happiest anywhere where there are mountains and ocean.