Sun, sand, and swimming

Lake Tahoe Beaches

Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains between California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is renowned for its stunning landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking mountain backdrops. Its beaches, ranging from sandy expanses to secluded coves, offer a serene escape for nature lovers, swimmers, and sun-seekers alike. The vibrant atmosphere of Lake Tahoe’s south shore and hidden gems provide a perfect blend of recreational activities and relaxation opportunities. Explore our favorite beaches at Lake Tahoe, discover the unique features, amenities, and experiences each one offers, and find your perfect beach.

Lake Tahoe Activities Summer Family watching sunset and having BBQ at Nevada Beach Kiva Beach Lake Tahoe

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The Best Beaches at Lake Tahoe for Your Every Mood

They say that no two grains of sand are alike, and the same is true for the best Lake Tahoe beaches. Each boasts different panoramas, personalities, and even sun exposure (hint: beaches on the western side of the lake see more early morning sun, and those on the east side are ideal for catching the sunset). Some, like Kiva Beach and Nevada Beach, are dog friendly. Others, like Emerald Bay State Park, offer boat camping and you-can’t-find-anywhere-else views of Fannette Island and the Vikingsholm Estate. There’s no shortage of water sports here, plenty of hiking and biking, and if you’re looking for more exhilarating Lake Tahoe summer activities, like access to boating and parasailing, you’ll find that, too.

At the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun.

Sandy Gingras

Our Favorite Beaches at Tahoe

Family-Friendly and Relaxing Lake Tahoe Beaches

a family playing in the sand on a lake tahoe beach

Baldwin Beach

Baldwin Beach is a perfect spot for families or anyone seeking a blend of relaxation and outdoor adventure. This expansive, sandy beach offers plenty of space for children to play and build sandcastles while adults soak up the stunning mountain views. The shallow, clear waters near the shore provide a safe environment for swimming and paddleboarding, making it an ideal spot for families with young swimmers. Picnic areas and BBQ facilities are available for those who wish to enjoy a meal surrounded by nature’s beauty. The nearby Tallac Historic Site adds a cultural element to the visit, offering a glimpse into the area’s history with family-friendly tours.

Pope Beach

Located 3 miles west of the city of South Lake Tahoe on State Highway 89, Pope Beach features three-quarters of a mile of sandy shoreline, with ample swimming, beach recreation, and picnicking opportunities. The shallow waters near the shore are super kid-friendly, making it a stress-free zone for parents. There’s plenty of shade under the tall pine trees, ideal for a family picnic or just cooling off. On-site kayak rentals offer a fun way to explore the lake together. Pope Beach is also easily accessible via the Pope/Baldwin Bike Path. 

Lakeside Beach

Conveniently located just a few short minutes from the middle of South Lake Tahoe, Lakeside Beach features some of the finest sand in the Tahoe Basin. Privately managed by Lakeside Park Association for its member properties, access is available to all via daily and seasonal passes. With shallow gentle waters, kayak and paddle board rentals, and picnic tables, Lakeside Beach offers the perfect conditions for a family beach day or relaxing sunbathing. Lakeside Beach also offers a playground, providing additional activities to keep the kids entertained all day long. 

Dog-Friendly Beaches at Tahoe

Kids and dog playing at Kiva Beach
Kids and dog playing at Kiva Beach

Kiva Beach

Kiva Beach is a paradise for dog lovers and their four-legged friends. This semi-hidden gem is one of the few spots around the lake where dogs are welcome to join in on the fun, making it perfect for pup owners. With its spacious sandy shores, there’s plenty of room for dogs to make friends and play. On land, all dogs must be leashed as per El Dorado County leash laws (enforced). The shallow, clear waters allow pups to splash and cool off on hot days. Nature trails nearby offer the chance for scenic walks or jogs with your dog, making Kiva Beach a fantastic spot for those looking to include their pets in their Lake Tahoe adventures. Please remember to keep your dog on a leash at all times and to pick up after your pet so everyone can enjoy the beach. Dog waste bags are provided at the nearby Taylor Creek Visitor Center.

Lake Tahoe Beaches for Adventure and Water Sports

two jet skis cruzing in Zephyr Cove

Zephyr Cove

Zephyr Cove Beach offers a harmonious blend of natural beauty and recreational fun, making it a favorite among locals and visitors. The vibe of the beach is relaxed yet vibrant, with the stunning backdrop of the Sierra Nevada Mountains framing the clear, blue waters of the lake. It’s a place where you can enjoy sunbathing, picnics, and volleyball games, but is also well known for its water sports rentals ranging from kayaks and paddle boards to jet skis and powerboats. Adventure seekers can take advantage of guided tours, such as parasailing for a bird’s eye view of the lake or embarking on a scenic dinner cruise aboard the M.S. Dixie II Paddlewheeler. Whether you’re in the mood for a leisurely day by the water or an adrenaline-fueled exploration, Zephyr Cove delivers with its welcoming atmosphere and array of activities.

paddleboards lined up on a lake tahoe beach

El Dorado Beach

El Dorado Beach, also known as Lakeview Commons, is one of the go-to spots at Lake Tahoe for adventure seekers and water sports enthusiasts. This bustling beach is a hub of activity, offering everything from paddleboarding and kayaking to swimming in Tahoe’s crystal-clear waters. The beach’s wide, open spaces and easy access to the water make it perfect for launching your next aquatic adventure. With rental facilities and a boat launch nearby, getting equipped and out on the water is a breeze. The beach also hosts live music and community events making El Dorado Beach the place to be for an unforgettable day of fun and exploration on Lake Tahoe.

Secluded Lake Tahoe Beaches

vikingsholm beach credit armark

Vikingsholm Beach

Located a short (but steep) hike down from Highway 89 is Vikingsholm Castle and Beach. This iconic location is considered one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in North America. Sitting at the head of Emerald Bay, this secluded beach is accessible via a scenic trail that descends to the shoreline, offering visitors a tranquil spot to relax and take in the breathtaking views. Visitors can enjoy the clear, turquoise waters and explore the rocky shores and lush forests. Whether you’re interested in kayaking, swimming, or simply picnicking by the water’s edge, Vikingsholm Beach provides a serene backdrop for a day of exploration and relaxation.

It’s a sunny spring day.
The temperature is 57°F.
Ready to enjoy the mountains?

The Stories Behind Lake Tahoe’s Beaches

Emerald Bay, Zephyr Cove, Fannette Island, and Camp Richardson didn’t come by their names randomly. The stories behind their names involve early postmasters, Greek mythology, and even young vacationers from the 1800s. You’ll find Lake Tahoe’s history everywhere here, including the beaches.

Aerial View of Kiva Beach Lake Tahoe

Our Guide to the Best Lake Tahoe beaches – sunshine, sand and swimming

There is no better way to soak up the Lake Tahoe sunshine than a day at the beach. Whether you are here to spend time with family or on a romantic getaway, you will leave South Lake Tahoe with countless new memories that last a lifetime. We can definitely give those seaside beaches a run for their money!

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