Guide to Lake Tahoe’s Best Beaches

Lake Tahoe Best Beaches PhotosThere really are so many wonderful Lake Tahoe beaches to choose from it’s hard to pick the best. Review our guide to Lake Tahoe’s best beaches or discover them all with our Lake Tahoe beaches map. You don’t have to go far to find one near you.

1) Sand Harbor Beach
Best Beach Features : One of Tahoe’s more popular beaches, due to its soft sand, crystal clear waters, and rocks that are fun to climb on. Sand Harbor is a great place to bring the family, and if you happen to be in town from early July to late August, don’t miss the annual Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival.
Beach Tips: Parking can be in short supply during the peak season, but if the lot is full, don’t fret–shuttle service to Sand Harbor is available in nearby Incline Village.
Read full beach details: Sand Harbor Beach

2) Baldwin Beach
Best Beach Features : Serene, easily-accessed beach that’s ideal for kayaking or other non-motorized boating outings. Panoramic, gorgeous mountain views, which also serve to block chilly wind gusts. A long stretch of sand make this a great South Lake Tahoe beach destination as well.
Beach Tips: No dogs.
Read full beach details: Baldwin Beach

3) Lester Beach
Best Beach Features : Located at D.L. Bliss State Park, this beach offers two scenic trails (the Lighthouse Trail and the impressive Balancing Rock Trail, which features a 130-ton granite rock precariously balanced atop a tapered rock base) that are very popular with hikers.
Beach Tips: Just as this beach and its trails are a hiker’s dream, if you’re not able to hike or just not in tip-top shape, you may want to consider sitting this one out; the hike down to the beach alone is short, but steep. If your plans involve camping here, 1) be sure to book your stay well in advance, and 2) be wary of bears, and take proper precautions (such as storing food and trash in bearproof storage containers).
Read full beach details: Lester Beach

4) Hidden Beach
Best Beach Features: Just as its name implies, this secluded gem of a beach is nestled in a rocky cove ringed by large boulders, and the water is noticeably warmer than other popular spots.
Beach Tips: There is no designated parking for this beach, so park along the highway. There’s very little shade to be found here, so be sure to pack extra sunscreen. As a friendly reminder, this beach is not clothing-optional (some people may tend to confuse it with the similarly-named Secret Cove, which is).
Read full beach details: Hidden Beach

5) Nevada Beach
Best Beach Features: This typically quiet beach boasts lots of shade from the tall pine trees, nice views of the snow-capped Sierra Mountains, and is dog-friendly. Nevada Beach Campground is also a short walk from casinos, restaurants, and golfing in nearby Stateline, NV.
Beach Tips: Be sure to pack water shoes, as the sand is often covered with pine needles and very coarse
Read full beach details: Nevada Beach

6) Kings Beach
Best Beach Features: Shallow water, soft sand (great for sand castles!), paddle-boat rentals, close proximity to restaurants, and a large playground for kids of all ages make King’s Beach a favorite destination for families.
Beach Tips: If you’re looking for a quiet oasis to get away from it all, or a more adult-oriented atmosphere, King’s Beach is probably not your best option.
Read full beach details: Kings Beach

7) Emerald Bay Beach
Best Beach Features: From its gorgeous waterfalls to the Scandinavian-style Vikingsholm Castle, Emerald Bay offers some of the most scenic (and challenging) hiking in Tahoe. The beach itself isn’t usually crowded, offers a decent amount of shade, and is a terrific place to sit and watch the sun set.
Beach Tips: As this beach is only accessible by boat or the Rubicon hiking trail, it’s not recommended for visitors with health or mobility issues.
Read full beach details: Emerald Bay Beach

8) Secret Cove
Best Beach Features: If your goal for the summer is a perfect tan with no tan lines, or you just prefer swimming au naturel, Secret Cove is well-known as a clothing-optional beach. The beach itself is quite a beautiful little inlet, with exceptionally pristine blue-green water. Dogs are permitted. Because of it’s gorgeous natural features Secret Cove make it to our list of Lake Tahoe’s Best Beaches.
Beach Tips: Unless you and your family are naturalists, you may want to opt for a different beach to bring the little ones. Bring aquasocks or sandshoes, as the rocks can be very slippery. There are no amenities or facilities other than sand, rocks, and shrubbery, so be sure to pack the necessities and little else, and leave no trace.
Read full beach details: Secret Cove

9) Pope Beach
Best Beach Features: With its many picnic tables, barbecue grills, affordably-priced parking and boat rentals, clean restrooms, abundance of shade, and short walk from the parking lot to the beach, Pope Beach is one of the most family-friendly beach spots in Tahoe.
Beach Tips: There are a lot of pine needles and cones in the sand, so pack beach-appropriate footwear. While the pine trees provide welcome shade on hot days, the water can get chillier than other spots.
Read full beach details: Pope Beach

10) Zephyr Cove
Best Beach Features: If you came to Tahoe to party with friends and savor some drinks on the beach, Zephyr Cove is your ticket: volleyball, paddle-boats, and the Sunset Bar and Grille, which opens at 7 AM and serves a wide variety of beers and cocktails.
Beach Tips: If you’re here with the kids, or just want to enjoy nature’s splendor without the party scene, Zephyr Cove probably isn’t your best choice. Down the road is Round Hill Pines Beach which offers a lot for families minus the party scene.
Read full beach details: Zephyr Cove

11) Chimney Beach
Best Beach Features: Named for the large free-standing chimney by the water’s edge, Chimney beach is a popular spot for experienced hikers, dog owners, and beachgoers who just want to enjoy nature without crowds. Bonus: parking is free.
Beach Tips: the trail here is notably steep, so avoid this one unless you’re in good hiking condition. This beach is great for a day trip, but you can’t stay – Chimney Beach’s no-camping policy is strictly enforced by park rangers.
Read full beach details: Chimney Beach

12) Commons Beach
Best Beach Features: There’s not much going for Commons Beach as a beach per se; it boasts more grass than sand and much of the water is less than knee-deep (which does make it ideal for small children). However, it’s still a very popular spot for picnics, barbecues, and sunbathing, and during the summer months Commons Beach hosts free movies on Wednesday evenings and free live music (with food vendors) on Sundays. Sundays on Commons Beach is very popular with the locals and is worth coming for the free music, food and drink stands. For these reasons Tahoe City’s Commons Beach made the list of Lake Tahoe’s Best Beaches.
Beach Tips: Commons Beach, with its grassy shores and shallow water, isn’t particularly conducive for swimming. Nonetheless, Commons Beach can still get very crowded on weekends and during events, and parking spots can be scarce. No dogs.
Read full beach details: Commons Beach

This guide to Lake Tahoe’s best beaches highlights some of our most favorite. If you have more time to explore or depending on your location we suggest you discover all the South Lake Tahoe beaches and North Lake Tahoe beaches to determine for yourself what’s your favorite that will be keeping you coming back year after year.

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