Guide to Lake Tahoe’s Best Beaches

Lake Tahoe Best Beaches PhotosYour guide to Lake Tahoe’s best beaches is here! There are so many wonderful Lake Tahoe beaches with unique features that it makes the selection process difficult. Our guide is designed to give you a list of great beaches worth your time exploring. Uncover these hidden gems effortlessly using our detailed Lake Tahoe beaches map—you’re just moments away from discovering one of Lake Tahoe’s top beaches near you!

Lake Tahoe Beaches Map

1) Sand Harbor Beach
Best Beach Features: Sand Harbor Beach is one of the most popular spots in Lake Tahoe, and for good reason. With soft sand, crystal clear waters, and rocks to climb on, it’s an ideal destination for families. This beach has much to offer, including breathtaking views and plenty of space to relax and soak up the sun. In addition to the beach itself, Sand Harbor offers a variety of amenities, including picnic areas, restrooms, and a boat launch. There are also several hiking trails nearby, making it easy to explore the stunning natural beauty of Lake Tahoe. It’s a great place to take the family, and it has a lot to explore.

One of the biggest draws of Sand Harbor Beach is the annual Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. This festival takes place from early July to late August and is a must-see event for visitors. You can catch performances of classic Shakespeare plays in a beautiful outdoor setting, with the lake as a stunning backdrop.
Beach Tips: Parking can be scarce during the peak season, but if the lot is full, don’t fret— click here to learn more about the shuttle service to Sand Harbor in Incline Village.
Read full beach details: Sand Harbor Beach

2) Baldwin Beach
Best Beach Features: Baldwin Beach offers a serene, easily-accessed beach ideal for kayaking or other non-motorized boating outings. The beach is also a popular launching point for kayakers and paddleboarders heading to Emerald Bay. A long stretch of sand makes this a great South Lake Tahoe beach destination with panoramic, gorgeous mountain views. Whether you’re looking to kayak, enjoy a picnic, or simply soak up the sun, Baldwin Beach is a must-visit destination in Lake Tahoe. With its serene atmosphere, stunning mountain views, and long stretch of sand, it’s no wonder it’s one of the best beaches in the area.
Beach Tips: Come early to find your perfect spot. There are paddleboard and kayak rentals, picnic tables, and public bathrooms. Plan for Parking and a day-use fee.
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. Parking is limited, so plan to arrive early during peak summer months.  The area is surrounded by pine trees, providing some shade from the hot summer sun. There are picnic tables and restrooms available. The calm waters of the lake make it an ideal spot for swimming and kayaking. Some of the most scenic images are from the nearby Rubicon Hiking Trail. You will typically find hikers starting their hike from the same parking lot.
Beach Tips: The hike down to the beach has steps, but it is steep. Not ideal if you have trouble with steps. 
Read full beach details: Lester Beach

4) Hidden Beach
Best Beach Features: Hidden Beach used to be something of a secluded gem nestled in a rocky cove ringed by large boulders, where the water is noticeably warmer than other popular beach spots.  The recently developed 3 mile bike and walking path that starts in Incline Village, Nevada now takes right to it. The easy to moderate paved trial is 10 feet wide and designed for hikers, runners, and bicyclists. Once you arrive you will find a Hidden Beach flanked by giant boulders with lots of sand for sunbathing, picnicking, and swimming. It’s a great place to spend the day just lounging and swimming.
Beach Tips: There is no designated parking for this beach. There’s very little shade to be found here, so be sure to pack extra sunscreen. 
Read full beach details: Hidden Beach

5) Nevada Beach
Best Beach Features: Nevada Beach is a long and wide public beach located on the southeastern shore of Lake Tahoe.  Nevada Beach has become more popular over the years with the addition of a nice paved walking trial that helps guide visitors to the beach from various spots. There is plenty of shade from the tall pine trees and nice views of the snow-capped Sierra Mountains – there is even a dog-friendly part of the beach. The beach offers a wide range of features and amenities, making it a popular destination for visitors. The beach is well-maintained and offers ample parking. Visitors can enjoy swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding in the clear waters of the lake. There are also picnic tables, bathrooms and barbecues available for use, making it a great spot for a family outing. For campers there is Nevada Beach Campground is also a short walk from casinos, restaurants, and golfing in nearby Stateline, NV.
Beach Tips: Nevada Beach can get a little breezy in the late afternoon. There is free parking outside the gate or parking/day-use fee near the beach.
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. Kings Beach State Park features a long sandy beach, making it a great spot for sunbathing and swimming. There are also picnic tables and barbecues available for use, as well as public restrooms and showers. The park is surrounded by beautiful pine trees and offers stunning views of Lake Tahoe. Additionally, the park features a playground, a volleyball court, and a horseshoe pit, providing plenty of entertainment. Kings Beach State Park is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to enjoy the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe while also having access to plenty of amenities and activities.
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 Beach offers one of the most scenic views in Tahoe. The beach itself is not very crowded due to it’s more difficulty in accessing. The beach is accessible only by boat or by a fairly steep one mile hike down from the parking area. Visitors to the beach can enjoy the crystal clear water of the lake and stunning views of Emerald Bay and Fannette Island. Swimming is possible in the calm waters of the bay, but caution is advised as there are no lifeguards on duty and the boat traffic into the bay gets very busy especially during the summer months. Emerald Bay Beach is a must-visit destination for those looking to escape the crowds and enjoy the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe in a peaceful and secluded setting.
Beach Tips: As this beach is only accessible by boat, parking lot (one mile hike trail) 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. It might just be the most photographed cove at Lake Tahoe. Because of it’s gorgeous natural features, Secret Cove made it to our list of Lake Tahoe’s Best Beaches. Dogs are permitted with restrictions. There are public bathrooms and shade available. 
Beach Tips: Unless you and your family are naturalists, you may want to opt for a different beach to bring the little ones. Bring aqua socks or sandshoes, as the rocks can be very slippery. 
Read full beach details: Secret Cove

9) Pope Beach
Best Beach Features: Pope Beach is located on National Forest land and is approximately three-quarter miles long with a beautiful sandy beach and lots of amenities. 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 Lake Tahoe.  Take advantage of the kayak rentals and a food concession on site. Pope Beach is easily accessible by bicycle via the Pope/Baldwin Bike Path. No dogs are allowed.
Beach Tips: Near the tree line there can be pine needles 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 Tahoe beaches.
Read full beach details: Pope Beach

10) Zephyr Cove
Best Beach Features: If you came to Lake Tahoe to party with friends and savor some drinks on the beach, Zephyr Cove Beach is your ticket: volleyball, paddle-boats, and the Sunset Bar and Grille keep the good times going. Add some excitement to your day with water sports like jet skiing and parasailing that cater to thrill-seekers. It a see-and-be-seen type of atmosphere. Zephyr Cove Beach’s lively atmosphere, striking scenery, and array of activities make it a must-visit Lake Tahoe beach.
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 – an old caretakers cabin. Chimney beach is a popular spot for experienced hikers, dog owners, and beachgoers who just want to enjoy nature without crowds. As you chill by the chimney enjoy sweeping views of Lake Tahoe, boulder outcroppings, and of course the sandy beach. Even with it’s more remote location the beach can be busy during peak summer months. 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).  Tahoe City Commons Beach is a well-maintained public beach offering a wide range of amenities and features, including picnic tables, barbecues, group facilities, public bathrooms, and public transit nearby. Additionally, the beach boasts a playground, nearby fishing opportunities, and plenty of shade for visitors seeking relief from the sun. 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. This four-plus-acre park is located on the lake in downtown Tahoe City. 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 we have visited many times over the years. 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.


One Response to “Guide to Lake Tahoe’s Best Beaches”

  1. Tammy Peterman on May 23rd, 2022 5:16 am

    Can you send me a guide for vacation planning

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