While Lake Tahoe’s snowy winter months pack the charm, a visit during the summertime guarantees even more family fun with postcard-worthy views everywhere you turn. One of our favorite Tahoe summer pastimes? A visit to the beach with the towering Sierras as a picture perfect backdrop. Read on to uncover five of the area’s most beloved beaches (and yes, they all have bathrooms!).
This beach is the bomb because: The crystal clear water and the astounding huge rock formations that kids can swim out to and jump from. Parent alert! You’ll want to accompany your little beach babes out to the rocks, so this is not much of a sitting around/getting your tan on type of beach!
Potential beach bummer: Crowds. And not just “Wow, there are a lot of people here.” More like, the parking lot is full and there is not an inch of sand to sit on. But don’t worry, just get there early and you’ll be fine.
Parking: $12 ($2 discount for Nevada residents)
Find It: 2005 Highway 28, Incline Village, Nv 89704
Round Hill Pines
This beach is the bomb because: You’ll enjoy a nice long stretch of sandy beach. Need more entertainment beyond building sand castles? Rent kayaks, jet skis, water bikes and more. Prices range from single kayaks at $20; $30 for a double kayak; stand up paddle boards at $30 an hour; and paddle boats, which are available as four seaters for $35 or two seaters for $23 an hour. Water too cold? There’s a heated pool, behind the parking lot, which is free with your parking. There is no designated kiddie area, but if you have daring swimmers, it’s 8-feet deep.
Potential beach bummer: The beach is wide and the sand is hot heading up to get snacks or use the restroom. Just remember your flips!
Find It: 300 Highway 50, Zephyr Cove, Nv 89448
This beach is the bomb because: You’ll find Zephyr to be a good all-around beach. You can play in the sand, wade into the lake, rent Wave Runners ($115 an hour), pedal boats and kayaks ($25 an hour) and enjoy a full-service restaurant. And just FYI, it’s Nevada so we all know what that means. Yep! Beer on the beach. Maybe just one.
Potential beach bummer: It can get a little rowdy near the bar — not like spring break rowdy, but it’s not all a family crowd (kinda like back in younger days?). This is probably a beach best enjoyed midweek for a more family vibe.
Find It: 760 Highway 50, Zephyr Cove, Nv 89448
This beach is the bomb because: They have a full complement of rentals for any type of water sport (umbrellas too if you forget yours!) and the bay is nice and calm to try your hand with the SUP (Stand Up Paddle). Head there a little later in the day, and bring food to BBQ for dinner at one of the nice public BBQs.
Potential beach bummer: This beach is nested on the west side so it does get shaded earlier in the afternoon than other parts of the lake.
Find It: 7941 Emerald Bay Road, Tahoma, Ca 96142
This beach is the bomb because: There is nothing there. Like, no rentals and no food service. (There are bathrooms, hallelujah!). And sometimes that’s a good thing. Just enjoy the beach, kids! A popular draw here is a huge totem pole that the brave can paddle out to, climb up and jump off of. Bonus points for a huge parking lot at this beachy destination.
Potential beach bummer: Don’t forget your sunscreen, drinks or food, since you’ll be out of luck to purchase them here. Huge, huge beach bummer that would be.
Find It: Highway 89, South Lake Tahoe (near Camp Richardson)
The bottom line is that you really can’t go wrong with any of Tahoe’s amazing beaches. Make every day an adventure by giving a new beach a try! Did we miss one of your fave Tahoe beaches? Let us know below.
— Cathie Ericson
Photos courtesy of Jennifer Davis and Jill Basch, who along with author Cathie Ericson, all spend a week each summer in Lake Tahoe with their eight children.