Planning a Northern California beach vacation? Swimming in the ultra-blue waters and sunbathing on the best beaches in Lake Tahoe should be on your list! Straddled across the borders of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe has over 70 miles of shoreline covered with jagged cliffs and boulders.
Lake Tahoe is a must-go place for couples, families, and even a group of friends. While exploring its beautiful beaches, you can try hair-raising water activities like kayaking and windsurfing, the area’s most famous pastimes during the summer months. Or, for a more relaxing time, simply sit on the shorelines to dazzle at the crystal clear water fringed by tall pine trees.
Eager for a fantastic lakeside beach vacation experience? Find your paradise on one of these top-rated Lake Tahoe beaches.
Looking for more vacation ideas? Check out all our other beach guides along with our California Travel Guide for more ideas on where to go, when to visit & what to do!
Top-rated Lake Tahoe beaches
Looking to spend quality time with your family? Head straight to Pope Beach. The public beach spreads over three-quarter miles of National Forest land in South Lake Tahoe.
Rent a kayak or paddleboard to enjoy surfing on the calm waters of Pope Beach. If visiting on breezy days, try the summer months’ special: windsurfing.
During your South Shore vacation, you’ll find this pine tree-shaded beach a fantastic spot for a picnic. You’ll witness some mesmerizing lakeside scenery of the Sierra Nevada Mountains while having lunch. If you aren’t in the mood to grill, you can grab a bite from the food concessions available on the beach.
Reaching Pope Beach is easy. The popular beach is located near public transit. You can even reach it by bicycle from the Taylor Creek Visitor Center via the Pope Baldwin Bike Bath. When commuting by car, you can use the paid parking at the beach.
Commons Beach Park
Situated in the center of Tahoe City, Commons Beach Park is among the best Lake Tahoe beaches for a laid-back vacation. The four-acre beach is popular for swimming, sunbathing, and barbecuing. If you’re lucky enough to get a sunny day during winter, you can enjoy sledding on the slopes of this beach park.
The best part about Commons Beach is its playground where the kids can have a fun time while parents chill. You can also enjoy many events here, like concerts on Sunday afternoons and movie premiers every Wednesday night. A perfect family spot, isn’t it?
Thomas F. Regan Memorial City Beach
Thomas F. Regan Memorial City Beach is South Lake Tahoe’s oldest beach. You can go swimming, fishing, and boating during your trip. This beach is more of a playground where you can enjoy a family picnic on the big grass patches while watching blue jays soar in the sky above.
The best time to visit Thomas F. Regan Memorial City Beach is early mornings or late evenings; the popular Lake Tahoe beach generally remains crowded during afternoons.
You can find a few food concessions here, so there’s no need to worry about carrying your snacks. There’s free parking, restrooms, an observation deck, a volleyball court, and some cafes here, too.
If you take your pooch with you, they’ll have a fantastic time here. There’s a dog water park near the entrance. Set them free off-leash and let them enjoy the sand and water.
Want to spend some quality time with your family? Venture down to Lakeview Commons. This popular spot is the largest stretch of sand by area at El Dorado Beach in South Lake Tahoe. It’s famous for large picnics and organizing some family events like birthday or anniversary celebrations.
At Lakeview Commons, you can take pleasure in water activities such as kayaking and swimming. The area also features a tiny park with a public boat ramp, restrooms, picnic tables, and barbecues. You might also be able to join in on occasional events, taking place within a terraced seating area that slopes down to the lakefront.
You’ll also find many eateries and shops nearby; you can get everything you need without going far. Stand-up paddleboard and kayak rentals are available in summer.
Located on the Nevada side of the shoreline, Nevada Beach is among the top Lake Tahoe beaches to enjoy your vacation. At this beautiful one-half mile sandy beach, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the mesmerizing views of the Sierra Nevada range.
Nevada Beach is a favorite spot around Tahoe for swimming, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and windsurfing. You’ll find some concession stands selling light snacks and drinks if you get hungry. Public restrooms and showers are also available.
You need to pay to park your car here, but it’s free for pedestrians and cyclists. It also has wheelchair-accessible features like paved walkways to the beach area and an ADA-compliant restroom. Unfortunately, your pets are not allowed here.
Sand Harbor Beach
If you’re a nature lover, take out some time to visit Sand Harbor Beach. The stretch of sandy shoreline is known as one of the cleanest beaches in Lake Tahoe. It also has some fascinating rock formations and crystal-clear water, making it a perfect place to swim, kayak, canoe, and windsurfing.
There are a variety of family-friendly leisure activities at Sand Harbor, including long sandy beaches, a boat ramp, picnicking, hiking, watercraft rentals, and restrooms. You can even explore the newly opened trail at the beach. The trail links the Tunnel Creek Cafe in Incline Village to Sand Harbor. It’s a three-mile stretch that you can cover on a rented bicycle.
If you visit between July and August, you can attend the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. Keep in mind: The parking lot is packed during the summer. Come early to secure your parking spot.
Kings Beach State Recreation Area
If you’re searching for a family-friendly beach, look no further than Kings Beach State Recreation Area. It’s the largest public beach on the North Shore, where you’ll get to experience a 1,700 feet white-sand lakefront. You and your family will enjoy diving in the warmest swimming area in North Lake Tahoe.
Your kids will have a blast in the park’s beautifully carved playground overlooking the water. To enjoy the barbecue and picnic area, you’ll need to arrive as soon as you can; the spots fill fast, especially in the summer high season.
Kings Beach also has a broad range of shops and restaurants located nearby.
Lester Beach is heaven for camping, hiking, or boating lovers. It’s a part of D.L Bliss State Park and has one the best crowds on the western shore of Lake Tahoe. At this private white sand beach, you can go kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboarding.
If you don’t want to swim all day, explore the half-mile-long Rubicon Point Lighthouse Trail. You can also visit nearby Calawee Cove if you have extra time.
Lester Beach and Calawee Beach may not be as big as many other beaches around Tahoe, but they have better-isolated coves with stunning vistas. Lester Beach also offers some lovely camping sites, but you’ll need to arrive pretty early, especially in summer, to claim one.
Located on the southern shores of Lake Tahoe, Kiva Beach is heaven for your furry partner. This scenic stretch of sand is a dog-friendly beach, offering the beautiful views of Mount Tallac. It’s near Camp Richardson in a secluded area where peace awaits.
Your pets will enjoy the serenity of Kiva Beach as much as you. They can swim off-leash, play frisbee, and even do zoomies on the shoreline!
Keep in mind: Pets need to be leashed on the sand and you must collect their waste in trash bags. Nearby, you can also visit the Tallac Historic Site, one of the top Lake Tahoe tourist attractions. You can access the site by following the trail along the shoreline.
Zephyr Cove Beach
Zephyr Cove Beach can satisfy the desire of gazing at amazing views of Lake Tahoe. It’s best known for the Zephyr Cove Resort, offering a marina, a campground, and water sports lessons and rentals.
Lapped by gentle waves, this beach is perfect for swimming and boating with your family or friends. You can try canoeing or kayaking in the crystal clear water or just relax on the shore and get a perfect tan.
Apart from swimming and sunbathing, there are plenty of things to do at Zephyr Cove Beach. There’s a serious amount of sand here. Take advantage of making sandcastles with your kids, playing beach volleyball, or letting your pup have some good digging sessions here.
Please note that pets are only allowed on the north side of the beach.
Want an adrenaline-pumping beach trip with the family? No worries: Just head over to Baldwin Beach in South Lake Tahoe. Your family will enjoy the calm and tranquil environment here while you can go kayaking or indulge in other water spots. The quiet and warm waters of Baldwin Beach offer a wonderful swimming experience.
While you swim, dazzle at the mesmerizing views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Don’t forget to take a few snaps of you swimming with the majestic mountains forming the backdrop.
Rent the kayak on-site and head over to Emerald Bay to get your heart pumping. At Emerald Bay, you’ll enjoy world-class panoramic views of Lake Tahoe. Relish your time here to the fullest.
When searching for the finest Lake Tahoe beaches to escape city hustle-bustle, Chimney Beach tops the list. This stretch of sand is accessible only if you’re up for a half-mile hike. The small strain will be all worth it once you cool down with a swim in the ultra-clear water.
Once you arrive at Chimney Beach, you’ll witness stunning views of Lake Tahoe, rocky outcroppings, a sandy beach, and crystal clear water. The most exciting part is the distinctive chimney marker, giving the beach its name.
Get some unique photos of the chimney, the only remaining part of an ancient lakefront cabin. Enjoy a picnic and bring your dog along since Chimney Beach is a certified dog beach.
Hidden Beach is known for its solitude. It’s easy to miss unless you park your car on Highway 28 close to Incline Village and take a glance over the guard rail. That’ll be your first look at this relatively small yet stunning beach.
Other than a small handful of locals, you’ll find Hidden Beach empty most of the time. You’ll often get much of the space to yourself to enjoy some quiet and private time with your partner.
If you visit with family, plan a picnic, bring some food to eat, and play card games to refresh yourself from the city stress.
Hidden Beach is also one of the best snorkeling spots around Lake Tahoe, perfect for people who love to explore freshwater marine life. You can also pick some enticing rocky alcoves from the sands to place in your house garden.
Located off Highway 28, Secret Cove is the most secluded beach on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe where a swimsuit is optional. The cove the most famous place for nudists among all three nude beaches on Lake Tahoe. This popular nude beach is entirely raw, and there’s no development along the shoreline.
The off-beat vibes of Secret Cove are difficult to find elsewhere in Tahoe. During your break here, make the most of it. Rest upon the smooth boulder placed along the shoreline and get some sun-kissed selfies or beautiful beach portraits. (Might want to cover up first though!)
Moon Dune Beach
A lovely sandy shoreline, Moon Dune Beach is ideal for laying down on a towel and sunbathing. Moon Dune Beach is in the community of Tahoe Vista, located north of North Lake Boulevard and south of the Rustic Cottages.
Moon Dune is a beautiful beach in the city while still offering solitude and tranquility. You can relax or meditate here with few other people around to disturb you.
Please note that there are no facilities at Moon Dune Beach other than portable toilets during the summer on the western side of the beach. If you’re coming with family, bring your food and drinks, as there are no food concessions here.
Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park
For nature lovers, Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park will be the most exciting spot on the entire list. The state park is situated along the shore of Lake Tahoe. It features year-round camping spots, the Sugar Pine Point Nature Center, and Hellman-Ehrman Mansion.
During your camping at Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park, you can swim in the crystal clear blue waters. You can also soak in the sun on the sandy beach near the well-known Pine Lodge mansion.
There are two separate beaches here: one to the south and one to the north of the mouth of General Creek. The Z’berg Preserve, located north of the historic zone, provides access to the northern beach; the lawn near the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion will give you access to the southern beach.
Lake Forest Beach
Lake Forest Beach is a paradise for photographers. This free public beach is located in Lake Forest Glen, a few miles from Tahoe City. It has a remote, sandy, and pebbly shoreline with stunning views of Mount Tallac.
The area around the shoreline showcases some of the most beautiful lupine fields you’ll ever see. These brilliant crimson wildflowers adorn the lowland shore every summer, generally beginning in mid-July and continuing through mid-August.
Lake Forest Beach is ideal for paddleboarding, kayaking, and windsurfing. There’s also a horseshoe pit; just be sure to bring your own horseshoes. Picnic tables, as well as grills, are available on the beach.