The best beaches in Lake Tahoe draw in plenty of people throughout the year, but especially in summer and spring. The alpine lake has more than 70 miles of sandy shores, though only 15 miles are open to the public. That's still plenty of space for you to enjoy a wide range of activities, including kayaking, swimming, and snorkelling and in crystal-clear water.

    Many beaches are part of Lake Tahoe state parks, which requires a fee to enter. It's well worth the extra expense as you can enjoy well-maintained facilities such as campsites, playgrounds, showers, picnic areas, and sun chairs with umbrellas.


    Sand Harbor

    The closest beach to Reno

    Sand Harbor is a crescent-shaped beach in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. Located on the eastern shore of the lake, this beach park is popular for swimming, kayaking and diving during the summer months. Onsite facilities include a boat launch, showers, picnic tables, and BBQ grills. You can dive into the crystal-clear water from rock formations around Sand Harbor.

    The best time to visit is in July or August, when the famous Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival takes place right on the sandy beach. If you're getting to Sand Harbour by car, park in Incline Village and take a shuttle bus – the fare includes entrance to Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park.

    Location: 2005 NV-28, Incline Village, NV 89452, USA

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 775-831-0494


    Cave Rock

    A recreational beach in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park

    Cave Rock is a recreation site in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, on the south-eastern shore of Lake Tahoe. Its centrepiece is a large rock formation that dates back over 3 million years. It's a sacred site for the Washoe Indians, who called it "The Lady of the Lake" – the rock looks like the profile of a woman's face gazing out toward Lake Tahoe.

    Cave Rock has a sandy beach with picnic areas, toilets, and a boat launch. The waves are quite calm, making it safe for kids to swim and snorkel. You can also rent a canoe or kayak and explore Lake Tahoe.

    Location: Hwy 28, Glenbrook, NV 89413, USA

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 775-588-7975


    Kiva Beach

    A dog-friendly beach in South Lake Tahoe

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    Kiva Beach in South Lake Tahoe offers fantastic views of Mount Tallac. This dog-friendly beach is usually quiet, so you'll have around 600 ft of shoreline to work on your tan. It's one of the few South Lake Tahoe beaches that allow dogs, but make sure to keep your pet on a leash throughout your visit.

    Kiva Beach is adjacent to a protected marsh, along with rows of willow, aspen, and pine trees providing shade from the scorching sun. A trail to the Tallac Historic Site offers views of South Tahoe Lake, as well as informational panels about the area's vegetation and history.

    Location: Kiva Beach, CA 96150, USA


    Zephyr Cove

    Family-friendly beach with a campground

    Zephyr Cove attracts families with its extensive range of recreational facilities. Located on Lake Tahoe's southeast shore, the resort has a mile-long beach with a roped-off swimming area, volleyball courts, picnic tables, beach chairs and umbrellas. You can enjoy drinks with views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada at Sunset Bar & Grille.

    The Zephyr Cove Marina offers yachting, parasailing, jet-skiing and wakeboarding for those looking to explore South Lake Tahoe. You can join a cruise to Emerald Bay on the 500-passenger MS Dixie II paddlewheel boat. Zephyr Cove has plenty of accommodation if you want to spend a few nights, including cabins, guestrooms, an RV park and a campground.

    Location: Zephyr Cove, NV 89448, USA


    Lester Beach

    A great place for camping, hiking, and boating

    Lester Beach is part of D. L. Bliss State Park, on Lake Tahoe's western shore. The sandy beach is conveniently close to the parking lot, so it gets pretty busy during summer break. It has a private cove that's great for kids to swim in. You can even explore the alpine lake in a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard.

    Lester Beach offers easy access to the state park's other attractions. Hikers can tackle a 1.5-mile roundtrip trail to Rubicon Point Lighthouse or a half-mile loop trail to the Balancing Rock. Campgrounds with food lockers and fire pits are available in D. L. Bliss State Park.

    Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA


    Kings Beach State Recreation Area

    More than 1,700 ft of sand in North Lake Tahoe

    The Kings Beach State Recreation Area is one of California's largest public beaches. It stretches over 1,700 ft along the northern shore of Lake Tahoe. BBQ pits and picnic areas are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Kids can have fun at the onsite playground, which overlooks the alpine lake.

    Summer is when Kings Beach gets busy, with plenty of vendors renting out parasails, kayaks and paddleboards. There are food concessions right on the sand, while shops, restaurants, hotels and lodges are adjacent to the beach.

    Location: Bear St, Kings Beach, CA 96143, USA

    Phone: +1 530-523-3203


    Hidden Beach

    Great for nude sunbathing and swimming

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    Hidden Beach is a 750-ft stretch of fine sand with rocky alcoves on Lake Tahoe's eastern shore. It's popular for nude sunbathing and swimming, so it's best to visit on a weekday if you want some privacy.

    Hidden Beach is part of the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. There's a small parking lot near Incline Village where you can find a mile-long trail that leads to the beach. Note that it has no recreational facilities and food stands, so pack your own lunch or snacks before making your way here.

    Location: Incline Village, NV 89451, USA


    Commons Beach

    A public park in Tahoe City

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    Commons Beach is right in the centre of Tahoe City on Lake Tahoe's north-eastern shore. It's a family-friendly beach, containing a large playground, BBQ pits, picnic areas, and bathrooms. Unlike most beaches in the area (which are part of Lake Tahoe state parks), it's free to enter year-round.

    Commons Beach is adjacent to the Tahoe City Boardwalk, where you can find plenty of restaurants, shops and cafés. The beach park hosts fun events during the summer months, including Concerts at Commons Beach on Sundays and Movies at the Beach on Wednesdays. If you're visiting in winter, check out the North Lake Tahoe SnowFest. This 10-day celebration features colourful floats, live bands, and activities for all ages.

    Location: 400 N Lake Blvd, Tahoe City, CA 96145, USA


    Secret Cove

    A nude-friendly beach on Lake Tahoe's east shore

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    Secret Cove is one of the most secluded beaches on Lake Tahoe's eastern shore, making it especially popular with nudists. This undeveloped stretch of sand is located along Highway 28, about 17 miles east of Carson City.

    Secret Cove is great for swimming and sunbathing – swimsuits optional. Many smooth boulders dot the sand and water, which are great to rest on. The remote beach has a very off-the-beaten-track atmosphere, though you will have to walk up north to Chimney Beach to find restrooms and concession stands.

    Location: NV-28, Incline Village, NV 89451, USA


    Sugar Pine Point Beach

    A Lake Tahoe state park built around a mansion from the 1900s

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    Sugar Pine Point Beach stretches for 2 miles on Lake Tahoe's western shore. It's part of the 2,500-acre Ed Z'berg Sugar Pine Point State Park in El Dorado County. The mostly sandy beach is divided by General Creek, with both sections easily accessible by boat.

    A must-see is the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion, which dates back to 1903. Also known as Pine Lodge, the summer estate is only open to the public for tours in summer. Hikers can tackle a waterside trail to reach the state park's south boundary and rocky beaches on Meeks Bay.

    Location: Ca State Park Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, USA

    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveler

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