3 Best Lake Tahoe Beaches for Your Summer

Updated: April 23, 2020

Lake Tahoe is one of the most popular attractions in California. It is mostly known as one of the best winter resorts in the world. However spending a Lake Tahoe summer is a great family vacation as well. Let’s explore my favorite Lake Tahoe beaches.

We loved spending a Lake Tahoe summer together as a family, especially when the kids were smaller. There are a few very simple things to do around the lake. They don’t require much planning, and they are very relaxing. Let’s take our beach chairs and flip flops and explore my best Lake Tahoe beaches.

1. Emerald Bay Beach

Emerald Bay Beach is the best Lake Tahoe beach for scenery
Beautiful view of Emerald Bay in the summer seen from the trail leading down to Vikingsholm
See my photos from Emerald Bay

Even if you can only see one thing, you should stop at Emerald Bay. Located on the South East shore of Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay is the crown jewel of Lake Tahoe. The water, the trees and Fannette Island come together to create a spectacular feeling for the tourist who sees it for the first time. The beach a Emerald Bay is small but so beautiful and it provides a mix of sun and shade.

The tourist gets a first glimpse of this natural beauty when stopping at the Emerald Bay vista point high up on the mountain. You get a great vantage point and the entire bay is opening up right under you. Definitely stop at the vista point and take your time to enjoy the beautiful view of Emerald Bay.

Depending how much time you have, you should consider hiking down and visit the Vikingsholm Scandinavian castle. To get to Vikingsholm you have to drive past the vista point and park in the Vikingsholm parking lot. Then take the trail that leads down to the lake level. It only takes about 40 minutes. Make sure you have your camera with you.

We found Emerald Bay Beach to be the best Lake Tahoe beach for scenery and gorgeousness.

Read More: Travel guide for Emerald Bay

Start at the Emerald Bay Trailhead and walk down to the beach.  For up to date information visit the Emerald Bay State Park website.

2. Sand Harbor Beach

Sand Harbor beach is the best Lake Tahoe beach for beach space.
Beautiful view of Lake Tahoe’s eastern shore close to Sand Harbor.
See my photos from Sand Harbor

The Nevada side, which is the East shore of Lake Tahoe, is also a spectacular place in the summer. I don’t mean that it is spectacular because there are many casinos around the lake even though some people call these things spectacular. What I mean, is spectacular natural beauty. One of these special places on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe is Sand Harbor. Sand Harbor is one of the best Lake Tahoe beaches.

Sand Harbor is set up as a park with picnicking benches and tables, restrooms and a beautiful trail that follows the shore line and gives the walker beautiful views and very romantic spots overlooking Lake Tahoe. My wife and I and our kids certainly loved the beach at Sand Harbor and the path along the lake.

We found Sand Harbor Beach to be the best Lake Tahoe Beach for beach space and exploring space for smaller kids. Our kids loved climbing on the boulders and rocks on the shore.

Read More: Travel guide for Sand Harbor

Here is the Sand Harbor Beach on Google Maps so you can plan your trip. Also checkout the Sand Harbor Beach Park website for up to date information.

3. Kings Beach

Kings Beach is the best Lake Tahoe beach for small children
Kings Beach is a very relaxing beach to enjoy the crystal clear water and beautiful scenery of Lake Tahoe.
See my photos from Kings Beach

Travelling north from Sand Harbor you will slowly get to the North Shore of Lake Tahoe and you’ll be driving back into California. Right after passing back into California, you will see signs for Kings Beach on your left. There is plenty of parking both in the paid area and on the streets. Kings Beach is a very large beach with fine sand and very shallow water.

My daughter is afraid of the water, but because there were no waves and the water was shallow she had no problem playing in the water and looking for water creatures. If you’re looking for a place to sit in the sun and relax, this is your place.

We found Kings Beach to be the best Lake Tahoe beach for small kids as the ground goes gently into the water and the kids can stay safely close to shore and play in the water.

Read More: Travel guide for Kings Beach

Here is Kings Beach beach and parking area on Google Maps for your planning. Also read the Kings Beach Recreation Area website for up to date information.

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