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, Lake Tahoe is a great family vacation spot in the summer as well. We found Lake Tahoe to be very relaxing and family friendly. My family found great things to see and we enjoyed the beautiful views and places to visit. This article contains our favorite places to visit in Lake Tahoe.
Emerald Bay should be your first stop
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 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.
Beautiful view of Emerald Bay from the trail leading down to Vikingsholm.
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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.
Sand Harbor is a hidden quiet place on the Nevada shoreline
The Nevada side, which is the west shore of Lake Tahoe, is also a spectacular place. 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.
Beautiful view of Lake Tahoe’s eastern shore close to Sand Harbor.
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Sand Harbor is set up as a park with picknick 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.
Read my travel guide for Sand Harbor.
Kings Beach is a beautiful beach perfect for kids
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.
Kings Beach is a very relaxing beach to enjoy the crystal clear water and beautiful scenery of Lake Tahoe.
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We found Kings Beach to be a great place for kids. 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.
Read my travel guide for Kings Beach.
My best resources for planning your trip to Lake Tahoe, California
- Find a budget hotel in Lake Tahoe, or stay at my favorite hotel in South Lake Tahoe.
- Rent a car in California. Save up to 30% when comparing all major rental car companies and picking the best rental car for you.
- Find a boat tour and winter activities in Lake Tahoe.