As many of us know, Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Its sparkling blue waters surrounded by towering pine trees and behemothic sloping granite outcrops are a sight to behold.
While there are many out-of-the-way places to spend the day soaking in all the wondrous, natural Sierra beauty, such as Chimney Beach and the east shore rocks, some visitors may want a beach that is easy to find and easy to access.
For those reasons, check out this fun video we found online from a recent visitor. She highlights a few beaches to "harbor" in the back of your mind until your next visit.
Here’s our own list of the top easy to access beaches of Lake Tahoe.
1. Sand Harbor Beach
Sand Harbor Beach is located on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe National Park and the one closest to Reno. This 55-acre beach is considered one of the best beaches on the lake and is part of the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. Sand Harbor Beach has a small museum, store, bathrooms, showers, parking, a boat launch, and picnic tables. There's also plenty of golden sand where you can lay down a blanket and relax.
Sand Harbor Beach is unique in many ways. There are two sides to this beach. On one side is the long stretch of sand, perfect for swimming and relaxing. This is the side where most people visit to go swimming and sunbathing.
Take the path of the paved trail and you'll soon find yourself on the other side of Sand Harbor - the rocky part. This side features rocks of different shapes and sizes spread on the shallow part of the beach and on the shore. Crystal clear water allows you to see even the rocks underneath the water.
Sand Harbor Beach offers many different views. Whether you're on the rocky side or on the sand side, you'll find that the views are incredible and offer an amazing sense of peace and serenity.
Like any other beaches, Sand Harbor Beach also has some rules everyone must follow. These rules include not allowing pets at Sand Harbor, no to barbecues and glass containers on the beach, and no hard-bottomed watercraft at the Main Beach and Divers Cove.
Summer is the busiest season so the beach usually gets a lot of people, which means the Park gets filled easily. When that happens, you’ll be turned away.
2. Emerald Bay Beach
Emerald Bay Beach is located on the south lake area of Lake Tahoe and can be accessed via Highway 89. It is part of the Emerald Bay State Park, a 1,533-acre park located just south of D.L. Bliss State Park. This beach was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1969 by the Federal Department of Interior. In 1994, Emerald Bay was designated an Underwater State Park.
Emerald Bay is one of the most photographed parts of Lake Tahoe. Visitors frequent Emerald Bay Beach for its dramatic setting, heavenly views, and abundant activities. The deep sapphire color of the lake is spectacular and truly Instagram-worthy, so don't forget to bring your camera!
Relax and enjoy the sandy beach. Go hiking and camping. Go scuba diving and explore the boats and barges under the crystal clear water. Explore Vikingsholm Castle, the famous 38-room Scandinavian architecture mansion that's a popular tourist destination.
Aside from swimming, the best way to enjoy Emerald Bay is to take out a kayak, a stand up paddleboard or hop on a boat. Out there in the waters, you get a better view of the unique colors of the waters.
3. Pope Beach
Located on the south shore of Lake Tahoe, Pope Beach is one of this lake’s most accessible beaches. It is just five minutes from the South Y and four minutes from Camp Richardson. This beach stretches approximately 3/4 miles long and offers a sandy beach and emerald waters that are perfect for swimming and picnicking.
Pope Beach is a smaller beach compared to the other beaches of Lake Tahoe, but the view is just as great. The beach is shaded by pines and the water is clear and cool.
Pope Beach is a popular spot for both locals and visitors so it gets really crowded. Make sure to get there early. There is a very affordable entrance fee. Access to the beach is easy and you can be by the waters in minutes, unlike some other spots where you have to walk for miles. Towards the north side of the beach, you'll find kayak and board rentals.
4. Commons Beach
Commons Beach is located on the lake in downtown Tahoe City. This beach and park cover more than a four-plus-acre and is popular for sunbathing, swimming, and picnicking. There are picnic sites and a children's playground perfect for the whole family. The barbecue area can accommodate up to 75 people.
Commons Beach is an excellent spot for the whole family, regardless of age. Toddlers and kids will enjoy the different play equipment, teenagers will enjoy kayak and swimming, and adults can do their favorite water sports.
5. Kings Beach State Recreation Area
Located along Lake Tahoe's northern shore, on the California side, is Kings Beach, a stretch of 700 feet of postcard-perfect beach which has been turned into a state park. You'll love the tranquil, sparkling lake surrounded by beautiful mountains and tall pine trees.
If you're from Reno, Kings Beach is approximately 43 miles away and can be accessed via I-80 W and CA-267 E. From Tahoe City, Kings Beach is only 9 miles away.
Locals and tourists flock Kings Beach not just for its views but also because it is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and boating. Other favorite water sports also include parasailing, jet skis, stand up paddleboard, and kayaks.
On a hot day, you'll find the shore lined up with towels, and the lake filled with people keeping cool in the crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe. There's also a picnic area and a playground which makes it the best play area for kids. If you enjoy kayaking, there are many places where you can rent kayaks and paddleboards.
Kings Beach is a popular recreation area, so it can get crowded especially during the summer and on weekends.
6. Lester Beach
Lester Beach is stretched on the shoreline of South Lake Tahoe, just north of Emerald Bay. It is about 19 miles away from Tahoe City in California and part of the D.L. Bliss State Park, a park with some of the most picturesque beaches with sweeping views of Lake Tahoe. D.L. Bliss has two parts - Lester Beach is the north portion, and Calloway Cove is the north portion.
Lester Beach is considered the most beautiful of the north and west coast Lake Tahoe beaches with its white sand and shallow clear water. This beach is small compared to the other beaches in Lake Tahoe, but it offers more private coves with stunning views. The beach area is part of the camping sites, so campers get to claim their piece of the beach early.
Lester Beach is the northern portal to Rubicon Wall, the deepest part of Lake Tahoe.
If you're going to Lester Beach, come early. This beach fills early, often by 11 AM. Once filled, visitors are no longer allowed to drive into the park. The road is narrow so trailers are not advised.
There are several private property beaches adjacent to Lester Beach, so make sure to stay on park property.