Seventy-two blissful miles of shoreline ring Lake Tahoe, with no shortage of beautiful beaches. Whether you’re hauling coolers, buckets, and sand toys for a day of family fun, looking to accommodate your four-legged friend, or interested in something off the beaten path, there’s a Tahoe beach for that. Here, I’m sharing four of my favorites.
Best Family Beach — Sand Harbor
Tucked into a protected cove near Incline Village on the east shore, Sand Harbor is one of the prettiest beaches on the lake. And that’s saying something. Between the sandy beaches, granite boulders, and towering pines, it’s an incredible spot to spend the day. Kids will have a blast building sand castles, chasing minnows, hunting crawdads in the rocks, and darting in and out of the water. Pack your coolers, or hit the snack stand for snacks.
If you’re into water sports, bring the kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. You can launch from the public boat dock or on the swimming side in designated areas.
Keep in mind that parking fills up fast at Sand Harbor, especially on the weekends in the summer. Plan to get there really early to snag a spot in line. Once the lot is full, the gates are closed and you’ll need to bus or walk in from Incline, and no one wants to do that.
Sand Harbor is also home to the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, a wonderful summer series of classic events right on the water.
Best For Launching Kayaks & Boards — Kings Beach
King Beach is smack dab in the center of the north shore, with plenty of sandy shoreline to spread out. The water is fairly shallow close to shore, but right off Porcupine Point to the left is some of the lake’s deepest water. You can head out in your kayak or paddleboard in either direction. Follow the shoreline east and south to paddle past the Thunderbird lodge, and keep an eye out for eagles!
This is another great beach for families too, with a playground right off the beach. Parking tends to open up in the afternoon, and there are all kinds of great restaurants and shops in easy walking distance. On the weekends, craft and art fairs pop up nearby as well.
Best for Dogs — Hurricane Bay Beach
There are a lot of “no dogs allowed” signs dotting beaches at Tahoe, but man’s best friend is welcome in designated areas at Hurricane Bay Beach on the west shore. It’s not a sandy beach — there are tons of tiny pebbles covering the shoreline, which has its pros and cons. Still, it’s a great spot to throw a stick in the water for your furry friends.
Parking is right off the main road, so it’s a good quick stop spot to run the dogs.
Best Hidden Beach — Hidden Beach and Chimney Beach
In a word — magical. And while Hidden Beach truly used to be hidden and only accessible if you were willing to hike in, the newly developed bike and walking path has put it firmly on the radar. This is where boaters love to drop anchor and kayakers and paddleboarders tend to cruise through regularly. And it’s no surprise — the small, sandy beach is tucked amidst boulders and pines, and it feels truly hidden.
If you really want somewhere secluded, plan to hike into Chimney Beach. It’s on the east shore, and you’ll need to hoof it roughly half a mile along sandy trails. You’ll know it when you see it — there really is a stone chimney holding court on the beach. It’s all that’s left of a caretaker’s cabin. There’s a parking lot off highway 28 and signs on the trail. And bonus — dogs are welcome!