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Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the U.S. and has over 70 miles of shoreline. Most of the Tahoe shoreline is either granite boulders and cliffs, but the lake does have many great public beaches for swimming, picnics, BBQs or just lying around in the sun. Some of the beaches have parking fees associated with them and most don't allow dogs, so please check the websites when available.
Here is a list of our favorites spots on the North and West Shores of Lake Tahoe!
North Tahoe Beach
The North Tahoe Beach Center is a 2.7 acre site that includes 540 feet of shoreline and is owned by the California Tahoe Conservancy, maintained and managed by California State Parks. It is located at the intersection of Highway 267 and Highway 28. North Tahoe Beach has 3 beach volleyball courts, restroom facilities and a pavilion.
The pavillion can be reserved but the remainder of the facility is available for use by the public on a first come, first served basis. North Tahoe Beach Pavilion is a covered area with a BBQ, electrical outlets, picnic tables and a kitchen area with running water during the summer season (May – October). It is located on the water’s edge of North Lake Tahoe. The pavilion must be reserved for events serving more than 25 people. 4-7 picnic tables are within the reservable area, table numbers vary depending on prior use. 3 bathrooms, outdoor showers, horseshoe pit and sand volleyball court are available on a first come first serve basis. Only the immediate Pavilion Area may be rented; the rest of the site is available to the public.
If you are interested in having an event at North Tahoe Beach Pavilion, please contact our Special Events Office at (530) 550-6165
Parking Fees Do Apply
Contact State Parks at (530) 523 - 3203 with any questions regarding this property.
China Cove Beach (Donner Memorial S.P.)
China Cove Beach is a beach on Donner Lake in Truckee, California with access from within the Donner Memorial State Park. China Cove is located on the right hand side at the end of the Day Use area of the Park (South Shore Drive).
Parking and Restroom Facilities - There is limited Parking on the side of the road across from the beach, and just past the restrooms which are directly across from the beach, there is a parking lot where South Shore Drive ends at the Park Boundary. You can continue through to South Shore Drive by either walking or riding a bike.
Dogs - While dogs are not allowed at the China Cove Beach Area and the nature trail behind the museum, they are allowed on the rest of the trails at this park. Dogs are also allowed in the lake. Pets must be on leash at all times and please clean up after them.
There is no cost for the beach, however, there is a Day Use fee of $8.00 per car to enter the Donner Memorial State Park.
Commons Beach Park
Located in downtown Tahoe City, this beach has a children’s playground and a grassy area that are uphill from the sandy shoreline. The water is shallow, but good for young children to wade in. Enjoy free concerts on Sundays! There is also a weekly morning farmer’s market in the beach parking lot (moves to the elementary school part-time during the summer). View Website
DL Bliss State Park
D. L. Bliss State Park is located on the western shore of Lake Tahoe, just north of Emerald Bay State Park. Notable features include Rubicon Point Light, the highest-elevation lighthouse in the United States. A popular trail in the lakeside forest features a large balancing rock.
The park is named in honor of timber and railroad magnate Duane Leroy Bliss, whose heirs donated 744 acres (301 ha) of land to the state in 1929. It has since grown to 2,149 acres
Dogs: Dogs are NOT allowed on the beaches, trails, or off-trail (including the bouldering areas).
SUMMER: The day use parking areas at the beaches and at the Rubicon trailhead are extremely popular during the summer months and are often FULL by mid morning. We recommend arriving early in the morning or late in the afternoon for best chances of finding a parking space. When the parking lots are full, day use vehicles will not be allowed into the park. Parking Fee Required. View Website
Emerald Bay State Park
Emerald Bay is a beautiful South Lake Tahoe state park and is considered a National Natural Landmark. Emerald Bay is situated on one of the most spectacular stretches of Highway 89, the road that takes you all the way around Lake Tahoe. Incredible lake and mountain vistas around every scenic hairpin turn (coming from both the south and north) make this destination worth it just for the drive.
Eagle Falls can be viewed right from the road, so even if you don't have time to hike and explore, we recommend finding a parking spot and checking out the falls from the road for a few minutes - the views are fantastic! View Website
Kings Beach State Recreation Area
KBSRA is the flagship beach site in the North Tahoe area. KBSRA's 1,700 feet of lakefront is the largest public access sandy beach on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. The wide stretch of white sand that makes up Kings Beach is a favorite of visitors and residents alike. Its south facing aspect and a lake floor that gradually deepens, makes this one of the warmest swimming areas on the Lake.
Kings Beach State Recreation Area is a California State Recreation Area owned and operated by California State Parks. Contact State Parks at (530) 583-3075 with any questions regarding this property. The "Tahoe Regional" Annual Pass at $75 gives Tahoe enthusiasts the ability to frequent their favorite Lake Tahoe State Parks including D.L. Bliss SP, Ed Z'Berg Sugar Pine Point SP, Emerald Bay SP and Kings Beach SRA, and even includes Donner Memorial SP.
A beautiful playground area overlooks the water and gives the kids a place to play after they have tired of playing in the Lake. One picnic area near the playground is available on a first come, first served basis.
Lake Forest Beach
Lake Forest Beach is a free day-use park within the neighborhood of Lake Forest Glen, a few miles outside of Tahoe City. The beach is a secluded, sandy and pebbly shoreline. The views are spectacular from the angle provided by the park, giving direct sight of Mount Tallac and other framing mountains. This beach is perfect for launching paddleboards, kayaks or windsurfing equipment. The area is also great for birdwatching and swimming, with horseshoe pits, picnic tables and grills for public use. This beach also provides unparalleled opportunities to photograph expansive fields of lupine. These brilliant purple wildflowers cover the lowland shore of this public beach each summer, typically starting in mid-July through mid-August. In drought years, the flowers start blooming earlier in the season, in late May or June.
When you’re facing Lake Tahoe, you’ll see the sign Lake Forest Beach on the right hand side of that sign is the is a dog-friendly beach area. The left hand side of the Lake Forest Beach area is not dog-friendly and it is marked “No Dogs Allowed”. You need to be on the right hand side (West side) of the beach. You’ll know you’re in the right area by crossing the small bridge and you’ll see the dispenser of plastic bags so dog owners can pick up after their dogs. The water in this area is shallow, but still cold.
*Please note that parking is limited.* View Website
~10 miles south of Tahoe City on Hwy 89, adjacent to Meeks Bay Campground. It features a white sandy beach, boat launch, picnic facilities and rest rooms. There is a day use fee for parking.
Moon Dunes Beach
Moon Dunes Beach is located in Tahoe Vista just off of North Lake Boulevard (State Route 28). It adjoins Snow Creek and is across from the Rustic Cottages. It has a modest stretch of sand and offers picnic tables and roadside parking.
This is a California Tahoe Conservancy owned property that is managed by the North Tahoe Public Utility District. Portable restrooms are provided in the summer. Contact State Parks at (530) 583-3075 with any questions regarding this property.
Patton Landing Beach
Home to Waterman's Landing, Patton Landing is located on the Wast side of Gar Woods Grill & Pier. This three-acre, pebbly beach is quickly becoming Lake Tahoe's stand up paddling headquarters. The property offers a free, nonmotorized "car top" boat launch site (please inspect your kayak or paddleboard for Aquatic Invasive Species) and stand-up paddleboard and kayak rentals are available so you can enjoy the lake without bringing your own watercraft. The site is also served by restrooms, a full service café, and the staff are experts in the local paddle community. Other site features include accessible pathways, benches, picnic tables, a small (23 car) parking facility. The beach and coffeehouse are operated year-round by a concessionaire. Hours of operation are all Summer long and limited in the winter months.
Dog Friendly: Known to be one of the most popular dog beaches on the North Shore, dogs are allowed under strict voice command or leash on the East end of the beach. Please pick up after your pet. "Mutt mitts" are available. View Website
Racoon Street Beach & Boat launch
The Racoon Street Boat Launch is located at the end of Racoon Street in Kings Beach and is owned and operated by California State Parks. The facility includes a boat launch ramp (open when lake levels allow), restrooms and parking for vehicles as well as vehicles with trailers. Parking is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. This area also has some picnic tables in the shady area behind the restrooms.
Racoon Street is also the site of the only public dog beach in Kings Beach and Tahoe Vista. This small, rocky beach is located to the east (left if looking at the ramp) of the boat launch.
Please call (530) 583-3075 for questions or information regarding Calfornia State Park properties.
Sand Harbor State Park
Sand Harbor is truly one of the most spectacular places on the planet! And it is definitely one of the most beautiful places to see in Tahoe. The state park encompasses 55 acres of long sandy beaches, rocky coves, shady forested areas, panoramic lake views, and some of the clearest water you'll ever see.
Sand Harbor offer visitors unparalleled opportunities to enjoy Lake Tahoe and since it's a Nevada State Park, everything is clean and well run. The water is crystal clear and the beach has soft white sand. This spot is great for families and picnic groups. Sand Harbor Rentals offers kayaks and paddle board rentals by the hour, located at the boat ramp. There are multiple beaches to enjoy sunbathing, swimming, jumping from the rocks, and checking out the incredible views.
Sand Harbor has several bathroom facilities, as well as a restaurant serving food and sweet treats. Come enjoy Shakespeare on the lake during the summer and either pack a picnic or buy food at the venues on site. Try to be there for a full moon rising over the Lake, it's breathtaking and memorable! View Website
Sandy Beach is located in Tahoe Vista across Highway 28 and to the east of Anderson Road. The beach is owned by the California Tahoe Conservancy and managed by the North Tahoe Public Utility District. It adjoins Moon Dunes beach. Portable restrooms are provided in the summer.
Contact State Parks at (530) 583-3075 with any questions regarding this property. View Website
Skylandia State Park & Beach
Skylandia is a gorgeous, 24-acre state park that offers a multitude of amenities. Situated a mile and a half from Tahoe City, Skylandia offers both a grass park area complete with grills, picnic tables and public bathrooms as well as a sand beach that offers leisurely walks with views that look up the lake toward Mount Tallac and South Lake Tahoe. The park also offers a boat launch perfect for motorized and non-motorized watercraft. Dogs are allowed on leash in the grass park area. View Website
West End Beach (Donner Lake)
Nestled on the West Shore of Donner Lake, this 10 acre day use beach facility offers excellent shaded picnic and barbeque sites for families or groups. Day use fees apply.
- Covered Pavilion (reservable)
- Group Picnic Sites (reservable)
- Family Picnic Areas
- Basketball Court
- Tennis Court Sand & Grass Volleyball Courts
- Playground Areas
- Horseshoe Pits
- Kayak & Paddleboat Rentals
- Swimming Area
- Boat Parking
- Fishing Area
- Concession Stand
- Seasonal Small Boat Storage
Please call the District offices at 530 582-7720 to make reservations. You must complete the Rental Facility Application to reserve a facility. Reservations accepted at least two weeks in advance.