Lake Tahoe is a one-of-a-kind destination famous not only for its world-renowned alpine ski resorts but also its beautiful beaches. It is the largest alpine lake in North America and spans two states, Nevada and California.

When the snow melts away during the months of June through August, the lake transforms the region from a ski destination to a summer retreat with all the beachy activities you could want and plenty of them are accessible. Here are the 5 best accessible beaches in Lake Tahoe.

D.L. Bliss State Park, Lake Tahoe 7
D.L. Bliss State Park cove in South Lake Tahoem where recreational boats and paddle boarders can take advantage of secluded coves and sunny beaches.  Michael Marfell/Getty

Nevada Beach 

Best beach on the southside

Start your day by going to Nevada Beach on the South Side of Lake Tahoe for an early morning walk through native pine trees and evergreen shrubs along an accessible path that leads to a beautiful, wide, sandy beach. Sit at a picnic table and have your breakfast as you take in the surrounding views of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and don’t be surprised if you’re greeted by some geese that come to fish. 

Getting to the beach early helps secure a good parking spot, picnic table, and a stand-up paddleboard or kayak rental as they are available on a first-come-first-served basis. Rates start at $35 an hour from Kayak Tahoe.  Order ahead, grab a sandwich or burger for lunch from The Burger Lounge, serving up some of the tastiest burgers around.  

Plan on spending the whole day at the beach and have your cameras ready. Nevada Beach is positioned in the perfect location facing the Sierra Nevada mountains on the west, giving you the best view of the sunset and colorful sky reflecting on the lake. There are restrooms, picnic areas, and a parking area that fills up by 11 AM so get there early and be ready to pay a $10 parking fee for day use.

Beach at Lake Tahoe Sand Harbor Nevada USA
A beautiful beach at the eastern shores of Lake Tahoe at Sand Harbor on a sunny morning. Ben Edek/Getty

Sand Harbor 

Best Beach On The Northside

Meditate for a moment and breathe in the fresh mountain air as you decide which path to take. At Sand Harbor, you can either venture the ⅓ mile Sand Point Nature Trail, which is fully accessible and features interpretive signs and breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe, or take the half-mile path to Memorial Point Trail which will give you access to numerous secluded beaches. 

This North Side beach, in Nevada State Park, has crystal clear waters just perfect for swimming.  Be on the lookout for scuba divers disappearing into the gently sloping beaches along the cove. If you’ve ever wanted to take a paddleboard lesson or kayak tour this is the place to do it. Sand Harbor Rentals offers paddleboard lessons, guided tours, single and tandem paddleboards and kayaks. 

In July and August, you can catch a performance of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival held right on the beach. There is also a bar and grill, restrooms, showers, parking lot. Fee to park for day use is $10 per vehicle, Non-NV Vehicles $15 per vehicle, boat launch $20, bike parking is $2. Keep in mind that Sand Harbor is a very popular beach so it is best to arrive early. Gates open at 7AM.

Early morning winter sunrise at Commons Beach in Tahoe City, California, Lake Tahoe.
Early morning winter sunrise at Commons Beach in Tahoe City, California © Getty Images/iStockphoto

Commons Beach 

Best beach for families

If you’re traveling with a big family head to downtown Tahoe City and explore the developed 4+ acre Commons Beach Park. The amenities, including picnic tables, restrooms, a grassy area, climbing rock and a playground for kids make it easy for everyone to enjoy a day at the beach. Go for a walk on the paved path, rest on the benches in the shade, or sunbathe on your choice of grass or sand. 

This beach was made for family reunions. The barbecue area and amphitheater can accommodate more than 60 people and is available to rent through the Tahoe City Public Utility District. 

Be ready to get your groove on every Sunday afternoon because this is the place to be for music lovers of all ages. From July 25th through September 5th, from 4pm-7pm, you can enjoy the free live music concert series. On Wednesday nights, bring your chairs and blankets for a relaxing movie night under the stars with the family from July 14 through August 18th. Suggested donation for the movie is $1 per person.  Free parking is available on a first-come-first-served basis. For more information visit the Tahoe City Parks & Rec website.

Sunrise with frost covered sand in the winter at Kiva Beach on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, CA.
Sunrise with frost covered sand in the winter at Kiva Beach on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, CA © 

Kiva Beach #4

Best Beach for dogs 

Get away from the crowds and take a walk with your dog at Kiva Beach, nestled on the southern point of Lake Tahoe near Camp Richardson. Venture along the partially paved trail, featuring some interpretive signs. Follow the trail onto a colorful beach with beautiful views of Mt Tallac, Taylor Creek and the lake. The beach is rocky but becomes sandier as you venture further away from the shoreline. There is no fee to park in the small lot, so get there early to secure a parking spot. Take a break from your hike and have a picnic at the Kiva picnic area between the Taylor Creek Visitor Center and the Tallac Historic Site. Don’t forget to bring your dog’s leash. There are portable restrooms and picnic tables.

Sunset over Lake Tahoe Pope Beach
Sunset over Lake Tahoe Pope Beach © Mariusz Blach/Getty

Pope Beach

Best Beach for Scenic Views & Sunset

Head to Pope Beach at the end of the day to sit in the shade under native pine trees. The beach is less crowded in the evening and it will give you a chance to truly appreciate the serenity and picturesque views that surround you. The sparkling blue water here is perfect for swimming, windsurfing and non-motorized boating. This is also a great place to bring your dinner and have a picnic on the 3/4 mile sandy beach on the South shore of Lake Tahoe. 

Pope Beach is a favorite amongst nature lovers and photographers, especially during sunset. It is not only one of the quieter beaches located in the Lake Tahoe Basin, it is one of the lake’s most accessible beaches. There are accessible parking spots that run the length of the beach, accessible restrooms, paths, sidewalks and an accessible walkway that goes onto the beach. Kayak and Paddleboard rentals are also available at this location from Kayak Tahoe. There is a parking fee of $10.

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