The 7 Best Beaches in Tahoe

Tahoe summers are full of adventure, from hiking to swimming—and basking in the sun on Tahoe’s inviting beaches. Travelers can wiggle their toes in the warm sand, swim in the clear waters, and marvel at the marvelous landscape. From remote hike-in coves to sweeping stretches of sand close to town, there is a Tahoe beach for everyone. Arrive early to avoid crowds, especially on summer weekends.

Aerial photo of Tahoe beach
Photo © Welcomia |

Calawee Cove

The magic of Calawee Cove in D. L. Bliss State Park starts from above. The sparkling waters twinkle as you take the short hike from the parking lot down to the cove. Once on the beach, you can swim in the water or relax on the soft sand. There are far fewer people than at neighboring Lester Beach.

Commons Beach

This four-acre beach in downtown Tahoe City offers excellent proximity to restaurants and shopping. The large beach is great for families. Kids can swim in the brisk water while parents sunbathe on the sand. In summer, the beach park hosts free concerts and outdoor movies.

Sand Harbor State Park

Sand Harbor at sunset
Sand Harbor at sunset. Photo © Mariusz Blach |

These crescent-shaped sand pits on Tahoe’s East Shore are one of the most popular spots for Tahoe travelers, drawing more than one million visitors a year. The sand here is some of the finest in Tahoe. Visitors can access hiking and bike paths from the park, and kayaks and paddleboards can be rented on-site. In July and August, Sand Harbor hosts the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival.

Secret Cove

This hike-in beach is a favorite of Tahoe locals. Jump from the large granite boulders into the cove’s turquoise waters. Note: You may see a full moon or two on this clothing-optional beach.

Kiva Beach

Pine-studded Kiva Beach is a dog-friendly beach on Tahoe’s South Shore. From the beach it’s a short walk to the Tallac Historic Site and Taylor Creek Visitor Center with its easy hiking trails.

Kings Beach State Recreation Area

Kings beach boat launch
Photo © Guobeihua |

Kings Beach is a fun-filled beach with shallow water for swimming, a playground, and kayak and paddleboard rentals. The spot is popular. You can usually find a swath of sand to stake out, but the small parking lot fills up fast. Several water-sports companies operate from the Kings Beach Pier.

West End Beach—Donner Lake

West End Beach, 20 minutes north of Tahoe on Donner Lake, has beach volleyball courts, tennis courts, and a beach area with a lifeguarded swim area.