Lake Tahoe, CA is a beautiful destination that draws visitors from around the world. Known for its crystal-clear waters, towering mountains, and endless outdoor activities, Lake Tahoe is a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of the top 8 beautiful places in Lake Tahoe that you won’t want to miss. So whether you’re a recent transplant renting an apartment in South Lake Tahoe, CA or you’re looking for homes in the area, read about the many beautiful places that await you.
“The east shore of Lake Tahoe is one of my favorite areas to photograph a winter sunset. While many of the impressive beaches along this part of the lake become crowded during hot summer months, winter is a different story, especially when it comes to the locations that require a bit more of an effort to reach. When the right clouds and conditions align, there are endless opportunities from various coves and overlooks to capture captivating moments from golden hour into the last glow of sunset.” –David Braun Photography
1. Emerald Bay State Park
Emerald Bay State Park is a beautiful park located on the southwest shore of Lake Tahoe. The park has crystal-clear waters and stunning views of Fannette Island and Eagle Falls. You can explore the park’s hiking trails, take a scenic boat tour of the bay, or simply relax on the beach and take in the views. The park also features a historic Scandinavian-style mansion, Vikingsholm, which is open for tours during the summer months.
2. Kiva Beach
Featuring fantastic views of the surrounding mountains, including Mount Tallac, Kiva Beach is a hidden jewel. This beautiful sandy beach offers stunning views of the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains. Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, such as swimming, sunbathing, kayaking, and paddle boarding. Kiva Beach is a must-visit spot for anyone looking for a peaceful and picturesque experience in Lake Tahoe.
“My favorite spot in Lake Tahoe is Kiva Beach. It’s the perfect place to bring the family and the dog and enjoy a beautiful sunset. If you get lucky you may even spot a bald eagle flying overhead or catch the massive bloom of lupin on the beach.” –Autumn Noel Photography
3. Spooner Lake
Nestled in the heart of Lake Tahoe’s mountains, Spooner Lake is a true gem of the region. The peaceful and idyllic lake is surrounded by towering trees and lush greenery, making it a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You can enjoy hiking on the many trails that circle the lake, casting a line for rainbow and brown trout, or simply bask in the natural beauty of the area. The area is also well-known for its winter sports, such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Spooner Lake is an excellent destination that showcases the true beauty of Lake Tahoe.
4. Mount Tallac
At 9,735 feet, Mount Tallac is one of the highest peaks in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and a challenging but rewarding hike for adventurers. The trail to the summit is steep and rocky, but the views from the top make it all worthwhile. From the summit you will find an unparalleled glimpse into the natural beauty of the area. During the summer months, wildflowers dot the trail, adding to the already stunning landscape.
“One of my favorite views of the Lake is from the summit of Mt. Tallac, which is also my favorite hike around the Lake Tahoe Basin. One of the few spots you can see her in her entirety from end to end, all 170 miles!” –Kelsey J. Photography
5. Sand Harbor
Sand Harbor is a popular destination located on the northeast shore of Lake Tahoe, known for its white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. The park features a boat launch, picnic areas, and a visitor center with a gift shop. You can rent paddle boards and kayaks to explore the lake. The park is also home to the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, a popular summer event that features performances of the bard’s plays in a stunning outdoor setting. With its natural beauty and wide range of activities, Sand Harbor is a favorite destination among locals and visitors.
6. Meeks Bay
Meeks Bay is a picture-perfect beach that boasts some of the most stunning views in Lake Tahoe. Palm trees and lush vegetation line the sandy shores, providing the perfect backdrop for a peaceful retreat. You can swim or paddle in the calm waters or take a leisurely walk along the beach, enjoying the cool breeze and breathtaking views. As the sun sets, the sky turns into an array of colors, casting a warm glow over the entire bay.
7. Squaw Valley
Squaw Valley is a year-round paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. This mountain resort offers 360 views of the surrounding mountain tops, with over 6,000 acres of skiable terrain in the winter months. During the summer, visitors can take advantage of the world-class mountain biking and hiking trails, which wind through the stunning alpine forests. For a more leisurely experience, take a scenic gondola ride to High Camp, where you can enjoy panoramic views of Lake Tahoe and indulge in fine dining with a view.
8. Fallen Leaf Lake
Tucked away in a tranquil corner lies the hidden paradise that is Fallen Leaf Lake. The shimmering waters of the lake reflect the snow-capped peaks that rise in the background, creating a beautiful panorama. The secluded location of the lake makes it a peaceful haven for swimming, fishing, and paddle boarding, while the surrounding hiking trails provide an escape into the natural beauty of the area. As the day turns into dusk, the orange hues of the sun setting over the mountains reflect off the still waters, painting the sky in a magical glow.
Lake Tahoe is a stunningly beautiful destination that offers something for everyone, from outdoor enthusiasts to those looking for a quiet retreat in nature. The 8 places listed here are just a few of the many destinations in Lake Tahoe that locals love. Whether you’re looking to swim, hike, ski, or simply take in the natural beauty of the area, Lake Tahoe has it all. So, if you’re planning a trip to this picturesque destination, be sure to check out these local favorites and experience the best that Lake Tahoe has to offer.