Category: Destinations

Best Places For Kayaking In Lake Tahoe


by Thomas Moore

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Many people go to Lake Tahoe every year, and some of them love to kayak. In this article, I will write about the best places for kayaking and spending your time on the water in Lake Tahoe.

Whether you’re interested in camping or hiking, skiing or snowmobiling, spa resorts, or just watching Shakespearean plays, you’ll find something to do in this area of untold beauty.

But this article is about kayaking in Lake Tahoe. We will take a look at the most suitable places for kayaking in Lake Tahoe. At the end of this article, I will also write about water safety precautions that should be followed.

Lake Tahoe is divided into four parts: the North Shore, East Shore, South Shore, and West Shore. I’ll describe a variety of places that you can visit in each of Lake Tahoe’s four parts. Let’s start with the North Shore.

Here are the best places for kayaking in Lake Tahoe:

Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe
Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe

North Shore

North Shore beaches provide good paddling for a variety of skill levels as well as access to natural and cultural resources. There are numerous public launch and landing sites with on-site amenities.

Let’s begin right away.

Lake Forest Beach and Boat Ramp

The first spot on our list of the best places for kayaking in Lake Tahoe is Lake Forest Beach.

Lake Forest Beach and Boat Ramp, both of them, provide a magnificent view of the lake. It’s located on the corner of Bristlecone and Aqua in Tahoe City. Lake Forest Beach is a popular spot for a lot of activities, such as kayaking and paddleboarding.

The beach provides you with many amenities, for example, seasonal portable restrooms, a dog beach on the west side, restrooms, a playground, and sports fields. These amenities make it great to enjoy time on the water.

In addition, there are many kayak rental businesses in the nearby beach town where you may get your supplies.

One of the reasons why this place is great for kayaking is that, from the beach and the boat ramp, you can easily launch and land your kayak.

Kings Beach

Kings Beach on Lake Tahoe
Kings Beach on Lake Tahoe

One of the most popular beaches on Lake Tahoe is Kings Beach. Is a traditional small beach and Lake Tahoe’s most laid-back beach town, with stunning views of Lake Tahoe from nearly every location in Kings Beach town.

CA Highway 28 is the main road, and it is surrounded by many amenities, such as old-fashioned hotels, cool stores, and a wide variety of restaurants.

It’s a great place to launch and land your kayak, and there are several shops where you can rent a kayak or paddleboard.

Carnelian Bay

Carnelian West has 530 linear feet of public beach and is situated on the west side of the Sierra Boat Company in Carnelian Bay.

In 1860, Carnelian Bay was named due to the numerous yellow and red stones along the shore. Between 1930 and 1940, this place was popular for events such as boat racing and recreational boating.

This restored site combines wetland restoration and public beach access with designated boat launch and landing facilities. Here you can easily and safely launch your kayak, avoiding a capsize. There are also numerous kayak and SUP rental locations.

East Shore

The mountainous east shoreline features many beaches and coves with magnificent turquoise water in addition to some of the best views of Lake Tahoe. And since there are a lot of beaches, there are also a lot of convenient places to kayak.

Let’s take a look at these places.

Sand Harbor

Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park is located at Sand Harbor, Hwy 28 or PO Box 6116, Incline Village, NV 89452.

Sand Harbor, the paddle heart of Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, is situated on a wooded peninsula surrounded by lovely sandy beaches and offers recreational, cultural, and natural resource experiences.

Many places offer stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and sailing kayaks for summer rental. There are also guided tours offered.

Hidden Beach

Hidden Beach is a roughly 750-foot-long body of water with plenty of nearby sandy beaches and rocky coves on Highway 28, one mile south of Incline Village.

Considering that it is reachable from Highway 28 just over half a mile south of the town of Incline, Hidden Beach isn’t actually all that difficult to find.

The beach is about 200 yards long and tightly curls around a tiny, nearly circular bay with shallows resembling those in the Caribbean. Large, spherical stones that are scattered over the beach’s sands help to divide up distinct beachgoer groups.

On this beach, you can easily and safely get in and out of your kayak.

Cave Rock Boat Launch

Cave Rock, perched atop the Sierra Nevada mountain range and snuggled along Lake Tahoe’s southeast side, is an excellent site to launch a boat and explore the crystal-clear waters of North America’s largest alpine lake.

A steep shoreline and rocky shoals make this a fantastic spot for fishing and taking in Lake Tahoe’s magnificent scenery.

Additionally, the park includes more than 40 trailer parking places, and the boat launch has a double ramp. At the park’s southernmost point, a tiny beach offers the ideal location for swimming, tanning, and snorkeling, as well as an excellent area to launch a canoe or kayak.

South Shore

South Lake Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe

The part of Lake Tahoe that is most inhabited and likely the most well-liked is the South Shore. Most of the Nevada casinos may be found here, as well as many notable Californian restaurants. Additionally, there are numerous beaches, hiking trails, public parks, and commercial centers on the South Shore.

Pope Beach

Pope Beach, a three-quarter mile-long sandy beach with good swimming and picnicking opportunities. Is situated on National Forest land and offers stunning views of Lake Tahoe and the neighboring Sierra Nevada.

Additionally, on this site, you can find many places where you can rent a kayak and supplies, as well as many food concessions. You can also easily launch and land your kayak here.

If you like to ride a bicycle, the Pope/Baldwin Bike Path provides quick access to Pope Beach.

Kiva Beach

Kiva Beach on Lake Tahoe
Kiva Beach on Lake Tahoe

The Kiva Shoreline, which is situated on land owned by the National Forest, has a 200-yard stretch of vulnerable marshland and a small strip of sandy shoreline.

Giving amazing views of the mountains in the area, especially Mount Tallac. Once you park, it can be a little challenging to find due to a lack of signs, but the effort is well worth it. Take advantage of free parking, a visitor center with facilities and picnic tables, and a beautiful stroll to the beach after traversing a wooded trail.

Once you are on a beach, launch your kayak and enjoy the wonderful views and time on the water.

Emerald Bay

Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe
Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe

The Emerald Bay, located on the lake’s western shore and surrounded by a magnificent mountain backdrop. Is considered Lake Tahoe’s crown treasure. Lake Tahoe is so clear and deep that the colors are unreal, which makes Emerald Bay the ideal place for kayaking.

You can get to this place on Highway 89. It connects South Lake Tahoe with the bay, which is only a short distance away.

Kayaking is the best way to see all the delights of this area and this lake. At Baldwin Beach and the Emerald Bay Beach, you may rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. The best path is from Baldwin Beach to Bay Beach since it provides a longer, more picturesque perspective of the area.

To get to Emerald Bay by kayak, I recommend launching your kayak at Baldwin Beach. Baldwin Beach is considered the best launching spot for bay access.

West Shore

Lake Tahoe’s West Shore is like the Black Forest of Lake Tahoe, boasting a history that is as captivating as its mossy, deep-woods beauty.

The “Magical West Shore” is another name for the West Shore. 

Meeks Bay Beach

Meeks Bay, on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, lies 2 miles south of Tahoma along Highway 89. It’s well known for its beautiful views, expansive, pristine beaches, and simplicity of access.

Campers, swimmers, and beachgoers go to Meeks Bay’s horseshoe shape to take advantage of the area’s pristine waters and recreational activities.

With its white, sandy beach and cerulean and blue waves, Meeks Bay Beach is a nice place to spend a warm summer day paddling. And the summer sun ensures you have a fantastic day.

The drive-up day uses the beach, which is close to Meeks Bay Campground. It is great for families and makes it simple to launch personal watercraft like SUPs and kayaks.

D.L. Bliss State Park

On Highway 89, D.L. Bliss State Park is situated about 2 miles north of the Vikingsholm Parking Lot and 17 miles south of Tahoe City.

Camping guests and day visitors take pleasure in picnicking, lounging on the soft sand of Lester Beach or Calawee Cove. Also, they can go swimming or scuba diving in Lake Tahoe’s crystal-clear water.

Lester Beach is a well-liked location to launch your kayak, paddleboard, or canoe. But be advised that trailers are prohibited in the day-use parking spaces.

Sugar Pine Point

The last spot on our list of the best places for kayaking in Lake Tahoe is Sugar Pine Point.

About ten miles south of Tahoe City on Highway 89, the stunning Sugar Pine Point State Park is located along the tranquil western beaches of Lake Tahoe.

Additionally, Sugar Pine Point has a lot of amenities, such as a public pier, restrooms, water, picnicking, a historic site, a visitors center, and kayak and SUP rental. It’s a great place to go kayaking because it’s close to all the amenities you need.

Safety at Lake Tahoe

Now that you know about the best and most appropriate places to go kayaking, it’s time to talk about the most important thing. By most important, I mean the safety precautions you need to know and follow before you go kayaking.

So, let’s take a look at some points that you must consider:

  • Wear a SUP leash and a life jacket at all times!

A Type I, II, III, or suitable Type V life jacket that has been authorized by the US Coast Guard is required for every paddler who is 13 years old or older.

Children under the age of 13 must always wear a life jacket that has been certified by the USCG.

  • Remember that the Lake Tahoe water is always cold. 
  • Avoid hypothermia and cold water shock by breathing softly as you enter the water.
  • Don’t forget to check the weather conditions before going kayaking, check Lake Tahoe weather.
  • Pay attention to the changing wind, you can follow the changes on Lake Tahoe marine forecast.
  • Always wear vibrant colors, and always have colorful paddles, a whistle, and a flashlight with you.

As I wrote, following these points is very important. Follow them, and you will safely enjoy the magnificent views of nature and paddling on the water at the best places for kayaking in Lake Tahoe.

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Written by:

Hi, my name is Thomas, and I am a kayaker with over a decade of experience. I enjoy this outdoor water activity and also enjoy writing posts for this blog that help people learn more about kayaking.