25 Incredible Things to do in Lake Tahoe in Summer
Lake Tahoe is an alpine lake located over 6000ft above the sea in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. With crystal clear beaches, breathtaking hikes and views of snowcapped mountains, Lake Tahoe almost sounds too good to be true. I believe Lake Tahoe is one of those bucket list places that you should visit at least once in a lifetime.
Its unique geography makes Lake Tahoe a perfect destination in winter or summer. I am not a skier but love water sports so summer is my favorite time of the year to visit Tahoe area. Living less than 4hrs away, we make it a point to visit Lake Tahoe as often as we can. Thanks to our numerous trips, we picked up a few favorite things to do and have listed 25 amazing things to do in Lake Tahoe in summer. Even if you had already visited Lake Tahoe, I am sure you will find something new in this list!
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25 Things to do in Lake Tahoe in Summer
Drive around Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe has 72 miles of shoreline. While it may not seem like a lot, you could easily spend a weekend driving around the lake and admiring the jaw dropping vista points and beaches. If you cannot drive all around the lake, I suggest choosing either north or south from wherever you are staying. Save the other side for your next trip!
TIP: The drive can be windy with single lane roads and lots of traffic. Start early to avoid traffic especially near South Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay.
Jet Ski, Kayaking & Water Sports
Lake Tahoe is a water sport lover’s paradise in the summer. There are so many water activities to choose from like parasailing, boating, kayaking, paddle boarding and jet skiing. Many companies along the shore and beaches offer rentals. Check out Tahoe Sports, Tahoe jet boats, Tahoe Blue Adventures to name a few.
This is probably the most popular spot in Lake Tahoe and for a good reason. Make this your first stop and get there early to avoid crowds! The views of Emerald Bay and Fannette Island from the parking lot are breathtaking.
While you are at Emerald Bay, you have got to go on a few hikes to fully appreciate the beauty of the bay. If you want even better views of Emerald Bay and catch some waterfalls, check out the hikes below.
Eagle Falls hike
This is one of the busiest trails in Emerald Bay. The round trip to Eagle falls is less than 2 miles and that makes it a great family hike. This is an awesome hike to watch the sunrise as well!
Cascade falls hike
This is another heavily trafficked trail that has great views of Emerald Bay and Cascade falls. The hike is less than 1.5miles round trip and is dog friendly. Yay!
I believe that all spectacular things in life are not free. All good things need some effort and that makes the result so much more gratifying. One such trail that requires effort but so worth is the Bayview trail. Bayview trail is approximately 10 miles round trip and goes higher with even more jaw dropping views of Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe. Hike this trail if you have enough time and are an experienced hiker.
A 1.7 mile hike down towards the bay shore leads you to one of the most beautiful Scandinavian homes in the US – Vikingsholm. It was built as a summer home in early 1900s. Later in 1953, the estate was sold to the State of California. Take a tour (opearted from June – September) of the home if you are interesting in learning about its history and architecture.
Boat/Yacht ride to Emerald Bay
Another way to get around Emerald Bay and around the lake is renting a boat or taking a yacht tour. There are many companies that offer boat rentals and scenic yacht tours. Check out Serenity Yacht or Tahoe Sports.
D.L. Bliss State Park
A few minutes drive to the north of Emerald Bay is D.L. Bliss State Park. With camping, beach access and hiking trails, you could easily spend a day at this park or have a nice picnic after hiking and swimming.
Rubicon trail is a 22 mile trail with several entrance points. One of those entrance points is from D.L. Bliss State Park. If you visit the park, I highly recommend this hike for beautiful views of the lake and the bay.
Heavenly village and Gondola
Heavenly village is a fun shopping village to visit in South Lake Tahoe. In summer months, the village is bustling with outdoor patio restaurants and people performing live music. It is a great place to grab a drink or a bite after a long summer day. While you are there, take the 2.4 mile Gondola ride for panoramic views of Lake Tahoe.
Tahoe City and Commons Beach
I love Tahoe City because it is not as crowded as South Lake Tahoe and is close to many attractions including Squaw Valley and Truckee river that are listed below. It is quite peaceful in the morning and you can have as much fun as in South Lake Tahoe minus the people and traffic. Commons beach is a great beach to relax and enjoy water activities. There are also some great restaurants in the town.
Aerial Tram at Squaw Valley
Squaw Valley in the summer? Why, yes! We stayed here once and loved the peace and quiet of the valley, alpine meadows, beautiful biking trails and the aerial tram with gorgeous views! The only downside is that only a few restaurants operate during the summer. However, Tahoe City is only a 10min drive from the valley.
Truckee River Bike Trail
Rent a bike at Squaw Valley and follow the bike trail to Truckee river. It is one of the most beautiful trails to bike with cool river breeze and trees providing much needed shade.
Truckee River Tubing/Rafting
Truckee river is a hidden gem in Lake Tahoe area that not many people visit. It is a great place to relax while tubing or have thrilling adventures like rafting. Truckee River Rafting Co. offers both.
Jake’s On The Lake
What a fun restaurant this is! We had so much fun dining at Jake’s while watching paddle boarder’s and boats sail by. The food here is pretty good too and is such a fun place to eat for lunch or dinner.
Hurricane Bay Beach
There was barely anyone around every time we had visited the beach. And I have no idea why because this is a great beach to relax and listen to the sound of the waves. If you want stillness and peace, visit this beach and spend a few hours there.
Kings Beach to the north of Tahoe City is another fun town with old shops, beaches, pier and water activities. If you drive to the north side of the lake, stop by Kings Beach and the pier.
Round Hill Pines Beach Resort
If you are a resort person and like to spend the day at one place instead of driving around, choose Round Hill Pines Beach Resort. They offer boat rentals, water sports, beach activities and also have restaurants at the beach. It is also a great place to end the day with beautiful sunset.
Zephyr Cove & Nevada beach
Zephyr Cove and Nevada beach are both great beaches to enjoy water sports and relax on the south side of Lake Tahoe. These beaches are not as crowded as the South Lake Tahoe ones and are ideal to watch sunset.
Cave Rock State Park
I cannot think of a better spot than Cave Rock to watch the sunset in Lake Tahoe. Check out my blog post about this short but most beautiful hike with THE best sunset in Lake Tahoe.
The Bistro at Edgewood Resort
This is yet another beautiful resort with lots of activities including golf. If you cannot stay here, I suggest dining at The Bistro and enjoy the views of the Lake.
Sand Harbor Beach
Sand Harbor beach is on the east shore and is a MUST visit for its blue green water and beautiful landscapes. Is a bit of a drive if you drive from California or staying on the south/west side but so worth it. You could easily spend a day at the beach kayaking, paddle boarding or beach gazing.
TIP: While the parking lot is pretty big, it can get full pretty quick in the summer. Go as early as possible (the park opens at 8am), find a good spot on the beach and don’t leave. 🙂
Chimney beach is a hidden gem on the east shore of the lake approx. 2 miles south of Sand Harbor beach. Note that the hike to the beach is pretty challenging and takes an effort but the turquoise waters make it an unforgettable experience!
If you are looking for another perfect place to watch sunset, this is it! It is just a rock with a few trees growing out of it but there is something magical about it. Use these coordinates for the exact location of the rock and hike down to see the rock up close!
Lake Tahoe is a beautiful lake to visit and one could easily spend weeks exploring the area. This list should be more than enough for you to spend a week there! Through this post, I hope you got picked up a few things to do in Lake Tahoe. Have you been to Lake Tahoe already? If yes, let me know what your favorite things to do are and if I missed something!
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I am Aswani Kurra. I am an engineer, dreamer and part-time wanderlust, writer and wine lover. I always had an urge to write, create and travel. So I created this space to satisfy my creative itch and combine all my skills to help you plan your Charming Escape.