The Summer is a great time to visit Lake Tahoe, especially if you enjoy boating and water sports – or just lazing on the beach and basking in the sun. It’s a perfect family destination or romantic getaway. The hottest months are July through August. During one of our visits in June to celebrate our anniversary, over the course of a week, we experienced ALL four seasons… and yes, even snow!
Fun Things To Do in Lake Tahoe
Enjoy scenic lake cruises, boating, kayaking, parasailing, water-skiing, fishing, horseback riding, carriage and hay wagon rides, tennis, golfing, swimming, mountain biking, and hiking during a Summer visit to Lake Tahoe. And at night, try your hand at “Lady Luck” at Lake Tahoe’s Las Vegas-style casinos and resorts.
Best Beaches in Lake Tahoe
Pack a picnic lunch or fire up the BBQ and enjoy a leisurely, fun day on the beach or boating on the lake. Our favorite South Shore Beaches include: Baldwin Beach, Nevada Beach, Pope Beach and Zephyr Cove Beach. Most beaches include restrooms, picnic facilities, fire pits and BBQ grills. Call beaches in advance to confirm admission or parking fees and beach policies regarding pets.
Kings Beach State Recreation Area is one of the most popular beaches on Tahoe’s North Shore. Its 700 feet of lakefront is the largest public access white sandy beach on the North Shore.
Lake Tahoe Sightseeing Cruises – M.S. Dixie II and Tahoe Queen
Enjoy spectacular views of the lake and mountains aboard the M.S. Dixie II and the Tahoe Queen, authentic Mississippi-style paddle wheelers. Sightseeing cruises on Lake Tahoe and through Emerald Bay are available year-round.
Emerald Bay and Emerald Bay State Park
Emerald Bay is one of the most photographed places in Lake Tahoe. When you see it, you’ll know why. In 1969, Emerald Bay was designated a National Natural Landmark. The tiny bay sits at the southwest corner of the lake and the views from the vistas are spectacular. To see the best views of Emerald Bay, Fanette Island, Eagle Falls and the surrounding area, stop at the Vikingsholm Parking Area Overlook (approximately 1.1 mile up the road from Inspiration Point vista) on Hwy 29. Emerald State Park is located 22 miles south of Tahoe City and about 30 minutes from the South Shore casinos. The drive up the windy mountain road from the South Shore is very picturesque. Note that areas of the road have no guardrails, so drive carefully.
Fanette Island, Lake Tahoe’s only island, sits in the middle of Emerald Bay.
Vikingsholm Castle sits at the head of Emerald Bay and is accessible only on foot or by boat. In 1929, Lora Knight built the Scandinavian Castle as a summer home because Emerald Bay reminded her of a fjord in Norway. It is considered to be one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the Western Hemisphere. Guided tours of the castle are available during Summer months. The hiking trail to Vikingsholm Castle is located at the Vikingsholm Parking Area. Follow the steep trail and hike one mile down (a 500-ft drop) to the castle. It’s not too bad on the way down, but the hike back up the hill can be quite strenuous (or so we’ve been told!)
Inspiration Point is a popular photo stop. The vista overlooks Emerald Bay, the lake, Tahoe’s majestic mountains and Fanette Island. And if you look really closely (bring binoculars of a zoom lens) you can see the historic Vikingsholm Castle surrounded by giant pine trees in the distance, on Emerald Beach.
Take a scenic hike to nearby Eagle Falls. A short trail leads from Vikingsholm Castle to the falls. To get a closer look at Eagle Falls, stop at Vikingsholm Parking Area or at the Eagle Falls vista (directly over the falls).
4th of July Lights on the Lake Fireworks
Lake Tahoe’s South Shore Fourth of July fireworks celebration is one of the nation’s most spectacular fireworks displays. Set to music, Lights on the Lake is considered to be the largest synchronized fireworks show west of the Mississippi. Fireworks usually begin at approximately 9:45pm and are visible from all over town. Short of being on a paddle-wheeler or private boat cruising the lake, here are some of the best views for the fireworks:
- Nevada Beach (located off Hwy 50, just north of Stateline, 2 miles east of the casinos on Elk Point Road)
- Regan and El Dorado Beaches (where Hwy 50 meets the Lake)
- Baldwin Beach (off Hwy 89)
- Bijou Community Park (corner of Johnson and Al Tahoe Blvds)