Tips for Visiting Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is beautiful.

We spent two days at Lake Tahoe. One thing that we found daunting was that everyone there seems to have a cabin or access to a private beach. We don’t have any such thing, so we just stayed in a hotel and made our own entertainment. If you’d like to take an adventure to Tahoe on these terms, we can help. Here are our tips for enjoying Lake Tahoe on your first visit:

1. Visit the State Parks

The best way to explore Lake Tahoe is through the California State Parks. There are three different parks, and the fee is $10 for day use. The nice thing is, if you pay for one, you can get into all three. We’ve written about two of the parks: Emerald Bay and DL Bliss, both of which we recommend for all new visitors.

Emerald Bay has a lot of fun stuff to do.

2. Buy Gas in Nevada

Buy gas on the Nevada side of the border. California gas is much more expensive. You can save quite a bit by gassing up at any Nevada gas station.

3. Ask for a Free Beach Pass

Ask for a beach pass at your hotel. The beach we went to cost $7 for adults and $5 for children. Our hotel didn’t offer us a beach pass, but we asked for one, and got a pass that gave us free access to the beach. What’s more, the ticket taker didn’t even ask us for it, though he seemed to ask everyone else, so we used it the next day, too.

4. Take Sand Toys

We didn’t haul our sand toys all the way across Nevada, but we did break out some of those red Solo cups. They made a pretty serviceable sand castle. If our boys had shovels and buckets, they would have been in beach heaven.

5. Stop at the Overlook

There is a beautiful vista overlook on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. It’s called Logan Shoals Vista Point. It allows you to get out of the car and stretch your legs with a short walk to an overlook. Looking west over the lake is amazing. We also climbed around on the rocks for a bit because we’d been in the car for so long.

Logan Shoals Vista Point Overlook is definitely worth stopping for.

6. Use Sunscreen Often

We were only at the lake for three hours, and the glare of the sun off the water started us burning about every hour and a half. Usually we reapply sunscreen every two hours, but we shortened that to ninety minutes at Tahoe.

7. Get to your Location Early

There are at least 25 times as many cars in Tahoe as there are parking spots. It is very difficult to find a spot unless it is before 10 am or after 6 pm. If you like to sleep in late, plan on circling the parking lot of your destination for awhile.


We had a great time at Lake Tahoe, and can’t wait to go back to visit. We weren’t able to do everything there is in this beautiful spot. Leave a comment with your tips and recommendations of what we should do next visit!




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