Disclosure: This post on the best things to do in Lake Tahoe in summer is sponsored by Hotels.com to bring forth some of the stunning wanderlust destinations in the USA. As always the opinions and ideas are my own.
Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake, located in the US states of California and Nevada. With views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, offering ski, water, and slow travel opportunities. In this post, we will share the best things to do in Lake Tahoe in the summer months.
Note: As travel today remains uncertain, please keep your safety and the safety of others in mind at all times. Follow local guidelines, remember to wear a face mask, and wash your hands often. Check official websites before your trip for the latest updates on policies, closures, and status of local businesses.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
7 Things to do in Lake Tahoe in summer
Which is better: South or North Lake Tahoe?
Both North and South Lake Tahoe are beautiful and offer a variety of activities to quench every traveler’s wanderlust. South Lake Tahoe is very popular, and usually very crowded in peak tourist months with tours, festivals, live music, five star resorts and more.
Its northern counterpart is perfect for those who wish to enjoy slow travel, stay near the lake, go to beaches and soak in the views. It oozes more of a relaxed (and slow) vibe.
Where to stay in/near Lake Tahoe?
There is no dearth of hotels in South Lake Tahoe, from fancy 5-star properties, modest lodges to campgrounds, you have a ton of options to choose from.
You can also find 3 star hotels, and luxury suites in and around North Lake Tahoe for accommodation. Nearby areas include Truckee, Tahoe City, and Incline Village.
Lake Tahoe is known for both summer and winter activities, it has beaches and ski resorts, making it an all year destination. Here are the top things to do in Lake Tahoe in the summer months.
Go Boating in Lake Tahoe
One of the amazing things to do in summer in Lake Tahoe is boating. You will find a lot of places to rent a boat as well as launch spots. South Lake Tahoe is the most popular, with many piers and marinas to choose from.
You can rent/use kayaks, powerboats, jet skis, and paddleboards on water. During summer, renting boats could be challenging (as it is crowded with tourists during long weekends), so plan ahead!
Embark on a scenic photo tour
One of the coolest summer activities in Lake Tahoe is to go on a half day photography tour. The hiking and sightseeing tour takes in waterfalls, glaciers, and possible sightings of the occasional bear. Along the way, you will learn fascinating facts about wildlife, geology, and Lake Tahoe History.
Get ready to capture the beauty of the South and west shore of Lake Tahoe, check out the scenic photography tour here
Check off the Emerald Bay + Sightseeing Cruise
Emerald Bay is one of the MOST photographed places in the US. It is located a short drive away from South Lake Tahoe.
Inside of the Emerald Bay park you can also visit the Eagle Falls and Vikingsholm Castle, a 1929 Nordic style 38-room mansion. This mansion is considered to be one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the United States.
The best way to enjoy a relaxing vacation at the Emerald Bay is to opt for a 2-hour sightseeing cruise. This tour starts in South Lake Tahoe (we recommend opting for the sunset tour), and cruises across the lake to the breathtaking Emerald Bay.
Along the way, soak in views of Lake Tahoe, the snow-capped mountains, Fannette Island, Vikingsholm Castle, Eagle Waterfall, and the Rubicon, from the comfort of your seats.
The tour also includes beverages and snacks onboard, as well as one complimentary beer, wine, or champagne.
Go swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding at Kings Beach
Kings Beach State Recreation Area is a popular spot to head to in the summer months. Located near North Lake Tahoe, Kings Beach opens up water activities for visitors from shore swimming, snorkeling, paddleboarding, parasailing, kayaking and more.
If you are not into water sports, you can still have a nice time at Kings Beach by picnicking and soaking in the sun. We recommend carrying food with you for a day at the beach.
There are a number of cabins and motels in Kings Beach, if you are looking for a place to stay.
Enjoy a relaxed beach day at Sand Harbour
Located about 32 km (20 miles) north of South Lake Tahoe is Sand Harbour. It is a popular place for swimming, boating, kayaking and enjoying summer/seasonal events.
You can rent kayaks at the Sand Harbor Rentals. They also offer guided kayak tours & paddleboard lessons.
The rocks, crystal clear water and the mountain views makes for a postcard worthy vacation at Sand Harbour North Lake Tahoe.
Hiking in and around Lake Tahoe
Just like water activities, Lake Tahoe also opens up with amazing hiking opportunities in the summer. You can enjoy easy hikes to moderate difficulty trails near Lake Tahoe. Most of the popular trails are located in the nearby state parks of Emerald Bay, D.L Bliss, Burton Creek, and Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park.
- Eagle Falls: Eagle Falls Trail offers stunning landscapes in South Lake Tahoe. This trail is a mile-long and is perfect for casual hikers (or those traveling with kids). The hike leads to views of cascading waterfalls, mountains, and lush greenery all around.
- Rubicon Trail: This is a 6.5-mile-long trail, which connects two of Lake Tahoe’s state parks, D.L. Bliss and Emerald Bay. The trail extends from Rubicon Point south around Emerald Bay to Eagle Point Campground.
Lake Tahoe is a wonderful getaway option in the US. Other than the active outdoorsy activities, you can also enjoy small town vacations in Truckee, Tahoe City, and attend various festivals (many even free).
From water sports, sightseeing tours, yoga events, movies, to music concerts, Lake Tahoe in the summer will leave you wanting for more!
More USA Travel Guides here
- USA Bucket list
- Romantic destinations in the USA for couples
- USA Weekend trips
- USA Fall Destinations
- USA Winter Destinations