Lake Tahoe’s 72 miles of shoreline are lined with the kind of beaches that soften consciousness into daydreams. The gleaming granite and crystal sand, the lap of tiny glassy waves, the turquoise shallows and cerulean depths will make any travel agent swoon. Of course, each small cove and rocky curve is a part of Lake Tahoe, but which beaches truly define it? Here are a few ideas that will get the discussion started.
Lakeview Commons, South Lake Tahoe
The newest focal point of the South Shore, Lakeview Commons furnishes residents and visitors alike with a gathering place, a bevy of facilities, an exceptional view and easy access to the water. It’s the staging ground for Wednesday night stand-up paddle races. A handful of barbecues make for easy gourmet picnics. And there’s free live music throughout the summer. What else can you ask for from a beach? How about a wide-open view of a blazing mountain sunset every once in a while? You got it.
Commons Beach, Tahoe City
For lake and coastal dwellers, the beach plays a large role in everyday life. As does Tahoe City’s Commons Beach. A weekly farmers market and the long-running concert series add to obvious activities like swimming and sunbathing. There’s also picnic sites, a grassy lawn, a bike path and easy access to the town’s many businesses. Commons Beach is well-known as a great spot for kids, with a gentle shore and a playground.
Zephyr Cove, Nev.
The East Shore nook epitomizes Lake Tahoe’s shoreline. Part developed, part unrefined beauty, part sand, part rocky alcove, Zephyr Cove has a little something for everyone. Visitors can jump on the M.S. Dixie II for a cruise, race around the water on jet skis or bob along the shore on other water toys. Or, a lengthy stretch of sand and a few big rocks make for excellent sunbathing space.
D.L. Bliss State Park, California
Nowhere else in the world do granite, white sand and translucent water come together with such definite allure. Huge flecked boulders surge out of the lake’s steep underwater shelf, tempting deep-water scuba divers. A sheltered cove provides a nice anchorage for boats. Camping is available, though primarily through reservation. A long, sketchy rope swing and a less-than-docile cliff jump are there for the daring. D.L. Bliss has it all, in a Tahoe kind of way.
Sand Harbor, Nev.
When people envision Lake Tahoe, there might be one spot that comes to mind more often than not. Fool’s gold sparkles along the beach’s smooth bottom. Granite slabs stacked and scattered along the East Shore point create submarine tunnels and plenty of hiding spots for minnows and crayfish. Rocky islands make popular swimming targets. On summer evenings, Shakespeare’s work comes to life in the outdoor venue. There’s little more romantic. Sand Harbor is indeed an icon among beaches.