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North Lake Tahoe Beaches
While salt water beaches must be given their due, there is simply nothing like swimming in a cold clear mountain lake on a sunny summerís day. While some North Lake Tahoe visitors can enjoy a private swim beach as part of their lodging, the public sites are equally beautiful Ė and, with thirty-two choices, there is a beach to suit every need. Here are a few of my favorites.
Families staying in Tahoe City will definitely want to check out Commons Beach, located right in town. The park is convenient for walking from most motels along the Highway 28 strip, which means that you wonít spend precious time looking for parking. With a childrenís play area, picnic tables, barbecues, and public bathrooms, this area is very easy to navigate for parents with small children as well as for larger parties. Kayak and stand-up paddle boards are available for rent here, and the city offers movie nights and free concerts during the summer months. A walking path allows for ambling directly on the lakefront and for finding less congested areas for photography. While this beach is generally very crowded, itís a fun place to watch people Ė and sometimes large flocks of Canada geese! Ė as well as swim, fish, or boat.
Staying in Tahoe City but want a less crowded beach? Drive a mile north and turn right at Lake Forest Drive. Skylandia Beach, which is located at the end of the road, is a quieter area with plenty of hiking and biking trails for those who want to do more than play in the water. The beach is a short amble from the parking lot, which can still fill up quickly; itís a good idea to come early or late in the day. Kayak rentals, public bathrooms, and barbecues are available here as well. Visitors who visit Skylandia at dawn and dusk will be treated (or subjected, depending on your point of view) to the company of bats flying through the trees; of course, there are also squirrels, chipmunks, and birds.
Volleyball players will want to drive further up Route 28 to North Tahoe Beach, where there are three available courts. This is also a beautiful spot for picnicking and swimming, with showers as well as public bathrooms. Note that this area is closed from 10pm to 6am, so itís not the place for that late-night beach singalong.
Looking for something less developed? Try the beach at Chamberís Landing, where thereís no parking lot (look for spots along the access road), and where there are no public services. Thereís a restaurant and bar nearby, so this is a fun place for a beach walk before drinks or dinner.
If youíre looking to camp near the beach, D.L. Bliss State Park is the place to go. Seventeen miles south of Tahoe City, ďBliss BeachĒ can also be accessed for day use as well. Spaces are available for tents and for campers of up to eighteen feet. There isnít a designated swimming area, so you will be in the water with boats; after your swim, youíll have access to picnic tables, showers, and public bathrooms. D.L. Bliss also offers access to the Rubicon and Lighthouse Trails, two very popular places to hike. If you want to park right at the beach, youíll want to arrive early, as the lot often is filled by mid-morning.
Note that no bonfires are permitted on any Lake Tahoe Beach, and that dogs must be on leashes. Help keep these beaches beautiful -- be sure to pack out your trash. Be sure to bring sunscreen -- it's easy to get burned at this altitude!
Note: I am not affiliated with any of these beaches, and have paid for parking with my own funds.
Chamberís Landing, off Highway 89 near Tahoma, Chamberís Lodge/West Lake Boulevard.
D.L. Bliss State Park, on Highway 89 between Tahoe City and Vikingsholm.
North Tahoe Beach, State Route 28 at Highway 267, Kings Beach, CA, 96143.
Skylandia State Park and Beach, Lake Forest Road, Tahoe City, CA, 96145.
Tahoe Commons Beach, 400 North Lake Boulevard, Tahoe City, CA, 96143.
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