Lake Tahoe- What to Explore When The Kids Come, Too!

When our family visited Lake Tahoe in the summer, we planned the vacation based on wanting to go to Yosemite.  Because of that, we flew into Fresno and thought “hey, as long as we’re over there, let’s go up to Lake Tahoe!” Lake Tahoe with kids is a great destination, full of nature, water, beach, and playing. There are plenty of things to do in Lake Tahoe with the family.

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Updated December 9, 2021

Closest Airports to Lake Tahoe

That WAS a great idea to swing by Lake Tahoe and I don’t regret it, but I would have planned way differently.  Driving from Fresno to Lake Tahoe? Not easy.  Not quick.  If you want to visit Lake Tahoe, you’ll want to fly into Reno.  Even San Francisco would be faster!  We realize that now.  Our kids were so patient on that looooong car ride, which we THOUGHT was going to be quick.  Oops.

Where is Lake Tahoe?

If you’ve never been to Lake Tahoe in summer, you should.  This lake is right on the border of Nevada and California ( “North Lake Tahoe” and “Tahoe South.”) The first thing I thought when I stepped up to the lake was that it was like the ocean.  Like a very, very cold ocean.  With mountains.  I stared into blue waters from a sandy beach, in the mountains.  

beautiful view of Lake Tahoe

Once we made it to Lake Tahoe, it was so beautiful.  Again, we didn’t regret the long drive (but definitely learned from it!)  I’ll do a quick synopsis of a few places around Tahoe we took the kids to.

Where to Stay in Lake Tahoe

Tahoe Beach and Ski Club

We stayed at Tahoe Beach and Ski Club, which is located off the main road in South Tahoe. It’s right on the beach (which is beautiful at this hotel). There’s a playground, BBQ, lounge chairs on the beach. Next to that is an outdoor pool. Our room was equipped with a bed plus a sofa sleeper. The kitchenette at the foot of the bed had a large fridge, sink, microwave, and stocked with supplies to eat your meal.
There were many restaurants close-by. 

The Ritz at Lake Tahoe

There are plenty of other great Lake Tahoe hotels that would be great to stay in. If you are able to splurge (a lot), check out the Ritz-Carlton, which US News named the best hotel in Lake Tahoe. Located at Northstar California resort, you’ll be graced with great views no matter what time of year. You also get the luxuries Ritz Carlton is known for. This Ritz is on the northern, California side of Lake Tahoe. It’s about 30 minutes to drive to Incline Village.

Starting at $599/night

Hyatt Regency at Lake Tahoe

Enjoy a private beach at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, located near Incline Village at Lake Tahoe. Plus, it’s perfect for families. Adults will love the casino, full spa, and choice of 3 different restaurants on site. When you’re not out exploring Lake Tahoe, the kids can play in the kid’s pool or at the outdoor playground. There’s even a kid’s club ($).

Starting at $152/night

Base Camp at South Lake Tahoe

For a more affordable, but highly-rated and family-friendly option, check out Base Camp hotel. Bring the whole family, and if you’re on a budget you can even get a family-room, which can sleep 6 people! It’s located right at Lakeside Beach, has a restaurant on site, and even has a cool rooftop terrace. This boutique-style hotel makes a cozy, comfortable stay with a modern vibe.

Starting at $98/night

Beaches in Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbor Beach at Lake Tahoe (North)

The first beach we went to was Sand Harbor, which is on the north side near Incline Village.  This beach is beautiful. Coarse sand is light in color covering a clean, well-kept beach. Bathrooms are full service (they flush and there’s water to wash with.) It’s easy to spend the whole day here. It’s one of the more popular and beautiful beaches at Lake Tahoe. Closer to sunset the waves began so you could listen like you were on calm ocean water. It was cold, but we were still able to swim a little. 

King’s Beach at Lake Tahoe (North)

We also visited King’s Beach, another popular beach area.  It’s a beautiful, white-sand beach that is great if you are looking to swim. The sand slowly slopes into the lake, making it great to play in. This also makes it one of the warmer beaches to swim in, since it’s a little more shallow near the edge.

family playing in the lake at Lake Tahoe

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Want more beach? Check out South Padre Island or Free Things to do in San Diego!


Lester Beach at Lake Tahoe (West side)

Lester beach is located within DL Bliss State Park. It’s part of a bigger area known as Bliss Beach, which is made of both Lester Beach and Calloway Cove. While the beach area is gorgeous, there is no marked swim area.

This is also where the Rubicon Trail begins. While you may be able to hike a little bit with kids to get great views, the entire trail is over 16 miles.

Pope Beach At Lake Tahoe (South)

This is a beautiful beach are at Lake Tahoe. There is a charge for parking, but once you’re in, you’ll love it. Pope beach is a large beach area. It’s perfect for families since there are so many activities available. Rent some kayaks, play volleyball, have a picnic, splash a little, or just relax. Plus, there are ample restrooms, making it perfect if you’ve got littles who frequent.

boy playing the in the sand at Lake Tahoe

It may have not been the ocean, but these beaches did not disappoint!  The sand was great to play in, the water, though quite cold, was beautiful and clear, and the sunsets were postcard-perfect.

families hangout out on sand at sunset at Lake Tahoe
Awesome Sunsets
sunset at Lake Tahoe

Emerald Bay State Park – Lake Tahoe

We took about a half-day to hike around at Emerald Bay State Park.  I’m going to keep typing in bold, because this is not to be missed!  This park and all its beauty is the result of glaciers from long ago. The hike around was not too bad and worth any hills we had to climb.  You can swim, kayak, or boat here, but we just hiked for the views.  We hiked to a high point for a picturesque moment, and also down to a beach area where we stopped to play and relax.

While in Emerald Bay, you can take a dinner cruise or rent a kayak to add to your enjoyment.

Other great kid-friendly things to do at Lake Tahoe

Kayak, Paddleboard, snowshoeing, sailing, horseback riding, beach playing, rent bicycles, or hot air balloon rides.  Or, visit Heavenly skiheavenly.com  (ski resort) in summer for mountain coasters, golf, hiking, and chairlift rides.

For extra fun, check out the Wild West Tour from Lake Tahoe, which includes a train ride!

There is plenty to do to have a fun Lake Tahoe Summer!

Save to Pinterest!

Lake Tahoe with kids pin

Those are the best, easiest, fun things to do in Lake Tahoe. What are you most excited for?

45 thoughts on “Lake Tahoe- What to Explore When The Kids Come, Too!”

    • It’s incredible, isn’t it? I just kept thinking “I feel like I’m at the ocean, but there’s mountains right across the water!”

      Reply
    • This year has been a little crazy in terms of getting to travel. Hopefully you’ll make it to the mountains soon 🙂

      Reply
    • Thanks for reading! Yes, the beach and water was kid-friendly for sure, if they don’t mind the cold water! Ha! Still very fun though.

      Reply
  1. You’re pictures are beautiful and I’ll definitely need to take my kids here. They love the outdoors and this is a trip they would thoroughly enjoy.

    Reply
  2. What a beautiful lake. The ocean is nice with its never ending horizon but I am still partial to mountains in the distance.

    Reply
  3. Lake Tahoe looks sooo amazing. I keep seeing photos of it and I can’t wait to visit someday. It’s definitely very high up on my bucket list! 🙂

    Reply

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