15 Dog-Friendly Beaches in South Lake Tahoe CA Your Fur Buddy Will Love

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You do not have to go to the coast to enjoy the beach with your dog in South Lake Tahoe. This resort town in northeastern California is home to South Lake Tahoe, a two-million-year-old lake with 122,624 acres of water reaching a depth of up to 1,645 feet. You will probably be visiting two states when enjoying Lake Tahoe because it is split between California and Nevada. Luckily, both states are very dog-friendly. In fact, out of 8,918 households, more than 3,424 of them have at least one dog. 

And since this section of the US is so warm and sunny throughout the year, you will surely want to spend some time at the beach with your canine companion. 

We found 15 dog-friendly beaches in South Lake Tahoe where you and Fido can enjoy the sun and the surf on the lake. From the small and cozy Secret Cove Beach to the huge 64 Acres Beach, there is something for every pooch and his parents.

Tallac Shoreline Beach

Looking for a more secluded beach? Grab your pup, his leash, and some doggie bags, and head for the shore. Tallac Shoreline is situated in the Eldorado National Forest next to the Tallac Historic Site along the southeastern section of the lake. From here you have a spectacular view of Mount Tallac, the water is pleasant and clean, and the beach is a fine, clean sand. As long as you keep Fido on a leash, he is more than welcome here. 

This beach is smaller than most of the others but that is what makes it perfect for you and your fur baby if you like a more peaceful visit. Many of the locals and tourists go to the more well-known larger beaches so Tallac Beach is a great place for dogs that do not like crowds. It is even better on weekday mornings and afternoons. You will find some surfers there most days but they are fun to watch and keep to themselves. 

Kiva Beach

Just to the west of Tallac Beach, this is another peaceful place for pups and their parents on a leash. It runs from Tallac Point to Taylor Creek and features a picnic area with tables and barbecue pits as well as restrooms and water fountains. And the beach, which is the most paw-pular reason to visit Kiva Beach. There are strict laws about keeping your pooch on a leash and you must not let him near restricted areas due to the fragile ecosystem. 

However, you and your canine companion are welcome to play in the water, dig in the sand, play frisbee, or toss a ball around as much as you want. You can let his leash go fairly long as long as he is attached to it. And remember to bring doggie cleanup bags to pick up after him. There are no restaurants or concession stands so bring some snacks if you plan to be there for a while.  

Regan Beach

On the other side of the Tallac Shoreline, Regan Beach is one of the city’s oldest beaches and boasts calm shallow waters for swimming with kids and pups, a playground, and all sorts of water activities. If you have a kayak or canoe, bring it along and get out on the water. The parking is free and there is even a restaurant that is open from Memorial Day until Labor Day. You will also find an observation deck, a volleyball court, and restrooms with water fountains. 

Your furry beach buddy needs to stay on a leash but is welcome to swim and play to his heart’s content. And the best part? This beach also has a dog park near the east end where your pooch can run around off his leash. You will need to bring doggie bags, fresh water, and snacks just in case, and make sure you pick up after your pup. 

Kaspian Picnic Beach

Located on the western side of the lake, this pup-friendly picnic area and beach is a ton of fun! Besides swimming, playing in the sand, and tossing around a ball, you and your fur buddy can enjoy a nice picnic at one of the shaded picnic tables. There are barbecue pits to cook up some burgers and hot dogs. Just don’t tell Fido they are called hot dogs! All he needs to know is that they are delicious.

In addition to all this, there are restrooms, water fountains, and even campsites if you want to stay overnight. The campground is right across from the lake so you have easy access all night long and each site is bordered by tall pine trees for privacy. You can your pup can also hike along the western edge of the lake, stroll out onto the pier for a better view of the water, or go for a bike ride. 

North Zephyr Cove Beach

On the Nevada side of South Lake Tahoe, North Zephyr Cove Beach is just to the north of the Zephyr Cove Resort. You will find it along Highway 50, otherwise known as Lincoln Highway. Just look for the sign that says Zephyr Cove Day Use Area. This stretch of beach is more rocky than sandy so wear some water shoes or something sturdier than sandals. Your pooch will love it though! And there are camping and concessions nearby.

There is plenty of room for swimming, tubing, and floating on rafts as well as windsurfing or paddleboarding if you have the skills and equipment. Always be sure to wear a life jacket and make sure Fido is wearing one too. There is a park nearby with tons of picnic tables and barbecue pits as well as restrooms and water access. It can be crowded on weekends and during the summer months so keep that in mind. 

Cave Rock State Park

To the north of Zephyr Cove, you can find Cave Rock State Park. This park has a drive-through mountain, which is a unique experience on its own. But when you pair that with the dog-friendly beach and scenic views, this may just be the best place on Lake Tahoe! Cave Rock is an ancient volcano above the lake that has caves that are sacred to the Washoe People so look but do not enter. 

You and your canine compadre are allowed to go swimming and do some snorkeling to see some incredible marine life as long as your pup does not scare them all away. The beach is on the small side so it will get crowded on weekends. There is a boat launch so you can get out on the water if you have a boat. The park also has three picnic areas with restrooms, running water, and barbecue pits. 

Whale Beach

Also known as the Black Sand Beach, Whale Beach in Carson City, Nevada lives up to its name with stunning black glistening sand. You will need to remember that the black sand is hot during the middle of the day so put some water shoes on your pup to keep his paws from getting burned. However, it does not live up to the Whale Beach name. There are no whales in Lake Tahoe but there is a large rock that looks like one.

The clean alpine water is sparkling clear but can be cold at times. People usually do not swim until afternoons here but you and your pup are more than welcome. There is a trail that takes you to Creek Beach and Secret Harbor Beach as well. You can also keep going to the north to reach Secret Cove Nude Beach. This is a secluded beach with no concessions or restrooms but there are some vault toilets nearby. 

Chimney Beach

Chimney Beach is named after the stone chimney that is still standing on the shore of Lake Tahoe. It was once part of a cabin for caretakers of the lake. This beach is popular with the locals as well as travelers who wish to get a selfie or some photos of the chimney and its beautiful surroundings. You and your dog are welcome but he must be on a leash at all times and you will, of course, need to pick up after him. 

If you want to take a hike, pack up some water, snacks, and doggie waste bags and head east along Marlette Creek. This trail will take you to Marlette Reservoir, about a mile away. If you head west toward the water about one-half mile, you will find Tahoe’s Rock with some astounding views and a nice little beach. If it is seclusion and quiet is what you seek, visit on a weekday morning. 

Lake Forest Beach

You will not find sandy beaches here but you will find a beautiful park with a gravel beach that you and your pup will love. It is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and playing on the beach with your fur buddy. At the end of Bristlecone Avenue, Lake Forest Beach is just to the southwest of Dollar Point and Skylandia Park on the western side of the lake. And if you have a kayak or paddleboard, bring it along. There are racks you can rent while you are here.

Many of the tourists pass this beach because they either do not know about it or it is not sandy enough for them. But there are picnic areas with barbecue pits and picnic tables as well as a restroom and running water. The peaceful waters and stunning views of the surrounding forests are perfect for photos of your fur baby. There is a trail that takes you into the woods of Burton Creek State Park if you need a workout. 

Burton Creek State Park

With more than 2,000 acres to explore, you and your canine companion can find a lot of fun to get into at Burton Creek State Park, right next to Lake Forest Beach. If you really want a workout and your fur baby can handle it, enjoy some of the six miles of hiking trails. There is a fantastic trail that runs along Burton Creek where your pup can play in the water or you can take a hike into the wooded areas toward Mount Watson and Painted Rock. 

After working up a sweat, head south toward the Lake Tahoe Dam where you and your pup can find a patch of beach along the Truckee River. Or walk down to William B. Layton Park where you have access to the beaches on Lake Tahoe. There are several eateries and concessions along the way including Bridgetender Tavern & Grill and Front Street Station Pizza so you and your pup can refuel for some more fun.

64 Acres Beach

Just to the west, 64 Acres Beach is a pet-friendly park featuring Truckee River access, picnic areas with tables, public bathrooms, and free parking. The park got its name from the 64 acres of trails that begin at the 64 Acres Trailhead here. But if you plan to hike, you will be in for some serious trekking because the trail is about 170 miles long! Of course, you can just hike some of the trails. You don’t have to do them all. 

Besides access to the Truckee River, you will also have access to the lake if you take the trail down to the water. There are restrooms, water fountains, and picnic areas with tables and barbecue pits. Although your pooch has to stay on a leash, he is allowed to swim or play in the sand along either of the waters. You can also play in the sand, toss a ball around, or grab a bite at the Dam Cafe or River Grill. 

Bijou Community Park and Dog Park

Although this park is not truly on the lake, it has a dog park and that is what makes this one worth a visit. The fenced dog park boasts almost 40,000 square feet of play area with grass, shade, benches, and water access. There is a section for both small and large dogs so you can make sure your pup is happy playing here. The park also offers dog cleaning stations and baggies for cleanup. But you should bring your own just in case. 

But that is not all! Right next door is the Barnes Yard Dog Agility Park. This fully fenced area features tunnels, weave poles, a ramp, and an obstacle course. Your pooch is also allowed in the rest of the park but he will have to stay on a leash. You can play a round of disc golf, look at the railroad exhibit, and watch the skaters at the skate park. There are picnic areas, a bike park, and volleyball courts as well. 

Fallen Leaf Lake

How about a smaller lake? Fallen Leaf Lake is full of crystal clear alpine water in the Eldorado National Forest near Kiva Beach. This lake may be smaller but it is just as popular with several campgrounds, resorts, and marinas around the water. It is at the base of Mount Tallac and has an average depth of 240 feet. You and your pooch are welcome to swim or play in the water as long as he is on a leash. 

Take one of the trails around the lake to get some stunning views of the lake as well as Lake Tahoe if you climb high enough. The Fallen Leaf Marina and Store are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day where you and your pup can refuel with some hot food like grilled chicken, hot dogs, and burgers. They also rent kayaks, innertubes, floats, paddle boats, and stand-up paddleboards. Other concessions include the Fallen Leaf Lake Store and the store at Fallen Leaf Campground. 

Carnelian Bay West Beach

North of Dollar Point, Carnelian Bay West is a pooch-friendly beach with a variety of amenities to keep you and your canine companion having fun all day. While you are there, take a walk along the promenade that follows the shore of Lake Tahoe or stop for a snack or meal at one of the many picnic areas. Whether you want to grill something up on the barbecue or grab something from the Gar Woods Grill, you can eat with a gorgeous view of the water. 

Although the park offers Mutt Mitts or doggie poo bags, you should bring your own just in case they run out. There are restrooms with running water, water fountains, and plenty of grassy space for your pooch to play. The beach is smooth pebbles so you will not have to worry about sand getting all over your car. You may get to see a boat show, sailboat races, or just watch the locals waterskiing or tubing. Or get out there and join them! There are boat rentals at the marina too. 

King’s Beach State Recreation Area

On the northern end of the lake, you can find a beautiful park with a plethora of activities for you both. Whether you want to fish, swim, go boating, or just sunbathe, King’s Beach State Recreation Area is perfect for you and your canine companion. Although your pup is not allowed on the sandy beach, you can take him over to the dog beach at the east end of the park by the boat ramp. 

Your pooch is allowed in the rest of the park as long as he remains on a leash and you pick up after him. When you get hungry, there are 18 picnic tables as well as several eateries including The Burrito Window, The Grid Bar & Grill, and Sweet Tahoe Time Ice Cream. Other stores are also nearby where you can get other supplies such as ice, beverages, and dog treats. You can also find restrooms, boat rentals, fishing, and playgrounds.

The Final Woof

Looking for more activities to share with your fur baby while you are in South Lake Tahoe? Why not take a gondola ride at Northstar

You will get to see views of the Sierra Mountains and Lake Tahoe unlike views anywhere else! You could also visit the Gatekeeper’s Museum to learn about the Washoe Indians. Or you and your fur baby can go shopping at Dog. Dog. Cat. at Village Shopping Center.

Another way to spend some quality time with your four-legged family member is by sharing a burger at California Burger in Heavenly Ski Village or some Irish eats at McP’s Taphouse & Grill on Lake Tahoe Boulevard.

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

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