15 Fun Dog Friendly Beaches in South Lake Tahoe, California

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dog is feeling happy in a dog friendly beach in douth lake tahoe ca

South Lake Tahoe is a popular resort town on the southern end of Lake Tahoe with many dog-friendly beaches as well as parks, stores, motels, and restaurants. Lake Tahoe is over 1,600 feet deep and is the largest alpine lake in North America, as well as the largest freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada region. Although it is in both California and Nevada, ⅔ of it is in California. The water is so clear that you can see down 70 feet in some places, and is one of the purest water bodies in the world.

With 73 miles of shoreline and 191 square miles of space, there is a lot to talk about. In fact, if you poured all the water from Lake Tahoe into the state of California, it would still be over a foot deep. But South Lake Tahoe is also popular in the winter with 12 different ski resorts. Many of them are dog-friendly, too. But you are more interested in the beaches right now, so we chose 15 of our top favorite pup popular dog beaches in South Lake Tahoe. 

South Lake Tahoe El Dorado Recreation Area

The closest beach access to South Lake Tahoe is the El Dorado Recreation Area and Beach. With El Dorado Beach right in the middle of the park, you and your furball can enjoy the sand and surf as long as you keep him attached to a leash no longer than six feet. The sandy area is about a mile long and includes a boat launch, concession stands, picnic tables with barbecue grills, and a variety of watercraft and beach toys for rent. 

Besides all that, the area also boasts some fantastic trails you and your canine companion can explore and enjoy on foot or bike, a floating dock, a restroom, and a roped swimming area. Bring extra water for you and your pupster though. You can let your pooch dig in the sand or splash in the water, but keep his leash on at all times and bring plenty of doggie bags to pick up anything he drops. 

Regan Beach

Right in downtown South Lake Tahoe, Regan City Beach is named for Thomas F. Regan, who was the president of the Lake Tahoe Area Council. The famous beach is the only beach with a dog water park. Located on the eastern end of the beach, pups are welcome to play in the surf and sand without a leash as long as they are under voice control and you pick up after them. They have Mutt Mitt dispensers but it is a good idea to bring your own. 

This is a very pup popular beach with pet parents because it is the only one of its kind in the area. It is the oldest beach in South Lake Tahoe and offers some excellent views and shallow water for kids and dogs. The beach is open until 930 p.m. from May to September but closes at 4 p.m. from April 1st until April 30th. It is closed from October through March.

Kiva Beach

Also known as Kiva Point, you will find a super clean patch of golden sand running about 200 yards just six miles west of Regan Beach. With a fragile marsh right next to it, you should keep a short leash on your cuddle buddy. This is a special preserve for killdeer, osprey, egrets, herons, and bald eagles. Nobody is allowed in the marsh area, and they recently put up several signs telling you where you and your pup can go and where you cannot go. 

Located between Pope Beach (not dog-friendly) and Tallac Shoreline Beach (dog-friendly), your canine companion must be on a leash the whole time you are there. The water here is a bit rough, so be careful if you and your pup go for a swim. You can also bring some food and enjoy a meal at one of the picnic tables in the picnic area. No grills or fires are allowed.

Tallac Shoreline Beach

Also known as Tallac Point or Tallac Beach, Tallac Shoreline Beach is another dog-friendly place to spend the day with your leashed pooch. Just to the west of Kiva Beach, you and your fur buddy can take a walk to Tallac Point, where you will get a stellar view of the area. It starts at the end of Kiva Beach and runs to Baldwin Beach, which is not dog-friendly. There is just under a mile of golden sand here, including the area where Taylor Creek meets the lake.

The water here is similar to Kiva Beach but is even calmer because there are fewer rocks. It can get a little crowded during the summer, but it is worth it. The stunning views of the mountains from here are amazing. You can get free doggie bags for cleanup at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center but it is probably better to bring your own since they close early. Also, if you plan to do any fishing, be sure to get a license. 

Fallen Leaf Lake

Less than a mile to the south of the Tallac Shoreline, Fallen Leaf Lake is another great lake to enjoy with your fur baby. It may not be as huge as Lake Tahoe but with three miles from top to bottom, it is certainly big enough for lots of fun water activities. Your cuddly canine is welcome to join you in the fun as long as he is on a leash less than six feet long, and you have to pick up after him, so bring doggie bags. 

It is located in the national forest, but much of the shoreline is privately owned. But do not worry, some of these private beaches are available to the public through campgrounds or trails. Fallen Leaf Campground has more than 200 campsites where you and Fluffy can pitch a tent or park an RV. And it is right at the northern tip of the lake where fishing, swimming, and boating are all popular.

Tahoe Paradise Park

You can reach Tahoe Paradise Park in minutes from downtown South Lake Tahoe at just 5.3 miles to the southwest. It is situated on the banks of the Upper Truckee River and Lake Baton, so you have your pick of where you and your doggo will play. Or you can enjoy both. It is not a well-known place, so you can relax and enjoy the water and park without too much of a crowd, even during the summer. 

The park has two sections. The top of the park has Lake Baron as well as tennis courts, the clubhouse, and the swimming beach. The bottom section runs along the river, where you can do some fishing, boating, or swimming, have a picnic, or just enjoy the view. This area also has a kid’s playground, trails, a basketball court, and a playground. Remember to pack those poop bags and keep your pup on a leash. 

North Zephyr Cove Beach

With 80 acres of recreational space just over eight miles from South Lake Tahoe, North Zephyr Cove Park has a pooch-friendly beach. Just keep your canine compadre on a leash six feet long or shorter and pack plenty of baggies to pick up after him. It is right off Highway 50 but hidden in the pine forest, so you are secluded in nature but still close enough to the city to shop. And the beach is right there in Zephyr Cove, which is calm due to the protection from the wind. 

Besides the beach, they also have a fitness trail, disc golf, and hiking, as well as picnic areas with grills, a playground for the human kiddos, volleyball, baseball, and soccer. There are also six tennis courts if you enjoy that. If you want to stay longer, reserve a campsite in advance, or you may not get one. They only have 93 sites, and it is a popular spot. 

Cave Rock State Park

Head northeast up the coast of Lake Tahoe about nine miles, and you will find Cave Rock State Park. It is located in Glenbrook, Nevada, in Lake Tahoe, Nevada State Park, just past North Zephyr Cove Beach. The park welcomes your fur baby as long as you keep his leash on him at all times and pick up after him. The cave is a truly natural formation, and there is evidence that it was home to the Washoe Indian Tribe thousands of years ago. 

From the beach, you get an incredible view of the Sierra Mountains. In fact, you even get to drive through the mountains in several places on your way there if you come from the north on Lincoln Highway. The beach is not huge, but it is nice and clean, with golden sand and clear blue water. There are also three picnic areas where you can enjoy a meal with your best buddy.

Angora Lakes Resort Beach

Just five miles to the south of Fallen Leaf Lake, you can find the top-rated Angora Lakes Resort, where leashed dogs are always welcome to join their pup parents. Although the lakes are just a fraction of the size of Lake Tahoe or even Fallen Leaf Lake, this is one of the most peaceful and serene places in South Lake Tahoe. You and your fur buddy can rent a boat, take a hike, or enjoy a picnic right on either of the lakes. 

Canine companions are allowed at the beach and other day-use areas, but the cabins do not allow pups so you will have to leave when the beach closes. Also, dogs are not allowed to swim at the swimming beach, but they can play in the water in the other areas, including Angora Creek. The resort also has a store where you can get some delicious homemade sandwiches and lemonade. But pack plenty of doggie bags because they do not have any.  

Echo Lake Beach

Listed as one of the 10 Best things to do in Tahoe, Echo Lake has two spectacular dog-friendly beaches on the upper and lower lakes less than 10 miles from South Lake Tahoe. In fact, your pupster is welcome on the water taxi as long as he is leashed, and you can let him off the leash on the trail if he is voice-controlled. You and your pooch can trek along part of the Pacific Crest Trail on the southern end of the lakes or the Echo Lake Tahoe Rim Trail on the northern end. 

The water taxi service takes you from the Echo Chalet Marina to the far end of the lakes from Memorial weekend until Labor Day weekend. Swimming is always fun during the summer, but it can be chilly in May and September. Speaking of chilly, if you come during the winter, the lakes freeze over, and you can enjoy dog sledding, cross-country skiing, and ice skating. 

Whale Beach

Between Secret Harbor Creek and Bliss Creek, about 18 miles northeast of South Lake Tahoe, Whale Beach is a small stretch of sand (about 100 yards long) on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. Right on Secret Harbor, this pup-friendly place is easy to reach right off Highway 28 in Incline Village. You will have to walk the trail from the parking lot to get there, so wear some comfortable shoes and do not forget to bring lots of doggie bags.

One thing to be aware of is that this is a clothing-optional beach. In fact, it is right past the Secret Cove nudist colony. Along the trail to Whale Beach, you will also come across several other beaches, including Chimney, Boaters, and Creek Beaches. This beach is also known as Black Sand Beach because of the dark color of the sand. There are no amenities like water or picnic tables, just a soft sand beach with calm water.

Chimney Beach

Just over a mile to the northeast down Highway 28, you will find Chimney Beach. Fur babies are allowed, but you have to bring your own poop bags to pick up after them. No leash is required, but make sure your pup is voice-trained. The turquoise water here is so clear you can see straight to the bottom in most areas. There is a short walk on a trail to get to the sand from the parking lot, but it is easy and fun.

Located right where Marlette Creek enters the lake, this gorgeous beach is one of the hidden treasures of the area. You may even have the place to yourself because not too many people know about it, and the ones that do prefer the beaches that are easier to reach, like Cave Rock and North Zephyr. Make sure you pack extra water for both of you and snacks, too, because there are no amenities here. 

Kaspian Recreation Area

Right off Highway 89 in the northwestern area of Lake Tahoe, Kaspian Recreation Area has a beach, picnic area, and campground that are all dog-friendly. Your pooch will have to remain on a leash while you are there, but there is plenty to do to keep both of you busy. Swimming is often chilly, but if you visit in the summer, it is not so bad. And your fur puppy will not mind, no matter how cold it is. 

The picnic area is huge and mostly shaded with some protected areas. You will need to bring your own water and doggie bags, though. Tucked in the pine forest, you can find Kaspian Campground, where there are nine campsites with picnic tables and fire rings as well as restrooms. You will need to reserve a spot way in advance because, with so few sites, they go fast. Fishing is another great sport here, but you will need a license. 

Tahoe City Commons Beach

Only four miles to the north on Highway 89, Tahoe City Commons Beach is right past the Truckee River and Lake Tahoe Dam. Your fur baby is welcome as long as you pick up anything he drops and keep him on his leash at all times. If you like to hike, this beach is right by the dog-friendly 64-acre Tahoe Rim Trail. It goes for 170 miles through the forest, meadows, and along the coast. 

This is a great place to spend a day in the sun with your cuddly canine companion with calm blue water and clean, soft sand. They have picnic areas with tables, barbecues, and heated restrooms, three playgrounds for the little humans, and they even have free concerts on Sundays and movie nights on Wednesdays during the summer. From May to November, there is also a Farmers’ Market. Also, if you want to get out on the lake, you can rent kayaks here.

Burton Creek State Park

Less than a mile up the beach, Tahoe State Recreation Area has all that and a campground for those who want to stay longer than the day. But there are only 27 campsites, so book your spot early. There are showers, restrooms, and water access, and can handle RVs and campers up to 21 feet long. Dogs are welcome, but you have to keep him on a leash and pick up after him. Also, this is black bear country, so be careful and use the food lockers. 

At the beach, your pooch is welcome to join you for a swim, although the water is cold all year long. You can also enjoy a picnic, walk along the sand looking for pretty rocks, or grab something to eat at Jake’s On The Lake, Za’s Lakefront, or Rosie’s Cafe. They even have cruises where you and your pooch can get out on the lake and see all sorts of things. 

The Final Woof

Speaking of cruises, you and your cuddle buddy can get a unique ride from Drew on a Venetian gondola ride. It lasts for an hour, and Drew gives you a running commentary about interesting facts in the area. Or you can rent your own kayak from Day Go Adventures and take your pooch out on the water yourself. Clearly, Tahoe even has see-thru boats, so you can see what is in the water underneath you! If you want to see the lake from the air, take a ride on the Palisades Tahoe Aerial Tram. Once you get up there to Olympic Valley, you can hike down and stop in at Shirley Lake, where pooches are allowed to swim and play off the leash. 

To discover more about these and other dog-friendly activities in South Lake Tahoe, be sure to visit our comprehensive dog-friendly South Lake Tahoe travel guide. This guide is an invaluable resource, offering extensive details on various dog-friendly attractions and activities in South Lake Tahoe, ensuring you and your pup have an unforgettable experience.

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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