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8 Best Beaches in Northeast Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a massive region that encompasses countless beaches across two states, California and Nevada. This article will outline the best beaches in the northeast region of Lake Tahoe in Nevada. 

collage of photos of beaches in lake tahoe nevada

With many spectacular beaches in Lake Tahoe, it can be hard to narrow down the best ones to fit into your summer holiday. Plus, due to Lake Tahoe’s desirability, many beaches are private or require a hefty fee to enter. We’re here to break down the best beaches in northeast Lake Tahoe and to tell you everything you can expect, so the only surprises are good ones. 

1. Hidden Beach

Hidden Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Incline Village, a town on the northeastern side of Lake Tahoe in Nevada. With this beach’s proximity to the nearby town of Incline Village, but secluded feel, and free access to the public it’s not hard to imagine why so many flock to this beach in the summer. Hidden Beach offers a long stretch of sandy beach, along with sections of boulder shorelines, and epic views of the entirety of Lake Tahoe. Hidden Beach should definitely be on your list if you’re visiting northeast Lake Tahoe.

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View of the water from hidden beach in lake tahoe nevada

FAQs about Hidden Beach

Is there parking at Hidden Beach?

There is not a parking lot located at Hidden Beach. There is however a parking lot located at the Tahoe East Shore Trailhead off Tahoe Boulevard, about 1 mile from the beach. Parking must be paid for. 

Is Hidden Beach easy to access?

While the only parking lot is a 1-mile walk away, there is an easily walkable trail that connects the parking lot to the beach. The Tahoe East Shore Trailhead runs alongside Tahoe Boulevard and has lake views along the entire path. The path loops down to the beach and takes about 20 minutes to complete. Biking is also allowed on this shared path. 

Caves and trees at hidden beach in lake tahoe nevada

Are there public washrooms at Hidden Beach? Yes! There are public restrooms available on the trail above the beach. 

Is Hidden Beach busy? Yes, in the summer Hidden Beach is very busy. This a beach that is open to the public, whereas several other nearby beaches are for residents only, or require an entry fee. In the fall, winter, and spring this beach is much quieter. 

Is Hidden Beach good for kids? Yes, Hidden Beach is a very popular spot for families with children. There is a significant shelf to this beach, so the water is shallow for several feet from the shore. This makes for safe swimming for children. Families often bring floaties, and picnics to Hidden Beach to enjoy summer fun for the whole family. 

Chimney Beach in Lake Tahoe.

2. Chimney Beach

Chimney Beach, aptly named for the stone chimney structure that remains on the beach, is a secluded and scenic beach. This beach is a very popular destination for Tahoe locals and vacationers alike for the crystal clear water and sandy beach. Chimney Beach is a half-mile hike from the closest parking lot, so it feels very peaceful and quiet, however, this beach can get busy in the summertime. Enjoy the panoramic views of Lake Tahoe from the boulders or sand on this beautiful beach. 

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FAQs about Chimney Beach

Is there parking at Chimney Beach?

There is a parking lot for Chimney Beach about half a mile away from the beach. From the parking lot, you will need to hike the rest of the way to the beach. The parking lot can fill up very quickly in the summer, even on weekdays, so be sure to arrive early. 

Is Chimney Beach easy to access? 

To access Chimney Beach you will need to hike half a mile from the parking lot. While the hike is short, it can be challenging for some and is steep in some areas, so closed-toe shoes are recommended, but the hike can be completed in sandals. The beach can be difficult to access for individuals with mobility issues. 

Secret Cove along Lake Tahoe in Nevada.

Are there public washrooms at Chimney Beach? There are no public restrooms located at the beach, but there are portable restrooms located in the parking lot. 

Is Chimney Beach busy? In the summer Chimney Beach is busy, but due to the somewhat difficult hike to the beach, it is not the busiest beach in the region. You can still expect to share the beach with lots of other families, and the water is often peppered with anchored boats as well. 

Is Chimney Beach good for kids? Yes, Chimney Beach is great for kids. The water is shallow for several feet out, and there are several large boulders for climbing and hanging out. There are no concession or water filling stations, so be sure to bring a packed lunch and plenty of water. There are also shady areas to get a break from the sun. Bonsai rock in lake Tahoe Nevada

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3. Bonsai Rock 

Bonsai Rock while not your typical beach is a super popular destination. At Bonsai rock you won’t find a sandy stretch of beach, but there are plenty of large flat boulders to sun on, and crystal clear water to splash around in. Many folks will come here by kayak or paddle board to check out the iconic Bonsai Rock. This spot makes for some amazing photo ops and gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe. 

FAQs about Bonsai Rock

Is there parking at Bonsai Rock?

There is no official parking lot at Bonsai Rock. There are spots along Highway 28 where some pullover and park, or you can park at the official parking lot at the nearby beach Sand Harbour, and walk or paddle over to Bonsai Rock. 

Is Bonsai Rock easy to access?

Because of the unofficial parking, and the necessary hike down to Bonsai Rock, it is not super easy to access. There is minimal signage along the trail, and it can be very steep in some areas, but if you’re up for it, this natural landmark is definitely worth it. Bonsai Rock is more difficult to access by foot but can be easily accessed by boat, or paddle. 

Bonsai rock in lake tahoe nevada view from the beachAre there public washrooms at Bonsai Rock? No, there are no public washrooms at Bonsai Rock. Bonsai Rock is pretty much completely untouched, so definitely plan a bathroom break before you arrive. 

Is Bonsai Rock busy? Because Bonsai Rock is more difficult to access and there is no official parking lot, Bonsai Rock is much calmer than other locations along the Tahoe shore. For those looking for a peaceful moment in nature, this is all great news, regardless of it being a bit more of a challenge to access. 

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Is Bonsai Rock good for kids? Because Bonsai Rock is more difficult to access, and there is no official sandy beach, this location is not the best for younger kids. Older kids can enjoy the protected swimming area, as well as cliff jumping, as long as they are prepared and capable to hike or paddle in and out. 

view of the water at sand harbor beach in lake tahoe

4. Sand Harbor Beach 

Sand Harbor is actually a large park on the shores of Tahoe that encompasses several beaches, with the main beach being 2,500 feet in length[tahoepublicbeaches]! Sand Harbor is extremely popular due to its size, and amenities. At Sand Harbor, you can find food concessions, paddleboard and kayak rentals, and even a bar and grill close by. Not only is Sand Harbor beach absolutely beautiful, but it’s also perfect for the beachgoer who wants to be close to many amenities so you can go for an adventure on a whim. 

FAQs about Sand Harbor

Is there parking at Sand Harbor?

Yes, there is a large parking lot at Sand Harbor in front of the visitors center. The cost to enter is $10 for locally registered vehicles and $15 for vehicles from outside Nevada. 

Is Sand Harbor easy to access?

Yes, Sand Harbor is very accessible. The main beach is just a short and easy distance from the parking lot and visitors center. 

Sand harbor beach in lake tahoe nevada

Are there public washrooms at Sand Harbor? Yes, there are several public restrooms located at Sand Harbor, including one at the visitor center, and one close to the beach. 

Is Sand Harbor busy? Yes, Sand Harbor because of its amenities and perfect swimming conditions is very busy in the summer. Arrive early and expect to share the beaches. 

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Is Sand Harbor good for kids? Sand Harbor is excellent for kids. With the hiking trails, restaurant, water sport rentals, and expansive beach that Sand Harbor has to offer, the activities are practically endless. Additionally, the easy accessibility and the shallow and protected swimming make Sand Harbor safe for kids and stress-free for parents.

View of secret harbor beach lake tahoe in nevada

5. Secret Harbor Beach 

Secret Harbor is a beautiful sandy beach that is very popular for those not afraid of a challenging hike or paddle to get there. Secret Harbor Beach, while popular, remains much more peaceful than other beaches that have the benefit of conveniences like kayak rentals and concessions. The sparkling blue water and gorgeous views make this well-kept secret the perfect beach day trip. 

FAQs about Secret Harbor

Is there parking at Secret Harbor? 

The parking for Secret Harbor is roadside parking on Highway 28. This area can fill up quickly so you should arrive early to claim a spot. 

Is Secret Harbor easy to access? 

The hike from Highway 28 down to Secret Harbor can be challenging, as it is very steep in certain areas. Naturally, getting back up to the highway from the beach is even more challenging. 

Rocky shores of the beach on lake tahoe

Are there public washrooms at Secret Harbor? There is a public toilet on the trail above Secret Harbor. 

Is Secret Harbor busy? You can beat the major crowds at Secret Harbor Beach as it is much more secluded and more difficult to access. You can still expect to share the beach with others, and the water with plenty of boats. 

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Is Secret Harbor good for kids? Secret Harbor has amazing protected swimming for kids, but it is difficult to access. The hike in and out is quite steep, so it is not great for younger children. 

creek beach in lake tahoe nevada

6. Creek Beach

Creek beach is another gorgeous and secluded beach on the northeast shore of Lake Tahoe that is actually connected by a network of trails to Chimney Beach, Secret Harbor, and Whale Beach. Creek Beach is a bit of a hike to get to, making it more hidden, and for good reason as this is a clothing-optional beach. Creek Beach is great for swimming and getting rid of tan lines. 

FAQs about Creek Beach

Is there parking at Creek Beach?  

There is no parking lot for Creek Beach, but roadside parking is available on Highway 28. These parking spaces can fill up very quickly, so it’s best to arrive early. 

Is Creek Beach easy to access?

The hike down from the highway is very steep. If you park closer to Chimney Beach, there is a trailhead that is less steep that connects all the way to Creek Beach, but this is about 1.5 miles. If you hike straight down from the highway, you’ll cut the hiking time in half, but it is very steep in some areas. 

View of the water of lake tahoe at creek beach

Are there public washrooms at Creek Beach? There are portable washrooms available on the trail network near Creek Beach.

Is Creek Beach busy? Creek Beach because it is so secluded and because it is a clothing-optional beach is much calmer than the surrounding beaches, but you can still expect to share the beach with others. 

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Is Creek Beach good for kids? Because Creek Beach is a clothing-optional beach, it is not the best beach option for kids. Just north of Creek Beach is Secret Harbor beach, which is not clothing optional, and is more of a family beach. 

7. Whale Beach

Whale Beach is another clothing-optional beach that is along the same trails that connect Chimney Beach and Creek Beach, and Secret Harbor. Whale Beach, also called Black Sand Beach[], is named after a large boulder sticking out from the water that resembles a breaching whale! It is also aptly named Black Sand Beach for its darkly colored sand. This peaceful and secluded beach certainly sticks out from the rocky and yellow sand beaches of northern Tahoe. 

Sunset at the beach in Lake Tahoe

FAQs about Whale Beach

Is there parking at Whale Beach? 

The closest public parking lot for Whale Beach and Creek Beach is at Secret Harbor. From the Secret Harbor parking lot, it is about a 2-mile hike along the trails connecting the three beaches. 

Is Whale Beach easy to access?

Hiking down directly from Highway 28 is very steep, but if you walk the 2-mile trail from Secret Harbor, it is much more manageable. 

Are there public washrooms at Whale Beach? 

Yes, there are public washrooms on the trail between Creek Beach and Whale Beach. 

Is Whale Beach busy?

Whale Beach is the southernmost beach along the trail connecting Secret Harbor, and Creek Beach. Because it is the last of the line, it is the most secluded of the bunch. It is also a clothing-optional beach, so the crowds are typically smaller. You can still expect to share the beach with others. 

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Is Whale Beach good for kids? 

Again, because Whale Beach is another clothing-optional beach, it is not a great option for kids. 

8. Secret Cove Beach

Secret Cove is the most popular clothing-optional beach in northeast Tahoe. Secret Cove has an amazing swimming cove that is protected by boulders jetting out on either side of the beach. Large boulders in the water make great spots for relaxing in the sun or jumping into the refreshing water. Secret Cove is a scenic and secluded getaway. 

rocky beach and blue water in lake tahoe

FAQs about Secret Cove

Is there parking at Secret Cove?

Parking for Secret Cove is located at the same parking lot for Secret Harbor, which is about a 2-mile walk from Secret Cove. Because this parking area is shared by several beaches, it fills up very quickly so arrive early. 

Is Secret Cove easy to access?

Secret Cove is a 2-mile hike from the parking lot and is very steep in some areas. The hike is manageable but challenging, so pack light if you can, and wear closed-toe shoes if possible. 

Are there public washrooms at Secret Cove?

There are public washrooms on the trail half a mile away from Secret Cove. 

Is Secret Cove busy?

Secret Cove is the busiest of all nude beaches in northeast lake Tahoe, but because it is secluded, it is not as busy as other more accessible public and clothing mandatory beaches. 

Is Secret Cove good for kids?

Because Secret Cove is more difficult to access, and it is a clothing-optional beach, it is not great for kids. 

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Article Sources:

  1. “Whale Beach
  2. Tahoe Public Beaches. “Sand Harbor