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The Best Lake Tahoe Camping

From RV sites to Tahoe beach camping, this is a guide to camping Lake Tahoe.


Lake Tahoe's bright blue water, sandy beaches and alpine landscape offer some of the most scenic camping in California. The lake is located in both California and Nevada and is the largest alpine lake in North America. Whether you are hiking, biking, boating, or just relaxing, camping in Lake Tahoe is an ideal destination.

Campgrounds line the 71-miles of shoreline and are nestled in the surrounding mountains, so selecting the best Lake Tahoe campground for your vacation might be overwhelming. From South Lake Tahoe camping to the best beach campsites or RV campgrounds, I have you covered. Here's a guide to the best Lake Tahoe camping. So pack your tent and barbecue, and enjoy one of the many spectacular Lake Tahoe campgrounds!

Best South Lake Tahoe Camping: Camp Richardson

A brilliant fall sunrise is reflected in Lake Tahoe, California.
Rachid Dahnoun/Getty Images

The location and amenities on the California shores of South Lake Tahoe make the historic Camp Richardson an ideal family destination. RV and tent sites are close to the lake's shore and a nearby bike path meanders through the forest.

It's almost unthinkable to have a family camping trip without a nearby ice cream parlor and Camp Richardson has a great one. A mountain center with bike rentals is available and boat rentals are also convenient at the nearby marina.

Even though Fido is included in your holiday photo,Camp Richardson has a strict no pet policy.

Best Lake Tahoe Beach Camping: Meeks Bay Resort

© Monica Prelle

The beautiful white sand beach and adjacent camping on a quiet bay is the prime location for beach camping in Lake Tahoe. Meeks Bay Resort is on the west shore in California and 20 miles south of Tahoe City.

The adjacent marina offers many different recreational activities and rentals including kayaks, pedal boats, stand-up paddleboards, and powerboats.

RV and tent sites are available, but are limited and should be booked well in advance. Cabins are also available for the non-campers in your group.

Although Fido likes beach camping as much as you do, unfortunately pets are not allowed at Meeks Bay.

Best Lake Tahoe RV Camping: Zephyr Cove RV Park

© Monica Prelle

A lively beach and a full-service marina are convenient for campers at Zephyr Cove. Located on the Nevada side in South Lake Tahoe, the RV Park is just across the street from the beach.

RV sites are equipped with full hook-ups including cable and Wi-Fi, so you can camp with all the comforts of home. The main shower house even has heated floors and coin laundry.

When booking a site, ask for 178 or 179. Both sites back up to the surrounding forest and have the most space.

Catamaran trips on the Woodwind II depart daily from the Zephyr Cove marina and should not be missed; the evening champagne cruise is a great way to enjoy the sunset!

Best Lake Tahoe Boat-in Camping: Emerald Bay Boat Camp

© Monica Prelle

The scenic boat-in campground on the north end of Emerald Bay State Park can only be accessed by boat;no roads reach the campground. The boat-camp is a one of a kind-camping experience and allows you to not only enjoy the lake's beauty, but also the seclusion of a wilderness area.

Located on the southwest corner of the lake in California, Emerald Bay is famous for its emerald green water. It's one of the most popular destinations for daily boat tours and is an excellent location for bird watching; bald eagle sightings are common.

Twenty-one lakefront campsites, a shared dock and buoys are available and must be booked a few months in advance. To get to the boat camp, you can launch your own boat or a rental at one of South Lake Tahoe’s marinas. Be prepared to get a little wet on your way in to camp!

Best Tahoe Camping for Bicyclists: Sugar Pine Point State Park

© Monica Prelle

The quiet and forested nature area at Sugar Pine State Park is excellent for tent camping, and the adjacent bike path and mountain bike trails are convenient for cyclists.

While all the sites are beautiful and forested, the 126-175 loop is closest to the Lily Pond hiking and biking trailhead.

The paved bike path connecting Sugar Pine Point State Park and Tahoe City is about ten miles and a popular bicycling route. And the lakeshore at Edwin Z'berg Natural Preserve is just a short pedal or ten-minute walk from the campground.

Best Lake Tahoe Day Camping: Sand Harbor

© Monica Prelle

Sandy beaches, rocky coves and turquoise water combine to make Sand Harbor a popular destination for day camping on the east shore of Lake Tahoe in Nevada.

Warm shallow water and Sand Harbor's lifeguards make swimming safe and fun for families. There's also a nature trail, picnic area and a marina with kayak and boat rentals.

The annual Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival and bi-weekly lakeshore concert schedule keep the park busy with activities.

A daily Nevada State Park fee is charged for entrance.

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