Lake Tahoe's famous crystal blue water is inviting for boating, water recreation and sightseeing from the lake. It's a popular destination for camping, but also for year-round outdoor recreation. There is a lot of ways to experience Lake Tahoe from the water. There are cruises, sailing trips and guided Tahoe kayaking tours. You can rent powerboats for wakeboarding and waterskiing or take a wave runner out for the day. Many excellent Tahoe boating options are available and marinas for boat launching and rentals are located around the lake; most likely there is one just a few steps from your campground.
The water in Lake Tahoe is 99.7 percent pure and in the summer months the average surface temperature is 68 degrees. Lake Tahoe is North America’s largest alpine lake and is located both in California and Nevada. It is 22 miles long and 12 miles wide with an average depth of 989 feet, although the deepest point is 1,685 feet, making Lake Tahoe the third deepest lake in North America. Tahoe contains an estimated 39.75 trillion gallons of water — that amount of water could cover the entire state of California at a depth of 14.5 inches.
Lake Tahoe Boat Rentals and Marinas
If you are towing your boat to Lake Tahoe, there are many marinas available for launching and some campgrounds even have their own private marina. Even if you don't own a boat, powerboats, wave runners, and fishing boats area available for rental. Kayaking, paddleboats, and stand-up paddleboards are popular for family trips on the lake.
- Zephyr Cove Marina: The marina is convenient if you are camping at the nearby Zephyr Cove RV Park and Campground. Powerboats, wave runners, kayaks and paddleboards are available for rental. Parasailing trips, wakeboards and waterskis are also available. Fuel charges apply on motorized boats; so if you’re on a budget, consider a man-powered watercraft.
- Camp Richardson Marina: The Seadoo and powerboat rentals, and a selection of kayaks, paddleboards, and paddleboats are available at this South Lake Tahoe Marina. The marina and sports center make camping at Camp Richardson a complete vacation destination. A fuel station, and launching and mooring facilities are also available if you brought your own boat.
- Meeks Bay Marina:The Action Water Sports operated marina, adjacent to the Meeks Bay Campground, offers boat launching and private charters, and powerboat, kayak, canoe, and paddleboat rentals. Stand-up paddleboards are available and are a popular option in the quiet cove. Water ski packages are also available and boat rentals include gas.
Lake Tahoe Kayaking
Kayaking on Lake Tahoe is a fun activity for all ages. Guided kayak tours are offered through a few different outfitters in Lake Tahoe and are great for half and full day trips. Rentals are also available at most Lake Tahoe marinas for hourly and daily rates. Try the marina closest to your campground for convenience.
- With four South Lake Tahoe locations, Kayak Tahoeoffers rentals and guided kayak trips to Emerald Bay and the Upper Truckee River.
- Tours by Tahoe City Kayaking offer guided trips to eight different locations including King's Beach, Thunderbird Lodge and the historic West Shore. This operator departs from the Tahoe’s West Shore.
Lake Tahoe Cruises and Sailing Trips
There are a few different ways to experience Lake Tahoe from the water and a Tahoe cruise or sailing trip is one of the most scenic and relaxing options. Trips are often narrated, offering a lesson in the area's natural history and there are different destinations available depending on your preference.
- Cruises to Emerald Bay in South Lake Tahoe are a fantastic way to get on the water and see the mountains from a different perspective. The Tahoe Queen and MS Dixie II riverboats depart from two different South Lake Tahoe marinas. Narrated sightseeing cruises, dinner cruises (with live music and dancing) and brunch cruises are offered on a weekly schedule.
- Set sail on a 55' sailing catamaran, the Woodwind II. Trips sail to where the wind takes them and depart five times daily from the Zephyr Cove Marina. The crew and sailing experience on Lake Tahoe is the best and not to be missed! Book early for the popular and romantic sunset champagne cruise.