Beaches in South Lake Tahoe have sweeping views of the lake and surrounding mountains, with wide swathes of sand that are friendly for families and groups of friends looking to spend the day together. These beaches are our picks for best places to BBQ:
Baldwin Beach is well signed and easy to find, located 4 miles west of the city of South Lake Tahoe on route 89. They charge an eight dollar parking fee, and the beach has barbecues and picnic tables as well as public restrooms and kayak/paddleboard rentals. Baldwin Beach is accessible by the bike path and has lots of spots to lock up your bike–avoid the parking fee by going pedal powered! Locals often find this beach relatively un-crowded, and it can often be more protected from prevailing winds by the surrounding mountains. If you are staying on the west end of town, closer to the “Y” intersection of routes 89 and 50, Baldwin will be a good bet for a fun BBQ.
Pope Beach is located 3 miles west of the city of South Lake Tahoe on route 89. It is a nice, sandy beach with picnic tables, barbecues and restrooms. Many of the picnic tables and benches are located in the shade, which helps to keep the potato salad a little cooler! There is a parking/ day use fee of eight dollars per car. You can park for free on the shoulder of route 89, but it will be a bit of a walk to access the beach. Pope Beach is accessible via the bike path, and since it is a bit further out of town it’s often less crowded, particularly on weekdays and evenings.
El Dorado Beach at Lakeview Commons is home to Live at Lakeview, free concerts every Thursday evening throughout the summer. El Dorado is located just off of route 50 in South Lake Tahoe, and is centrally located in town. There are concessions as well as a number of restaurants close by, just in case you burn your hotdogs! The beach itself has barbecues and group areas, and free parking is available at the South Lake Tahoe Recreation Center located at 1180 Rufus Allen Blvd. Live at Lakeview also provides a free bike valet service on Thursdays during the concerts. Since this is a busy part of town, encourage some of your BBQ buddies to ride their bikes to avoid the cost and headache of parking.
Nevada Beach is well situated to get sunshine late in the day, since it is located on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe where the mountains won’t block the setting sun. Nevada Beach allows dogs on the westernmost section of the beach in the picnic area—just follow the painted paw prints on the bike path! Paid parking is available, or you can park for free on the shoulder before the parking area. Barbecues and picnic tables are sprinkled around the beach, and nearby concessions are available for a sweet treat. Nevada Beach has some of the nicest sand around, and is considered a true hidden gem.
Zephyr Cove Beach is just north of Nevada Beach on the east shore, at Zephyr Cove Resort. Pay to park or leave your car across route 50 and walk down. There are picnic areas and grills, and although the main beach is not open to dogs, the rockier northern section is, so bring Fido along!
TIP: Get the Tahoe Beaches App. You can search beaches by amenities and location, access maps and find public transportation close by.