The Best Camping Spots at Lake Tahoe

Choose From the Mountains, the Forest, the Beach -- or Boat In

Woman taking looking at Lake Tahoe
Allen Donikowski / Getty Images

Camping at Lake Tahoe is right up there at the top of the list of great outdoors experiences.The bright blue water, sandy beaches and alpine landscape surrounding Lake Tahoe offer some of the most scenic campgrounds in California. Tahoe straddles the California-Nevada state line and is the largest alpine lake in North America. Whether you are interested in hiking, biking, boating or just relaxing, Lake Tahoe is a camping lover's dream.

Campgrounds line the 71 miles of shoreline and are nestled in the surrounding mountains, so choosing the best Lake Tahoe campground for your vacation might feel overwhelming. From South Lake Tahoe camping to the best beach campsites or RV campgrounds,  we've got you covered. So pack your tent and grill and enjoy one one of the many spectacular Lake Tahoe campgrounds.

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    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 convenient at the​ nearby marina.

    Even though you might want Fido to be included in your holiday photo,  Camp Richardson has a strict no-pet policy. So this is a great choice only if your dog is not part of this camping trip.

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    © Monica Prelle

    This beautiful white sand beach has adjacent camping on a quiet bay, and it's 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.

    You can rent kayaks, pedal boats, stand-up paddleboard and powerboats at the adjacent marina.

    RV and tent sites are available but are limited and should be booked well in advance. Cabins are also available for those who would rather have indoor lodgings. 

    Pets are not allowed at Meeks Bay, so your dog has to miss out on this vacation spot. 

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    Monica Prelle

    A lovely 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.

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    Monica Prelle

    The scenic boat-in campground on the north end of Emerald Bay State Park can only be reached by boat; no roads reach the campground. The boot-camp is a one-of-a-kind camping experience where you can enjoy the lake's beauty in 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 to the camp.

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    Monica Prelle

    If part of your camping experience just must including biking, Sugar Pine State Park is for you. 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, about 10 miles long, is a popular bicycling route. And the ​lakeshore at Edwin Z'berg Natural Preserve is just a short pedal or 10-minute walk from the campground.

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    Monica Prelle

    Sandy beaches, rocky coves, and turquoise water combine to make Sand Harbor a favorite 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 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.