|Tahoe Adventure Company|
Planning the perfect beach day can be hard, but Tahoe Adventure Company makes it a little easier.
Picking the right location for a beach day is essential. When a choosing a spot, I consider views, access to activities, and parking. One spot that hits the mark on all three is the Tahoe Vista Recreation Area. Standing on the beach at the Tahoe Vista Recreation Area, you can see all the way to South Lake Tahoe and Mount Tallac. The beach also has public restrooms and a shaded picnic area, the perfect place to take break from the intense Tahoe sun. Parking is easy and hassle free. There is a large lot across the street that only charges $10 for the whole day.
The Tahoe Vista Recreation Area also has easy access to kayak and stand-up paddle board rentals. Tahoe Adventure Company is right on the beach and offers hourly as well as daily kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals. There is nothing more fun than paddling around on a kayak rental with the whole family. The easy access of the beach means you can all get on and off the water no problem. Tahoe Adventure company’s friendly staff can provide tips on where to go and how best to spend your time on your kayak rental.
Food and Drinks:
No one likes to be hungry. The final element of the perfect beach day is a great picnic. Make sure you bring plenty of water to stay hydrated under the intense Tahoe sun. I like to pack a cooler full of cold drinks and easy to eat snacks, like tangerines, carrots, hummus, cheese, and crackers. Or maybe stop by a local restaurant and grab some burritos to go. The options are endless
What are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy summer at Lake Tahoe!
Lake Tahoe is an incredible tourist destination for the adventurous–there is so much to see and do in the outdoors, and summer is arguably the best time to visit! If you just have 4 days in Lake Tahoe in the summer and want to maximize the outdoor/nature stoke, we have just the itinerary for you.
Day 1 - Kayak, Sail, Enjoy
On the first day of a summer vacation, it’s important to rest and recover from the travel so you don’t burn out before the trip has even begun! Many people travel to Tahoe from other time zones, so take the first day to sleep a little, grab a quick breakfast, then enjoy a calming and relaxing day on Lake Tahoe’s crystal blue waters. For day one, we recommend Tahoe Adventure Company’s Kayak (or Stand Up Paddle Board) and Sailing Multisport tour. Starting at 10am out of Tahoe Vista, the paddlesports portion of the tour closely parallels the Discover tour also offered by Tahoe Adventure Company. The guide is trained on teaching paddle sports and also interpreting the natural and human history of the area, so you’ll get to enjoy learning about the region while you relax in the sunshine on the glorious waters of Lake Tahoe. This portion of the tour is as strenuous as you want it to be–paddle hard to get your post-flight jitters out, or take it slow and just relax, taking in the views and the peace that comes from being on the lake. After you’re done paddling, your guide will set up a gourmet sandwich deli lunch, you’ll nosh, then you’ll all caravan down to Tahoe City to gear up for the sailing part of the tour! Tahoe Adventure Company contracts with Tahoe Sailing Charters for the afternoon tour–so you can expect all their amazing amenities, including beverages for those over 21. As you enjoy that late afternoon sunshine from the viewpoint of a gorgeous sailboat, you can take a deep breath and take in the splendor that is Lake Tahoe!
Day 2 - Hike, Bike, See the sights
Now that you’ve rested and recovered on day one, it’s time to put in some work! The best way to see all the beauty of the Lake Tahoe basin is to work hard for it–it makes the views that much more sweeter! For day 2, we offer another Tahoe Adventure Company multisport tour, but this time opting for the Hike/Bike option. In the morning, we recommend the Granite Chief trail. This moderately strenuous trail starts at the base of Olympic Valley (formerly known as Squaw Valley) and climbs up along Shirley Canyon up to the famous Granite Chief wilderness adjacent to the Palisades Tahoe ski resort (also formerly known as Squaw Valley). The hike is on the tougher side but is totally worth the work, and your trained guide can power you through it! The views from the top are absolutely stunning–you can even see the lake from there!
After another delicious deli lunch, you’ll get fitted on our top-of-the-line comfort bikes (with helmets, of course) and your guide will lead you out of the valley back towards famous CA 89–and the Truckee River Bike Path! The path runs along the Truckee River (it’s aptly named) and rolls upstream through the meandering hills, eventually landing you at Lake Tahoe in Tahoe City. This section of the river is extremely popular for tubing and rafting, so you’ll get to watch the hilarity that is the Truckee River mid-summer. The bike path also has many stopping points along the river where you can stop, rest, and even take a dip!
Once the bike tour wraps up, your guide will bid you adieu, and then you’ll be free in the Village at Olympic Valley, home of some of the best food in the Tahoe region. If you’re lucky enough to be there on a Tuesday, you can even join for “Bluesdays,” free live music between 5 and 7 in the village.
Day 3 - East Shore
Hopefully by now you’ve adjusted from the jet lag, because this morning is going to be an early one (although not as early as it could be!) If you know anything about Sand Harbor or the east shore in the summer, you know that unless you get there early, you won’t get there at all because parking is so limited. Sound like a hassle? That’s why Tahoe Adventure Company cuts out the parking headache by departing out of the Incline Village Visitor Center in a private shuttle. Instead of waiting in line to get in when the Sand Harbor State Park opens at 7am, just meet us in Incline at 8:30am and we will do the rest of the work! The actual water part of the tour lasts around 3 hours, giving you plenty of time to paddle near Bonsai Rock, Secret Cove, Chimney Beach, and the famous Thunderbird Lodge (if you’re there on a Tuesday, do the Thunderbird Lodge tour this day instead!). The east shore is super famous for its giant boulder fields, forests that spill into the water, secret beaches, and crystal clear water, and we guarantee that one of the best ways to see it is by paddling.
After your tour, the guide will drop you back off at your car in Incline Village, where we recommend stopping at Mountain High Sandwich Company or another restaurant in Incline before heading back down the east shore, stopping at the various parking lots to hike down to the many beaches you saw from the water just a few hours ago! We recommend Chimney Beach, Secret Cove, and Skunk Harbor for best hikes to beaches.
Day 4 - Mountain Bike and Sunset Kayak
After another calm and relaxing day on the water, it’s time to work hard in another stunning land adventure. Tahoe Adventure Company offers guided mountain biking tours all around the region–Tahoe City, Truckee, and more–but for today we’ll be taking the North Tahoe MTB tour out of the Tahoe City Cross Country Ski Center. A huge network of trails, most with tricky and exhilarating forest paths with stunning views of the nearby lake, this area is sure to not disappoint. Even if you’ve never mountain biked before, there are beginner trails our guides can take you on, and trust us–it’s a lot less intimidating than it seems! If it feels too scary, just think about it like a leisurely bike path through the woods–the “mountain” in mountain biking is sometimes optional. The tour lasts from 10-1 which gives you plenty of time to explore to your heart’s content.
For the afternoon, relax–have a beer at one of the many microbreweries in the area, eat some delicious food, or even take a nap on one of the many beaches before heading back to Tahoe Vista for a Sunset Kayak tour (or Full Moon if the timing is right!) The 3-hour kayaking tour begins during golden hour–watch as the sun sinks lower and shines golden light all over the water and surrounding mountains. As sunset rolls around, watch the mountains turn pink (a phenomenon known as “alpenglow”) and on a cloudier day, witness the sky lighting up the most brilliant colors you can imagine. No clouds? No problem–just be sure to notice the color gradient as you look up from the horizon towards the deeper colored sky. There’s no doubt–the sunset tour is the icing on the cake of a perfect adventure trip to Lake Tahoe.
4 Days In Tahoe
Truly, if you’re coming to Lake Tahoe, the only way to do it wrong would be to lock up in your hotel room the whole time you’re here. Even if you just sit by the water’s edge or take a drive, it’s impossible to not love every second in the area. But, if you’re looking for that once-in-a-lifetime, unforgettable experience, we’re sure this guide is the way to go. Good luck and safe travels!
When: 8am-1pm, May 14th - October 15th
Where: Truckee Regional Park
What: Mostly a farmers market, you’re sure to find a wide variety of local produce, meats, cheeses, and crafts.
When: 6-8:30pm, June 21 - August 30
Where: The Village at Palisades Tahoe
What: Outdoor blues concert series with beer, wine, spirits, and food options. Bring your own low-back chair, or get on your feet and dance!
When: 6:30pm - 8:30pm, June 22 - August 31
Where: Truckee Regional “Salty” Gebhardt Amphitheater
What: Live music with a free bike valet at a family friendly amphitheater!
When: 8am-1pm, May 12 - October 20
Where: Commons Beach
What: Thriving farmers market with a variety of goods, including fresh produce, artisan breads, meats, flowers, crafts, and more!
When: 3pm-6pm (it says 7pm in some places), May 26 - September 1
Where: Incline Village Library
What: The only afternoon market on the list, this market offers a variety of local goods!
Where: Downtown Truckee, June 23 - August 11
What: A “Summer Street Festival” with an abundance of activity–live music, tap brews, food trucks, kids activities, and local artisans and business tents. The event also features widespread public transport & free bike valet to skip the challenge of parking in Downtown Truckee!
When: 6pm-8:30pm, June 17 - September 2
Where: King’s Beach
What: Summer concert series with live music of a variety of genres, beverages, and local food vendors. Watch the sun sink low over the lake as you enjoy music on the beach!
When: 5pm-7pm, June 10 - August 26
Where: The Village at Palisades Tahoe
What: Free live music every Friday in Olympic Valley, perfect after a day hiking in the valley or tubing the Truckee River!
When: 4pm-7pm, June 12 - September 4
Where: Commons Beach
What: Free live music with both local and national musicians at Commons Beach, a lakefront park in downtown Tahoe City.
When: Shows start at 7pm, July 31 - September 4
Where: Moe’s Barbecue in Tahoe City
What: After Concert at Commons, head over to Moe’s Original Bar B Que for authentic barbecue offerings and continuation of the live music fun! Also on the water, this event is a blast.
In the Lake Tahoe basin, opportunities for adventure abound. You can take a tram up a mountain to wander around some of the highest peaks in the region. You can jet-ski in circles on the lake. You can take a 10 minute plane ride to jump out and skydive back down. These things are incredible–and it’s incredible that you can spend just a week in Tahoe and achieve so many adventurous bucket-list items. The problem is that these things take away the very challenge of adventure sports. The early rock climbers, mountain bikers, even skiers and snowboarders–they weren’t looking for ways around the climb, they were looking for the climb itself. At Tahoe Adventure Company, you won’t find a single motor–not electric, not gas, nothing more than the human-powered engines we have built-in propelling us across the lake, up the hill, down the mountain. We champion “human-powered adventures” because true adventure requires commitment, connection, challenge, and most of all: time. Sure, you’ll end the day sweatier and more sunburnt than those who opt for the easy adventure, but I’ll bet that you’ll end up happier and more satisfied, too.
Before even considering why human-powered adventures bring more value to a vacation, let’s talk about the practical matters. If you pay attention to the outdoor world, you’ll know that until very recently, it’s been exclusively for people with an abundance of time and money. Ski-doos are expensive. Electric bikes, motor boats, airplanes–it seems like the faster you go, the more you spend. Not to mention the environmental impact: all the gas motors and jets that seem to be central to so many adventure sports these days are just pumping more pollution and carbon dioxide into an already oversaturated atmosphere. In the Tahoe area, where wildfires threaten homes, outdoor playgrounds, and the very air we breathe–and where we know that human-started wildfires are more damaging than any natural fires–I can’t help but wonder how many bicycles or kayaks have contributed. A hell of a lot more fires are started by engines and vehicles than any human-powered machine. Beyond price and risk, human-powered adventures are simply easier to get started. To hike, you need shoes. To kayak, just a boat and a paddle. To bike, only a bike and a helmet. You don’t need several thousand dollar speedboats, you don’t need any certifications nor special clothes; you certainly don’t need all the expensive gear the outdoor industry tries to convince you you need. You just need to show up–meaning that anyone can start anywhere at any time.
Picture this: you and your family go jet-skiing every summer on Lake Tahoe, but this year, you opt for a kayak tour on the north shore instead. You don’t go as fast, maybe you don’t get the same thrills, but the stillness quiets you. Your kids are talking to each other, asking your guide questions about the natural history of Lake Tahoe, wondering in quiet awe how all of this got here. You peer down over the edge of the kayak to see 60ft down in the water, something you never noticed before on the jet ski. You feel the power of your body propelling your boat through the water, you’re remembering to take deep breaths, to absorb every tree and pebble you can see. The mental health impact of spending time in nature is undeniable–lower stress, better mood, and even reduced risk of psychiatric disorders. This effect is even stronger when exercising in nature–perhaps the very feeling of using your body for how it works rather than how it looks is important in today’s culture. Not to mention the relationships we build with each other–anyone who has spent an evening, without phones, around a campfire can tell you that the relationships and connections we build with each other when in nature are stronger and truer than anywhere else. Speaking of phones–lack of service, proximity to water, and the desire to conserve battery all contribute to phones being less of a Thing in human-powered adventures. Without phones to monopolize our attention, we can focus on the things that really matter.
Now, all of this might sound like a lot of extra work, but that’s the entire point. Exercising your mind and body grows brain cells, and doing challenging things on purpose builds confidence, helps you get to know yourself, and encourages agency and control in your life. The benefits are many and the drawbacks are few–spend less, connect more, and build components of a good life that truly can last. After all, no true adventurer did more work to avoid the climb–they just tackle it, step by step, and when they get to the top, they feel better for it. Don’t cheapen value with ease and convenience–be the power behind your human-powered adventure.
This blog post is an overview of the most popular kayaking and paddle boarding tours that Tahoe Adventure Company offers--take a look to get a good idea of where each tour goes and the goals it accomplishes. I hope you'll be able to find the best fit for you and your travel buddies!
North Shore Kayak or Paddle Board Tour
10am-2pm, $95 each, lunch included, ages 8+.
This 4 hour tour is the best way to see Tahoe’s North Shore–get a paddle lesson at the beautiful Tahoe Vista Recreation Area by an experienced, knowledgeable, and frankly just really cool guide. Once they give you the run-down on how to use your kayak or paddle board, everybody launches from the beach, just steps from the meeting area, and the adventure begins! If the winds are blowing west, you’ll head east across the beautiful Agate Bay, catching views of Kings Beach and the many sandy recreation spots on the North Shore. Surrounded by mountains and dense forests, there is more to look at then you’ll know what to do with! If the group is paddling strong, you might even make it to the boulder fields at Speedboat Beach near the Nevada state border. If the wind is blowing east, you’ll head west across Carnelian Bay towards Waterman’s Landing. This is a super popular area due to the famous and fancy Gar Woods restaurant (Tahoe Adventure Company has a tour that takes you there!), and the altogether stunning views of the crystal blue lake and surrounding mountains. At some point along the way (no matter which direction you’re paddling), the group stops at one of the Tahoe beaches and your guide will whip up a delicious deli lunch and ice-cold drinks for your enjoyment. The beauty of paddling upwind to start is that after lunch, you get to cruise back to Tahoe Vista with the wind at your back. If you want, you can spend the rest of your day on the sandy beach at Tahoe Vista Recreation Area and just relax, soaking up that late afternoon Sierra sunshine. There’s nothing better in the world!
Discover Kayak or Paddle Board Tour
10am-12pm, $65 each, ages 6+.
This 2 hour guided tour is the perfect introduction to paddle sports! Starting and ending at the same spot as the North Shore tour, you’re bound to see much of the same sights, but this tour is geared up more as a lesson for those hoping to dip their toes in the (literal and figurative) water of kayaking or paddle boarding. Your guide will give you all the tips and tricks on how to be a better paddler, plus a ton of really interesting information about the natural and human history of the Lake Tahoe basin and lake itself. Perfect for kids (6+), beginners, or even just those traveling on a time crunch.
Sand Harbor Kayak or Paddle Board Tour
8:30am-12:30pm, $109 each, snacks and drinks included, ages 8+.
This East Shore morning tour begins with a group transfer from the Incline Village Visitor Center to Sand Harbor state park–sound like a drag? Way less of a drag than waking up at 4am to get there before the parking lot inevitably fills up and blocks traffic both ways! The shuttle is only a few minutes long and saves you the hassle–not to mention our guides do all the heavy lifting to get the boats into the water for you. Sand Harbor is an incredible kickoff point to explore the East Shore of Lake Tahoe–if you’re visiting to explore travel bloggers’ or instagram influencers’ photo spots, you’ve chosen the right tour. There are regal boulder fields with granite rocks towering over you in your kayak. There’s bonsai rock, a little island with a little tree that is definitely a photography hotspot. There are all kinds of secret coves and private beaches only accessible by boat where you can hop out, relax in the sun, soak in the moment like a basking lizard. After 2-3 hours of paddling and exploring the crystal blue waters, you’ll head back to the Sand Harbor beach, watch your staff haul all the boats back on the trailer while you enjoy a cool drink and yummy snack in the shade, then everyone heads back to Incline Village to get your cars! It’s a SPECTACULAR tour with a maximum of 12 people so make sure to call ahead as they fill up quickly!
Thunderbird Lodge Kayak Tour
8am-2:30pm, $169 each (includes $50 donation to the Lodge), lunch included, ages 8+.
This tour is juuuust like the Sand Harbor tour, but with a twist (and lunch!). Just like the Sand Harbor kayak or paddle board tour, the Thunderbird Lodge tour starts and ends at the Incline Village Visitor Center, heads over to Sand Harbor, and gives you a few hours to paddle around the East Shore. The difference is that after a few hours, you get to hop out, put on some dry shoes, and get an exclusive walking tour of George Whittell’s home (read: castle) nestled in the forest on the East Shore. If you’re coming to Tahoe without knowing who George Whittell was, your first task is to google him. Done? No? Fine, then here’s a run-down: the famous George owned a huge portion of the Nevada side of the lake–his dream was to build a slew of luxury travel resorts–but he passed away without ever realizing that goal. Luckily for us, this means that a huge amount of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline was unable to be developed, and is now mostly owned by the Nevada State Parks system. The Thunderbird Lodge, his not-so-humble abode, is one of the only buildings on the stunning East Shore of the lake. This tour is extra special because we are one of the only companies permitted to take our guests in and around the lodge–our guides are trained docents and have more history and information to share with you than you probably even want to know. After the walking tour, you’ll paddle over to one of the many stunning sandy beaches in the area, eat a delicious sandwich and drink cool drinks, then meander back to Sand Harbor to wrap up your day. This is one of our most popular tours and is only available on Tuesdays (unless your group is bigger than 20), so make sure to plan in advance and secure your spot!
Whether you’re looking for introductory or family fun, a full day North Shore excursion , an East Shore exploratory tour , or a historical and stunning all-day adventure , we are sure you’ll be able to find something great for you and your group. To book, just head over to the Water Adventures page on the website, or call at 530-913-9212 to speak with the amazing office staff who can help you find the best tours for you. Don’t forget that Tahoe Adventure Company does more than just kayak tours and paddle boarding tours on Lake Tahoe–they can also take you on mountain biking tours, hiking tours, and even multi-sport tours with kayaking or paddle boarding in the morning and hiking or biking in the afternoon! Visit tahoeadventurecompany.com for all your Lake Tahoe tour needs!