Lake Tahoe, I can attest to the fact that paddle boarding is one of the most popular water activities in the area. With its crystal-clear waters and breathtaking mountain views, Lake Tahoe is the perfect place to explore on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP). In this article, I will share my top picks for the best places to paddle board in Lake Tahoe.
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Located on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe, Sand Harbor is one of the most scenic and popular places to paddle board. The calm, clear waters make it an ideal spot for beginners, while more experienced paddle boarders can explore the nearby rock formations and underwater boulders.
Sand Harbor also offers paddle board rentals and lessons, making it a convenient option for those who don’t have their own equipment.
Sand Harbor is one of the most popular destinations in Lake Tahoe, and it’s important to be aware of its hours of operation. The park is open from 7 a.m. until one hour after sunset, making it a great place to catch a sunrise or enjoy a sunset paddle board session. However, it’s important to note that during peak season, the parking lot can fill up quickly, and once full, the park will close until it reopens later in the day, usually around 5 p.m.
Park entrance fees are $10 for Nevada Registered Vehicles/$15 for Out of State Registered Vehicles. The park offers $1 off for disabled and veterans. Payment is cash only from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
Emerald Bay is one of the most iconic areas in Lake Tahoe and is also a great place to paddle board. The bay is surrounded by steep cliffs and features a small island in the center, making for a picturesque and unique paddle-boarding experience.
The water can be a bit choppy at times, so it’s best to paddleboard here on calm days.
It’s also important to note that there are no SUP rental facilities at Emerald Bay, so you’ll need to bring your own equipment. We recommend Tahoe Adventure Company Stand Up Paddle Board Tours if you want to go with a company that provides everything!
Kings Beach is located on the north shore of Lake Tahoe and is a popular spot for paddle boarding. The shallow waters make it a great place for beginners, while more experienced paddle boarders can explore the nearby coves and beaches.
Kings Beach also features several rental facilities, making it a convenient option for those who don’t have their own equipment.
The peak-season rates (May 1 – September 30) are $10.00 per vehicle for the day, or $3.00 per hour. The non-peak-season rates (October 1 – April 30) are $5 per vehicle for the day or $3.00 per hour.
Meeks Bay is located on the west shore of Lake Tahoe and is a quieter and more secluded spot for paddle boarding. The calm waters and sandy beaches make it an ideal spot for families with children, while more experienced paddle boarders can explore the nearby coves and rocky shores.
Meeks Bay also features a rental facility and a small store where you can purchase snacks and drinks.
While not technically part of Lake Tahoe, Donner Lake is located just a short drive away and is a great place to paddle board. The smaller size of the lake makes it a bit less crowded than Lake Tahoe, and the calm waters make it an ideal spot for beginners.
Donner Lake also features several rental facilities and a public beach where you can launch your paddle board.
Fallen Leaf Lake
Fallen Leaf Lake is located on the south shore of Lake Tahoe and is a quieter and more secluded spot for paddle boarding. The calm waters and stunning mountain views make it an ideal spot for exploring on a paddleboard.
There are several rental facilities in the area, as well as a public beach where you can launch your board. There is a $10 per vehicle fee for day-use parking.
Lake Baron is a small lake located just south of Lake Tahoe in the town of Meyers. While it may not be as well-known as some of the other paddle boarding spots in the area, it offers a peaceful and tranquil setting for paddle boarders.
The calm waters and scenic views make it a great spot for beginners, while more experienced paddle boarders can explore the lake’s shoreline and nearby coves.
There is a $5 fee per vehicle for parking.
Nestled high in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Angora Lakes is a picturesque alpine lake destination perfect for paddleboarding. Surrounded by towering pines and granite cliffs, the clear blue waters provide stunning reflections of the rugged wilderness.
The lake is accessible only by hiking trail, keeping crowds minimal and preserving the peaceful vibe.
The lake has a gentle gradient, making it ideal for paddleboarders of all levels, from beginners getting their sea legs to experienced adventurers exploring the lake’s many small inlets and waterfalls.
There is a $10 fee for parking. We recommend getting there early to get a parking spot. If there are no sports available, visitors can park at the fire lookout on the way to the resort. This is about a mile hike from the parking lot itself.
Here are some pros and cons to consider when deciding whether to purchase or rent a paddleboard in Lake Tahoe:
- More cost-effective if only used occasionally or on a short vacation. Rentals are around $20-30 per day.
- Don’t have to transport or store a large board. Rentals are handy at the beach or marina.
- Can try different board styles and sizes risk-free before purchasing.
- No maintenance or repairs are needed. The rental company handles any issues.
- Limited availability – may not get the board you want during busy times. Need to reserve in advance.
- Less consistency – have to re-adjust to a different board each time.
- Rental boards may be worn, damaged, or dirty.
- Use whenever you want without time restrictions. Convenient for locals.
- Familiar with your own board – customized to your preferences.
- No rental fees over time, so more economical if used frequently.
- Higher quality boards with better construction.
- Large upfront investment – paddleboards range from $500-$1500.
- Responsible for transporting, storing, and maintaining the board.
- Can’t return it if you end up not using it. Takes up space.
Overall, renting makes more sense for vacations and infrequent paddlers. Purchasing is better if you live locally and paddle regularly. Try out rentals before buying your own to make sure you enjoy paddleboarding!