Lake Tahoe is undeniably one of America’s most-visited camping destinations all year round. This beautiful and unique lake straddles Nevada and California’s state line borders. It is also considered the biggest alpine lake in North America.
If you want to go skiing and snowshoeing in winter, or hiking or swimming in the summertime, visiting this lake is guaranteed to make your escapade worthwhile and unforgettable.
It’s Every Camping Lover’s Dream
Lake Tahoe’s campgrounds are beautifully nestled in its surrounding mountains. They line its 71 miles-long shoreline. In other words, whether you’re after an affordable, simple public camping option or want a private, luxurious, resort-style accommodation right on the lake’s shoreline, there’s a site that’s perfect for you.
The lake’s southern part is one of the most popular areas. It is flocked by thousands of tourists and visitors every year. There you will find government-run, city-operated, and private campgrounds. In addition, camping in Lake Tahoe is never limited to one campground because there are many of them!
While we know that choosing the best campgrounds in Lake Tahoe depends on personal preference, we want to make sure that you wouldn’t miss the best of the best that this place has to offer. Therefore, we made a list as a starter-pack reference. Check them out!
D.L Bliss State Park Campground
D.L. Bliss State Park is one of the most scenic spots on Lake Tahoe. It’s a beautiful stretch of golden sand. It lines the waterfront and is bounded by spectacular rock outcroppings.
You can enjoy its crystal clear water or marvel at the mountains on the opposite shore. Hikers can access the popular Rubicon hiking trail directly from the park. Kayakers can put in from the beach and explore the shores. Children can even safely play in the shallow waters.
D.L Bliss’ campground is situated high up above the lake, allowing you to take glimpses of the water through the pine trees. Its sites are perched in a generally private, well-spaced, heavily-wooded area.
Additionally, the campground has five different loops that are all equally eye-candies. The Beach Camp Loop, the most popular among five loops, houses sites 142 to 165, making it the most desirable camping area in the park. They also happen to be the closest to the beach. A complete package indeed!
Meeks Bay Resort and Marina
If you’re looking for a wide range of amenities and resort or summer type of camp atmosphere, Meeks Bay Resort and Marina is the place to go.
The resort that’s running and managing the beach is a large-scale operation. There is a beach-side restaurant and cabins overlooking the lake. It’s a big campground with towering pine trees, spacious sites, and easy access to the beach. You can find a big, crescent-shaped beach with shallow waters along the waterfront of Meeks Bay. It is perfect for young children.
The campground also offers RV and tent sites, some pull-through sites, full hookups, showers, and restrooms. Unfortunately, pets of any kind are not allowed inside.
If you want to visit this place, it’s best to book a reservation as far out as possible. Usually, they start accepting bookings from the first week of May for the following summer.
Sugar Pine Point State Park
Sugar Pine Point is situated on Lake Tahoe’s shores, roughly 10 miles south of the city. This place is perfect for trailer owners and RVers. It has over 100 campsites and dumpsites, and restrooms. It allows trailers that are up to 26 feet long and RVs that are up to 32 feet.
The park allows pets, but they shouldn’t be longer than six feet and must be put on a leash all the time. Also, pets are not allowed inside any unpaved trails or buildings, and even on the beach. In other words, it might be a little inconvenient for dog owners, but it’s the park’s policy.
Fallen Leaf Campground
If your camping preference leans more toward a wilderness style experience, Fallen Leaf Campground is the best place to go. This campground is surrounded by forest and set amid towering pines, making it the perfect destination for those who prefer to explore the wild outdoors.
Fallen Leaf Lake has a short trail that leaves from the campground— a good escape route from Lake Tahoe’s crowds. Other trailheads that you can explore in the area include Mt. Tallac, Glen Alpine, and the Moraine Trail, which leaves directly from the campground.
This campground is also a delight for many campers as it offers 200 RV and tent sites, as well as six yurts. What’s more, some sites are pull-through, and parking pads are paved. The maximum length for trailers and RVs varies depending on the campsite, but some can accommodate large units.
As for the accommodation, it’s best to book a reservation in advance as Fallen Leaf can get crowded any time of the year.
This historic campground is an ideal family destination because of its amenities and prime location on South Lake Tahoe’s California shores. Tent and RV sites are close to the lake’s shore, and it has a nearby bike trail that meanders through the forest.
A family camping trip experience wouldn’t be complete without a nearby ice cream parlor, and Camp Richardson has a great one! It also has boat rentals at the nearby marina and a mountain center with bike rentals.
Campground by the Lake
This site is extremely convenient for visitors who just want to have fun and enjoy the lake or the beaches as it’s located right at the heart of South Lake Tahoe town.
The campground is lush and abundant with large pine trees that provide plenty of shade to the visitors. However, it lacks ground cover, particularly near the lake, which could mean little privacy for campers. The consolation is that the sparkling blue lake is visible through the trees from different sites.
Campground by the Lake is managed by the City of South Lake Tahoe and houses 178 sites that can accommodate RVs and tents of almost all sizes. Loop A is equipped with hookups, while Loop B only has electrical hookups. The campground also has cell phone reception and WiFi — a significant advantage for those who want to stay connected.
There are also nearby basketball courts, a public playground, and a heated swimming pool, which can be accessed for a small fee. This campground is also pet-friendly and allows up to three dogs per site. Now, that’s a real deal for pet owners.
Eagle Point Campground
Last but not least is Eagle Point, which is located at the Emerald Bay State Park. This scenic spot is actually just a point of land located at the entrance to Emerald Bay, therefore, making it a good base for exploring the area.
The trailhead for the Rubicon hiking trail is situated in this campground too, and farther up the highway lies the famous Eagle Falls and other hiking trails.
The sites in this campground are small and can only accommodate motor homes up to 21 feet and tents and trailers that are up to 18 feet, in other words, make sure to book one spacious enough to contain your equipment.
Eagle Point opens later in the season compared to other campgrounds in the area. Hence, you might need to wait a little longer if you want to visit this place.
Fresh alpine air, sips of hot coffee during sunrise over the lake, and starry nights around the campfire—Lake Tahoe experience is merely incomparable. Its picturesque campgrounds are the perfect home base for exploring all the epic camping options around the basin.
In a typical Tahoe fashion, these little havens have distinct qualities on their own that never fail to amaze many tourists and travelers. And now that lockdowns have been lifted, therefore, now is the best time to explore the outdoors again. Pack down your tent, ice down the cooler, and come explore!
Zad Ingar is a Davao-based content writer and editor with serious wanderlust issues. This self-confessed bookworm loves to bask in the sun whenever her time permits. Zad also finds joy in reading her fave whodunit classics, and The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris is one of them.