Joys of boating

There is boating and then there is boating Lake Tahoe. June through September, locals and visitors take to the waters of Big Blue for recreation, sport and relaxation.


I moved here in the summer of 1999 with cash on hand to pay for boat gas and beers. At the time, I didn’t own a boat. That summer, I learned to wakeboard, fell in love, camped at Emerald Bay and attended the Celebrity Golf Tournament in South Lake Tahoe.

Over the years, I’ve developed a deep vault of sun-soaked memories resulting from my boating adventures, meeting great people along the way.

I’ve developed a deep vault of sun-soaked memories
resulting from my boating adventures, meeting great
people along the way.


10 reasons to go boating

Freedom | As traffic backs up through tiny shoreline communities and popular beaches get crowded, life on the lake moves freely, even on the busiest of holiday weekends.

Community | Boating is a communal activity where you can spend quality time with family and friends — and make new friends. Tahoe’s bustling boating community is one of the friendliest in the country.

Perspective | One can hardly grasp the size and beauty of this lake. Being out on it provides a 360-degree panoramic view of stunning shorelines, rising mountaintops and crystal blue water.

Sport | Water sport activities, such as wakeboarding, waterskiing and wake surfing, are fun for anyone, from beginners to the pros. Hurricane Bay on the lake’s West Shore protects from southwesterly winds. Go first thing in the morning or before the sunset for glassy conditions.

Exploration | The lake is 22 miles long and 12 miles wide, with more than 70 miles of shoreline, making it perfect for exploring. It is home to numerous state parks, countless sandy beaches, coves and rock formations. One could spend a week enjoying every pocket of beauty and wonder.

Nature | Lake Tahoe is home to dozens of bird species. It’s common to see white pelicans and osprey diving from the sky for fresh fish. If you are lucky, you’ll see the massive wingspan of a Bald Eagle off D.L. Bliss State Park on the West Shore.

Romance | Looking to impress? Sail away on a romantic trip for two. The sure beauty and surrounding scenery are the perfect backdrop for loving moments. Stop the engine to sip your favorite wine together or skinny dip, if you dare.

Adventure | The nature of leaving land makes boating adventurous. Each outing is different. The weather, the places you visit, the people you’re with and the things you do all provide unique and unforgettable experiences.

Responsibility | There are many lessons to learn for all ages: from operating the vessel, learning to tie knots and reading buoys, to differentiating the stern from the bow.

Relaxation | Unless you’re prone to motion sickness or you find yourself in a leaky vessel, boating can be a stress-free and calming way to enjoy time outdoors. Soak in the sun, enjoy a refreshing swim and take a slow cruise.


Favorite beaches by boat

Secret Cove | Multiple serene beaches on the lake’s East Shore. Nudist sightings are common here. Watch out for rocks.

Boaters Beach | Slightly south of Secret Cove. The sandy shoreline is easy for boats to pull up to — hence the name.

Lester Beach | Off D.L. Bliss State Park on the western shore just north of Emerald Bay. Depending on the water level, anchor offshore and wade in.

No matter how you do it, boating on Lake Tahoe offers experiences that you’ll never forget. If a boat isn’t in your budget, consider a kayak or standup paddleboard. Boat rental companies are plentiful around the lake, with something for any group size and budget. I hope to see you on the water.


Derek Moore works with Action Watersports of Incline Village. |

By Derek Moore



See the sights from the water

Fleur de Lac
West Shore | Backdrop for “Godfather II”
Not open for public tours

Thunderbird Lodge
East Shore | National Historic Landmark
Open for public tours by reservation only; no boat access

Vikingsholm Castle & Fannette Island
Emerald Bay | Scandinavian-style castle & tea house
Tours of the castle available | Fannette Island accessible only by boat

Cave Rock
East Shore | Neck of an old volcano
Look for the “Lady of the Lake”



History comes to life at Thunderbird

Explore beauty of Emerald Bay

East Shore lore