Whatever Floats Your Boat

Boating is a fun adventure for the entire family, including Anikin Allen and dogs Copper and Rubble, the Bullmastiff. | Michelle Allen

The allure of Lake Tahoe cannot be denied. Most days its waters glisten in the sun reflecting the regal mountain peaks that surround it. It can be intoxicating to witness its beauty from the shore, but to fully experience its allure get on the water in a boat and immerse yourself.

Check off BUCKET LIST #87 on our Ultimate Tahoe Summer Bucket List

Kayaking and paddleboarding are great ways to explore from the water. These activities are relaxing, too, although they can limit your reach and provide only a small glimpse of the grandeur of Lake Tahoe. For a broader range and more opportunity to explore Lake Tahoe, try a private boat tour or a ride in a powerboat.

Private boat tours are an easy and flexible option. There is a wide variety of options from sailing cruises to large tour boat rides to an exhilarating parasail trip. Each option has something unique to offer and most appeal to a large audience.

While private boat tours have their allure, my family’s favorite way to get on the water is on a powerboat. My husband Luke owns A&M Marine, a boat-repair business in Tahoe City, and we are fortunate to own a powerboat. Every summer we spend countless hours on our boat exploring the miles of gorgeous shoreline.

Anikin and Luke Allen paddleboarding in Calawee Cove off D.L. Bliss State Park from the boat. | Katherine E. Hill

We keep our boat at the Tahoe City Marina where we are close to many of the best destinations on the lake. Some days, if the wind is light, we will travel to the east and cruise the shore admiring the opulent lakefront houses or enjoying views of Mount Rose, Snow Summit and the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada. We will often make a day out of it and anchor near Skunk Harbor or drive farther down the east side to see Thunderbird Lodge and the historic “Thunderbird” boat. We typically don’t drive farther than this point but we have driven toward Zephyr Cove to get a view of Cave Rock.

Most of the time we drive west to avoid the wind and higher waves to the east. The predominant wind pattern on Lake Tahoe is from the southwest. This means that it will be less windy on the west and south sides of the lake. Sometimes we take a roundtrip tour of Emerald Bay or anchor off the beach at Sugar Pine Point State Park using an inflatable tube to ferry to shore.

The tube is also fun to play with on the beach, but it’s most fun when riding in it behind the boat. My son Anikin likes to ride in the tube, but has more fun when other kids ride with him. He often has to ride with me and I am usually hesitant because Luke traumatized me once when I was riding in a tube. The gist is he pulled me under the waves he had purposefully created from the boat wake. I thought I was going to drown as I went under the water, but was relieved when I came out the other side still holding onto the tube. That was years ago, but I’m too old for that nonsense now.

Anikin Allen with his buddy Kayl Climenhaga tubing on Lake Tahoe. | Laurie Climenhaga

As Anikin gets older he will probably want to ride the tube more and possibly get thrashed on it like most of the kids and fearless parents I know. Eventually Luke will introduce him to wakeboarding, water skiing and wake surfing. Hopefully, my nerves can take watching Anikin risk injury as he learns. Luckily for him, Luke is the best teacher and he will keep him safe — or he has to deal with me.

If you don’t own a powerboat, there are many places to rent one on Lake Tahoe. Some of them require boating experience so ask what the requirements are before you book. If you want to rent water toys, like a wakeboard or tube, ask the boat rental company if there is a place onsite or nearby from which to rent the equipment.