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Nevada's Sand Harbor

Lake Tahoe's eastern shore is ideal for kayaking, snorkeling, and enjoying quiet, clear waters, especially after Labor Day.

Paddleboarder near Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, Nev., image
Photo credit
Photo: Peter Spain
Photo caption
A paddleboarder floats over Sand Harbor’s sunken grotto.

Bring goggles to Sand Harbor in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, where on calm days the clear water magnifies surreal-looking rocks and wave-rippled sand beneath the surface. Don’t try to touch down; the lake bottom is farther away than it looks.

The 55-acre park, on Tahoe’s east shore three miles south of Incline Village, Nev., offers sweet public access to the venerated resort lake. Fine sand extends in two graceful arcs from Memorial Point; coves pock the shoreline; and massive golden boulders form sculptural playgrounds.

In fall, after the crowds of summer vanish, relatively warm and quiet waters are ideal for snorkeling, air-mattress loafing, and other motor-free sports. “September is one of the best months for paddling,” says Andrew Laughlin, owner of Sand Harbor Rentals and Tahoe City Kayak, places to rent kayaks and paddleboards or book tours. “After Labor Day, exploring the east shore is like getting out into the wilderness.” (775) 831-0494,

This article was first published in September 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.