In Northeastern California, just outside of Tahoe City, Tahoe State Recreation Area is an oasis of beauty just waiting for you. The small campground on the edge of Lake Tahoe is the perfect place for RVers to enjoy a night or a whole week because there is so much to do. Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the United States, reaching a depth of 1,645 feet at its deepest point. Not only is it deep, but it is also huge at 22 miles long and 12 miles wide with 72 miles of shoreline to enjoy.
The park is only a quarter of a mile from Tahoe City where you can visit the Gatekeeper Museum, take a float trip down the Truckee River, or check out the fresh fruits and vegetables at the Farmer’s Market. Inside the park, you can choose between many different water sports such as swimming, boating, water skiing, fishing, wakeboarding, or just floating on your raft soaking up some sun.
But there is more to Tahoe State Recreation Area than the lake. You can explore the paved trails that meander along the lake and into the woods, have a picnic, or just sit by your camper and enjoy the peace and quiet of the park. Your dog is welcome at the park too, but you have to keep them on a leash and stay with them at all times. There are many bears in the area, so you have to keep your food and other scented items in the food lockers, which are provided at each campsite.
Right on Highway 28 east of Highway 89, you can easily find the park with all the signage and locals who are friendly enough to give you directions if you ask. This recreation area is both rugged and convenient since it is within walking distance to the town of Tahoe City, where there are convenience stores, a laundry mat, post office, library, and restaurants.
The roads leading into the park are easily accessible in any size vehicle whether you are pulling a trailer or not. They are well maintained, and you should have no trouble getting to the park since it is located on the highway. However, there are a plethora of wild critters around from whitetail deer to bears so watch out for those that may wander into the street.
Tahoe State Recreation Area is not set up for large campers or trailers over 21 feet so you will have a hard time getting around in here if you are driving a big rig. The same goes for pulling a trailer, whether it is a boat, horse, or camping trailer, you are probably going to need to head straight for your campsite and park before exploring the area.
Having a campground on Lake Tahoe is like a dream come true for lake lovers and if you choose one of the prime campsites close to the lake you will be just feet from the beach. Campsites 11-18 are all located on the beach and the rest of the campsites are not much further. They are all within walking distance, making swimming and sunbathing a breeze. Potable water pumps are available at 11 different places around the campground. There is a shower house with restrooms by campsite number 26 and the campsite host is at number two.
The pad lengths on these campsites range from 12 to 21 feet so make sure you check out the specifics online before making your choice as some are not long enough for large RVs. Each of the campsites includes a fire pit, picnic table, and a bear-resistant food locker because there are quite a few bears in the area. All food and drinks have to be stored in these provided food lockers or you risk getting a ticket. The measurements of the lockers are 22 inches high, 43 inches wide, and 36 inches deep. Pets are allowed but must be kept on a leash or otherwise restrained at all times.
Since there are only 23 campsites, it is rare to come in and find one available on a walk-in basis. However, if you can find one, you are allowed to stay one night on a first-come, first-served basis but you have to check with the camp host first.
Be sure to pack your beach balls, floaties, and sunscreen in the RV because swimming in Lake Tahoe is one of the best swimming experiences you will ever have. The lake is so clear that you can see all the way to the bottom at 50 feet depth! The beautiful sandy beach is also great for volleyball, frisbee, or just soaking up the sun. Spend your day at the beach and then head back to the campsite for dinner and campfire stories.
With almost 200 square miles of surface area on Lake Tahoe, you can do pretty much any kind of water sport from surfing to parasailing. Many people think you can only surf in the ocean, but Lake Tahoe has some awesome waves as well. In fact, they can get up to 10 feet high. Windsurfing is also popular when the waves are right. If you like heights, you can get up to 1200 feet high when parasailing. Talk about a great view!
Pack your friends and family in the rig and spend a relaxing day at one of the many spacious picnic areas at Tahoe State Recreation Area. Whether you pack a lunch, catch your meal in the lake, or stop and grab some grub in town, there are plenty of picnic tables and BBQ grills located around the park. You can choose from a spot by the lake where you can swim and fish or a more secluded area in the woods for a quiet meal.
If you like fishing, make sure you get the fishing gear in the camper before leaving to the park because there are over 70 miles of shoreline for bank fishing and 191 square miles of lake for boating. You can even go scuba diving for fish if you are so inclined and have the know-how. Trout fishing is popular here and is best done in the fall or winter, so offseason fishing is perfect for catching rainbow, brown, and lake trout as well as kokanee salmon and largemouth bass.
Lake Tahoe is a favorite among skiers so pack those skis and some long johns. There are over a dozen ski resorts on Lake Tahoe and you can check out Squaw Valley Ski Resort while staying at Tahoe State Recreation Area, which is the second largest ski resort in Lake Tahoe. It was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics as well. So grab your ski poles and snowsuit and head to Tahoe State Recreation Area today.
Whether you want to hike or go biking, the multi-use trail along Lake Tahoe is a wonderfully scenic and easy hike for everyone. Bring a backpack with food and water and you can find a spot in the woods or by the lake to enjoy a meal before heading back to camp. Or hike along the Truckee River all the way to Squaw Valley Village. The trail is paved and easily accessed by wheelchair or strollers. It is about a seven-mile trek to Squaw Valley and back so make sure you wear comfortable shoes.