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Emerald Bay

Emerald Bay: Our most recommended tours and activities

South Lake Tahoe: Sightseeing Cruise of Emerald Bay

1. South Lake Tahoe: Sightseeing Cruise of Emerald Bay

Embark on a sightseeing cruise starting in South Lake Tahoe either at sunset or during the day. Take in the scenic beauty while cruising 11 kilometers across the lake to Emerald Bay, one of the top ten most photographed places in the world. Savor snacks and drinks as you sail. See the majestic mountains of South Lake Tahoe while onboard the world-class Tahoe Bleu Wave yacht. As you cruise, you will find indoor and outdoor seating with 360-degree panoramic views of Lake Tahoe, the snow-capped mountains, Fannette Island, Vikingsholm Castle, Eagle Waterfall, and the Rubicon. Navigate the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe while hearing your captain's narration about this lake. You may even get the chance to see a variety of wildlife such as the bald eagle, black bears, and wild geese. If you've chosen the sunset option, relax and watch the sun dip low below the sky.

Lake Tahoe: Half-Day Photographic Scenic Tour

2. Lake Tahoe: Half-Day Photographic Scenic Tour

Visit some of Lake Tahoe's most famous locations, showcasing the best of its South and West Shores. Your journey begins at a beautiful secluded beach. Shadowed by Mt. Tallac, you will learn how the famous Snowcross forecasts the forthcoming winter conditions. The area is especially famous as a wonderful wildlife sanctuary, home to numerous species of birds. Look out for bears, especially in October, as you listen to the peaceful birdsong. In late spring and summer, wildflowers carpet the meadows of Taylor Creek. In October you will see the Kokanee Salmon run - when around 80,000 salmon start their journey to spawn. Pause at some local stores for snacks and beverages before moving on to Emerald Bay. One of the most photographed locations in North America, beautiful waterfalls await as you explore the glacier. The carved masterpiece can be seen from various perspectives. The tour offers myriad photo opportunities throughout. As the tour guides show you how to take optimal photographs, they will also capture magical shots to process and later deliver to you.

Lake Tahoe: Self-Guided Driving Tour

3. Lake Tahoe: Self-Guided Driving Tour

Explore your way on this self-guided driving tour of Lake Tahoe. See the entire lake and all the best vistas, hikes, and swimming spots using an app that functions as a guide, audio tour, and map all in one. Enjoy a tour by local guides, creative writers, and professional voice artists. Begin your tour in Stateline on the southern shore. From there, take a clockwise loop around the lake. While driving, learn about the heated debate between California and Nevada over who technically owns the lake. Visit the summer home of a man who insisted people called his cabin the Vatican. Then, see a few more impressive homes along the shore, including some inspired by Viking longhouses. Next, visit Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe’s crown jewel. This bay offers stunning views of the water and the mountains beyond, as well as swimming, kayaking, scuba diving, and any other water activities you could want. If you’re in the mood for a waterfall, stop by the Eagle Falls trailhead to see the only waterfall that flows into the lake. Hear the spooky tale of how Lake Tahoe’s only island, Fannette, is supposedly haunted. As you continue, learn about the Washoe tribe who lived here long before any European explorers put it on a map. Next up, see Meeks Bay, a perfect white sand beach to catch some sun. Get the scoop on a presidential visit to the lake, famous residents who occupy the houses along the shore, and learn about the lake’s origins. Pay a visit to Carnelian Bay, where boat racing used to be a big deal in the '30s and '40s. Then, say hello to Kings Beach on the north shore, a perfect picnic spot with views that will make you feel like a royal yourself. Pass by the Cal Neva Casino next, which straddles the border between California and Nevada and was once owned by Frank Sinatra. See more stunning estates along the way. Then, learn about some of the area’s wildlife. Visit the Secret Cove, a perfect spot for those looking for some secluded serenity. Nearing the end of the tour, visit a 300-foot-high vista point for perfect photo opportunities. Conclude your tour by Cave Rock, a remnant of the lake’s most ancient history.

Lake Tahoe: Lakeside Highlights Yacht Tour

4. Lake Tahoe: Lakeside Highlights Yacht Tour

Experience the shoreline of Lake Tahoe aboard a yacht and take in panoramic views of the lush scenery. Join a relaxing and luxurious guided trip around the Tahoe Keys, allowing the crew to point out some of the biggest local attractions for swimming and diving. Explore the calm and secluded Eagle Falls and Fannette Island in Emerald Bay State Park, check out the clarity of the lake in Whiskey Cove, and see exciting activities taking place along the cliffs of D.L. Bliss State Park. Watch people jump off Rooster Rock and view the estates of Rubicon Bay. Make the most of your outing by bringing your favorite beverages and snacks to enjoy during your tour. Swim off the boat, sit in the shade or sun, and customize your trip to your own interests.

Lake Tahoe: 2-Hour Private Boat Trip with Captain

5. Lake Tahoe: 2-Hour Private Boat Trip with Captain

Enjoy a boat trip around the stunning natural beauty of Lake Tahoe. Take in panoramic views of mile-high mountains and the famous Emerald Bay on this private, 2-hour tour. Meet your certified captain at the Tahoe Keys Marina. Hop aboard their ship, the White lightning, a fun boat with a 502 mag and 3,000 dollar stereo system. Get ready to set sail onto North America's second deepest lake. Enjoy spectacular views as you journey round Lake Tahoe. Pass by Camp Richardson and the Tallac Historical Site. Sail into the picturesque and photogenic Emerald Bay. See Fannette Island in the middle of the lake, and catch a glimpse of the Scandinavian architecture of the Vikingsholm mansion. Take in the beauty of the D.L. Bliss State Park. Admire the electric green and cobalt blue water of Rubicon Bay, before returning to the marina to finish the tour.

Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley: Full-Day Narrated Bus Tour

6. Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley: Full-Day Narrated Bus Tour

Take an enjoyable Lake Tahoe excursion that circles the lake and makes a detour to Squaw Valley, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. On this narrated bus tour, you’ll marvel at the natural beauty of the region while you learn more about the area and leave the driving to your guides. Start with pickup from selected South Lake Tahoe hotels. You travel clock-wise around the lake and make your first stop at Emerald Bay. Emerald Bay is one of the area’s most photographed sites. Its vista point offers spectacular views of the bay and Fanette Island. You’ll then continue traveling along the lake’s western shore, and make your next stop at the Truckee River Dam, which presents another great opportunity for photos. You then make a detour to visit Squaw Valley, which is located 8 miles north of Lake Tahoe. This lovely and historic valley hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics. In Tahoe City, which marks the half-way point of our tour, you'll stop for lunch. You'll have a have plenty of eateries to choose from here, including sandwich shops, coffee shops, and lakeside restaurants. After lunch, your excursion continues along the lake’s northern and eastern shores, with a stop to enjoy the views and take photos at scenic Logan Shoals.

Lake Tahoe: Zephyr Cove Helicopter Flight

7. Lake Tahoe: Zephyr Cove Helicopter Flight

Take off from south of Lake Tahoe and fly along the east shore into the state of Nevada. Witness the beautiful indigo blue waters and teal shorelines as you fly to Zephyr Cove. After circling Zephyr Cove, fly west along the south shoreline past Fallen Leaf Lake and Cascade Lake to Emerald Bay. Take in the beautiful views from the helicopter for an adventure that will last long in the memory.

Lake Tahoe: Private Power Boat Charter

8. Lake Tahoe: Private Power Boat Charter

Sit back and enjoy a boat tour of some of the most famous sights and views that Lake Tahoe has to offer. Experience the most relaxing way to sightsee, free of traffic noise and congestion, with complimentary perks like light snacks, drinks, music, and swim gear. Heading out from Tahoe Keys Marina in Grateful Red, the luxury boat some call the Ferrari of Lake Tahoe. The tour starts with cruising by Camp Richardson, the oldest campground in the basin, and the Tallac Historical site. Next, venture past the golden sands of Baldwin and Ski Beach before reaching the entrance to Emerald Bay, one of the most photographed places in the world. Entering Emerald Bay, see the memorable Vikingsholm mansion which many consider the finest piece of Scandinavian architecture in the U.S. Pass by Fannette Island, the only island in Lake Tahoe, also located in Emerald Bay, and home to the former tea house where guests of Vikingsholm would travel to by boat to enjoy afternoon tea. After admiring Emerald Bay, continue up the west shore to D. L. Bliss State Park and Rubicon Bay where the water is electric green with cobalt blues, an unforgettable swimming spot to experience. The tour continues to Sugar Pine Point State Park with its Mediterranean blue waters and the picturesque Ehrman Mansion. Before heading back to Tahoe Keys Marina, visit Homewood, a quaint little town with a ski resort at the water’s edge.

Other Sightseeing Options in Emerald Bay

Want to discover all there is to do in Emerald Bay? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Emerald Bay

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 164 reviews

We got more than we were expecting. Our guide gave us historical information, which I expected but she also took pictures of us along the way. I look forward to getting those photos. She also gave us excellent information about setting the scene when taking pictures.

Thoroughly enjoyable. Captain was so friendly and informative. The cry did was a lovely experience. .

We loved it and the tour actually helped us plan activities for the rest of our trip while in Tahoe!

Really special time wit a great crew, great boat and incredible scenery!

Beautiful boat tour of Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay.