One of the most budget-friendly ways to visit Lake Tahoe is to camp. You’ll find an array of amazingly beautiful Lake Tahoe camping all around the lake. This list of the best camping in Lake Tahoe brings amazing camp spots straight to you.
I’ve been coming to Lake Tahoe for over 18 years. My family lives here and I frequently come back to visit in order to enjoy the array of amazing outdoor activities Lake Tahoe has to offer. Camping is a long-time favorite past time of mine and these Lake Tahoe campgrounds can’t be missed.
About This Guide to the Best Lake Tahoe Camping
In order to find the best camping in Lake Tahoe, you’re going to need to be organized. Lake Tahoe has some amazing places to camp, but you’ll want to make plans in advance, especially during the busy season.
In this guide to camping near Lake Tahoe, we’ll cover:
- The best time of year to camp at Lake Tahoe
- The best camping in South Lake Tahoe
- Amazing campgrounds in North Lake Tahoe
- Quick tips for camping in Lake Tahoe
- Additional resources for visiting Lake Tahoe
When is the Best Time to Camp Near Lake Tahoe?
Although there are a few campgrounds that are open year-round in Lake Tahoe, the best time to camp is during the summer months. Temperatures are warm and there’s plenty to see and do.
Summer is also the most crowded time to visit Lake Tahoe, so expect some crowds.
Do I Need to Reserve My Lake Tahoe Campsite in Advance?
Yes. Yes. And yes. Camping is actually quite limited in the Tahoe Basin. Unlike other parts of the country, there is little to no free-dispersed camping near Lake Tahoe. This means you’ll want to plan well in advance if you want to go camping near Lake Tahoe. This is especially true if you’re camping on the weekend.
The Best Camping in Lake Tahoe
The best camping in Lake Tahoe can be found on either the north or south side of the lake. Much of the east and west sides of the lake don’t offer much in the way of camping.
The Best Camping in South Lake Tahoe
If you want to be in the heart of the action, then head to South Lake Tahoe. The best camping in South Lake Tahoe is around the Desolation Wilderness and Emerald Bay. South Lake with its high-rise casinos, is right nearby in case you need any last-minute items.
Nevada Beach Campground
Camp right near the border between California and Nevada at the Nevada Beach Campground. Located right on the beach, this is a quieter, smaller campground with plenty of RV and tent sites. There are toilet facilities and fire pits. Pets are welcome here as long as they are leashed.
This is one of the only year-round campgrounds.
Fee: $36 per night
Reservations?: Required. Can reserve up to 10 months in advance.
DL Bliss State Park Campground
Arguably the most beautiful of the bunch, DL Bliss State Park is one of the most scenic spots in Lake Tahoe. Gorgeous rock outcroppings line a golden sand beach. There are swimming and kayak access, as well as beautiful hiking trails nearby.
This park is home to some of the best camping in Lake Tahoe with 5 different loops, much of it shaded. Dogs are allowed in the camping loop only.
Fee: $45 per night for beach camping $35 for other sites. $10 vehicle fee for each additional car.
Reservations?: Required. Open up to six months prior
Fallen Leaf Campground
Located near some of the best hiking trails in Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Campground offers some of the best Lake Tahoe camping. Although it’s not directly on Lake Tahoe’s shores, you can recreate on nearby Fallen Leaf Lake or make a quick drive to the shores of Lake Tahoe.
I love this Lake Tahoe campground for the yurts. You can glamp here, making it an amazing choice for those new to camping. There are also paved bike paths, coin-operated showers, drinking water, toilets, open picnic areas, and plenty of amazing Sierra beauty to explore. Pets are welcome (except for yurts).
Fee: $36 per night, $87 per night for yurts.
Lake Tahoe Camping at Sugar Pine State Park
Sugar Pine State Park is home to rich history and stunning scenery. There’s the famous Ehrman Mansion, located right along the rocky shores. The camping at Sugar Pine boasts some of the best, forested camping in Lake Tahoe.
A walking trail leads to a beautiful shoreline where you can relax or wander about. Facilities include showers, an RV dump station, and flush toilets. Dogs are allowed on pavement only. You can camp here year-round, but dump stations and showers are closed from October 14th until Memorial Day.
Fee: $35 per night plus an extra $10 for each extra vehicle.
Amazing Campspots in North Lake Tahoe
A far cry from the hustle-and-bustle of South Lake, the north shore of Lake Tahoe offers a tranquil mountain experience. This side of Lake Tahoe is much more local and doesn’t experience the hordes of tourists like the south.
It’s my favorite area of the lake and there’s plenty of amazing places to explore. Not to mention, there are a few amazing Lake Tahoe campgrounds you won’t want to miss.
Meeks Bay Resort
If you want a summer camp feel and a few extra amenities, head to Meeks Bay Resort. You can opt to stay in cabins or in one of the privately-owned campgrounds. There are a few amenities such as showers and a restaurant. The shallow waters are perfect for young kids who want to swim. However, dogs are not allowed at the resort, so keep Fido at home.
Fee: $30 to $50 per night depending on the site. Includes 2 vehicles, $7 per day for additional vehicles.
Reservations?: Required well in advance. Book as soon as possible as this area books up to a year in advance.
Goose Meadows Campground
Technically, this campground is located near Truckee, California. However, a short drive will take you right to Lake Tahoe. What I love about Goose Meadows is it offers peace and tranquility away from the busy shores of Lake Tahoe. The campground offers river access for fishing or relaxing after a day of discovering Lake Tahoe.
Fee: $22 per night.
Reservations?: Required. Reservations accepted up to 6 months in advance.
Tahoe State Recreation Area Campground
The western shores of Lake Tahoe are quiet and tranquil. Unlike the eastern shores, the waters are more accessible here, making Tahoe State Recreation Area Campground a great place to pitch a tent. Located just outside of Tahoe City, there’s plenty of amenities nearby.
Fee: $35 per night.
Reservations?: Strongly recommended. Only able to reserve when the campground is open (May through September). Some first-come-first-serve sites are available for one night only.
Quick Tips for Camping in Lake Tahoe
When it comes to the best camping at Lake Tahoe you want to make sure you’re prepared. Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind on your camping adventure.
- You MUST have a locked cooler and proper bear protection unless you are camping where there are food lockers. Bears are very active in Lake Tahoe. So never keep your food or toiletries out when you don’t need them. Follow all wildlife regulations.
- Make reservations as far in advance as possible. Lake Tahoe camping really does fill up fast!
- Fire bans are quite common in Lake Tahoe. Obey all fire regulations and always ask when you arrive.
- Plan to leave the campground. There are so many things to do in Lake Tahoe that you’ll want to wander around and explore.
- Stay hydrated and make sure you acclimatize to the altitude.
Here’s Everything You Need to Know Before Camping in the Mountains:
- Car Camping 101: What to Know for Your First Camping Adventure
- Incredible Car Camping Hacks
- 8 Amazing Car Camping Accessories You’ve Got to Have
- Leave No Trace Like a Pro
What to Pack for Lake Tahoe Camping
Mountain camping is relatively simple, however, there are a few important When it comes to camping in Lake Tahoe, don’t forget these essential items!
- Sunscreen, sunhat and sunglasses. The Lake Tahoe sun is really intense. I would even recommend a sun shirt.
- Plenty of water and water storage containers
- Trashbag to pack out your trash
- Firewood. Purchase locally to avoid bringing disease to the local trees.
- Sleeping bag, pillow, sleeping pad.
- Tent, tent poles (the wind is real!), and tent footprint.
- Lockable cooler.
- Eating and cooking utensils
- Bug spray. The bugs aren’t too bad, but there are mosquitos.
- Warm layers. The fresh mountain air gets cool in the evening, so come prepared.
- Bathing suit
- Changes of clothing
- Small hiking backpack and reusable water bottle
Additional Lake Tahoe Resources
Plan the ultimate getaway to Lake Tahoe with these additional, local, travel resources: