Get Your Boat Out on Lake Tahoe!
On the mountain road before you even reach the Basin of Lake Tahoe, the lake peeks out and immediately enchants you with its beauty. It draws you in with deep shades of blues and greens. Its glistening waves beckon you to enter and later you find yourself willingly jumping into the water.
When you leave, it is almost impossible to resist a glance behind or stop for a final photo at a viewpoint. So, while you are here, make the most out of your time at the lake, and it will be a memory you won’t forget.
The last thing you need to happen, is to pull into the Boat Launch area and happily answer all but one of the ramp inspector's questions from your car. They ask if your boat has been inspected. If it has, you can roll right on through and make haste to the beckoning blue water.
If your boat has not been inspected, the car will fill with groans and frowns as you back out and turn around, with growing misery as the lake falls further and further behind.
Fortunately, the inspection is an easy and painless process, if you are prepared. Your boat needs to be drained and dry days before coming to the Basin. When you make it to Tahoe, you will need to swing your boat by an inspection location between 8:30am – 5:30pm. After that, your boat will be set to go in the lake. The purpose of the inspection is to keep out harmful pests, so it is important and appreciated.
Kayaking has exploded in the last decade. Originally the versatile hunting and fishing vessel of the Inuit, the kayak has arguably become the most popular personal water craft ever created. You‘ll see them all over Lake Tahoe all year long. The skin-covered Inuit craft has evolved into the modern polymer age with a highly durable, virtually unsinkable design. What makes a kayak so popular? Versatility has to top that list, enhanced by easy transport, launching, and maneuvering leading to the ability to handle a huge variety of water conditions - from ocean waves to Class IV rapids!
Lake Tahoe is perfect for kayaking because it can become windy in the afternoons, and having that double blade paddle propulsion will cut you through just about any wind. However, if you are a beginner to kayaking, it is recommended to start out on a relatively calm lake. Take your time to gain the basic sense of balance necessary for everything else - like launching.
Listed below are some great outfitters that offer classes and guided tours that will quickly bring you up to speed; the rest just takes a little practice. Please be mindful of the pristine Lake Tahoe environment, and pack all your trash.
Lake Tahoe Kayak, SUP (Boats & more) Rental Companies:
Kayak Tahoe offers SUP's, kayaks and kayak tours. They also have free lessons.
Canoes have historically been the stalwart standbys since they have the ability to haul more ‘stuff’. Their design lets them float high on the water, making them extremely fast and easy to maneuver, and great for shallow waters. They are perfect for camping, fishing trips across sheltered lakes, and navigating relatively gentle rivers. If you are skilled, you can run canoes in rough water, including some serious rapids!
Canoes have more freeboard and tend to catch wind, so they are best maneuvered with two people. It's a great experience to share with someone, especially if you bring a picnic basket along and park on the beach.
Stand Up Paddling (SUP) is great fun for those who have good balance. The sport grew out of an extended use for surfboards using a long handled paddle. SUP’s have also become hugely popular on Lake Tahoe. Most of the kayak rental places also rent SUP’s, including Kayak Tahoe.
Jet / Water skiing is an attraction for those who enjoy the the thrill of speeding on the water.
A list of jet-ski rental locations can be found here.
A list of water-ski rentals and lessons can be found here.
Boat tours are great for those who want to experience a different perspective of the lake, while staying dry and sheltered.
Our website has Top Ten Best Lake TahoeBoat Tours.
However you look at it, being on the water in Lake Tahoe brings on a euphoric element of bliss. The clear blue water beckons you with an irresistible pull you feel every time you look upon it. The surrounding mountains energize your senses and spirit in ways you'll rarely find anywhere else. It's what you've been longing for, clean air and blue skies. It’s magical. Lake Tahoe is one of the most photographed places on the planet. But pictures... well they are just a tease. So, pack your swim suit, load the cooler and your rig, rack up your kayak, prepare yourself for the Boat Inspection, and get yourself out there!