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Emerald Bay State Park

This scenic inlet offers a beautiful beach, island, waterfalls, wreck dives, heritage sites and campgrounds with views over the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe.

Declared a National Natural Landmark in 1969, Emerald Bay is surrounded by snow-capped peaks that are a stark contrast to the cobalt-blue water of the lake. It’s no wonder that photographers, hikers and other nature lovers flock here year-round.

Emerald Bay is located 22 miles (35 kilometers) south of Tahoe City. It’s the only inlet in the lake, and home to Lake Tahoe’s only island: Fannette Island. Accessible by boat or kayak, Fannette was home to whiskey-loving Captain Dick Barter, nicknamed the “Hermit of Emerald Bay.” He built his own tomb on the land, but it never became his final resting place, because his boat sank in a storm, and he was never seen again.

Hike to the Lower Eagle Falls near the lake’s edge or explore one of the other trails further inland. There’s a short one-mile (1.6-kilometer) trail that leads you to a stunning beach at the mouth of Eagle Creek. It fills up with boats in summer, so get there before the crowds. It’s not uncommon to spot Californian black bears, among other native animals, on some of the hiking trails.

For a cultural experience, take another one-mile (1.6-kilometer) trail to Vikingsholm, a Scandinavian-style mansion built in 1929. The elaborate house was built as a summer home for an heiress. Pay for a guided tour to learn about its design and its wealthy owner. You can still see the ruins of her Tea House on Fannette Island.

Scuba divers can jump into the lake and explore the underwater world off Lester Beach or pay for a boat trip to dive shipwreck sites. This is a designated Underwater Park, so leave all artifacts in place.

Emerald Bay is easily accessible by car and has a shuttle service from Tahoe City. The waterfront and sheltered campsites for summer stays have bear-resistant food lockers. There is a visitor center, and parking along the bay is paid. The island is closed to the public from February to mid-June. The falls dry up in summer.


Guide to Exploring around Emerald Bay State Park


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Best Lodging Options Near Emerald Bay State Park

See all 2,455 Properties near Emerald Bay State Park
2201 Cascade Road
2201 Cascade Road

2201 Cascade Road

2201 Cascade Road, South Lake Tahoe, CA
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated in South Lake Tahoe, this vacation home is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Baldwin Beach and within 3 mi (5 km) of Inspiration Point and Kiva Beach. Taylor Creek Visitor Center and Vikingsholm are also within 3 mi (5 km).

    2201 Cascade Road - Heaven On Earth - Pier and 2 Buoys - Awesome Lakeviews - Huge Deck
    2201 Cascade Road - Heaven On Earth - Pier and 2 Buoys - Awesome Lakeviews - Huge Deck

    2201 Cascade Road - Heaven On Earth - Pier and 2 Buoys - Awesome Lakeviews - Huge Deck

    South Lake Tahoe, CA
       
      0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated on the beach, this historic cabin is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Baldwin Beach and within 3 mi (5 km) of Inspiration Point and Taylor Creek Visitor Center. Tallac Historic Site and Vikingsholm are also within 3 mi (5 km).

      Camp Richardson Lake Tahoe Summer Fun!
      Camp Richardson Lake Tahoe Summer Fun!

      Camp Richardson Lake Tahoe Summer Fun!

      South Lake Tahoe, CA
         
        0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in South Lake Tahoe, this vacation home is close to Valhalla at Lake Tahoe, Tallac Historic Site, and Taylor Creek Visitor Center. Also nearby are Pope Beach and Kiva Beach.

        Beachfront Rental in South Lake Tahoe - Private Community ~ Duplex
        Beachfront Rental in South Lake Tahoe - Private Community ~ Duplex

        Beachfront Rental in South Lake Tahoe - Private Community ~ Duplex

        South Lake Tahoe, CA
           
          0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Nestled on the beach, this South Lake Tahoe vacation home is within a 15-minute walk of Pope Beach and Valhalla at Lake Tahoe. Tallac Historic Site and Taylor Creek Visitor Center are also within 1 mi (2 km).

          9064 Woodland Drive Home
          9064 Woodland Drive Home

          9064 Woodland Drive Home

          9064 Woodland Drive, Tahoma, CA
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in Tahoma, this golf vacation home is Rubicon Bay and within 3 mi (5 km) of Meeks Bay Beach and Calawee Cove Beach. D. L. Bliss State Park and Lester Beach are also within 3 mi (5 km).

            Gold Coast Elegance With Panoramic Lake/mountain Views
            Gold Coast Elegance With Panoramic Lake/mountain Views

            Gold Coast Elegance With Panoramic Lake/mountain Views

            Tahoma, CA
               
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              This family-friendly Tahoma vacation home is located on the waterfront, within 3 mi (5 km) of Rubicon Bay, Meeks Bay Beach and Calawee Cove Beach. Lester Beach and D. L. Bliss State Park are also within 6 mi (10 km).

              8917 Glen Dr House - 4 Br cabin by RedAwning
              8917 Glen Dr House - 4 Br cabin by RedAwning

              8917 Glen Dr House - 4 Br cabin by RedAwning

              8917 Glen Dr, Tahoma, CA
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Tahoma, this cabin is Rubicon Bay and 1.9 mi (3 km) from Meeks Bay Beach. Emerald Bay State Park and D. L. Bliss State Park are also within 6 mi (10 km).

                Beachfront Sandy Beach, Pier, Buoy Amazing White Sand Beach! Dog Considered
                Beachfront Sandy Beach, Pier, Buoy Amazing White Sand Beach! Dog Considered

                Beachfront Sandy Beach, Pier, Buoy Amazing White Sand Beach! Dog Considered

                Tahoma, CA
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Nestled on the beach, this Tahoma vacation home is within 3 mi (5 km) of Rubicon Bay, Meeks Bay Beach, and Ed Z'berg Sugar Pine Point State Park. Calawee Cove Beach and Lester Beach are also within 6 mi (10 km).