Lake Tahoe —aka “Big Blue—is Northern California’s favorite summer playground, but to enjoy it to the fullest with your B4LF (best four-legged friend), you’ll need to do your homework before heading up the hill. While there are quite a few places where you can stroll the shoreline with Fido on a leash, strands where you can legally cut the cord are few and far between.
A locals’ favorite (shh! Don’t tell!) in South Shore is the sandy off-leash strand at the boat-in picnic area at the far end of Nevada Beach, a U.S. Forest Service preserve just north of Edgewood Golf Course and south of Zephyr Cove. Hike in from Highway 50 (there’s free if limited parking in the lot at Highway 50 and Kahle Drive, just north of the Lakeside Resort Casino) or pay to park your rig in the day-use area off Elk Point Road (arrive early on weekends!). From there, just follow the paw-print signs to the dog beach, where you’ll encounter scads of canines fetching sticks and balls from the crystalline water. Be sure to stay to the right of the fence demarcating private property and to the left of the nearest buoy, which marks the imaginary line separating the dog beach from the larger strand where dogs are not allowed.
Tahoe’s other off-leash spots (including North Beach at Zephyr Cove, Coon Street Dog Beach and Patton Beach in Carnelian Bay) tend to be rocky, but they may also be more convenient to your lodging base. And while the footing may not be so great for people, we’ve yet to hear a dog complain!
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