4.5 star rating: Recommended 462 Reviews

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  • Address: 7360 West Lake Boulevard, Tahoma, USA
  • Hours: Open daily
  • Admission: Free

Lake Tahoe ATTRACTIONS See all

Emerald Bay State Park Tours

Emerald Bay is the jewel of Lake Tahoe’s natural sights—and not just because of its name. Its waters are a bright turquoise color, owing both to the clarity of the lake and the shallowness of the bay. Emerald Bay is also home to the lake’s only islet, Fannette Island. This scenic patch of land surrounded by water is what gives the bay its jewel-like shape and name. Visitors flock to the area in summer for boating, swimming, and hiking opportunities.

The Basics
You can view Emerald Bay from overlooks and hiking trails on land, by air on a helicopter tour, or by water on a Lake Tahoe cruise. All offer different perspectives to take in breathtaking views of the picturesque spot. Sunset is a particularly beautiful time to visit, so book sunset dinner cruises and sunset helicopter tours in advance. Other not-to-be-missed sights include Vikingsholm, a 38-room mansion that is one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the United States, and Eagle Falls, a beautiful waterfall accessible by short hike.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Emerald Bay is a must-visit for outdoorsy travelers.
  • The M.S. Dixie II, a historic paddle-wheel boat, departs daily from Zephyr Cove and is wheelchair-accessible.
  • Be sure to dress for the season, especially if heading out onto the water for a boat tour.
  • The park is kid-friendly.

How to Get There
Lake Tahoe lies on the border of California and Nevada. Emerald Bay is on the California side of the lake, on the western edge of the south shore. To get to the park, take Highway 89 to the southwest shore of the lake. It is about a 4-hour drive from San Francisco, and eight hours from Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

When to Get There
Emerald Bay is stunning in all seasons. Summer is the best time to visit, as temperatures are fairly mild. In winter, however, temperatures often remain below freezing and access to hiking trails is limited. You can pick up trail maps from the Lake Tahoe Visitor Center in summer or from the park’s headquarters in South Lake Tahoe year-round.

Popular Lake Tahoe Activities Nearby
Many visitors come to beautiful Lake Tahoe for the scenery alone, but there’s plenty of outdoor adventure to be had as well. In the summer, hiking, biking, and water sports are widely available, while the winter opens world-class ski runs at the many nearby resorts. Photographers will appreciate the landscape photo opportunities, including the surrounding, often-snow-capped Sierra mountain range.

Tours & Tickets

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Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay Cruise on M.S. Dixie II, Lake Tahoe, null

Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay Cruise on M.S. Dixie II

4.5 star rating: Recommended 212 Reviews

Take a 2-hour sightseeing cruise on the M.S. Dixie II around magnificent Lake Tahoe to savor the wonders of this picturesque area. Discover breathtaking views ...  Read more

Location: Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $64.00
Lake Tahoe Semi-Private Photography Tour, Lake Tahoe, Day Cruises

Lake Tahoe Semi-Private Photography Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 56 Reviews

This semi-private photography tour offers a myriad of photo opportunities of stunningly beautiful Lake Tahoe and the snow capped mountains of the Sierra ...  Read more

Location: Lake Tahoe
Duration: Flexible

From USD $169.00
Lake Tahoe Circle Tour Including Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, Private Sightseeing Tours

Lake Tahoe Circle Tour Including Squaw Valley

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 31 Reviews

Admire Lake Tahoe from every angle on this scenic tour that takes you all the way around the lake with a local insider guide. As you travel a total of about 80 ...  Read more

Location: Lake Tahoe, California
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $50.00
M.S Dixie II Sunset Dinner Cruise, Lake Tahoe, Nature & Wildlife

M.S Dixie II Sunset Dinner Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 175 Reviews

A delightful combination of dining, dancing and sightseeing make for an unforgettable evening on beautiful Lake Tahoe. Watch the sun go down over Lake Tahoe ...  Read more

Location: Lake Tahoe
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $94.00
Zephyr Cove Helicopter Tour, Lake Tahoe, Dinner Cruises

Zephyr Cove Helicopter Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 19 Reviews

Up, up and away! Take to the skies for a spectacular 20 minute flight over Lake Tahoe's South Shore. Look for the boats dotting the lake beneath you, the ...  Read more

Location: Lake Tahoe
Duration: 20 minutes (approx.)

From USD $163.00

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