Be Smart with Lake Tahoe Summer Vacation Planning

Beautiful beaches. Unrivaled recreation. Curious cuisine. Spectacular sunsets. There’s no lack of reasons a summer vacation in Lake Tahoe is atop anyone’s bucket list.

But what to do when you’ve arrived and realize others had the same idea? After all, 15 million people visit each year — with the total population reaching 300,000 on peak tourism days —thanks to easy access from Interstate 80 and Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

Whether you’re a weekend warrior traveling from Northern California or flying cross-country for a family getaway, here are a few Lake Tahoe summer vacation planning tips to maximize your time here — and perhaps to consider a permanent stay.

Plan Your Vacation in Lake Tahoe Around the Crowds

Fun in the sun is what a Lake Tahoe summer vacation is all about, and Incline Village is home to four pristine beaches: Burnt Cedar Beach, Incline Beach, Ski Beach, and Hermit Beach.

But there’s a catch — you must be an Incline resident, or a certified guest of one, to access them. This policy has no wiggle room, so unless you’re visiting friends or family, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

The good news? Not far away, you’ll find several marquee beaches dotting the lake’s northeast shore, such as Hidden Beach, Secret Cove, and Sand Harbor State Park. Easy access to some of Tahoe’s best trails is also available. The bad news? Parking fills up fast, and before long, Highway 28 between Incline Village and Spooner Lake is lined with hundreds of cars.

Trust us: If you’re not on the road by 6 a.m. to get to your favorite beach or trailhead, it’s likely too late.

Keep Safety in Mind

An added challenge this summer is beaches are smaller than in previous years due to high lake levels on the heels of a record-setting winter that continues to send snow runoff into the lake from the surrounding Sierra Nevada peaks.

This also means Tahoe’s waters will be chillier than ever. Did you know that “cold water” is defined as 70 degrees and below? Tahoe’s temperatures range from 40 degrees in winter to 70 in summer, meaning water is always cold — even in July and August.

Suppose you’re enjoying the lake while kayaking, paddleboard, or boating and fall in. In that case, you may suffer from cold water shock, which causes a powerful gasp reflex, during which you have 1 minute to get your breathing under control or risk hypothermia.

Make sure everyone has a reliable life jacket. Even a seemingly safe jump off a dock at the shore may result in cold water shock, especially with kids, so you can never be too prepared.

Entrance to the Hyatt and Lone Eagle Grill in Incline Village. Photo by Ryan Salm Photography

Visit Lone Eagle Grille Before It’s Too Late

The Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe is the North Shore’s most prominent hotel resort, where you can spend summer vacation days exploring the winding trails, enjoying access to the Hyatt’s guests-only beach, and dining at award-winning restaurants before retreating to one of the hotel’s 422 rooms, 35 suites, or 24 private cottages.

However, the Hyatt will soon suspend these amenities. Next April, the Hyatt begins a major renovation of its cottages and famed lakeside restaurant Lone Eagle Grille. Work is expected to last through April 2026, meaning not only will Lone Eagle be closed for two years, but so too will access to the Hyatt’s beach and pier.

Plans also include gutting the Lone Eagle and re-opening it as a Nobu Restaurant. So, when planning your Lake Tahoe summer vacation this year, put the Hyatt and Lone Eagle on your agenda — before it’s too late.

Other Lake Tahoe Hotels to Consider

Here are two other Incline Village-Crystal Bay lodging options to consider.

  • The Incline Lodge: Situated at the former location for the Parkside Inn, this newly renovated and locally owned boutique hotel provides transformational experiences for explorers, vacationers, and work-cationers, all under a vision of embracing the fundamental principles of fun, kindness, community, quality, and adventure.
  • The Border House at Crystal Bay Casino: This registered historical landmark has ten guest rooms offering amenities such as chromotherapy tubs, gas fireplaces, and eco-friendly toiletries, and the location couldn’t be any better, just steps away from the casino’s famous Crown Room, the North Shore’s premier concert venue.

Pro Tip: Whatever lodging option you consider, remember Lake Tahoe gets extremely crowded on summer weekends. Your best bet is to book midweek or hold off until after Labor Day; the weather is still warm and beautiful in September, and the crowds begin to ease.

Enjoy Convenience with Vacation Rentals in Tahoe

Over the past decade, companies like Airbnb and VRBO have gained steam as people seek alternative lodging that offers cozier amenities. Plus, renting a home is more affordable, especially when you’re vacationing with a large group.

Yet, for as much convenience as short-term rentals provide, it’s important to remember many of these homes are tucked in quiet neighborhoods. The biggest Lake Tahoe vacation faux pas you can commit is renting a home for a large group and then partying into the wee hours of the night.

Not only is this a nuisance to neighbors who work early hours to support the local tourism industry, but hosting a party may cause you to lose your security deposit and/or face rental company fines.

Make Time for Real Estate

The other positive about short-term rentals is they give families looking to buy a home in Incline Village a first-hand look at living here.

Think of it as taking a home out for a test drive. You’ll learn how a neighborhood rises during the morning and goes to sleep at night. You’ll get a feel for which parts of the home get the most sunshine at any time of day. You’ll even get an up-close look at how squirrels, raccoons, mountain chickadees, and other native wildlife move throughout the day.

Whether you’re visiting from down the road in the Bay Area or from across the country, Incline Village is a popular place to own a home, in part due to the community’s incredible mountain lifestyle but also due to Nevada’s tax-friendly environment. Nevada has no income tax, state property tax, or estate tax, a big plus for prospective home-buyers, in addition to a slew of other business- and corporate-friendly tax breaks unique to the Silver State.

This all results in significant savings for residents, so if you’re looking to buy a home, make time for real estate when planning a vacation in Lake Tahoe. The best way to make it a natural fit with your itinerary is to contact a local real estate agent for vacation rental advice, when you’re here, you might get the itch to never leave.

If you want to learn more about planning the perfect Lake Tahoe summer vacation, and you’d like to stay up to date on prices of Incline Village homes and selling real estate and living in Incline Crystal Bay, email with the subject line, “Give me the Incline Village Inside Scoop!”

Whether you are buying or selling, Dickson Realty agents have the experience and innovative technology to help you. For more information, contact a neighborhood real estate expert at Dickson Realty today.