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Sand Harbor State Park

Sand Harbor State Park

Sand Harbor Overview

Lake Tahoe is hands down the greatest natural beauty Nevada has to offer.

Tucked away on its eastern shore you will find sandy beaches and calm clear water perfect for swimming, kayaking, and even scuba diving.

Sand Harbor State park could be described as an oasis inside of paradise.

Visitors to the park will find this lovely cove to have everything you would want for a day at the beach from sandy shores to shady trees and picnic areas including BBQs and tables. With 2 ramps in the park boaters and fishermen will find launching their boat to be a piece of cake.

The park even hosts the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival every summer!

Sand Harbor State Park main beach 2
Attribute: DimiTalen / CC BY-SA

How to Get to Sand Harbor State Park

From Carson City:

-Turn right onto US-50 W

-Turn right onto NV-28 S

-Turn left Into Sand Harbor State Park


Day use entrance fee:  $10.00 per vehicle

Boat launch:  $20.00 per vehicle 

Bike in:  $2.00 per bike

Hours Open

8 a.m. to 1 hour after sunset

Parking at Sand Harbor

While Sand Harbor has a parking lot all parking is first-come, first-served and you may find the lot full soon after the park opens. However, the good news is a shuttle service is offered from East Shore Express located in Incline Village during the peak season. 

Sand Harbor Weather


44° / 26°


45° / 26°


49° / 28°


54° / 31°


63° / 37°


73° / 44°


80° / 50°


79° / 50°


74° / 46°


62° / 38°


51° / 31°


44° / 26°

Best Time of Year to Visit Sand Harbor

Depending on what you are after there is little time of the year that is a “Bad” time to visit Lake Tahoe.

I enjoy the Summer months more personally. The warmer weather and still chilly water create for a perfect getaway from the summer heat that we get where I am from in Southern Nevada. 

However, in the colder winter months, it is a destination for skiers and ice fishers. And the parks department does a great job of making sure the parking lot is clear or snow to keep you and your car safe.

Sand Harbor Hiking Trails

Sand Harbor to Memorial Point Trail is a short .5 trek that offers entry to Memorial Point and provides access to secluded beaches and rock areas.

The Sand Point Nature Trail, a .3 mile trail, is an ADA-accessible trail with interpretive signs and awesome views of the lake.


Unfortunately, Pets are prohibited from April 15 to October 15 during the peak season. However, from mid-October to mid-April dogs are allowed but must remain on a leash


Yes! Kids will love the warm beach and calm waters of Sand Harbor. 

Restrooms at Sand Harbor

Restrooms are available to visitors to the park.


There is no camping inside the Sand Harbor State Park


Lake Tahoe is known for its great fishing and Sand Harbor is one of the areas NDOW stocks its fish so the best of the best can be found in this area. There are a variety of fish in the lake including Mackinaw, Rainbow trout, Brown trout, Kokanee salmon, and even Largemouth bass. The most common is Mackinaw which is on average 16 to 25 inches.

Water Temperature


























Sand Harbor State Park does offer weddings in the Ramada but they must be reserved.

According to the Nevada Parks Department “Officiants, Wedding Planners, and Photographers are required to obtain commercial permits from the park office prior to the wedding”


East Shore Trail is found in Sand Harbor State Park known as “America’s Most Beautiful Bikeway” this 3-mile paved path is only accessible to non-motorized vehicles only trails bring you all-around public beaches and stunning views of Lake Tahoe. 

Boat Info

Sand Harbor has two wave-protected double ramps for your boat. Watercraft inspection is required before launching to keep Lake Tahoe safe and clean.   boat launch hours: Summer, May 1 through September 30, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. And remember Sand Harbor is a first come first serve for parking so be sure to get there bright and early if you plan to use this area to launch from!

Sand Harbor Tours

Self-guided tour information is available in the Visitor Center along with cool facts about the lake and surrounding area!

Places to Stay

Unfortunately, since camping is not allowed inside of Sand Harbor State Park you will have to find other options to enjoy a multi-day park experience. Incline Village offers many great hotels but they can get pricey during peak season. 

If you are looking to camp there are quite a few campgrounds on the south side of the lake outside of the state park including Nevada Beach Campground, City Of Lake Tahoe Campground, and Camp Richardson just to name a few.


Our list of wildlife you won’t find at Lake Tahoe would probably be shorter due to the size and geography of the lake. Here is my short list of some of the most popular animals you will want to keep an eye out for while you are in the area.

American Beaver: 
American BeaverSteve from washington, dc, usa / CC BY-SA

While you are unlikely to see a beaver inside of Sand Harbor State Park they are abundant in the surrounding area and even within the lake itself. You may notice some of their activity if you dont spot the beavers themselves including gnawed twigs and trees.

Black Bear: 
01 SchwarzbärDiginatur / CC BY-SA

Many black bears can be found in the Tahoe Basin.

While these creatures are beautiful please use your better judgment and be sure to keep your distance and make sure to clean up after yourself when picnicking and visiting the surrounding forest.

Douglas Squirrel: 
Douglas Squirrel DSC3742vvcVJAnderson / CC BY-SA

If you have lived or visited the PNW you are super familiar with these little guys, the Douglas Squirrel. It is almost a guarantee you will see these cute guys running around campgrounds and scurrying up trees if you visit the area. 

PorcupineCabelasSpringfield0511Mary Harrsch / CC BY-SA

Incredibly rare to see but known to live in the area is the porcupine. Active mostly at night the porcupine can be found roaming the secluded areas of the Tahoe Basin. Be sure to appreciate these beautiful creatures from a distance as their barbed quills can hurt you and your pet if they feel threatened.

Other Animals you may find include:

  • American Marten
  • Coyote
  • Mountain Beaver
  • Mountain Lions
  • Mule Deer
  • Raccoons
  • Yellow-Bellied Marmot

Sand Harbor Snakes

The western rattlesnake comes out of hibernation in the springtime in the Lake Tahoe Basin. While this snake can be dangerous they often stick to themselves be safe and use good judgment and you should never have a negative run-in with them.

Places to Eat

Inside of the visitors center, you will find the Sand Harbor Bar and Grill which offers tasty food and even adult beverages to really get the most out of the lake!

Sand Harbor Picnics

Sand Harbor has the perfect little picnic spot shaded by the cedars and Jeffrey pines.

You will find BBQs and picnic tables for everyone to enjoy.

The path to the area is even paved making it accessible to all ability levels.

Wheelchair Accessibility

Sand Harbor State Parks is one of the more accessible parks I have visited however its recommended to call ahead and ask the park for specifics to your ability!

From the Nevada Parks Department “Those with developmental and/or physical limitations are invited to enjoy all of the recreational activities of Nevada State Parks. If you would like to request additional support or accommodations, please call Nevada State Parks at (775) 684-2770. We continually seek ways to provide recreational opportunities for people of all abilities and welcome any suggestions you may have.

Sand Harbor State Park