Emerald Bay State Park Tours

462 Reviews
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.
Location
Address: 7360 West Lake Boulevard, Tahoma, USA
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Hours: Open daily
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Admission: Free
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6 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Lake Tahoe Semi-Private Photography Tour

Tahoe photographic tours offer a unique way to enjoy Lake Tahoe’s scenery and create your own souvenirs, and on this small-group tour limited to just six people, you’ll be led by an experienced photo guide who provides tips and shares information about the area. Whether you’re looking to snap a poster-worthy shot of snow-covered mountains, towering trees, wild flowers or the glassy lake itself, you’ll learn how to shoot in the great outdoors and see some of Lake Tahoe’s most beautiful natural sights, including Emerald Bay. Select either a half-day or full-day tour.
  • Duration: 8 hours
From
US$179.00
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  • Duration: 8 hours
From
US$179.00

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

Take a boat tour on Lake Tahoe to soak up the alpine beauty of Emerald Bay, one of the lake’s most scenic spots. As you glide across the water on the M.S. Dixie II, admire the surrounding Sierra Nevadas, and cruise past Emerald Bay’s Fannete Island, the lake’s only island, as well as Vikingsholm Castle, a unique home on the shore. Plus, watch a video on board about the interesting underwater features of the lake.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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US$64.00
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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US$64.00

Lake Tahoe Circle Tour Including Squaw Valley

Travel all the way around scenic Lake Tahoe in a comfortable shuttle on this 7-hour tour. Led by a local guide, you’ll cover close to 70 miles (110km), making stops at the beautiful vistas of Sand Harbor and Emerald Bay. You’ll also visit a charming village at Squaw Valley Ski Resort, and explore Tahoe City on the lake’s north shore, stopping to purchase lunch. As you go, your guide will provide rich historical context for the beautiful landscape surrounding you.
  • Duration: 7 hours
From
US$50.00
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  • Duration: 7 hours
From
US$50.00

SPECIAL OFFER

3-Day Lake Tahoe from San Francisco: Winter Sports and Emerald Bay

Spend three days in South Lake Tahoe, one of California’s most popular winter destinations, on this multi-day tour. Visit Heavenly Mountain Resort for skiing and snowboarding, and enjoy ample time to hit the slopes, casinos, or sauna. Options for non-skiers include visits to scenic Lake Tahoe locations such as Emerald Bay and Kings Beach, plus snowshoeing or snowmobiling. Includes two nights of hotel accommodation and all transportation.
  • Duration: 3 days
From
US$424.15
US$659.00  US$234.85 savings
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  • Duration: 3 days
From
US$424.15
US$659.00  US$234.85 savings

M.S Dixie II Sunset Dinner Cruise

Watch the sun slip behind the mountains on a 3.5-hour Lake Tahoe dinner cruise aboard the M.S. Dixie II, and enjoy champagne, live music and an elegant dinner on the water. Dance to tunes from the local Steve Walker Band, see a spectacular Sierra sunset, then sit down for a freshly prepared meal. Enjoy selections like grass-fed beef or trout, organic greens and vegetables. Finish the evening with fresh berries and cake as the first stars appear above the peaks, and Lake Tahoe’s scenic shoreline is illuminated.
  • Duration: 3 hours
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US$94.00
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  • Duration: 3 hours
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US$94.00

Zephyr Cove Helicopter Tour

Soar above Lake Tahoe’s south shore on a 20-minute helicopter tour. You’ll see thick forests, snowcapped mountains and boats floating on the sparkling lake. Fly past Zephyr Cove, Stateline and Camp Richardson, and see one of Lake Tahoe’s most beautiful features, Emerald Bay. Each passenger has a window seat so you’ll enjoy the best possible views and photo ops.
  • Duration: 20 minutes
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US$163.00
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  • Duration: 20 minutes
From
US$163.00


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