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Lake Tahoe: A Boating Paradise

One of the best ways to appreciate Lake Tahoe is to get out on the water.

 

To best appreciate lovely Lake Tahoe, you need to get out on its crystal blue waters! Tahoe is a boaters’ paradise, no matter what your speed or style. Nearly everything that floats can be found on the lake, from sailboats to yachts, powerboats, jet skis, kayaks, canoes and pedal boats.

Cruising Old-Style

Although it looks radically out of place on an alpine lake, a classic Mississippi paddlewheeler is a great choice for enjoying the scenery. Fortunately, even winter visitors can take a voyage on either the Tahoe Queen or M.S. Dixie II. On a cruise to Emerald Bay, my kids enjoyed being out on the cold, choppy waters of the lake and appreciated the warm interior spaces where they could look out at the snow-capped mountains.

They liked riding in an old-fashioned boat, even though it has modern amenities, feeling like they’d stepped back in time. The huge cascades of water that move with the paddlewheel are impressive, but make you shiver, thinking about how icy that water must be!

A two-hour daytime cruise for two adults and two children costs around $122. For a more romantic evening out without the kids, there’s a sunset dinner-dance cruise at $142 per couple. Cruises depart from Zephyr Cove, Nev., a few minutes north of Stateline on Hwy. 50. Prices are the same in summer and winter, with additional sailing times scheduled for summer. www.zephyrcove.com/cruises

There’s also the Tahoe Gal, www.tahoegal.com, a replica sidewheeler that operates May through October.

Sail Across the Lake

Fancy a smooth sail across the picturesque lake with the wind in your hair? Charter your own sailboat, complete with captain, for the entire family. You can ask your captain to cruise around the lake, or just anchor in a favorite spot and take in the scenery.

If you dream of captaining your own boat, take a sailing class while the kids are at camp. Get your toes wet with an Introduction to Sailing class, or dive right in with the Basic Keelboat class and sail your way towards earning your American Sailing Association Certification.

A two-hour captained charter begins at $185 for a group of four people. A four-hour cruise for a family of six begins at $315. Introduction to Sailing classes cost $185 per couple, and last only two hours. Basic Keelboat classes are approximately $350 per person and are multi-day sessions. www.sailtahoe.com

BYO Boats and Rentals

If you bring your vessel to Lake Tahoe, there are many launch sites around the lake. Some sites are open seasonally and prices vary by location. Personal watercraft such as wave runners and jet skis are extremely popular, but due to the environmental impact of their engines, many two-stroke engines have been banned, and those still allowed on the lake need to meet either the California Air Resources Board 2001 or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2006 emissions standard. Here’s a link to a list of certified craft, www.boattahoe.com/trparegs.htm#approvedpwc

Whether you’re lucky enough to have your own, or choose to rent your watercraft—more information on rentals, restrictions and launch sites can be found at www.boattahoe.com.


Destinations: California, Lake Tahoe

Themes: Family Travel

Activities: Boating


User Comments

I'm pretty sure I would move there just for the Lake Tahoe cruises . Well, and the snowboarding.

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Brrrr Lake Tahoe certainly is beautiful and fun to visit. Last time I was in the water was when I was jetskiing there, and luckly it was a warm day cause the water sure was cold!

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