3 Fun Lake Tahoe Kayak Tours

by Bridgette Redman  |  Published July 26, 2023

Take to the waters on a kayak tour that gives you an up-close experience with this clear, alpine lake.

Photo: Lake Tahoe Beginner Kayak Tour / Courtesy of

Embarking on a Lake Tahoe kayak tour offers a chance to connect intimately with the natural beauty of this iconic destination. Paddle along the crystal-clear waters and take in the view of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains. The following three tours offer varied experiences for paddlers of all levels–adventures that grant participants an opportunity to create lasting memories while relishing the panoramic views, secluded coves and pristine beaches inaccessible by other means.

Lake Tahoe: Discover Kayaking

Designed for beginners, this two-hour tour of Lake Tahoe lets you choose between a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard. Starting at the beach in Tahoe Vista, California, they provide a safe learning environment for those with little or no experience.  The tour begins with a thorough lesson followed by a guided tour of Lake Tahoe’s coastline. Throughout the tour, the experienced guide will provide paddling tips while sharing the natural and human history of the iconic destination. You’ll cruise through the clear, alpine waters and get to take in the stunning views of the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountain range. Led by Tahoe Adventure Company, they encourage you to wear comfortable water shoes and to bring only what can safely get wet. Swimwear and sun hats are encouraged. While they will teach you paddling, you must know how to swim. From $70 per person.

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Clear Kayak Tour of Lake Tahoe

Photo: Clear Kayak Tour / Courtesy

Adventurers who sign up for this kayak tour will travel in completely transparent kayaks so they can see the famed clear waters of Lake Tahoe. Starting in Sand Harbor State Park, this 90-minute tour gives its participants a 365-degree view including being able to look 65 feet below the water’s surface. Also known as the Bonsai Rock Tour, it is the most picturesque tour offered by Clearly Tahoe. You’ll paddle along the idyllic Lake Tahoe boulders with a maximum of five travelers. The tour is only taken during good weather–if things turn inclement, you’ll get either a full refund or be offered a tour on a different day. You must arrive 30 minutes before the start of the tour at the Clearly Tahoe at Incline Village, Nevada. From there the round-trip shuttle service will take you to where the kayaks launch. From $165 per person. 

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Sunset Kayak Experience

For an unforgettable kayak tour experience, head to Tahoe City, California and book the sunset tour. You’ll glide across the waters of the western shore of Lake Tahoe, watching the sun sink behind the peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains as the sky and waters change from emerald blue to pink and purple. The two-hour tour launches from Commons Beach around 6 p.m., though as the days get shorter, the times will change. You’re provided with a kayak (either a single or tandem), a paddle, a life jacked and a dry bag. Leading the Tahoe City Kayak tour is an experienced guide who will share their knowledge of Lake Tahoe History. The tour is rated as an easy fitness level and the provider recommends wearing sandals or water shoes and clothes that dry quickly. They also suggest bringing a waterproof, windbreaker jacket and applying sun protection. From $75 per person.

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