Free Camping Near Lake Tahoe
While tenters may have better luck if theyre willing to hike into the many national forests or find the increasingly rare slice of the beach where camping hasnt been specifically marked as prohibited, free camping in a van or RV near Lake Tahoe is next to impossible to find.
About the author: When exploring California, Nathan is most impressed by the way the state has gone and snatched up all of the tallest, largest and oldest trees, and spread them around its most impressive deserts, mountains and coastlines.
Camp Richardson Historic Resort & Marina
Camp Richardson is a historic resort and marina located in the South Lake Tahoe area that offers tent and RV camping as well as cabins, a historic hotel and beachside inn. A vacation destination for almost 100 years, the resort is open year-round with activities for all ages and skill levels.
During the winter months, visitors can rent snowshoes and cross-country skis and during the warmer months, the propertys full-service marina offers rentals of boats, SeaDoo and Waverunner vehicles, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and pedal boats. A number of great hikes start right from the grounds here, and the propertys on-site Mountain Sports Center offers bike rentals if you want to hit the trails on two wheels.
When youre done with the days adventures, the resort has an on-site bar and grill for dinner and a general store and ice cream parlor for snacks and dessert.
Find it: 1900 Jameson Beach Road, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Meeks Bay Resort
Sugar Pine Point State Park
Google Maps Address: General Creek Campground, 7360 CA-89, Tahoma, CA 96142
Amenities: Although Sugar Pine Point only offers dumping services, it does have flushing toilets and shower areas for campers. Theres also access to drinking water, a picnic table, on-site firewood, and a fire ring. The campground provides food storage lockers, and youre required to use them to reduce wildlife encountersespecially bearsin Lake Tahoe campgrounds.
Pet-Friendly: Sugar Pine Point State Park allows pets on a leash within the campsite. However, pets cant go on the beaches or trails.
Why Youll Love It: The Sugar Pine Point campground is in the Ed Zberg Sugar Pine Point State Park. Therefore, this campground is the perfect location if you want to enjoy the natural aspects of Lake Tahoe. You can also visit the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion to learn how the wealthy lived on Lake Tahoe in the early 1900s.
Morton Road Trip Rating: 8.8
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South Lake Tahoe Camping
The majority of Lake Tahoe’s campsites and attractions are located on and around its south bank. In addition to standard campsite features like fire rings and picnic tables, many have modern facilities that include things you might prefer like flush toilets, hot showers, and wifi. Your best resources are the campgrounds’ individual websites and/or the recreation.gov site for a thorough account. Below is a list of some of the most popular South Lake Tahoe options:
Lake Tahoe Rv Camping
Our South Lake Tahoe RV village is one the most beautiful in the Tahoe basin. Stay here spring, summer, or fall and youre just a short stroll from the beach and marina. Need supplies? Our onsite General Store & Deli has all the essentials. Plus, enjoy award-winning lakefront dining at The Beacon Bar & Grill, Ice Cream Parlor, and Coffee & Confectionery. All sites offer water and electricity, and theres an onsite dump station, too.
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Can You Camp Anywhere On Lake Tahoe
First, you should know if there are restrictions on where you can camp in the area. You cant camp just anywhere, unfortunately.
In most cases, you must be in a designated camping spot. There are some Lake Tahoe dispersed camping areas if you want to boondock, though. There are also many excellent opportunities for camping in Lake Tahoe campgrounds and resorts, so you have plenty of options.
Camp Richardson Resort And Marina
Google Maps Address: 3004 Jameson Beach Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Amenities: Camp Richardson has water and electrical hookups and an on-site dumping station. Theres also a table and fire ring.
Pet-Friendly: Dogs are not allowed on the beach.
Why Youll Love It: Camp Richardsons RV Village is within walking distance to the beach and the marina. Theres also an on-site general store, and the Beacon Bar and Grill is an excellent option for lunch or dinner.
Morton Road Trip Rating: 7.8
Pro Tip: There is a lot to see and do in Lake Tahoe. Make sure you can fit everything you want to do into your schedule by first reading up on How Big Is Lake Tahoe?
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Cancellation / Refund Policy
Reservations canceled within 48 hours of the arrival date will be charged a one-night fee plus a $10.00 cancellation fee. The remaining balance will be refunded. Reservations canceled outside of 48 hours will be charged a $10 cancellation fee and the remaining balance will be refunded. Cancellations due to COVID-19 will be refunded in full.
Best Lake Tahoe Campgrounds On The Water
Lake Tahoe is a beautiful freshwater lake on the California-Nevada border. Whether tent camping, RVing, or staying in a cabin or resort, there are some excellent Lake Tahoe campgrounds and resorts on the edge of the beautiful lake.
Join us as we look at camping near Lake Tahoe and give you options for some of the best campgrounds.
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Best Time Of Year To Visit Lake Tahoe
The best time of year to visit Lake Tahoe is during the summer between June and August. Summer is the best time to camp because between June and August, the temperature averages around 70, which is perfect for enjoying the beautiful waters of Lake Tahoe.
Lake Tahoe is an excellent location for any summer or fall vacation. You can enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, and numerous other marina activities when camping nearby. Whether tent camping, RVing, or staying in a resort, there are many fantastic Lake Tahoe campgrounds to choose from.
Whats your favorite thing about visiting Lake Tahoe? Drop a comment below!
Meeks Bay Resort And Marina
Google Maps Address: 7941 Emerald Bay Rd, Tahoma, CA 96142
Amenities: RV sites include full hookups, picnic tables, fire rings, and food lockers.
Pet-Friendly: Pets cant set foot anywhere in the resort.
Why Youll Love It:Meeks Bay Resort has camping, RV, and cabin lodging available. Whatever way you stay, it has beautiful mountain views and excellent access to Lake Tahoe. The on-site Wa-She-Shu Grill serves both breakfast and lunch and is the perfect place to eat while visiting the beach.
Morton Road Trip Rating: 9.0
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Nevada Beach Campground And Day Use Pavilion
Nevada Beach Campground and Day Use Pavilion sits in the Lake Tahoe Basin of Nevada. Minutes from the bright blue water of Tahoe’s eastern shores, campsites are nestled in a sparse forest of pine trees and evergreen shrubs. The lake and its sandy beaches provides ample recreation opportunities and restaurants and casinos are just moments away.
The campground offers dozens of campsites, available for tent and RV camping. Some sites are in wooded areas and others are not, many of the sites have a view of the lake. Areas on the loop furthest from the lake provide the most privacy between campsites and all parking aprons are paved.Each site is equipped with tables, campfire rings and grills. Accessible flush toilets and drinking water are provided. The Nevada Beach Pavilion is a timber framed covered roof with open air sides. It is available for reservations for groups up to 150 people. It has 10 picnic tables and 3 large BBQ stations. It is located on the beach with beautiful views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains.
Campground Construction Impacts 2022
Please be advised the City is excited to be breaking ground on a new recreation and aquatics center located on the north side of the campground beginning in spring 2022. Campground loops A, B, and C will not be available for advanced reservations due to construction. Campground loops D, E, and F on the southwest end of the campground, furthest from the construction site, will be open for reservation. Before making your reservation, please be aware that ALL campsites will be impacted by daytime construction noise, no matter what site is selected. Before making your reservation for 2022, all campers are hereby notified of construction noise and other construction-related impacts you may experience during your stay.
This notice will be provided to all campers at the time of reservation and again prior to their arrival. Due to advance notification of the impacts to the camping experience, no refunds will be issued due to noise. To learn more about the refund policy
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History Established In 1969
The backcountry is more than a recreational playground and an ecological resource. It is also the site of the historic Virginia Gold Hill Water System and an enormous amount of Comstock logging done by the Sierra Nevada Wood and Lumber Company and the Carson and Tahoe Lumber and Fluming Company. Logging operations were conducted from the 1870s through the turn of the century and supplied the Comstock with the lumber and cordwood necessary for the gold and silver mines of Virginia City, Silver City and Gold Hill. Initially developed in 1873, an ingenious water system furnished the water required by extensive steam engine operations of the mines and the nearly 30,000 people of the boom towns. The system was comprised of Marlette Lake, Hobart Reservoir and an intricate system of wooden box flumes and pipelines. The Marlette Flume and another flume from the north entered a 3,994 foot tunnel that emptied onto the east side of the Carson Range and joined the Inverted Siphon, the key pipeline through Washoe Valley. This 813 psi pipeline was the highest pressure pipeline in the world at the time and represented an engineering feat that most thought could not be done. At its peak, the water system delivered up to 10 million gallons a day to the Comstock. This system, now known as the Marlette Water System is one of the original inverted siphons and is still in use today.
Key Meeks Bay Campground Regulations
Any maps displayed above are for illustrative purposes only. California’s Best Camping website makes no warranties regarding the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of any of its maps. Driving times may vary based on conditions. Every effort is made to provide accurate and up to date information, but we cannot be responsible for errors or for changes that may have occurred since publication. Always confirm information with the service provider and check for any recent changes that may have been made. The information provided on this website is done so without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.
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When To Make Lake Tahoe Camping Reservations
Since the lake rests at over 6,000 feet, its waters are best enjoyed during the summer months, as winters get pretty cold. Since we’re talking California and Nevada, summer can get pretty hot, so many visitors prefer to enjoy its biking, hiking, and climbing opportunities around the end of spring and/or the beginning of fall. As mentioned above, those interested in winter sports should very seriously consider lodgings like cabins, hotels, and other hearty resorts.
After you’ve decided on the arrival date, the best way to make camping reservations at Lake Tahoe campground is to visit their individual web pages or head over to the recreation.gov site.
Best Campgrounds At South Lake Tahoe Ca
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Water sports, hiking trails, and the glorious stretches of beach that line the cobalt blue waters and turquoise bays of Lake Tahoe make it a dream destination for summer camping in California. Daytime temperatures are not oppressively hot, and nights are wonderful for sitting around a campfire.
South Lake Tahoe is one of the most popular areas around the lake. You can find private, city-operated, and government-run campgrounds. Some have only a dozen campsites or less others can accommodate 200 to 300 tents and RVs.
Campgrounds only operate from spring until fall, usually from mid-May to mid-October, but some campgrounds may have a more limited season depending on the year and conditions.
Pets and camping in the Lake Tahoe area don’t mix well. Many of the commercial operations do not accept pets. In the state parks, dogs are not allowed on any of the trails or beaches, but they are allowed in some of the campgrounds on a leash.
For details on camping, see our list of the best campgrounds at South Lake Tahoe.
Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.
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What Is There To Do At Ed Zberg Sugar Pine Point State Park Campground
The Ed Zberg Sugar Pine Point State Park Campground benefits from being a part of the Sierra State Parks Foundation. This organization supports the education, interpretation, restoration and preservation of Lake Tahoe-Donner California State Parks. The foundation supports many of the activities and amenities available at Ed Zberg Sugar Pine Point State Park, including:
- Hellman-Ehrman Mansion Tours
Campground Reservations 2022 Season
Campground by the Lake is accepting reservations for loops D, E, & F on the southwest end of the campground for the 2022 season. We will not be opening reservations to loops A, B, portions of C, and tent cabin village due to the construction of a new Recreation and Aquatics Center.
ALL campsites will be impacted by daytime construction noise, no matter what site is selected. Before making your reservation for 2022, all campers are hereby notified of construction noise and other construction-related impacts you may experience during your stay. Due to advance notification of the impacts to the camping experience, no refunds will be issued due to noise.
No Electric or Water Hookups: At this time there are no sites with electric hookups or water hookups available. All sites are considered dry sites. Water is available at the campground entrance and a few community water spigots are located in each loop.
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Fire Restrictions In City Limits Including Campground By The Lake
As of Tuesday, June 1, 2022, fire restrictions are in place for the City of South Lake Tahoe until further notice. No charcoal or wood fires are permitted during this time. The use of natural gas , propane , or pellet BBQ grills, smokers, and fire pits are permissible unless a red flag warning is issued.
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Hours: Monday – Friday
Keep It Rugged Or Go Rv Style In South Lake Tahoe
Either way, our full-service camp ground and resort is all yours.
Secure Your 2022 South Lake Tahoe Camping Reservations
Looking for the perfect Lake Tahoe campground? Youve found it at Camp Richardson Resort & Marina. We have the best tent camping and RV park around, with so many amenities on-site. Walk to our Lake Tahoe beach and full-service marina from Badgers Den Campground, Eagles Nest Campground, or our full-service RV Village. Hop in a speedboat, jump on a Tahoe cruise, or just have fun in the sun on a Jet Ski, paddleboard, or kayak all of these water toys and more are available for rent at Camp Rich. Head to Mountain Sports Center to rent bikes or grab a map for your next hike. Enjoy award-winning Lake Tahoe dining at our lakeside restaurant, The Beacon Bar & Grill. Or grab something quick at our General Store & Deli, Ice-Cream Parlor, or Coffee & Confectionery shop. Then, hop on our Water Taxi to explore the shore minus the traffic. Heres to happy campers!
Charcoal grills are not permitted, and the use of charcoal is not permitted within the fire rings.
Quiet time is from 10pm to 8am
*NOTE: Camping is seasonal and weather dependent
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Wa She Shu Meeks Bay Resort
Meeks Bay Resort is privately owned and part of a resort that includes a lodge and cabins. That makes it a perfect place for groups who have varying ideas about where they want to sleep. The resort also has a restaurant.
The campground has RV sites with full hookups and tent sites with picnic tables. Restrooms and showers are provided.
Pets are not allowed anywhere in the resort.
The resort closes in from mid-May through mid-October. You can get details and make reservations at the Meeks Bay Campground website. Read all of their restrictions and refund policies before you reserve, so you don’t get any unhappy surprises.
Visit North Lake Tahoe
Camping around Lake Tahoe varies from secluded plots in the woods, riverside parcels, sites right in the middle of town, and even lakeside spots. Campgrounds in the Lake Tahoe Basin are generally open from mid-May through mid-October. Take your pick at some of our suggestions for camping in and around the Lake Tahoe Basin, starting at the furthest north point on the lake, then heading down the West Shore and back out to Truckee. For back country camping, contact the U.S. Forest Service.
This campsite is right smack on the North Shore, located in Tahoe Vista near a great sandy beach , makes a great jumping off point for East Shore excursions since there are no campsites on Tahoes northeast shore, privately owned, 44 campsites, RVs up to 40 feet permitted, restroom and shower facilities.
Lake Forest Campground is your special spot in North Lake Tahoe. Campsites are available on a first-come first-serve basis and located just a few blocks away from the Lake Forest Beach. Feel free to visit Pomin Park during your stay for some baseball or soccer. With 20 camp sites, pump water, portable restrooms and located just a few blocks away from the Lake Forest Beach.
The Eagle Point Campground is a drive-in campground near Emerald Bay run by California State Parks. Fees vary by site. Some sites are smaller that will only allow one car and 4 people.
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