Ever see those dreamy travel photos on IG and think #1. Eye roll. It’s been filtered beyond reality and there is NO way it really looks like that and #2. You’ll never get the opportunity to visit anyway? Yeah, me too. But I fell head over heels in love with a picture of Lake Tahoe in my IG feed that I couldn’t NOT try to see with my own retinas. My initial thought was, this is as close to Exuma waters in the U.S. I’ll ever see outside of Florida. But, second thought was, see #1 above. There is NO way this can be real. For the record, I’ve been to Lake Tahoe, albeit in the winter, but I never saw water that blue or clear anywhere near the southern shore where I previously stayed. I fanatically read through the comments seeking to discover any sort of indication of just where on Lake Tahoe (which is pretty friggin big by the way) this could possibly be because I was about to book a trip there just for the hell of it. Boom. Found it. Eastern shore. Apparently, the eastern shore is the only section of the shoreline you’ll find water like this. Annnnnnd booked.
Ladies and germs, it’s real. Most beautiful lake water I’ve ever seen and pretty darn close to the clarity of Bahamian waters, but best of all, its fresh!!! You see, growing up in Florida provided unlimited access to lakes. But you know what we have in our lakes? Gators, water moccasins, and brain eating amoebas. Zero chance you’ll ever find me in a lake in FL. River, sure, but landlocked lake, nope. Nope nope nope.
Here are the deets:
Fly into Reno, NV and stay in the state’s capital, Carson City. Don’t expect to be woo’ed by Carson City as it has nothing of interest really. Just easy access to the lake. If you have the means or the desire to go fancy pants, you can stay right in Incline Village on Lake Tahoe. I opted for the Courtyard by Marriott right off the highway in Carson City, a 30 minute drive to the shore. Book a half day or full day kayak rental online from Sand Harbor Rentals and show up at Sand Harbor (a Nevada State Park) at precisely 8:00am or you may never find a parking space. The entry fee is $10. Make sure to take snacks and drinks with you. There is a restaurant onsite but it’s not open that early. Mornings are coooooold, so wear waterproof layers and stay in the sun as much as possible.
Meander up and down the shore of the lake and you can literally see almost 100 feet deep to the boulders at the bottom. The shallower the water, the more Exuma-like it gets. There are endless nooks and crannies to explore and many areas to park the kayak and hop out for a swim. Also note, there are a couple of nude beaches along the way and because I’m still 10, I have to stop and stare. One warning – if the people that check you in mention wind and recommend a time to return, heed their warning. The wind on the lake is NO joke and makes it nearly impossible to paddle in. It rivals the wind and waves in the open ocean even just 20 yards off the shore. Don’t mess around with it.
Feast your eyes on these bad boys with NO filter. Whaaaatttttt!?!?!?!? Get out there! It’s a must see. Thank you social media gods.
If you have time, it’s worth a drive up and around the northern end to Tahoe Vista, just across the Nevada/California border. It’s a unique little town right on the lake that has a southern California meets Asheville hippie kind of vibe. Cheers!