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Lake Tahoe is one of the best boating lakes in the United States and possibly the world. During the summer months, this gem of the Sierra Nevada’s comes alive with visitors looking to soak up the sunshine and cruise through the crystal clear waters.
A massive freshwater lake, Lake Tahoe sits across the border between California and Nevada. It spans over 20 miles north to south, and has a maximum depth of 1,637 ft in Crystal Bay at its deepest point.
There are several towns scattered around the perimeter of Lake Tahoe, the most popular for tourists being South Lake Tahoe, Incline Village, Crystal Bay, Tahoe City, and Kings Beach. Its location offers amazing boating experiences for casual cruising, watersports, kayaking and paddleboarding, and even scuba diving, and the high visibility in the clear waters and the gorgeous scenery surrounding the lake make it a must-visit for lake life lovers.
The average rental duration for GetMyBoat bookings in Lake Tahoe — perfect for a long and leisurely cruise. All-day rentals of 8 hours are a close second.
May to October rentals account for almost all GetMyBoat trips in Lake Tahoe, with July being the most popular.
Lake Tahoe is truly special in its weather patterns. Due to a combination of its sunny California geography and its very high elevation of 6,200 feet above sea level, it gets both a beautiful, balmy summer season that’s perfect for long days out on the water, and hundreds of inches of snow to support Tahoe’s destination-worthy ski results throughout the winter.
That makes it a terrific destination for both summer boating and winter skiing — a rarity in boating locales.
If you’re looking to boat, the best time frame will be the summer months. From June to September, you’ll get sunny days, low chances of rain, and perfect temperatures in the mid-to-high 70s.
Lake Tahoe is the second-deepest lake in the US, and because of both the sheer volume of water and the runoff of snow and ice from the prior seasons, it tends to not get as warm in the summer as many other boating locales.
In the peak of summer, expect the water to be in a comfortable range of the high 60ºs — brisk, but refreshing. But, it’ll be somewhat colder towards the beginning and end of the season.
Water temp.47 °F
WindS 3.58 f/sec
In its 48th year, the Concours D'Elegance boat show is an outstanding showcase of some of the world’s most beautiful restored and well-preserved wooden boats. Located on the docks of the historic Obexer’s Boat Company, it’s a scenic and historic nod to maritime traditions.
The lake’s stunning annual fireworks shows — from the village of Lake Tahoe to the shores of Nevada Beach, Lakeside Beach, Lakeview Commons, and more — are a spectacular sight over scenic waters.
Celebrating South Lake Tahoe’s mountain culture of craft beer and community, this annual beer festival is packed with local offerings and located just a short walk down the street from the southern shores of the lake.
The Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena packs its 4,000 amphitheater, nestled into South Lake Tahoe with a view onto the pine trees, calm lake waters, and Sierra mountains, for a series of concerts from A-list acts, all throughout the summer.
Lake Tahoe has plenty of different types of boats to rent: everything from pontoons to luxury motor yachts, sailing catamarans, fishing boats, and jet skis are available. Here’s a bit of information on the average prices, and more, for each different option.
A yacht is a larger sailing or power vessel that can be used for racing or pleasure cruising. They’re very popular in other destinations, like Miami, but not as much on Lake Tahoe.
A flattish boat that relies on two floats for buoyancy. Pontoons are great for casual cruising, sandbar stops, swimming off the sides and for groups partying in Lake Tahoe. It can be a really budget-friendly boating option.
A houseboat is a boat that has been designed to have all the comforts of home - including bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen and living area.
A wake boat (sometimes called a ski boat) is a style of powerboat that is most often used for enjoying water sports like wakeboarding, waterskiing, wakesurfing, kneeboarding, and more.
A sailboat is a vessel with sails that relies on wind power and/or sometimes also has a backup motor. Sailboats come in a huge variety of styles and sizes.
A catamaran can be power or sail-powered and is a vessel with two parallel hulls. Catamarans get their stability from the wide beam across the hulls. Catamarans are great party boats and for staying overnight on the water in Lake Tahoe.
A fishing boat is any vessel that is designed for fishing. They can have flat bottoms for inshore angling or be large charter boats used for deep-sea fishing.
A fast and fun way to explore the local waters, jet skis (or PwC, personal watercraft) come in single-, two-, and even three-seat styles and can be used for all kinds of water sports and tours.
Lake Tahoe has so much to offer — where to even begin planning your itinerary when you’re in town? Here’s a start. We’ve pulled some of our favorite local spots for every aspect of a Lake Tahoe getaway, like boat-up restaurants to experience the “dock & dine” lifestyle and plenty of beautiful natural coves, bays, beaches, and other scenic boating spots.
This restaurant in the southeast corner of Lake Tahoe showcases a mahogany interior inspired by Riva boats, serves American cuisine, and is known for its rum drinks. Dock your boat, come in for a drink, and enjoy a lake view with your meal.
Located on the south side of Lake Tahoe, cruise to Beacon Bar & Grill on your boat. Pull up to the dock and within minutes you’ll be enjoying happy hour specials, pub food, and delicious drinks lakeside. Sit by a firepit and relax after a day of cruising.
Sitting on the northwest shore of Lake Tahoe, Gar Woods offers bright cocktails and Californian fare that can be enjoyed amid the location’s sweeping views of Lake Tahoe.
This hotel and restaurant offers your classic cabin-in-the-woods vibes. They serve up delicious appetizers (try the zucchini fries!), delicious cocktails, and hearty entrees inspired by a diverse range of cuisines.
Nestled up against the shores of South Lake Tahoe, the Beach Retreat & Lodge has ideal lakeside access — they even have their own marina. Once you’re done boating around the lake, you can relax on the hotel’s lakeside beach. Or head just down the road to the nearby Pope Beach, a quiet and sandy stretch of beach sheltered by native pine trees. Or take a quick trip to nearby hiking trails in the South Tahoe Basin or the Sierra Nevada mountains.
An upscale boutique hotel in South Lake Tahoe, with a great waterfront location and exceptional lake views.They’ve also got, as the name implies, a full spa for relaxation, a lakeside patio with fire pits, as well as a huge outdoor pool and a restaurant with live music nightly.
On the northern banks of Lake Tahoe, Red Wolf is a cozy mountain retreat with its own stretch of sandy beach, as well as a private dock for boating to and from the hotel grounds — or just for jumping into the lake while you’re relaxing on the beach or on the hotel patio. Its décor and design have more of an affordable, timeworn feel than some of the local luxury retreats, but its reviews are excellent and its rates are reasonable.
Lester Beach is a popular beach on the west side of Lake Tahoe, and is the northern portion of Bliss Beach within D.L. Bliss Beach State Park. If you plan to visit, make sure you arrive early, since the parking lot fills up quickly in the morning. Just off the coast of this beach is the famous Rubicon Wall of Lake Tahoe — one of the deepest parts of the lake, which is popular with scuba divers.
Meeks Bay offers a lovely beach and sits two miles south of Tahoma on Lake Tahoe, with beautiful scenery thanks to its placement on National Forest Land. It offers restrooms and picnic tables, and the beach is noted for being very clean and well-maintained. Note that portable and charcoal grills are not allowed on this beach, so unfortunately, no grilling. But it’s wonderful for swimming and water recreation during the summer.
Secret Cove on Lake Tahoe is located on Highway 28, less than two miles south of Sand Harbor. It’s a popular spot for Lake Tahoe visitors during the day, but there are no grills or picnic tables, so be prepared with your own supplies (and plan on packing out your trash to keep the beaches clean). It’s known for being popular amongst kayakers and paddleboarders, and, it should be noted, for being clothing-optional.
Zephyr Cove offers a mile-long beach offering volleyball courts, waterfront restaurant Sunset Bar & Grille (drink a cocktail in the sand with their beachside service), chair and umbrella rental, and plenty of great swimming opportunities. It’s a family-friendly beach, but please be aware that dogs are not allowed, unfortunately.
Sitting on the northern shore of Lake Tahoe, Incline Village is known for its mountain retreats and relaxing beaches, and is named after the Great Incline Tramway that was built by loggers in 1878. In the summer, people flock to Incline Village not only to experience water recreation on Lake Tahoe, but to attend festivals and other events in town.
Crystal Bay is near Incline Village on the north side of Lake Tahoe, on the Nevada side but very close to the California state line. It’s home to several casinos and offers a ton of venues providing live entertainment. Enjoy gambling, live music, amazing restaurants, or fun water recreational activities around the lake. It’s also a great place to go hiking, during which you can enjoy the many lookouts overlooking Crystal Bay and Lake Tahoe.
Emerald Bay is a favorite spot on Lake Tahoe, renowned for its picturesque views of the blue waters, green conifer forests, and mountains encapsulating the surroundings. It’s a great place on the lake to explore with a boat rental or charter, and many people anchor to celebrate special moments on their boats. Wedding vow renewals, family gatherings, bachelorette and bachelor parties, and many more events are celebrated onboard boats in Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe.
Vikingsholm is known as the hidden castle of Lake Tahoe. It was built in the 1920s, with the owner looking to construct a beautiful summer home that echoed in design the architectural styles of Scandinavia. Eventually, the property was sold to the state of California, and now it remains an important historical landmark on Lake Tahoe and one of the best examples of Scandinavian architecture in the United States.
You can reach Vikingsholm by boat or walk a one-mile trail from the parking lot on Highway 89. There are guided tours of the mansion from June through September, and once you’re done with that, you can visit Vikingsholm Beach and its beautiful views of Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe. Just be aware that it can get crowded.
The largest beach in the South Lake Tahoe area, and one that conveniently offers a boat ramp. It’s a great place for large groups visiting Lake Tahoe, where you can enjoy a picnic, rent a kayak, or stop for a break from your boat day. Enjoy the boat launch and floating dock, as well as other facilities for a relaxing time at Lake Tahoe. This beach is closest to the actual city area of South Lake Tahoe.
A resort beach that stretches along the south side of Lake Tahoe, providing views of Cave Rock and Heavenly Mountain Resort. It’s a beach that is always bustling with activity, with visitors enjoying boat rentals, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, paddle boats, and more. There are several bars and restaurants around the beach, it’s near to theaters and other entertainment too. It’s an area full of things to do and a vibrant energy on Lake Tahoe. Unfortunately, though, dogs are not allowed.
If you don’t have any boating experience, or aren’t familiar with the waterways of the city, a captained charter might be what you want. Finding a yacht rental or other kind of boat charter with professional Lake Tahoe captains will not only make sure everyone is safe on board, but they can also bring you to the secret spots only the locals know about.
From every side of the lake shores, and from scenic natural geography to stunning vacation homes, you’ll find plenty of spectacular sightseeing during a boating session in Lake Tahoe.
With its massive size, the stunning landscapes, and other unique features of Lake Tahoe, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy special experiences that will be the highlight of your vacation at the lake. Regardless of your budget or interests, there’s a water experience on Lake Tahoe that will suit your interest and the interest of your whole family or travel group.
Lake Tahoe offers amazing views and waves for jet ski enthusiasts, from King’s Beach to North Lake Tahoe.
One thing to note if you want to jet ski on Lake Tahoe: you must check what type of engine your personal watercraft has. Carbureted two-stroke engines are prohibited on Lake Tahoe, and these are common in older jet skis. If you’re renting, you’ll get the chance to cruise on a new machine, since updated models have cleaner, fuel-injection engines. You must be at least 18 years old to operate a jet ski on Lake Tahoe and you must have a valid jet ski license to rent.
Kayak rentals are some of the most affordable options for outdoor fun at Lake Tahoe. While boating, jet skiing, and sailing can require a larger budget, any traveler can enjoy a day spent paddling around Lake Tahoe on one of these.
Did you know that there’s actually a paddling trail on Lake Tahoe? It’s a 72-mile route not far from the shoreline, that takes paddlesports enthusiasts along with clear trail markers, places to stop and rest, launch points, and it provides signage and navigation tools to keep you safe while kayaking around Lake Tahoe.
Pontoons are an affordable choice for a boat rental on Lake Tahoe, and are a great choice for families because they offer plenty of deck space to spread out and relax, and they are ideal for exploring at a leisurely pace.
Chug along in Emerald or Zephyr Bay on your pontoon rental and admire the beautiful views of Lake Tahoe. Explore South Lake Tahoe or Incline Village on a pontoon with your friends or family and get the best of the summer on Lake Tahoe.
Houseboating is not as common on Lake Tahoe as some other large lakes and beaches in the United States, but it’s not unheard of. It’s more difficult, though, to anchor a houseboat on Lake Tahoe due to the depth of the lake. If you can find a houseboat rental, it might be better for a day of boating rather than overnight. Keep in mind that you can’t beach a houseboat on any of the beaches around Lake Tahoe.
A canoe rental is ideal for couples with small children who want to enjoy paddling around Lake Tahoe but need space onboard for their kids to sit and ride along. It’s also great for visiting Lake Tahoe with your pet, or if you want to do some canoe camping at different sites around the lake.
From Tahoe City, South Lake Tahoe, Tahoe North, or Incline Village, you can find amazing options for paddle board rentals if you’re an enthusiast. The natural beauty, serene waters, and stunning scenery makes for a great place to rent a paddle board and enjoy this fun lake sport.
Just be aware that the water conditions on Lake Tahoe can be tricky. Since it’s a higher altitude alpine lake, the wind can change quickly and the conditions can become cold if you fall in. We recommend staying close to shore when paddle boarding.
Want the ultimate romantic experience on Lake Tahoe? Book a sunset sailing cruise for an unforgettable evening on the lake. Sailing through Zephyr Cove or Emerald Bay, enjoying the breeze while seeing the sky change colors, making the mountains and the forests in the foreground really pop. It’s a visual experience unlike any other.
Sailing on Lake Tahoe presents an interesting challenge, even for experienced sailors. Due to the high altitude and the alpine nature of the lake, the winds are constantly changing and these shifts can make for challenging conditions. It’s a great lake to improve your sailing skills on — if you’re a beginner, you’ll gain a lot of valuable experience and knowledge from sailing lessons with a more experienced skipper on Lake Tahoe.
Are you visiting Lake Tahoe for a special occasion? Make the party planning easy and book a party boat for an unforgettable celebration. A captained boat charter makes a Lake Tahoe Booze Cruise much safer — so hire a professional to keep your group safe while having a ton of fun on the water.
Heading to Lake Tahoe to celebrate with the guys? A boat charter for a bachelor party in Lake Tahoe is one of the best activities to enjoy. Fill up your cooler with drinks, connect with a local captain, and enjoy hours of cruising in the sun. A captained boat charter is the best way to have the time of your life and provide an unforgettable trip to Lake Tahoe for the groom. Every best man can appreciate the ease of booking an activity everyone will love. - use GetMyBoat to keep your trip planning as stress-free as possible.
Planning a final “sail before the veil” with your favorite group of women? Any maid of honor can appreciate having a personal yacht captain available to help finalize all the details of the perfect boat party day. Put on your matching swimsuits, pack your towels, sunscreen, and sunglasses, and celebrate cruising and stopping at islands and sandbars around Lake Tahoe for photoshoots and bachelorette party fun. A bachelorette party is one of the best reasons to rent a boat in Lake Tahoe.
Planning to say “I Do” in Lake Tahoe? Why not enjoy your special day on a boat? Lake Tahoe is a great destination for a wedding onboard a boat or yacht. A boat wedding in Lake Tahoe provides stunning views and a unique venue for celebrating your special day. Lake Tahoe has so many different yachts and boats to choose from for a wedding, you’re guaranteed to find a style of boat that will suit you and your guest’s needs. Check out our guide to planning a boat wedding for more ideas and information.
Lake Tahoe is the ultimate destination for a milestone birthday celebration. If you’re coming up on your 30th or 40th birthday and want to party with your favorite people, a boat rental in Lake Tahoe for a day is a must. Bring your cake and balloons onboard (check with the captain first for any restrictions on decorations) and ring in a new year of your life on the water.
GetMyBoat is the world’s largest boat rental and water experience marketplace. We connect more people to boat rental services than any other company. Our mobile app available for iOS and Android makes it possible to find and book boating experiences right on your phone.
You can access thousands of professional boat captains and companies to help plan your perfect day on the water. GetMyBoat’s 24/7 customer service team is always available to help with any step in the booking process. We also enable you to read real user reviews and see photos added from past users, so you can book with confidence that you’re choosing a 5-star boat rental or water experience.
GetMyBoat is committed to taking the lowest booking fees in the industry to save the customer money in pursuit of their perfect day on the water.
A boat charter (vs. a boat rental) includes a professional captain to drive the boat. Frequently, it also includes crew members to provide services to the passengers, like food and beverage, as well as being there to assist the captain. The number of crew members working a boat charter will depend on the size of the vessel and the number of guests onboard.
A boat charter with a licensed, professional captain is the best option for inexperienced boaters or people unfamiliar with the waterways they wish to explore. A captain can provide an amazing experience on a private boat rental and help make the experience safer and more relaxing for boaters.
While half-day and full-day boat rentals are the most commonly booked trip durations on GetMyBoat, some boat owners and operators allow for multi-day or week-long rentals. Some owners and boat rental services offer discounted rates when you book for more than one day. Ask about weekly deals on rentals if you’re hoping to go boating for more than one day.
While it’s common to meet at a marina or public dock, boat captains and owners can often coordinate a drop off at a boat launch or ramp, or another spot if it’s more convenient. Get the exact directions to where you need to meet your boat owner/captain to determine where to pick up the vessel. Send your captain a message to clarify if you’re unsure where to go!
If you need to refuel your boat rental before you return to the dock, ask the boat rental service or owner where they recommend that you refuel. Most waterways will have several fuel stations to choose from, and often the docks that you meet at for your boat rental will also have them. Many captains and owners will take care of this for you, but it’s a good idea to ask what their specific policy is for fueling. Check out local marinas to see if they have a fuel dock.
Dogs are often welcome on boat rentals and charters — but be sure to ask first! Some boat captains do and some don’t allow pets to come along.
It’s also a good idea to do some research to make sure your pet will be okay with boating if they’ve never been before. Check out our guide for boating with your dog, and if you do decide to bring your dog along, make sure you have the appropriate lifejacket and other safety gear for them!
GetMyBoat’s mission is to make boating more accessible and affordable. To do this, we’re constantly growing our team of boat owners, captains, and operators around the world to offer a wider range of boat rentals and services at different price points. We want to provide the joys of boating to everyone - regardless of their budget.
Boat rental costs will vary depending on the size and type of boat you wish to rent. Other factors that impact the price of a boat rental include: trip duration, desired route, and itinerary. A boat rental usually costs between $50 and $150/hour but can range up to over $400/hour. Renting a boat for a few hours is usually less expensive than renting a boat for a whole day, but you can sometimes save money on the hourly rate by renting for longer - some owners and rental services offer discounted rates.
There’s no booking obligation at the inquiry stage with GetMyBoat - so you can send an inquiry message to a captain to get a price quote before you commit.
The cost of a boat rental will depend on the duration of your rental, the size of the boat, and the size of your group. Sometimes, specific itineraries (i.e., traveling far distances to get to a famous swimming spot) can add extra costs if they require additional fuel. Typically, a half-day boat rental is 4-hours, and a full-day is 8 hours. Depending on your specific needs, you can expect to pay anywhere from $250 to over $1000 for your boat rental.
Yacht charters are typically more expensive than boat rentals, but you can find many yachting services that are still affordable on GetMyBoat. A yacht charter usually costs between $300/hour to over $1,000/hour, and this generally includes the captain’s fees and other costs of having a crew onboard to work the charter.
A pontoon rental is typically the most affordable boat rental. A pontoon will usually start at $50 and cost no more than $150-200/hour, depending if you rent with a captain or not. Pontoon boat rentals are a cheaper option for boating if you’re looking to save money.
When a captain and crew provide excellent service on the water, leaving a gratuity as a show of appreciation is a common custom. In many places, 10-20% of the rental cost is standard, but this can vary depending on where you are using boat rental services. GetMyBoat does not handle tips or gratuity payments, so please bring cash with you to tip, or many boat captains also have the option of CashApp or Venmo for leaving a tip after your boat charter.
Sometimes the boat owner/captain you are renting from will include fuel costs in the total fee charged, while others will charge on a usage basis - so depending on how much you use on your boat day. Inquire with the boat owner/captain about the typical fuel costs for your boat rental duration.
Costs for your boat rental will vary from owner to owner, so be sure to inquire about any extra costs that might not be covered in the listed price - like fuel, captain’s fees, or additional charges for unique itineraries. Your captain will let you know what to expect if there is any deviation from the price on the boat listing.
You must be at least 18 years old to rent with GetMyBoat. To operate a boat without a captain, you will need to ensure you meet the correct boating safety requirements. Boat owners and operators on GetMyBoat sometimes have their own individual age requirements for renting, so inquire with them on their minimum age when you send a booking inquiry.
To rent a jet ski independently, you have to be at least 18 years old. Often 16 & 17 year olds can operate a jet ski rental if they have a guardian present to sign a waiver for them. No one under the age of 16 should operate a jet ski without being in direct supervision of a parent or guardian.
The boat's capacity will vary depending on the captain’s licensing rules, size of the boat, style of the boat, and the location you’re renting in. Every boat listing on GetMyBoat indicates the maximum number of people allowed on the boat, so you’ll know before inquiring if it will suit your group’s size.
Whether or not you rent a boat with a captain will depend on many factors. If you do not have boating experience - it is recommended that you book a boat rental with a captain service for safety. Some locations require that renters have a licensed captain onboard operating the boat at all times. If you do have boating experience and want to rent a boat without a captain, in most locations you are able to rent it bareboat to go on your own. Ask the boat rental service provider for information on renting a boat without a captain and let them know information about your boating experience.
When you rent a boat, it’s a great idea to do some research on your own or ask the boat owner/company for recommendations if you’re not from the area. With a boat rental, popular places to venture to include sandbars, islands, beaches, coves, and waterfront restaurants. It’s a good idea to inquire with the boat owner for recommendations on what to do and advice on navigating there safely.
You do not need your own insurance to rent a boat.
Boating license requirements vary from state to state, country to country, and can even be different in various cities and local jurisdictions of the same state. As a renter, you are responsible for understanding local requirements and regulations.
Many boat safety courses are offered online and you can earn a certificate that will qualify you to rent a boat on your own. You can also often take in-person boating lessons which will teach you the necessary hands-on skills to operate a boat independently. Check out BoatEd for more information on local boating safety requirements and courses. You can also check out our Top Boating Safety Tips resources.
Most boat owners and boat rental services will include all lifejackets and safety equipment within the price of your listing. It’s always a good idea to ask where the equipment is located onboard before you leave the dock. Your captain or the owner should give you a briefing at the beginning of your rental experience, so you’re aware of all safety features and equipment on the boat.
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