16 Best Campgrounds in Lake Tahoe for Every Type of Camper

Here is the ultimate guide to finding the right campground for you in Lake Tahoe. My friends and I loved these, and so will you!

I spent 10+ hours researching online and recalling my personal experiences to make the most comprehensive guide for you.

Most posts on the best campgrounds in Lake Tahoe just give you what’s on the official websites. But I want to make the most practical guide with on-the-ground knowledge. 

They also tend to write about the same and most popular campgrounds. But what if you can’t get a reservation at these places, or don’t like the crowds? So I have included more options with something for everyone: 

I included a spreadsheet with important features for each campground so you can compare easily:

And here are some tips that are applicable to any campground you choose.

Without further ado, here are the best campgrounds in Lake Tahoe:

West Shore Campgrounds

The West shore of Lake Tahoe, from Tahoe City to Emerald Bay, is home to the most popular camping spots and attractions. 

D.L. Bliss State Park:

D.L. Bliss is next to the most popular trails in Lake Tahoe. 

Hike 1 mile to the iconic Rubicon Trail that goes to Emerald Bay. Trail rated as moderate, but is somewhat narrow and may get crowded. 

Lighthouse Trail (1.5 mile round trip)

After you take in Lake Tahoe’s stunning scenery from above, hike to Lester Beach (1 min from parking lot), where you can launch a kayak or swim in crystal clear waters. The beach is less crowded than many in Lake Tahoe.

The secluded Calawee Cove beach is also ~10 min drive away.

Basic Information:

  • Reservations: Required, reserve here
  • Season: End May – Early September
  • Maximum Trailer/Camper Size: 15 ft/18 ft
  • Hookups: None
  • Dump Stations: Yes
  • Price: $45 beach camp, $35 others, 1 vehicle
  • # of sites, total: 112
  • Campfire: Allowed
  • Shower: Yes
  • Pets: Allowed only in developed areas on leash
  • Running Water: Yes
  • Restrooms: Flush Toilet
  • Picnic Tables: Yes
  • Food Storage Locker: Required for bear safety

Practical details:

  • Most suited for tent campers
  • Consists of 5 campgrounds, 4 in the pine woods above the lake and 1 marked as “beach camp”
  • Go with Pine Campground if you want large campsites with good privacy
  • Campsites in the woods are about a 2-mile mountainous hike from Lester beach, or a 10-min drive 
  • Many “beach camp” campsites actually do not offer a beach view but are instead a short walking distance to the beach

Pro tips:

  • Bring levelers if you are camping in vans or RVs since some sites can be uneven
  • Plan at least several weeks ahead and make your reservations in advance if you want to visit during the peak summer months
  • Start early if you want to drive to any trailhead or beach since parking can fill up by mid-morning
  • Expect crowds on the hiking trails during peak seasons

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Meeks Bay Campground

Only a few hundred feet away from the lakeshore, Meeks Bay should be on any beach lover’s list. There you can swim in crystal clear waters or launch your own paddleboard or kayak.

There is also a long, paved bike trail for any cycle enthusiasts, as well as a full-service Marina at the nearby Meeks Bay Resort.

Basic Information:

  • Reservations: Required, reserve here
  • Season: Mid May – Mid October
  • Maximum Trailer/Camper Size: 20 ft/20 ft
  • Hookups: None
  • Dump Stations: Yes
  • # of sites, total: 40
  • Price: $31 – $33, $10 reservation fee
  • Campfire: Allowed
  • Shower: No
  • Pets: Allowed only in developed areas on leash
  • Running Water: Yes
  • Restrooms: Flush Toilet
  • Picnic Tables: Yes
  • Food Storage Locker: Required for bear safety

Practical details:

  • Suited for tent campers 
  • Privacy is not great since the campsites are close to one another and trees can be pretty bare
  • Limited parking on-site but free parking right outside of the campground 
  • Highway noise can be a concern 

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Meeks Bay Resort Campground

This is the privately-owned sister campground to Meeks Bay Campground. The setting and activities are very similar, but you get some top-notch amenities. It offers full hook-ups for RV sites along with a dump station. A maximum camper size of 60ft means even the largest RVs can fit. 

You can enjoy your time at the beach with a designated swimming area, or check out some Emerald Bay excursions at the full-service marina.

Note that dogs are not allowed at the resort, and there is a 2-night minimum stay. 

Basic Information:

  • Reservations: Required, reserve here
  • Season: Mid May – Mid September
  • Maximum Trailer/Camper Size: 60 ft/60 ft
  • Hookups: Full hookups at RV sites
  • Dump Stations: Yes
  • # of sites, total: 36
  • Price: $35 – $45, 2 vehicles
  • Campfire: Allowed
  • Shower: Yes
  • Pets: No
  • Running Water: Yes
  • Restrooms: Flush Toilet
  • Picnic Tables: Yes
  • Food Storage Locker: Required for bear safety

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Sugar Pine Point State Park

If you want a mix of nature, history, and learning, then consider camping in Sugar Pine Point State Park. 

There are 2 miles of secluded beachfront and dense pine forest for you to enjoy swimming and hiking. 

From my experience, this area is a lot less crowded than the region around Emerald Bay State Park and Rubicon Trail.

Check out the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion (aka Pine Lodge), a summer home built by a San Francisco financier in 1903. There you can see how the wealthy enjoyed Lake Tahoe (which is on my dream list tbh)

Close to the mansion is the Nature Center, where you can learn about several species of birdlife, mammals, and game fish in the Tahoe Basin. With other exhibits for Lake Ecology and a “Touchy-feely” table, your kids won’t be bored!

Basic Information:

  • Reservations: Required, reserve here
  • Season: Year-round
  • Maximum Trailer/Camper Size: 26 ft/32 ft
  • Hookups: None
  • Dump Stations: Yes
  • # of sites, total: 175
  • Price: $35 summer, $25 winter (2nd vehicle $10)
  • Campfire: Allowed
  • Shower: Yes
  • Pets: Allowed only in developed areas on leash
  • Running Water: Yes
  • Restrooms: Flush Toilet
  • Picnic Tables: Yes
  • Food Storage Locker: Required for bear safety

Practical details:

  • Suitable for tent camping, vans, and small RVs
  • Usually have many open sites and less crowded than sites further down south
  • Good shading since tall pines surround the campground
  • Near Tahoma market, which is convenient if you need anything last-minute
  • Winter camping available

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Kaspian Campground

Though not next to any major attractions, Kaspian offers you an authentic camping experience at an affordable price. 

Campsites are only a short walk away from the Day-use Area with a nice beach, where you can swim, kayak, or paddleboard. 

There is also a paved and mostly level bike trail along the lakeshore.

Basic Information:

  • Reservations: Required, reserve here
  • Season: Mid May – Mid October
  • Maximum Trailer/Camper Size: 20 ft/20 ft
  • Hookups: None
  • Dump Stations: Nearby
  • # of sites, total: 9
  • Price: $22 – $24 ($2 additional vehicle)
  • Campfire: Allowed
  • Shower: No
  • Pets: Allowed only in developed areas on leash
  • Running Water: Yes
  • Restrooms: Flush Toilet
  • Picnic Tables: Yes
  • Food Storage Locker: Required for bear safety

Practical details: 

  • 9 sites, tent-only
  • Lake across the street; great view
  • Less than 10-min drive to Tahoe City
  • No shower
  • Right off the road, so highway noise can be an issue 
  • Need a short hike from the parking lot to your campsite

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William Kent Campground

Located ~2 miles north of Kaspian, William Kent Campground offers similar activities and attractions. The campsites are a short walk from William Kent beach and close to a paved bike trail.

Basic Information:

  • Reservations: Required, reserve here
  • Season: Mid May – Mid October
  • Maximum Trailer/Camper Size: 50 ft/50 ft
  • Hookups: None
  • Dump Stations: Yes
  • # of sites, total: 76
  • Price: $31, yurts $79, $10 reservation fee
  • Campfire: Allowed
  • Shower: No
  • Pets: Allowed only in developed areas on leash
  • Running Water: Yes
  • Restrooms: Flush Toilet
  • Picnic Tables: Yes
  • Food Storage Locker: Required for bear safety

Practical details:

  • Suitable for both tent and RV camping
  • Most sites in Pine Forest with good privacy
  • No shower
  • Has 3 yurt camping sites 
  • 2-night minimum stay; 3 nights over holidays 
  • 5-min drive to Tahoe city

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South Shore Campgrounds

The south shore is known for its metropolitan setting but still offers plenty to explore for the outdoor enthusiasts, from rugged hikes in the Desolation Wilderness to serene cruising on the Fallen Leaf Lake. 

Many campgrounds are more family-oriented with great amenities, good for those who value creature comforts when camping.

Eagle Point Campground

Situated right above Emerald Bay, Eagle Point Campground offers you views of the Bay and Lake Tahoe like none other. You can launch your own water vessel after a less-than-0.5-mile hike.

Located right at the Rubicon trailhead, it also saves you the hassle of finding parking. 

You can also visit the nearby Vikingsholm, a Scandinavian summer home built in 1928.

Basic Information:

  • Reservations: Required, reserve here
  • Season: Mid June – Early September
  • Maximum Trailer/Camper Size: 15 ft/18 ft
  • Hookups: None
  • Dump Stations: No
  • # of sites, total: 97
  • Price: $35
  • Campfire: Allowed
  • Shower: Yes
  • Pets: Allowed only in developed areas on leash
  • Running Water: Yes
  • Restrooms: Flush Toilet
  • Picnic Tables: Yes
  • Food Storage Locker: Required for bear safety

Practical details:

  • Suited for tent campers 
  • Located on the mountain slopes above Emerald Bay
  • Many campsites offer a partial view of the lake through the woods; “Premium” campsites offer the best views of the Lake 
  • Separated into Upper and Lower sections, divided by the Rubicon Trailhead
  • Multi-level layout adds to the separation between campsites for better privacy

There are also 20 campsites on the northside of Emerald Bay accessible only by boat.

Reserve early! Campsites in the Emerald Bay State Park can fill up as soon as reservations open, which is 6 months before any arrival date.

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Camp Richardson 

Want to have the best amenities while camping? Look no further. Camp Richardson has everything from hot showers to full hook-ups. 

As a resort, it also comes with a full-service marina with boat rentals and a Mountain Sports Center with bike/snowsport rentals. 

Oh, and did I mention the lakeside restaurants and ice cream parlor? Just imagine having a delicious meal after a long day of adventure while taking in the beautiful Tahoe sunset. 

Basic Information:

  • Reservations: Required, reserve here
  • Season: Year-round
  • Maximum Trailer/Camper Size: NA/NA
  • Hookups: Yes, partial or full
  • Dump Stations: Yes
  • # of sites, total: 300+
  • Price: Tent $45, RV $60 – $70
  • Campfire: Allowed
  • Shower: Yes
  • Pets: Not allowed
  • Running Water: Yes
  • Restrooms: Flush Toilet
  • Picnic Tables: Yes
  • Food Storage Locker: Required for bear safety

Practical details:

  • All sites are wheel-chair accessible
  • A short walk from Jameson Beach and Pope Beach
  • 10 – 15 min drive to other attractions like the famed Emerald Bay and Fallen Leaf Lake 
  • Tent campsites are spread across both sides of the highway, so pick campsites further from the road for less noise.

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Fallen Leaf Campground

This will be my go-to campground if I were to camp in the southern parts of Lake Tahoe again. 

It is close to all the major attractions of South Lake Tahoe without being overly trafficked or touristy. I actually felt like I was out in the wilderness as opposed to being on a 205-site campground.

On its long list of attractions, the Fallen Leaf Lake beach is only a short walk away, open to swimmers, boaters, and fishers alike. 

Then there is the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, where you may find guided walks through the Rainbow trail or Stream Profile Chamber, a unique underground viewing chamber that educates visitors about the stream environment. Not to mention that popular destinations like Emerald Bay are within driving distance.

Basic Information:

  • Reservations: Required, reserve here
  • Season: Mid May – October
  • Maximum Trailer/Camper Size: 40 ft/40ft
  • Hookups: None
  • Dump Stations: Yes
  • # of sites, total: 205
  • Price: $36 – $38, yurts $87
  • Campfire: Allowed
  • Shower: Yes
  • Pets: Allowed only in developed areas on leash
  • Running Water: Yes
  • Restrooms: Flush Toilet
  • Picnic Tables: Yes
  • Food Storage Locker: Required for bear safety

Practical details:

  • Suitable for both tents and RVs, though some narrow roads may be challenging for larger RVs
  • Bears are more of a problem at Fallen Leaf, compared to the other Tahoe Campgrounds I’ve been to; so use your bear boxes!
  • No dish-washing site across the entire campground! They don’t have facilities to dispose of waste water in a way that detracts bears
  • Outer loop campsites have better privacy with pine woods; the inner loop is more suitable for large groups 
  • Coin-operated showers can be expensive

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Campground by the Lake 

This is another campground right across the beach. And it’s dog-friendly!  

Some sites have water + electricity hookups, making it a preferable option for RVers. You are also allowed to fill your RV water tank with the public water faucet.

The campground is surrounded on three sides by the city, so you may need to keep looking if you want to get closer to the wilderness.

Another tip is to pick campsites further from Highway 50 to reduce road noise.

Basic Information:

  • Reservations: Required, reserve here
  • Season: April – October
  • Maximum Trailer/Camper Size: 40 ft/40ft
  • Hookups: Electric + Water for some sites
  • Dump Stations: Yes
  • # of sites, total: 175
  • Price: $32 – $46
  • Campfire: Allowed
  • Shower: Yes
  • Pets: Allowed
  • Running Water: Yes
  • Restrooms: Flush Toilet
  • Picnic Tables: Yes
  • Food Storage Locker: Required for bear safety

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Bayview Campground

With only 12 sites, I think this is one of the most underrated campgrounds in Lake Tahoe. 

It is conveniently located at the intersection of three popular destinations. The Inspiration Point overlooking Emerald Bay is right across the highway. You can also hike 1 mile to Cascade Falls that overlooks Cascade Lake, or enter the Desolation Wilderness for a weekend backpacking trip. 

It is also very affordable at $18/night. And you don’t need to plan your trip and reserve months in advance; just arrive at 7 – 9am when other campers are leaving.

Basic Information:

  • Reservations: First-come, first-serve
  • Season: Late May – October
  • Maximum Trailer/Camper Size: 20 ft/20ft
  • Hookups: None
  • Dump Stations: Yes
  • # of sites, total: 12
  • Price: $17
  • Campfire: Allowed
  • Shower: No
  • Pets: Allowed only in developed areas on leash
  • Running Water: No
  • Restrooms: Vault Toilet
  • Picnic Tables: Yes
  • Food Storage Locker: Required for bear safety

Practical details:

  • Suited for tent campers
  • Bring enough water since water from the creek can dry up during the summer 
  • No shower has been a big downside for me, but I can stand it for a night or two for access to the best attractions
  • Many day trippers walk through the campsite to get to the trailheads, so you may want to look elsewhere for a more secluded/quieter experience

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Camp Shelley

At only 25 sites, Camp Shelley is not the most well-known campground in South Lake Tahoe. But it’s worth mentioning for the short walking distance to Baldwin Beach, one of the most popular beaches in Tahoe with swimming, boating, and fishing. 

There may also be special programs on weekends, such as campfire programs, night hikes, and astronomy programs.

It is above highway 89 nestled in the woods; more suited for tent campers.

Basic Information:

  • Reservations: Required, reserve here
  • Season: Summer
  • Maximum Trailer/Camper Size: 24 ft/24 ft
  • Hookups: None
  • Dump Stations: Yes
  • # of sites, total: 25
  • Price: $50 – 60, $5/night for additional vehicle
  • Campfire: Allowed
  • Shower: Yes
  • Pets: Allowed only in developed areas on leash
  • Running Water: Yes
  • Restrooms: Flush Toilet
  • Picnic Tables: Yes
  • Food Storage Locker: Required for bear safety

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East Shore Campground

Less touristy than the west or south, the east shore is still home to some of the most beautiful destinations like Zephyr Cove. There are only 2 campgrounds to choose from on the east.

Zephyr Cove Resort Campground

This is another campground for those who enjoy conveniences and great amenities.

Situated next to a resort, the campground is a short walk from restaurants, marina activities, horseback riding, and stores. 

The water, sewer, 30/50 electrical, and cable hookups may be a much-needed break for RVers. 

If you want to explore the outdoors, the beach and lake are also just across the highway. Note that highway noise may be an issue.

It is open year-round for winter camping.

Basic Information:

  • Reservations: Required, reserve here
  • Season: Summer
  • Maximum Trailer/Camper Size: 40 ft/40+ ft
  • Hookups: Water, sewer, 30/50 electrical
  • Dump Stations: Yes
  • # of sites, total: 100+
  • Price: $30 – $100
  • Campfire: Allowed
  • Shower: Yes
  • Pets: Allowed only in developed areas on leash
  • Running Water: Yes
  • Restrooms: Flush Toilet
  • Picnic Tables: Yes
  • Food Storage Locker: Required for bear safety

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Nevada Beach Campground

The biggest highlight of this campground is that the dog-friendly Nevada beach is right across the street. You can swim, picnic, or launch your own water vessel.

The campground itself is in a pine tree forest, which offers great shades during the day. But if you are using solar power, you may want to look for less shaded sites (24 and 26). Many sites offer a beautiful lake view through the woods.

It is also close to town for added convenience; you can walk to Safeway, restaurants, and a coffee shop.

Although the site allows RVs, the facilities are somewhat lacking, with no shower, dump stations, or hook-ups.  

Basic Information:

  • Reservations: Required, reserve here
  • Season: Mid May – Mid October
  • Maximum Trailer/Camper Size: 32 – 60 ft/32 – 60ft
  • Hookups: None
  • Dump Stations: No
  • # of sites, total: 54
  • Price: $36 – $40
  • Campfire: Allowed
  • Shower: No
  • Pets: Allowed only in developed areas on leash and a dog-friendly beach
  • Running Water: Yes
  • Restrooms: Flush Toilet
  • Picnic Tables: Yes
  • Food Storage Locker: Required for bear safety

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North Shore Campgrounds

The north shore of Tahoe is much less touristy and more residential. The campgrounds here are further away from the most popular attractions but still offer a great escape into nature.

Tahoe State Recreation Area

Located immediately east of Tahoe City, this campground allows you to access all the city amenities and activities while enjoying nature.

It is only a short walking distance to Commons Beach, with some campsites offering a lake view.

The area is lightly forested with average privacy.

Basic Information:

  • Reservations: Required, reserve here
  • Season: Late May – September
  • Maximum Trailer/Camper Size: 15 ft/21 ft
  • Hookups: None
  • Dump Stations: No
  • # of sites, total: 23
  • Price: $35
  • Campfire: Allowed
  • Shower: Yes
  • Pets: Allowed only in developed areas on leash
  • Running Water: Yes
  • Restrooms: Flush Toilet
  • Picnic Tables: Yes
  • Food Storage Locker: Required for bear safety

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Lake Forest Campground

Want to camp in Lake Tahoe but too late to get a reservation? Then check out the first-come-first-serve Lake Forest Campground. You should be able to find a site if you arrive 7 – 9 am in the morning when other campers are leaving. 

The campsites are in a lightly wooded area with bushes, which offers decent privacy.

The attractions are not bad either, especially if you are camping with kids. The Pomin Park with a playground and Youth Baseball Field is nearby. The Lake Forest Beach and Boat Launch Ramp are also within walking distance.

This is an affordable campground at only $20/night, but you do have to give up the showers and settle for portable toilets.

Basic Information:

  • Reservations: First-come, First-serve
  • Season: April – Mid October
  • Maximum Trailer/Camper Size: 25 ft/ 25 ft
  • Hookups: None
  • Dump Stations: No
  • # of sites, total: 20
  • Price: $20
  • Campfire: Allowed
  • Shower: No
  • Pets: Allowed only in developed areas on leash
  • Running Water: Yes
  • Restrooms: Portable Toilet
  • Picnic Tables: Yes
  • Food Storage Locker: Yes

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General Tips

Plan ahead and reserve early if you want to visit during the peak summer season. The most popular campgrounds like Eagle Point, D.L. Bliss, and Meeks Bay can be fully booked months in advance!

Use the food storage lockers unless you want bears smelling your food and roaming near your campsite. This is also required at many campsites. I’ve only had 1 bear sighting during the dozen times I’ve camped in Tahoe, but it is better safe than sorry.

Get to popular trailheads and beaches early (before 10 am) since the parking spots fill up by mid-morning during peak season. Or try to hike/bike to destinations as much as possible. After all, you may not save any time by driving if it takes you 30 minutes to find parking. 

Arrive at campgrounds 10 – 15 minutes before or more than 1 hour after check-in time. If check-in time is 2 pm, chances are many people will arrive between 2 pm – 2:30 pm, and there will be a line. Trust me, you don’t want to wait 30 minutes to get to your campsite.

Wear layered clothing because temperatures in Lake Tahoe may vary a lot, from 70F+ during the day to 40F – 50F at night. 

Bring single dollar bills if you need to buy tokens for showers.

Emma

My name is Emma, and I’m a city dweller who jumps on every opportunity to get out and enjoy nature! I’ve gone on a number of car camping and backpacking trips since my first experience in 2015. I created this site to inspire others to get outside and to make the process easier for you.

Emma

Emma

My name is Emma, and I’m a city dweller who jumps on every opportunity to get out and enjoy nature! I’ve gone on a number of car camping and backpacking trips since my first experience in 2015. I created this site to inspire others to get outside and to make the process easier for you.