There are endless things to see and do in Lake Tahoe; however, many of the area’s attractions do come with a fee. Don’t worry, though! With its wealth of natural beauty, lovely lakeside beaches, and family-friendly activities, Lake Tahoe is also home to an array of awesome sights and activities that won’t cost you a dime. Keep reading for our list of top free things to do in Lake Tahoe!
Emerald Bay State Park
One of the most beautiful and photographed parts of Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay State Park is a must-visit destination. Though there is a parking fee, the park itself is one of the best Lake Tahoe free things to do. Home to Eagle Falls and Vikingsholm, a 38-room mansion that is hailed as the finest example of Scandinavian architecture in the northern hemisphere, Emerald Bay offers camping, hiking, and wreck diving. The area was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1969.
Taylor Creek Visitor Center
Located on the south shore of Lake Tahoe, the Taylor Creek Visitor Center allows both children and adults an up-close experience with the local flora and fauna. Paved trails and bridges weave across the marshlands, and an underground “aquarium” gives visitors a glimpse under the surface of Taylor Creek. If you are visiting in the fall and looking for some Lake Tahoe free things to do, this window to the underwater world will allow you to view spawning Kokanee salmon.
For the most spectacular day hiking in the Lake Tahoe area, head out on the free trails that span one of the most beautiful and accessible areas of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Boasting unparalleled panoramic views of Emerald Bay and the surrounding wilderness, these 63,960 acres of subalpine forest, glacial lakes, soaring peaks, and verdant valleys are truly a mountain paradise. It’s plain to see why this stunning location earned a spot on our list of top free things to do at Lake Tahoe.
Located in the heart of Tahoe City is one of the most fun and entertaining free spots in Lake Tahoe. Though the area is not great for swimming, free special events are held year-round, including SnowFest. On Sundays, you can catch the free Concerts at the Commons, and Wednesdays are Movies at the Beach night. The beach park itself has a grassy area and playground for the youngsters and several nice barbecue areas, making this one of our favorite free things to do in Lake Tahoe.
Northstar Village Skating Rink
In the center of quaint Northstar Village, you will find a wonderful 9,000-square-foot skating rink that is free to the public. The rink offers ice skating in the winter and roller skating during the spring and summer months. Surrounded by outdoor fire pits, several food and beverage concessions, shops and entertainment, the Northstar Village Skating Rink makes this one of the most family-friendly free things to do at Lake Tahoe. You can bring your own skates or rent a pair for $12.