By Linda Bottjer

There is nothing like cutting across the crystal clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe in a kayak.

Low in the water you feel the majesty of the surrounding mountains and expansive views of the sky
whether it be during the day or under the light of a full moon and twinkling stars.

Thrill as waterfowl like Mallard ducks paddle alongside or a flock of Canada geese wing in near your
kayak for a cooling dip during the summer months.

With so many diverse areas of the Lake to explore there are just as many companies who offer kayak
rentals and guided tours.

Here is a sampling of them.

Camp Richardson

Photo Credit: Camp Richardson

Camp Richardson
1900 Jameson Beach Rd
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Price: Call for pricing

“Camp Rich” — as called by the locals — has been a favorite year-round resort for decades. At its Marina kayaks are available for rental by the hour or the day.

Even if you are a novice or dedicated coach potato you will feel comfortable asking the friendly staff for
their recommendations on which kayak best fits you.

“Sit atop” kayaks allow the easiest entering and exiting thanks to an open cockpit. Many families kayaking with younger children choose this model. Recreational kayaks come with one or two cockpits.

This allows for a romance ride or added paddling power.

(credit: Glenn Gould/Flickr)

Once in a kayak a popular paddle is to head north along the shoreline. Within minutes the Tallac Historic sites of Valhalla and the Baldwin and Pope estates come in view. Each represents a particular era of Tahoe architecture of summer homes once owned by the San Francisco millionaires during the late 19th and early 20th century.

Insider tip: When adult muscles ache one way to cure the pain is to head to the Beacon Bar and Grill for a famed Rum Runner drink. Its restorative powers are legendary.

Kayaking in Sand Harbor

Photo Credit: Tahoe Adventure Company – Seth Lightcap

Tahoe Adventure Company
7010 North Lake Blvd
Tahoe Vista, CA 96148
Hours: Vary
Price: Depends on size of kayak and length of rental. Details

TAC offers a variety of guided kayaking tours. Paddle the Lake as a full moon rises over the eastern mountains or the setting sun kisses the western peaks good night for serene experience.

Tony Berendsen of Tahoe Star Tours frequently joins kayakers on the shore for star gazing tours. With large aperture telescopes he opens the Sierra skies for exploration. From TAC’s Tahoe Vista location looking up and across the Lake you can see the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

In September and October Lodge to Lodge kayaking adventures last two to four days. It is a quiet time at Lake Tahoe between the summer and winter crowds and the solitude increases the chance to see the famed wildlife.

Paddling into Emerald Bay

Photo Credit: Kayak Tahoe- John Lanier

Kayak Tahoe

3411 Lake Tahoe Blvd
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150-7919
Hours: Vary
Price: Depends on size of kayak and length of rental
Depends on size of kayak and length of rental
(530) 544-2011

Kayak Tahoe is the only kayaking company with authorized access to Emerald Bay. And it’s serious about making sure paddlers, ages 8 and up, are ready for the half-day trip whether self-guided or as part of a group.

Children are given basic lessons that also offers guides a quick assessment of a child’s ability to take

The reward is paddling into the teal colored waters many can only see from observation-points miles up in the mountains.

See trout, Lake, Brown and Rainbow, just below the water’s surface as ospreys join golden and bald eagles in circling patterns high in the sky.

Kayak Tahoe also offers kayaking tours of boulder-strewn Sand Harbor and to the Upper Truckee River estuary of Lake Tahoe.

Linda Bottjer is a full time writer whose natural curiosity buoys her sense of adventure. Her work can be
found at