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Emerald Bay State Park
Emerald Bay State Park

Emerald Bay State Park

star-5
1,565 Reviews
Open daily
7360 West Lake Boulevard, Tahoma

The Basics

You can view Emerald Bay from overlooks and hiking trails on land, by air on a helicopter tour, or by water on a Lake Tahoe cruise. All offer different perspectives to take in breathtaking views of the picturesque spot. Sunset is a particularly beautiful time to visit, so book sunset dinner cruises and sunset helicopter tours in advance. Other not-to-be-missed sights include Vikingsholm, a 38-room mansion that is one of the finest examples of Scandinavian architecture in the United States, and Eagle Falls, a beautiful waterfall accessible by short hike.

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Recent reviews from experiences in Lake Tahoe

star-4
Nice, But Some Things Could Change
PNW, Jul 2021
Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay Cruise on M.S. Dixie II
Overall I think the cruise was really awesome and I loved learning about the area, however, I think it was a little too crowded(especially in this COVID time) and requiring to have a printed a ticket is outdated and inconvenient. There should be a way to scan a phone. Like I said, I liked the tour, but the things I mentioned should be addressed.
star-5
Highly Recommend
Laura_L, Jul 2021
Private Boat Charter Emerald Bay
Bryan was awesome. Very knowledgeable and accommodating. I highly recommend. His boat was very clean , as well as comfortable.
star-4
Boat Ride
Todd_R, Jun 2021
Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay Cruise on M.S. Dixie II
The boat ride was great. The crowed conditions, not so much. When I bought my tickets it said social distancing was required. The boat was packed. Way to may people to stay 6 feet apart.
star-5
once in a lifetime experience!!!
Brian_w, Apr 2021
Emerald Bay Helicopter Tour of Lake Tahoe
The knowledge and friendliness of the workers and pilot and overall experience was very clean and professional. I would recommend everyone to do this at least once in their lifetime defiantly an experience to cherish for the rest of my lfe!
star-5
Highly recommend
Juanita_N, May 2021
Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay Cruise on M.S. Dixie II
It was the best experience. The staff was so friendly. Plenty of space felt safe with COVID and people were responsible. Diversity of ages, families and ethnicity. Would highly recommend!
star-5
Lake Helicopter Trip
John_T, Jul 2021
Emerald Bay Helicopter Tour of Lake Tahoe
With only a 10 minute ride , we seen as much of the lake as possible. It was fantastic. The views over Emerald were awesome.
star-5
Lake Tahoe Boat Charter
Stephen_A, Jul 2021
Private Boat Charter Emerald Bay
Bryan, the captain, was efficient, courteous and knowledgeable. A really good guy who enhanced the pleasure of the trip with anecdotes about the history of Lake Tahoe. The boat was a fine vessel, well maintained and equipped. We had a fabulous trip.
star-4
Relaxing, informative, and beautiful cruise
Joy_Q, May 2021
Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay Cruise on M.S. Dixie II
The vessel is clean and the bathrooms are well taken care of. The tour speakers are at a good volume so that it doesn't overtake all conversation to be had while cruising. There are enough seats for everyone, and of course, Tahoe never disappoints.
star-4
Nice Cruise
Teresa_B, Apr 2021
Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay Cruise on M.S. Dixie II
This was our first trip to Lake Tahoe. We enjoyed the relaxing cruise and finding out the history of the beautiful lake. It was a nice sunny day, and the snow covered mountains made some beautiful memorable pictures. Only criticism I have is while social distancing is still a must with this pandemic, there were way too many people on the boat. I witnessed some uncomfortable exchanges of words between some people because there was not enough seating for groups of people to be six feet apart.
star-5
Great tour of Lake Tahoe
EVE_L, Jul 2021
Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay Cruise on M.S. Dixie II
I enjoyed the historical and geographical information about the lake. The boat was comfortable and everything was well organized.
star-4
Overall good experience
Vernon_F, Jul 2021
Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay Cruise on M.S. Dixie II
The narrative on the outbound and at Emerald Bay was good. The return trip was a bit boring. I assume you wanted folks to use this time to shop and spend money in the gift shop.
star-5
Must try
Vikram_A, Jul 2021
Emerald Bay Helicopter Tour of Lake Tahoe
Amazing ride! This is definitely the best way to view emerald bay. Neatly organized. Small helicopter so everyone gets the best view!

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Emerald Bay is a must-visit for outdoorsy travelers.

  • TheM.S. Dixie II, a historic paddle-wheel boat, departs daily from Zephyr Cove and is wheelchair-accessible.

  • Be sure to dress for the season, especially if heading out onto the water for a boat tour.

  • The park is kid-friendly.

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How to Get There

Lake Tahoe lies on the border of California and Nevada. Emerald Bay is on the California side of the lake, on the western edge of the south shore. To get to the park, take Highway 89 to the southwest shore of the lake. It is about a 4-hour drive from San Francisco, and eight hours from Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

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Trip ideas

Lake Tahoe Ski Resort Guide

Lake Tahoe Ski Resort Guide

Top Hiking Trails in Tahoe

Top Hiking Trails in Tahoe


When to Get There

Emerald Bay is stunning in all seasons. Summer is the best time to visit, as temperatures are fairly mild. In winter, however, temperatures often remain below freezing and access to hiking trails is limited. You can pick up trail maps from the Lake Tahoe Visitor Center in summer or from the park’s headquarters in South Lake Tahoe year-round.

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Popular Lake Tahoe Activities Nearby

Many visitors come to beautiful Lake Tahoe for the scenery alone, but there’s plenty of outdoor adventure to be had as well. In the summer, hiking, biking, and water sports are widely available, while the winter opens world-class ski runs at the many nearby resorts. Photographers will appreciate the landscape photo opportunities, including the surrounding, often-snow-capped Sierra mountain range.

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