Nevada Photography and Travel Guide - Lake Tahoe Area

Nevada Photography and Travel Guide - Lake Tahoe Area

tahoe photography guide image Photo by Steven-Baranek via iStock

Last week, we published the first in a series of five Nevada photography and travel guides.

Where that one featured photography hot spots in the Vegas area, this one focuses on much more natural terrain - Lake Tahoe.

The Tahoe area of Nevada is unparalleled in its beauty, with opportunities for photographing the lake itself, as well as its beaches, interesting rock formations, and gorgeous sunsets, just to name a few.

Below, we've outlined our top three picks for photography spots in Tahoe, and have also provided details about where to stay, where to eat, points of interest, and so forth.

What to Photograph in Tahoe - Bonsai Rock

what to photograph in tahoe image Photo by Spencer Jones via iStock

Bonsai RockBonsai Rock is a giant boulder just off the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe that has a few small trees growing on it.

While it's an interesting sight on its own, it really takes on an extra level of beauty during sunset, when the sun dips behind the Sierra Nevadas to the west.

As you can see in the photo above, the fiery colors of the sunset bring interest to the sky and to the calm waters of the lake, which helps brighten up the foreground as well.

The little cove in which Bonsai Rock resides is a popular spot for photographers, so get there early to get a premium spot.

emerald bay state park photos image Photo by Jesse Gardner on Unsplash

Planning Your Lake Tahoe Trip

  • Where to Stay: The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is in a great location on the southern tip of Lake Tahoe, offers 4-Star service, plentiful opportunities for gambling, lake views, and poolside cabanas. Prices are as low as $109/night.
  • Where to Eat: Cafe Fiore is just across the state line in California on the southern shore of the lake. It's a tiny restaurant with tons of ambiance and rave reviews for their authentic Italian cuisine.
  • Must-See Attractions: Emerald Bay State Park is a must-see spot across the border in California. The bay itself is breathtaking, but add in the fact that the only island in Lake Tahoe is in the bay and that there's a gorgeous, historic mansion on the bay as well, and you have a recipe for tons of gorgeous photographs. Sunrise is the ideal time to visit. Don't miss out on Eagle Falls, either.
  • Check the weather in Lake Tahoe right now.

Sand Harbor is Prime Photo Territory

lake tahoe photography guide image Photo by MariuszBlach via iStock

One of the most picturesque beaches in Lake Tahoe is found in Sand Harbor along the northeastern shore of the lake.

As the name indicates, Sand Harbor is a quiet, calm inlet with beautiful sandy beaches that make it an ideal place to take photos (and swim, too!).

During the summer, the area is virtually overrun with tourists during the day. But once the sun starts to go down, most of the crowds disappear, leaving you and other photographers alone to find the perfect spot for a shot of the harbor at sunset.

Note that there is a $10 entrance fee to Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park and that Sand Harbor closes one hour after sunset.

lake tahoe sunset with granite boulders picture id484346361 image Photo by NeilLockhart via iStock

Planning Your Sand Harbor Photography Trip

  • Where to Stay: The Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe is a 4-Star hotel just north of Sand Harbor and offers rooms starting at $156/night. The hotel's private beach is a must-see, and for some fun and relaxation, you can enjoy the on-site casino or the spa.
  • Where to EatLone Eagle Grille is a fine-dining experience with an extensive menu of American cuisine and an impressive wine list as well.
  • Must-See Attractions: The large granite boulders that litter the landscape in and around Sand Harbor are worth a few clicks of your shutter button. Their shape, color, and texture add wonderful visual interest to photos of the harbor. Check out all the recreational opportunities in the Sand Harbor as well, including boating, fishing, swimming, and hiking.
  • Check the weather at Sand Harbor right now.

Find 360-Degree Views of Lake Tahoe From Cave Rock

view from cave rock picture id497798985 image Photo by TrevorFairbank via iStock 

To get a little more perspective on Lake Tahoe, Cave Rock should be on your list of top spots to photograph in Tahoe.

Just a short climb up the rocks, you'll find yourself with a breathtaking view of the lake from above.

Just park on the street and follow the path up the rock. You'll likely have fellow photographers at the top, so just be patient to get a prime spot to set up.

Wide-angle shots from this vantage point can be breathtaking, but don't discount the value of bringing a telephoto zoom with you to get more detailed and intimate shots of the surrounding area.

The area is open sunrise to sunset, and a $10 fee is required to enter (the fee gets you into all areas within Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park).

dog day afternoon picture id664081260 image Photo by Sharon Lynn via iStock

Planning Your Cave Rock Photography Trip

  • Where to Stay: The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is one of the nearest hotels to Cave Rock, but if you prefer something a little different, Harrah's Lake Tahoe offers a similar level of service and amenities for a smaller price tag.
  • Where to Eat: For a quick bite to eat, Fatburger at Harrah's is a great option.
  • Must-See Attractions: The Cave Rock area is rife with recreational opportunities, including boating, fishing, hiking, swimming, and beaches.
  • Check the weather at Cave Rock right now.

This Nevada Photography and Travel Guide is Sponsored By:

Click Props Backdrops

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SIRUI Tripods


SIRUI has built a solid reputation over the years for crafting precise, easy-to-use, feature-packed tripods for photographers of all types and experience levels.

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From ball heads to quick-release clamps, video heads to camera and lens plates, Acratech crafts some of the highest-quality photography gear on the market today.

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Columbia Sportswear

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Whether you're exploring the desert southwest in the summer, the far reaches of Scandinavia in the winter, or points between, Columbia Sportswear has the gear you need to be comfortable on your photography adventures.

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Kenko Filters

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Kenko filters are precision-crafted with high-quality materials to give you the best photographic results.

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