a.k.a. William Kent Beach
Sunnyside is a.k.a. William Kent Beach in Tahoe City, CA. This small beach is free to access, which means the small handful of parking spots fill up early. There’s a public restroom, closed in winter, and some picnic benches, as well as a nice store and coffee shop right next door.
The beach is covered in water-smoothed rocks and pebbles, which makes entry and exit not only easy but clean. Going straight out from shore, you’ll notice that it gets deep quickly, though there’s not much to see straight out. The main event is due north: a debris field goes from about 30′ down to around 110′.
The logs and cut lumber piled on and jutting up from the lake bottom make for visually interesting diving, and they also attract schools of lake minnows hundreds strong, which in turn attract trout (mostly rainbow and Mackinaw here). To find the debris field, swim to the third dock north of the beach (big, double-decker one), then go to the farthest-out buoy and drop. You should be right on top of it.
Navigating back to the beach couldn’t be easier because there are two large pipes going down into the lake on the north side. On your way back from the debris field, you’ll very likely be shallow enough to bump right into the pipes. Tada. You’re back.
Going south of the beach, you may see schools of 12″-18″ Tahoe suckers around 30′ down. They’re a little skittish, but if you approach slowly, they’ll let you get pretty close. You’ll also find areas where some sort of experimenting is going on with marked areas and sensors. Boats are moored all around the beach, so use caution, bring your DSMB, and be ready to pick up some treasure (and trash).
In the winter, parking here can be interesting because they pile the snow in the spots for the beach.
- Access: 50 yards from parked car to water, open year round (but they sometimes fill the small parking lot with plowed snow)
- Surface swim: Up to 950′ (to 3rd dock)
- Parking: Extremely limited (~6 spots)
- Crowds: Reasonable
- Dive experience level: Beginner to intermediate
- Highlights: Lots of fish around debris field; schools of Tahoe suckers (rare) near beach