Dive Zephyr Cove
Zephyr Cove is one of Lake Tahoe’s most popular spots and rightly so—it’s a lovely beach. You’ll find cool rocks in the shallows to the north of the cove, and when you run out of rocks, don’t worry, the shallows just keep going. This makes it a great place for beginners.
Parking here isn’t the easiest because Zephyr Cove is partially a resort. The important part of this partiality is that the good parking is all resort parking. This means that (a) when they’re not open to charge you during the off season, you can’t park there unless you’re a resort member, and (b) when they are open, they can charge between $10 and $25 to park. Fear not! There’s free street parking on Highway 50, and it’s only 500 feet from the water. Either way, there are restrooms year round here.
Several large boats dock toward the middle of the cove, and you’d be well advised to stay away from this area. I’ve been underwater probably about 50 yards away from the M.S. Dixie II when it started up and left the cove, and let me tell you it is a terrifying sound that you can feel through your entire body—it just feels like you’re about to be sucked into that spinning paddlewheel at any second. Keep your distance.
- Access: 500 feet from free parking to water, 250′ for paid parking, open year round (especially if you park on the street)
- Surface swim: Minimal
- Parking: $10 to $25 for the day at the resort or free for street parking
- Crowds: Low in winter to very high in summer
- Dive experience level: Beginner
- Highlights: Cool rocks in the shallows, beautiful beach
- Dive flag: Required