Please refer to the appropriate state water quality agency website (California, Nevada) before heading out to your favorite beach, lake, or river to check for algae watches, warnings, or dangers.

  • Whale Beach Image 1

Whale Beach

Hwy 28; located 1.5 miles south of Sand Harbor

Whale Beach is a popular and scenic 100 yard beach that can be reached from the Secret Harbor Parking area.  Its name comes from a protruding rock in the bay that appears to look like a sperm whale bursting from the water.   This area has also been known as Black Sand Beach because of the dark color of the sand. Long hike (2 miles) from parking area down the access road to Whale Beach.  Portable toilets are available adjacent to the area.  Whale Beach is located on National Forest land. Pack out all trash from beaches.

Whale Beach
Hwy 28; located 1.5 miles south of Sand Harbor

Hours of Operation

Access from gated parking area of Secret Harbor. Gate open Memorial Day Weekend through October (weather pending).

Beach Features

  • Dogs Allowed with Restrictions
  • Public Bathrooms
  • Shade Available

Beach Contact

Tel: (530) 543-2600, ext. 0

Helpful Information

The hike to Whale Beach can be a challenging one for beach visitors, so be prepared!  There are no picnic tables or other facilities at the beach.  No campfires on beach; keep dogs under control; pick up dog waste. Dog waste bags not provided.

GRILLS: The Forest Service recommends the use of portable gas grills instead of charcoal.  This reduces the risk of fires from hot coals and helps keep the beaches clean from ashes.  Campfire permits needed outside of a developed recreation site for grills; burn/fire restrictions apply.

KEEP IT CLEAN: Lake Tahoe is recognized as an Outstanding Natural Resource Water. Please, join your fellow beachgoers in protecting this special place! Begin by being an example to others:

  • Dispose of trash properly or pack it out.
  • Never feed birds, squirrels or any other wildlife.
  • Campfires are NEVER allowed on Tahoe beaches.

VEGETATION: Protect Tahoe plants! Keep outside signed or fenced protected habitat.

SWIM and BOAT SMART: Very cold water, sudden storms and unexpected waves deserve respect. Be alert!

PET OWNERS: Pets are permitted only on dog-friendly beaches. Use a bag to pick up after your pet, and use a leash. Protect your pet's privilege to share the beach!

BOATERS: Aquatic invasive species are a very serious threat - completely clean, drain and dry your boat before launching it at Tahoe.

FISHING: Any person over 16 years old must have a valid California or Nevada sport fishing license. Visit one of the many Lake Tahoe fishing sites to learn more about fishing and the special regulations that are enforced at Tahoe.

THE COAST GUARD AT TAHOE: The station near Tahoe City operates 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Call 9-1-1 in an emergency and give the name of this beach!

SHOW YOUR LOVE FOR LAKE TAHOE - BUY OR RENEW A LAKE TAHOE LICENSE PLATE: Over 96% of the funds from Lake Tahoe license plate purchase and renewal fees support lake access, hiking and biking trails, and other important projects in the Lake Tahoe basin. Lake Tahoe plates start at $50 in CA and $61 in NV in addition to your usual annual registration fees. Visit or call (800) 510-8246 for more information.