As with most things in life, a little extra effort often yields better results; in the case of Tahoe beaches, this is less the exception, and more the rule. Tourists are mostly attracted to the easily accessible and out-in-the-open public spaces, meaning that most of the beaches directly along Hwy 50 are popular amongst the visiting crowd. However, as a local, I much prefer to put in a little effort in order to find a place offering more solitude--and a lot of open space. Welcome to Secret Beach.
In the last few years, this lonely strip of white sand has gained in popularity, but its’ frequency of use still pales in comparison to other local options. To access Secret Beach, turn onto San Francisco Ave. from Hwy 50, and follow SF Ave. all the way to its' dead-end. Once at the end of San Francisco, park anywhere and follow the trail that starts where the Avenue stops. Beyond you’ll find a broad and flat marsh that is home to a great deal of wildlife, including bears and lots of coyotes. No through-hiking options for this marsh exist, so stay right on the established trail, and it will lead you to Secret Beach.
While there are always certain exceptions that exist, make sure to heed local park requisites such as glass and leash-laws. I’ve had a fair number of friends receive municipal tickets at Secret Beach for having dogs off-leash, and receiving such a ticket is an almost guaranteed way to ruin your day out in the sunshine. Of course, a ticket is not a certainty, but it’s always good to err on the side of caution.
As for the beach, it sits on a sandy protrusion that extends far into the surrounding marsh country, allowing an interested explorer to hike a good deal of sandy shoreline to satiate one’s curiosity. Also, the swimming is fantastic, offering consistent shallows for children that gently deepen the further out from shore you venture. However, there are no steep drops in the lake-bed, meaning that Secret Beach is relatively safe for the younger kids to enjoy.
Secret Beach is best enjoyed with a day-pack full of foods, some great friends and family, and a warm afternoon to soak it all in…