What to Pack for Lake Tahoe in the Summer: A Complete Guide

Updated: Aug 7

This summer, my sister and I decided to take a road trip to one of California’s most scenic destinations: Lake Tahoe! We spent the last week of July in Lake Tahoe hiking in Emerald Bay, kayaking along the North Lake Tahoe Shore, swimming in the crystal clear waters at Crystal Cove, adventuring around on the Tahoe East Shore Trail, and so much more.

Packing for trips can be super stressful, but with my packing list for Lake Tahoe below, you will definitely be more prepared and stress-free for your next vacation. If you are planning a trip to Lake Tahoe in the summer, make sure to check out the list below for a complete guide of what to pack!



  • Hiking shoes or boots

  • Flip flops and/or sandals

  • Everyday tennis shoes




  • Waterproof phone protector: This is essential for taking your phone with you during kayaking or other water activities

  • Mini cooler for food & drinks: This made taking day trips in the Tahoe area so easy!

  • Exercise shorts

  • Exercise tops (+ sports bras)

  • Reusable water bottle: I suggest using a Hydroflask. It’s insulated and can keep your water cold all day long, even on hot days!

  • Hydrobackpack: Hassle-free hydration has never been easier. This is a must for hiking or long walks!

  • Beach umbrella: There’s no shade at most of Lake Tahoe’s beaches and it gets SUPER hot! Bring an umbrella to comfortably extend your time at the beach.

  • Swimming goggles



  • Laptop

  • Laptop charger

  • Smartwatch charger

  • Portable phone charger

  • Car phone charger

  • Car phone mount

  • Phone charger

  • Mini speaker

  • Camera: I recommend bringing a DSLR camera and a drone for epic, high-quality images.


  • Eye mask

  • Earplugs

  • Essential oil: Putting this under my nose and on my temples always helps me relax before going to sleep!

  • Book

  • Journal

  • Laundry bag

  • Picnic blanket

  • Driver’s License: You’ll need this to be able to rent jet skis, kayaks, etc.

  • Credit card

  • Cash

A few last things to note:

1. Lake Tahoe is very casual, so unless you plan on going to dinner at a high-end resort during your time in Lake Tahoe, it is not necessary to bring dressy outfits. During my week-long stay, I mostly wore a swimsuit, hiking outfit, casual shorts and a top, or pants and a top for dinner once the sun went down.

2. Do not forget to bring a warm jacket and a pair of pants for the evenings - it gets chillier than you would think!

3. If you are planning a road trip to Lake Tahoe, check out my helpful list of 10 travel essentials you need to pack for every road trip.

Be sure to use this checklist for what to pack for Lake Tahoe in the summer and you will be well on your way to a smooth vacation! Do you have any other travel must-haves? I’d love to hear about them. Drop any suggestions down in the comments below!

*Disclosure: Please note that this post contains some affiliate links. These are products I use myself and genuinely recommend. I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you from any purchases made through the links.*