Kings Beach is for Families

The little town on the northern shore of Lake Tahoe has just-right amenities for the parents and kids.


Families love King Beach on Lake Tahoe

Photo by Rick Cooper-CC

It sits like a literal crown on the northern shore of Lake Tahoe and gleams with the region's most abundant sunshine in the warmer months. Yet no one could accuse Kings Beach of being flashy.

Instead, old-fashioned, classic Americana is the draw at this family-oriented alpine community, where welcoming shops and eateries in wood and granite hues line the small grid of streets that crosses names of trout:Rainbow, Steelhead, Dolly Varden with those of forest animals: Bear, Fox, Deer.

The air here is crisp and wind-whipped and smells of sugar pine, clean lake and soft-serve ice cream; the mountain views are staggering; but the twinkling, soft-blue waters at the Kings Beach State Recreation Area are calm and shallow seemingly forever. The area is ideal in summer for even the littlest beachcombers, who also enjoy the state park's spacious playground. In fall, fireplaces are fed, and the leaves turn golden to match the sand. In winter, when these wide, flat beaches are covered in snow, they make excellent grooming grounds for very young cross-country skiers.


That the town got its name from Joe King, a one-eyed Texan who, legend has it, won the beach in an all-night poker game, only lends it a touch of pirate-smile appeal. Nevada's gaming centers are only a mile away but feel farther. Even the Rat Pack headed here for good, clean fun. From the clever vintage-osity of 1957-era Kings Beach Miniature Golf Course to the burgers, fries, and chocolate-dipped cones at the nearby Char-Pit, everything seems tailor-made for families with young children. Even the area's best hiking view from the top of the nearby Crystal Bay Fire Lookout comes at the price of an easy mile, and that's round-trip.

As for accommodations, the Ferrari family has provided Kings Beach with an actual crown since 1956. Ferrari's Crown Resort might seem modest at first, but its low-cost rooms are clean and ample; management treats its guests like family (many patrons have been returning for decades); nostalgic kid-friendly amenities abound, and its beachside location can't be beat in any season.
      Best yet, the town's notable and until now, notorious main road, Highway 28, also known as North Lake Boulevard, has been recently reduced from four lanes to two. Fresh, wide sidewalks, new benches, lighting, and bike paths will make this already safe, peaceful mountain haven even safer and more walkable. Look for construction to be complete in 2016.

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