What To Pack For Lake Tahoe In Summer – Your Ultimate Guide

What to Pack for Lake Tahoe in Summer

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We absolutely loved our summer trip to Lake Tahoe! With so many outdoor activities to get involved with, this is the perfect place for those who want to take a break from the stresses and strains of everyday life. But if you’ve never been before, you might be wondering what to pack for Lake Tahoe in summer.

We love Lake Tahoe in the summer! There is so much to do & so many fun outdoor activities to partake in. The vibe is overall casual & laid back, but you can dress up a bit for a nice dinner out in the evenings. In this guide, we've combined our own experience with loads of research to make sure you know exactly what to pack for your next trip to Lake Tahoe!

What to Pack for Tahoe – at A Glance:

  • Layers for changing temperatures
  • Hiking clothes, shoes, & gear
  • Beach clothes, shoes, & gear
  • Clothes for a nice night out to dinner
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Toiletries
  • Electronics & chargers
  • Sunscreen & Bug spray
packing for lake tahoe - photo of beach at lake tahoe

As the lake straddles the border between California and Nevada, you might expect scorching temperatures there in summer. The region is also popular for skiing and winter sports, though, so should you pack for hot or cold weather?

While we clearly cannot predict the exact 10-day forecast for Lake Tahoe for the timing of your trip, we can give some specific advice about how to dress for Lake Tahoe in summer & what else you might like to pack. Including necessities, recreational accessories, and Lake Tahoe outfits for summer wear.

Read on to find out all you should know before packing your men’s or women’s hiking backpack, duffel bag, or suitcase for your summer vacation at Lake Tahoe!

PRO TIP: Make sure you grab your free packing checklist! It has everything you'll need in an easy-to-use PDF checklist that you can use over & over!

Lake Tahoe Summer Weather

Before deciding on which Lake Tahoe summer outfits to pack, it’s a good idea to know what sort of weather you can expect there during the warmer months. What to pack for Lake Tahoe in June, July, and August is affected by both the air temperature and the water temperature. 

Air temperature

At its peak, Lake Tahoe can reach temperatures of up to 80°F (or 27°C) during summer. This is the sort of high you might experience in July, with slightly lower maximums in June and August. These are more like 73°F (23°C) or 79°F (26°C). Lows tend to be between 45°F and 50°F (7°C and 10°C). 

So when working out what to pack for Tahoe, expect warm summer weather with temperatures ranging between 45°F and 80°F throughout the day and night. Layers are a good way to cope with the day-to-day variations. Cooler weather in the mornings and at night is to be expected, with maximums mostly occurring during the afternoon. 

🚤If you have plans to take one of the amazing boat tours of Lake Tahoe, bring an extra layer! It can get cool at sunset.

a big rock at the center with a beautiful view of the lake tahoe trails - packing for lake tahoe

Water temperature

Despite these balmy highs, the waters of Lake Tahoe are never very warm. Given the warm air temperatures, this may seem surprising. But it makes much more sense when you consider where the cold water comes from. 

Skiing at Lake Tahoe is popular in winter, and the summer waters of the lake are basically melted snow that flows down the slopes and into the body of water every spring. And yet, you’ll see people swimming at the beaches & even taking a dip in lakes mid-hiking trail. 

But, I’m a Texas girl & I like my lake water about like bath water, so I personally refrained. But pack your suit just in case, because you never know! Plus, there are several places to stay that have heated pools & hot tubs!

🏠Looking for a place to stay in Lake Tahoe? Check out these cute & cozy cabins for two or these amazing hotels with views of the lake!


In June, there are only about two days of rainfall per month to contend with at Lake Tahoe. Remember that this is an average, though! For July and August, this drops to around one day per month. If you do mind getting wet, then fast-drying clothes and a waterproof rain jacket may be essential when thinking about what to bring to the lake for the day. 

Before moving onto a specific Lake Tahoe packing list for summer, it’s worth thinking about using a packing checklist and hacks in general. From fitting it all in to minimizing your load and keeping it as free from wrinkles as possible, this packing checklist with packing tips is worth checking out!

What to Pack for Lake Tahoe in the Summer

Let’s move onto this packing list for Lake Tahoe in the summer! This is broken down into what clothing and footwear to bring, including items like your favorite hiking boots and other hiking must-haves, plus swimwear. Other essentials you’ll need – plus recreational items that suit the activities you can do at Lake Tahoe – are also covered.  

🥾Be sure to check out the best hiking trails in Tahoe with amazing views!

How to Dress for Lake Tahoe in Summer

The key thing to remember when deciding what clothing and shoes to bring to Lake Tahoe is that layers are a very good idea & the environment is very casual (even restaurants), especially during the day. Though daytime highs might be close to what you’d expect in Nevada and California, it can be much cooler at night and during the early morning.

So for the daytime, men and women can live in practical clothes such as shorts and T-shirts. If you’re a fellow hiking fan, then what to wear hiking in Lake Tahoe is also a consideration.

For early starts, the kind of pants made by companies like Columbia & Northface mentioned below are ideal. A tank or t-shirt with a long sleeve over it will be perfect & you can shed that top layer as the day heats up.

In the evening, you may want to bring something slightly dressier & more appropriate for cooler temperatures for exploring the town (we did a lot of walking), eating at nicer establishments, or heading to the casino.

When picking out swimwear, just remember that you may not be swimming much. The melted snow from the mountains that flows into Lake Tahoe during spring hasn’t heated up as much as you might think by summer.

If you want to do some water sports, then you might want to add items like a life vest or wetsuit for added warmth. Alternatively, you can rent these in the area if you do find that you need them. 

mount tallac trail - what to pack for tahoe

Lake Tahoe summer outfits

Here’s some general guidance regarding items to pack if you’re wondering what to wear in Lake Tahoe in summer. These are some of the garments that we’ve found invaluable ourselves when visiting Tahoe, or other areas with similar summer weather. Just add your favorite t-shirts, layers, outdoor footwear, socks, and underwear!

Columbia Silver Ridge convertible pants

The Silver Ridge from Columbia – or something very similar – is an indispensable item to pack. You can wear these as long pants, or remove the zip-off sections to make shorts. They’re mega-popular, and as such come in a multitude of colors for men and women. 

Omni-Shade technology offers sun protection, while Omni-Wick means these are fast-drying and moisture-wicking. When worn as shorts these are even ideal for paddling in Lake Tahoe!  

Columbia Men's Convertible Pants

Columbia Mens Ridge™ Silver Ridge Convertible Pant.

Colombia Women's Convertible Pants

Columbia Women's Silver Ridge Utility Convertible Pant.

North Face Aphrodite Pants

Whether you prefer to hike in full-length pants or shorts in summer, you might want to add these beauties to your list of what to pack for Lake Tahoe in August or the preceding couple of months.

I personally love these pants so much that I have them in practically every color. They’re fast-drying and extremely comfortable. Being ultra-lightweight, they’re easy to pack and wear, even in hot summer temperatures. 

THE NORTH FACE Women's Aphrodite 2.0 Pant.

Coofandy Packable Rain Jacket 

When you consider there’s only one day of rain per month on average, then wet weather gear might not be top of your list of what to pack for Lake Tahoe in July. But this is just an average, and you never really know. 

A rain jacket is also useful as it can help you stay dry around the water – such as shielding you from spray on a sunset cruise. It can also double up as an extra layer for added warmth. We adore and highly recommend this uber-lightweight jacket from Coofandy, which comes in a selection of colors. 

I bought the small men's size, and I’m happy to say that it fits me perfectly! 

Just be aware that it’s not going to keep you dry if you are out hiking in a rainstorm for hours on end. But for a quick afternoon shower or days of light drizzle – it’s perfect!

COOFANDY Packable Rain Jacket Men Lightweight Waterproof Raincoat Hooded Portable Rain Shell for Hiking Running Yellow
Lake Tahoe view from the top of Mount Tallac - what to pack for lake tahoe in the summer
Our amazing view from the top of Mount Tallac

Recreational items you may need at Lake Tahoe in the summer

It’s not only about the clothing. If you want to enjoy outdoor life at Lake Tahoe to the fullest, then packing other selected items is going to make things so much simpler. As well as more comfortable and enjoyable. 

Items other than what to wear in Lake Tahoe in July, June, or August can include hiking gear. Here are some of our favorite items to take along with us. 

Other items you might want to add could include quick-drying towels, plus specific sports equipment like rafts, fishing gear, or snorkel masks. 

Salomon X-Ultra hiking boots

I cannot praise these hiking boots enough. They are my absolute go-to, as they’re so darned strong, supportive, and comfortable. No, they’re not the cheapest, but I’ve had my pair for five years (and counting) and they’re still the pair I take hiking everywhere. 

Salomon Men's Hiking Boots

Salomon X Ultra 3 MID Gore-TEX Hiking Boots for Men.

Salomon Women's Hiking Boots

Salomon X Ultra 3 MID Gore-TEX Hiking Boots for Women.

Osprey Tempest 20 hiking backpack

Another product I literally cannot live without is an Osprey daypack! My personal pick is the Osprey Tempest 20. The male-specific equivalent is the Talon 22. They fit great, are practical with plenty of room & various pockets, are durable, and look pretty good out there on the trails too!

Osprey Tempest 20 Women's Backpack

Osprey Tempest 20L Women's Hiking Backpack with Hipbelt.

Osprey Talon 20 Men's Backpack

Osprey Talon 22L Men's Hiking Backpack with Hipbelt.

Other Necessities you will need at Lake Tahoe in Summer

Sunset at lake tahoe - packing for lake tahoe in summer

Packing tips for Lake Tahoe in Summer

  1. Use a packing checklist – This is my #1 packing tip. Get your completely free packing checklist here to ensure you don’t forget anything.
  1. Use packing cubes – All packing cubes are just awesome for maximizing space and staying organized. But I love Bago packing cubes best of all, and the five-piece sets come in a choice of colors. 
  1. Roll up – Whether you decide to use packing cubes or not, rolling your clothes is a classic frequent traveler trick. This will help you make the most of your space & minimize wrinkling!
  1. Cut down on shoes – Shoes are heavy and take up a lot of space. Lake Tahoe is a laid-back kinda place, so you leave the heels behind. All you really need is good hiking footwear if you’re hitting the trails, plus some comfortable shoes for walking on hard surfaces when exploring the town or out in the evening. Throw in a pair of flip-flops and you’re good to go!
  1. Fill your boots – Don’t waste that otherwise dead space inside your boots or shoes! It’s perfect for storing socks, swimwear, and underwear when on the move. 
  1. Buy travel containers – Get some TSA-approved travel toiletry containers. You can reuse them again and again while saving space every time. 
  1. Get a travel hairdryer – First, check to see if the place you are staying provides one. If not, an efficient travel hairdryer is a real space saver. 

Packing for Lake Tahoe in Summer FAQs

Is Lake Tahoe warm enough to go swimming during the summer? 

Lake Tahoe’s waters are cold all year round, though they’re at their warmest in summer. 70°F (about 21°C) is about the highest temperature the water reaches, usually in July. In summer the water temperature is generally between 65°F and 70°F (18°C to 21°C).

What is there to do at Lake Tahoe during the summer?

Summer is the ideal time to enjoy water sports in the Lake Tahoe area. You can also explore and enjoy the surrounding area, which offers pretty beaches, interesting towns, and a waterside lifestyle. Hiking here is also great in summer when the weather is almost always warm and dry. 

Where are the best places to visit during the summer in the Lake Tahoe area?

South Lake Tahoe is a great place to be during summer. In this area, you’ll find lovely sandy beaches, hiking trailheads for exploring further, and plenty of water sports to take part in. There’s even a historic Gold Rush town to discover.

lake tahoe facts
Is the winter or summer better when visiting Lake Tahoe?

Whether to visit Lake Tahoe in summer or winter depends on what you really want to do. Come in winter for skiing and other snow sports. Or join the throngs of tourists in summer to enjoy a non-stop program of events, warm weather hiking, and a plethora of water sports. 

What is Lake Tahoe known for?

Lake Tahoe is famous for water-based outdoor activities and hiking in summer, and winter sports during the colder months. The area is also known for crystal clear waters, incredible unspoiled views, and upscale resorts and casinos. The relaxed waterside lifestyle also appeals to many. 

What is the average temperature at night during the summer at Lake Tahoe?

45°F (or 7°C) is around the average night-time temperature you can expect at Lake Tahoe. So though daytime highs can be hot, it can be colder at night, plus during the mornings and evenings. In the afternoons, it can reach between 73°F (23°C) and 80°F (or 27°C), however. 

What Will You Pack for Lake Tahoe in Summer?

rocky tahoe beach - what to pack for summer in Lake Tahoe

From Lake Tahoe when to go for the driest summer weather to what to pack for your break in this part of California and Nevada, I hope this post has helped to inspire your trip! We love spending time at Lake Tahoe in summer and you're sure to adore the area too. 

Unless you’re used to cold water swimming, though, you might well find the waters of Lake Tahoe in summer are a little too chilly for comfort. If you’re anything like us, that may mean paddling rather than swimming. So that’s something to bear in mind before packing a different swimsuit for every day of the week!

Headed to Yosemite National Park any time soon? Then don’t miss my lists of things to do in Yosemite and places to stay at Yosemite

Until next time…

About The Author

Jody Phifer has been a travel blogger & travel planner since 2019. With her husband and son by her side, she takes on incredible adventures all over the world. She especially loves hiking through the mountains & soaking in breathtaking views. Jody is passionate about sharing her experiences and love of travel, by offering valuable information and inspiration! Learn more about Jody here.

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