July is here and with it, the heat of high summer has arrived. Lucky for us, there are plenty of water sources to enjoy this season. Yes, there is that big, beautiful blue called Lake Tahoe, but as the beaches become more crowded, we’ve got you covered with more spots to cool off.  So if you’re ready to beat the heat like we are, read on for some great places to dip, dunk, and float on this summer.

Float the Truckee River

The Truckee River is the only outflow from Lake Tahoe, and the famous crystal clear waters and refreshing temps are just part of what makes this waterway so fun. A wild mountain river, the Truckee has ample sections of fast whitewater and rapids, as well as meandering stretches of calm water and large pools perfect for swimming. If you’ve ever ridden the bike path from Palisades Tahoe to Tahoe City, you know how inviting the River can be. This summer, grab a tube, rent a raft for a group from Truckee River Rafting, or just blow up your favorite floatie and enjoy a cool trip down the river. The best section to float is the five miles from Tahoe City to River Ranch – a great spot to end and grab some food or drinks on the patio. When rafting the river, make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, wear closed-toe shoes, and don’t bring any banned items, such as glass or styrofoam. If you rent a raft, there is a shuttle service included. If you bring your own floaties, you can start the float across the street from the Chevron Station in Tahoe City.

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Photo: Truckee River Rafting

Cool off at Common’s Beach

Located right in the heart of Tahoe City, Common’s Beach is a great spot for the entire family. This four-plus-acre park is located on the lake in downtown Tahoe City. The beach is popular for sunbathing, swimming, and picnicking. Group picnic sites and children’s playgrounds are located within a large lakefront grass and sand area. It is home to Concerts at Commons, a free concert series every Sunday afternoon, as well as complimentary Movies on the Beach every Wednesday night.

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Concerts at Commons Beach | Photo: Clare Foster

Take a Paddle at Waterman’s Landing

Waterman’s Landing, located adjacent to Gar Wood’s Grill & Bar, is a great beach to bring your dogs. There is plenty of room to spread out on the shoreline and throw sticks to the pooches. Little known fact: it is a great spot for paddle boarding and on-site rentals are available right on the beach. After fun in the sun, head over to Gar Wood’s for happy hour overlooking Lake Tahoe. Try the lobster deviled eggs and crab cakes while sipping a world-famous Wet Woody.

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Photo: Nina Photography for Gar Woods

Splash in Squaw Creek

How lucky are we to have running water right in our backyard? While it’s not nearly as powerful as the Truckee River, Squaw Creek offers a refreshing spot to dip your feet and let the kids explore while the dogs splash around. Nestled in the pines, there is a small walking path that follows the creek as it meanders over boulders and ripples into pools perfect for wading, looking for crayfish, or catching tadpoles. You can follow the creek all the way to Palisades Tahoe Meadows and even up Shirley Canyon where there are cascading waterfalls and larger pools for swimming. If you want to make a day out of it, ride your bikes to the Shirley Canyon Trailhead, then head up to High Camp and take the tram down the Village. Either pack a lunch to enjoy along the way, or grab a refreshing drink and fresh-made lunch at High Camp or in the Village. Don’t forget to wear your swimsuit and take full advantage of the ample opportunities for cooling off with a dunk!

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Photo: Palisades Tahoe Alpine Meadows