Look, we don’t have to tell your friends & family. But since it’s just you and me here, we can be honest—your pet’s happiness is more important than anyone else’s. So, when it comes time to planning a pet-friendly South Lake Tahoe trip, you’re gonna need an itinerary that puts Fido’s needs first.
It’s true, Fido would be happy just to tag along. But we want Fido to thrive. We want him to feel like it’s his damn birthday. Because honestly, it’s not fair that he only gets one birthday a year when he’s actually aging in dog years. He should get seven birthdays, every year.
Don’t worry. This pet-friendly South Lake Tahoe guide is so exceedingly pet-friendly that you’ll be able to make up for all those missed birthdays in just a few hours.
Pet-friendly Stays in South Lake Tahoe
It’s a simple fact that not all pet-friendly hotels are created equal. And while there’s tons of pet-friendly hotels in South Lake Tahoe that we love, the two we’re featuring here deliver on one major perk: location. With these spots, you’ll be minutes from the open spaces & activities that welcome lil’ Fido too.
It’s hard, we know, to pull away from South Lake’s bustling stateline area. The casinos have some unexplained magnetic pull. But you know what a 15-minute drive to stateline gets you? Pet-friendly trails and beaches right outside your door.
Take for example, Hotel Azure. It’s two miles away from the Heavenly Village, but two steps away from the lake. Large steps. No but actually, Hotel Azure is in the heart of South Lake Tahoe, surrounded by restaurants, bars and pet-friendly spaces.
Tastefully updated with a woodsy chic feel, Hotel Azure welcomes pets of any size for a $25 per night fee. In non-COVID times (may we be back in them soon), they offer dog beds, bowls and welcome bags; but there’s still a lot to love in the meantime. Like the complimentary parking, wifi, pool area and spacious, grassy relief zone nearby.
A stay at Hotel Azure also leaves you a short walk away from Thomas Reagan Park, where you’ll find one of South Lake Tahoe’s easiest to access dog-friendly beaches. The part where Fido can hang is admittedly small—but we have a feeling he’ll love it all the same.
If you’re willing to edge a little further from the center of town, you’ll be rewarded with the most pet-friendly stay in. the. world. Well, we can’t verify that but we it’s easily the most pet-friendly hotel in South Lake Tahoe.
Neighboring the national forest and the bike path that runs through it, the Fireside Lodge is the rustic home-away-from-home Fido’s been dreaming of. He can curl up by the fireplace—there’s one in every room. He can join you for the complimentary breakfast, or daily wine and cheese hour. There’s free bicycle rentals and s’mores, a firepit and sauna.
Yet in spite of—and because of?—all of this, the greatest pet perk is that the owners genuinely understand that your stay is as much about you as it is about Fido. Oh, and cats are welcome too.
Dog-Friendly Beaches & Trails in South Lake Tahoe
Once you’ve locked in a pet-friendly stay, the rest is easy. The mountains are kind of like a dog park for humans. You can roam and play freely, and your dog can too. Especially when it comes to these dog-friendly beaches and trails.
For a lake with 72-miles of shoreline, shockingly little of that welcomes your pet. Kiva Beach, however, is a dog-friendly beach in the northeastern corner of South Lake Tahoe. (Hint: it’s just a few beaches over from Fireside Lodge.)
There’s a golden pocket of sand, shallow entry to the lake and miles of trails winding around the beachfront. All of it, dog-friendly. Swimming pups aren’t required to wear a leash, but land pups are. Although, you’ll notice that not many people follow the rules on that one.
In any case, this spot is a major pup favorite and is literally swarming with happy, wet dogs in the summer. There’s plenty of parking, but only one lot is close to the beach. To access it, make an immediate left after turning onto Heritage Way.
Fallen Leaf Lake
Just across the road from Kiva Beach is Fallen Leaf Lake. There’s a (pet-friendly!) campground and miles of trails around a deep blue, alpine lake. It’s an easy hike with big rewards; including plenty of rocky shoreline where your pup can take a dip.
In the fall, the aspen groves that hug the lake explode in color. Follow the trails to the east for even more leaf peepin’ opportunities. In the spring, head to the south end for a visit to Glen Alpine Falls. It may not be tall, but it’s pretty impressive nonetheless.
In the summer, yowza. The beaches and trails swell with happy people and pups! It’s still worth it, but don’t expect much peace and quiet.
Bijou Dog Park
Big dogs! Small dogs! Fast dogs! Digging dogs! Meet dogs of every size, shape and flavor in the Bijou Dog Park. An off-leash, fully fenced dog park tucked away in the Bijou Community Park, this is the spot for Fido to meet a friend or five.
There’s a small dog enclosure, large dog enclosure plus a trick dog enclosure complete with an agility course. There’s not much else—typically dirt in the summer and snow in the winter. But your pet doesn’t care! There’s so many friendly doggos to sniff and chase that he won’t know the difference.
Your well behaved, leashed dog is welcome on just about all public lands around Lake Tahoe. Yessss. Feel free to bring him along when visiting Desolation Wilderness, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit lands, El Dorado National Forest or Lake Tahoe National Forest. Just brush up on your pet wilderness etiquette.
- Look up the specific land use policies before you head out.
- Bring a six-foot leash, waste bags and proper tags for your pet.
- Consider the altitude—even pets need time to adjust!
- Don’t let your pet disturb or chase the flora and fauna.
- Pack food and water for your pet on long hikes.
- Be mindful of other hikers, campers and dogs.
Dog-Friendly Restaurants In South Lake Tahoe
I know your dog is hungry. And after running wild in the woods, chances you are too. Even in the winter, there’s tons of dog-friendly restaurants and patios in South Lake Tahoe where you can enjoy a meal and Fido can eagerly wait for scraps beneath the table.
Just a block or two from the lake is Revive Coffee + Wine, a local staple for imaginative coffees, simple breakfast and lunch fare, and the chillest chilling vibes imaginable. There’s a massive outdoor space both in front and back of the shop, but if you’re visiting with Fido, you’ll have to stay out front.
Not to worry though—this spacious, grassy nook under the pines is the perfect place to relax with a hot tea or cold beer. You can get a little wild with your order here, with crowd favorites like the Lavender Vanilla Latte or Blackberry Mocha. Or, stop by for a midday charcuterie board and glass of wine.
One more thing to love? Revive is a convenient pitstop on your walk from Hotel Azure to Thomas Reagan Beach so you can grab a to-go coffee before hitting that dog-friendly beach.
Next to Revive, you’ll find Sprouts Natural Foods Café. People froth out for the extensive menu of healthy, well, everything. Smoothies and juices, bagels and burritos, burgers, salads, soups and sandwiches—we’re pretty sure you can find every vegetable under the sun in their kitchen.
The Real Tahoe Turkey sandwich, with Ortega chile, avocado and sprouts is somewhat of a sandwich legend around here. It’s delicious. And massive. Pair it with a Flu Fighter juice for the ultimate feel-good lunch. Not sure about turmeric or sprouted wheat? With classics like Ugly, Gooey, Excellent Nachos and a Turkey Melt on the menu, you don’t have to be. There’s genuinely something for everyone.
A few blocks in the other direction is the ever-loveable, Sidellis Brewery. They’ve got a shaded, dog-friendly back patio, plus tasty, locally brewed beers and the kind of food menu that you want to see at a brewery.
For a small spot, their beer selection is pretty hefty. You can grab a sour or porter, seasonal or barrel-aged beer, then pair it with hearty menu items like a bavarian pretzel, french dip or pastrami sandwich. And while beer and bites lovers we may be, the best part about Sidellis is that the staff is incredibly dog (and human!) friendly. You’re sure to have a great experience here.
On the other side of town, near the Fireside Lodge, is a segment of town called “the Y.” Here lives the twin brother of a stateline favorite, Lake Tahoe Aleworx. They’ve got thin, crispy wood-fired pizzas, big salads, sandwiches and of course, an epic lineup of self-serve beers.
All of this is good and great. Really good and great, in fact. But the hallmark of the Y location is their infinitely dog-friendly patio, complete with massive fire pits, a live music stage and forested backdrop.
Sharing the epic patio is the Tahoe Cocktail Corner. A modern spot for hand-crafted cocktails, a mature wine list and elevated comfort food, you’ll also be able to access your Aleworx tab here. Looks like you’re not the only one who believes in pregaming your pizza and beer with an Aperol Spritz.
While we’re still waiting on the technology that allows us to talk to dogs, you’ll have to take our word for it. South Lake Brewing is going to be your dog’s favorite bar on this side of the lake. An infinitely dog-friendly brewery, Fido is welcome to sip beer with you outside, inside or in the fenced back patio.
That’s right—inside. They can cuddle up next to you while you shelter from the elements and slurp down wittily named IPA’s like it’s your job. There are dog treats and water bowls here, photos of dogs on the walls, dog-friendly events and even branded dog bandanas in their merch collection.
The fact that there’s no kitchen here makes this all possible. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t food. Check South Lake Brewing’s website or social media pages to see what food truck is around to serve up the goods.
We’ll be the first to concede that bringing your pet along can sometimes be a stressful travel addition—but not when that vacation is South Lake Tahoe. This place is so dog-friendly, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll both be pleased you did it.