Aerial View of the Vacation Community of Incline Village on Lake Tahoe in Winter.

Nevada's Most Charming Beach Towns

Named for the breathtaking Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, then nicknamed Silver State because of the discovery of silver under Virginia City a few years after Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, Nevada is hands-down one of the most beautiful states in the country. Though widely known as home to Las Vegas, affectionately referred to as "the Entertainment Capital of the World," Nevada is more than Las Vegas. Featuring a sun-tanned landscape that is part magical, part lackluster, one of the least populated states in the country is a nature lover's dreamscape.

While Nevada is landlocked, and the closest beach to Sin City is about five hours away, it boasts several lakes and rivers that have helped create a number of beautiful beach towns described below.

New Washoe City

Lake Tahoe from Memorial Point, Lake Tahoe State Park, New Washoe City, Nevada
Lake Tahoe from Memorial Point, Lake Tahoe State Park, New Washoe City, Nevada.

New Washoe City is a small community located just a few miles southeast of Reno, Nevada. Despite its small size, this charming town is a popular destination for travelers seeking a more peaceful and laid-back alternative to nearby Reno's bright lights and excitement. The town is just minutes from the sandy beaches of Washoe Lake, a gorgeous body of water situated among the Sierra Nevada, Carson and Virginia mountain ranges. Popular as a destination for camping, fishing, and birdwatching, the lake is also home to a protected herd of wild horses known to frequent the valley surrounding the water. But the winds around the lake are something to watch for. None less than Mark Twain wrote about how they could blow "a stage-coach over and spill the passengers."

Incline Village

Aerial View of the Vacation Community of Incline Village on Lake Tahoe
Aerial view of the vacation community of Incline Village on Lake Tahoe.

Located on the border between Nevada and California, Lake Tahoe is a freshwater attraction that is often a popular draw. One of the reasons Lake Tahoe is famous, besides its gorgeous cobalt-blue hue, is that it is the second-deepest lake in the country after Oregon's Crater Lake. Nevada's Incline Village is one of the most charming towns on Lake Tahoe. Incline Village is a town of about 10,000, is the largest town on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, and provides access to Sand Harbor, the crown jewel of the region's many beaches. For one of the most spectacular views in the area, a 3-mile trail to the beach is a must-do. Besides the stunning beach, Incline Village is home to a dazzling range of world-class boutiques worth checking out.

Boulder City

Aerial view of Boulder City in Nevada, United States.
Aerial view of Boulder City in Nevada, United States.

Boasting a population of about 15,000, Boulder City sits close to several attractions and world-class beaches. For starters, Boulder City is a 15-minute drive away from Hoover Dam, an architectural marvel rated by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the country's Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders. Besides Hoover Dam, Boulder City is just about 5 miles from Boulder Beach, one of the finest beaches along Lake Mead. Visitors can enjoy boating on Lake Mead, embark on a luxurious cruise, or just leisurely kayak while enjoying the beautiful views. Yet the town itself has its fair share of appeal. Just for being among the best antiquing towns in the United States, Boulder City deserves a well-planned trip.


A beautiful scenery in Genoa, Nevada.
Beautiful nature in Genoa, Nevada.

For those seeking maximum seclusion away from the din and bustle of hectic cities, Genoa looks like what the doctor prescribed. This small town is a perfect hideaway and may make one feel lost somewhere far from civilization. If in doubt, according to Livability, Genoa is mentioned among the best cities to go off-grid. Curled up near the blue waters of Lake Tahoe, particularly on the eastern slope, the town of about 1,500 is also reputed to be the oldest in the state. History buffs will be intrigued to learn that Genoa was once called "Mormon Station" because its first settlers were Mormons. A Mormon leader would later change the city's name to Genoa in honor of Christopher Columbus's birthplace. Today, the town looks frozen in time.


Beautiful residence area of MacDonald Ranch with the strip view at Henderson, Nevada
Beautiful residential area of the MacDonald Ranch with the strip view at Henderson, Nevada.

Henderson is only 15.5 miles away from a city called "the Entertainment Capital of the World." Besides the wonderfully convenient proximity to Vegas, Henderson is a small, charming town with several attractive draws. For a beach experience, Henderson is just 6.9 miles away from Lake Las Vegas. That's a 12-minute distance. The clean, 320-acre lake offers visitors several exciting activities, including kayaking, paddle boarding, and wakeboarding. Besides, with a water-propelled jetpack, visitors can get the chance to soar in the air for some adrenaline-inducing adventure. And in town, art lovers will enjoy the gallery-studded Downtown Art District, which exhibits an eclectic art display worth checking out. Finally, birding enthusiasts will relish hours spent at Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, home to hundreds of bird species that call the Mojave Desert home.

Zephyr Cove

Senior couple strolling on the beach, Zephyr Cove, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
A couple strolling on the beach at Zephyr Cove, Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Editorial credit: Malachi Jacobs /

Zephyr Cove is a small, charming town with a population of 712, according to 2023 estimates by World Population Review. The town is beautifully set on an enchantingly bucolic stretch that will not fail to cast a spell on vacationers. Beach lovers will be delighted to learn that one of the best beaches on Lake Tahoe is right in town and is actually the town's principal highlight. Located on Lake Tahoe's southeast shore, Zephyr Cove Beach offers several vacation-defining activities, including boating, parasailing, and kayaking. Moreover, the Zephyr Cove Resort, situated right on the beach, is a dreamy, full-service restaurant that boasts world-class dining as well as cabins that ooze character, style, and architectural finesse. Besides, visitors will be delighted to learn that the cabins are equipped with all the amenities that convenience may yearn for.


Hard Rock Hotel and Casino exterior in winter
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino exterior in winter in Stateline, Nevada. Editorial credit: Victoria Ditkovsky /

While several beautiful beach towns dot the scenic shoreline of America's second-deepest lake, Stateline is arguably the most popular town on the Nevada side. According to 2023 population estimates, Stateline has a population of 520. While only a few live in the town, many troop to its bucolic setting to enjoy the picture-perfect views, wind down or spend some time on its famous beach. Nestled right on the border of California, hence the descriptive name, Stateline Beach boasts an exciting array of entertainment options. Besides the beach, visitors to Stateline will love whetting their tongues in Stateline's many classic restaurants, including the famous Edgewood Restaurant. Edgewood offers food, views, and an ambiance that makes it a must-try. Of course, the town boasts many other shopping and entertainment options.

The Takeaway   

While beauty is ultimately subjective and often boils down to individual preferences, Nevada boasts several attractions worth lacing up for. For those seeking a beach experience, the Silver State may not be lying along the ocean—but it still boasts a number of sparkling lakes on whose scenic banks many charming towns have sprung up. Most Nevada beach towns, such as Incline Village, Zephyr Cove, and Stateline, are all nestled along Lake Tahoe, the country's second-deepest lake. Still, others are spread out along other water bodies in the state. But that said, every Nevada beach town has a unique offering that makes it worth exploring.

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