The Fourth of July is likely Lake Tahoe's largest holiday. Tens of thousands turn out for the annual Lights on the Lake fireworks show. Both on the water and along the shore, it can be difficult to find a great place to watch. Below are a few suggestions for some of the quieter, more distant view points and a few that will have you right up in the patriotic mix.
This inconspicuous little hill offers an amazing overview of South Shore fireworks. If you don't know where it is, it's somewhat difficult to identify. Peakbagger offers decent directions. Because of it's slightly obscure location, the crowds typically do not climb the peak. It's a fairly easy one-mile hike, but the views of the crowded lake and the show are stunning.
This huge stretch of sand is probably at its busiest the first week of July. If you don't mind crowds, there are few better places to see the colorful explosions directly overhead. The best way to score a spot on Nevada Beach is to arrive early and enjoy the summer day at the lake before night falls.
Van Sickle Bi-State Park
The views from the trails of Van Sickle are legendary. Add fireworks to that mix and you have a once-a-year visual spectacular. The hikes around the park allow visitors to climb as high as they'd like. As the park closes at sunset, you'll have to park outside the gates and walk up the road to the trails.
With tons of seating, barbecues, picnic tables and even paddle board rentals, Lakeview Commons can host an entire day of July 4 fun. The view is great and usually the official fireworks soundtrack is playing nearby. The spot fills up quickly though, so get there early.
From a kayak
If you have the option of getting on a boat to watch the fireworks show, go for it! If you're looking for a more affordable means of enjoying the pyrotechnics from the water, try paddling out a few hundreds yards from shore. The lake is big enough, you should be able to find your own patch of water. Make sure to carry a light, as boats stampede when the show is over.
Not for the timid adventurer, climbing Freel Peak is a serious hike. But, it is the Lake Tahoe Basin's highest peak and, therefore, provides the best views. From this height, you'll look down at the fireworks and will also have an amazing view of the night sky. Don't expect many people to join you either. Directions to the peak can be found at Summitpost.com.