Tahoe Beaches app finds top spots
The idea of nabbing a good spot on a Lake Tahoe beach at the height of summer can seem a little daunting for people who have to drive from Reno.
They're competing for parking and beach space with thousands of Tahoe residents and tourists who can roll out of bed and down to the shore without taking 30 to 45 minutes to drive to the lake.
The result? A frustrating day of anxious beachgoers spending as much time looking for parking and beach space than they do having fun at the lake.
It's a situation promoters of the recently updated Tahoe Beaches app want to help people avoid.
The free app, available on iPhone and Android platforms, is a database of more than 50 Tahoe beaches with detailed information about each one.
The app was developed and launched last year by the privately funded Tahoe Fund and the California Tahoe Conservancy, which receives money from California's Lake Tahoe License Plate Program.
The idea was to consolidate information on all the public beaches at the lake so people can find the nearest beach that supports activities they want to do.
Amy Berry, CEO of the Tahoe Fund, said polling done before they built the app showed there would be demand for the product.
"There was a real lack of public info about all the public beaches in Tahoe," Berry said. "Everybody could name the same five beaches and that was it."
That means big crowds at some beaches even though there was plenty of space at lesser-known ones, she said. Before the app, she said, no one had taken the time to make a comprehensive database of the public beaches because it was too time consuming.
"It doesn't exist anywhere else in one place because Tahoe is such a jurisdictional puzzle," she said.
The app has a simple, clean design and is easy to use. After downloading it at no cost from the Apple or Google app stores, users can open it up to a home screen that allows find beaches by location, feature or see all the beaches. It also has a place to store favorite beaches.
The features function lets people filter results by choosing among more than a dozen features they want in a beach, a list that includes everything from handicapped accessibility to volleyball courts to concessions to camping.
The location feature can be activated to work with a smartphone GPS so users with the app can simply head to the beach closest to them.
Berry said last year there were about 7,500 downloads of the app and she's hoping for more this season.
Get the Tahoe Beaches app: http://www.tahoepublicbeaches.com/