Leave the docking to us: Cruise the lake aboard the North Lake Tahoe Water Shuttle

Dock hopping Lake Tahoe has been a long tradition among private boaters during the summer. Like bar hopping, you board a boat and hit any number of restaurants, bars and grills set along the shorelines.

The activity, which has usually been reserved for boat owners, has now gone public. Instead of having to own or rent a water craft to get from point A to point B, you can climb aboard the North Lake Tahoe Water Shuttle and cruise the lake with dock service to Homewood’s West Shore Cafe and Inn, Tahoe City’s Marina, Carnelian Bay’s Gar Woods Grill and Pier and Tahoe Vista’s Captain Jon’s.

Launched in August as a pilot program, the North Lake Tahoe Water Shuttle has become popular among visitors and families, says Jan Colyer, executive director of the Truckee/North Tahoe Transportation Management Association. The 30-foot state-of-the-art boat, manufactured and operated by Fine Line Industries, can carry up to 12 passengers and crew. It has become an option to travel Lake Tahoe, taking in the sites, while serving as a public transportation option, much like the region’s bus and transfer services. Visitors have taken to the shuttle for the sheer pleasure of it rather than getting from one side of the North Shore to another.

“Public transportation is a critical piece of the equation in keeping Lake Tahoe pristine,” Colyer said. “It gets people out of their personal vehicles. Less personal vehicles on Lake Tahoe’s roadways, of course, means less traffic congestion and less air pollution. But an interesting phenomenon has happened. We’re finding that the North Lake Tahoe Water Shuttle provides an element of fun that might otherwise have been missing from some of our other public transportation alternatives.”

The boat carries up to eight bicycles allowing passengers to take a ride with their bikes in tow and then, once docked, take them around North Lake Tahoe’s many paths and roads.  At a leisurely pace bike riders can visit museums, retail shops and dine alfresco before ultimately returning.

“It’s a completely different vantage point being out in the middle of Lake Tahoe,” said Colyer. “The mountain ranges and the 72 miles of shoreline are much more distinct. That coupled with a lake visibility of 70-plus feet makes for a unique and spectacular experience.”

Since the shuttle launched, ridership numbers show it has been utilized primarily with families.  “For a nominal fee, the entire family can soak up the sun, see the country’s largest alpine lake, cruise in style – all while reducing their carbon footprint” said colyer.

After taking the North Lake Tahoe Water Shuttle, passengers can also take Tahoe Area Regional Transit (TART), the area’s public bus service for their return.

The shuttle will run until Sept. 30 with half price fares. One-way rates start at $10/adult and $7/children up to 12 years old. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 6:46 p.m. Seats are limited, advance reservations are encouraged.

The shuttle is funded through Placer County TOT/North Lake Tahoe Chamber/CVB/Resort Association.

Visit www.NorthLakeTahoeWaterShuttle.com for reservations, schedules and detailed information or call (530) 581-8707 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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One Response to Leave the docking to us: Cruise the lake aboard the North Lake Tahoe Water Shuttle

  1. Jane says:

    Hi there!
    My name is Jane and I’m with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Carnelian Bay to share on our site and I came across your post…If you’re open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you…we’d love to share your site with our Tahoe visitors!

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