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Lake Tahoe Paddlewheeler Cruises

Get Out on the Water to Really See the Lake Tahoe Basin

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M.S. Dixie II paddlewheeler cruising Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe

M.S. Dixie II paddlewheeler cruising Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe.

Photo © Stan White

You may have driven around Lake Tahoe and enjoyed the unsurpassed scenery, but you get a whole different perspective from out on the water. Lake Tahoe paddlewheeler boat tours provide you with the opportunity to see the Lake Tahoe Basin in a new way and enjoy a fun ride at the same time.

Three Paddlewheelers on Lake Tahoe

Two similar paddlewheelers ply the waters of Lake Tahoe. Both are sternwheelers, fitted out Mississippi-style with twin smokestacks up front and three decks, including an outside seating area up top. Each has a prominent forward wheelhouse. The M.S. Dixie II, certified for up to 450 passengers and 151 feet long, is headquartered at Zephyr Cove, Nevada, and was brought to Lake Tahoe after doing duty on the Mississippi River. The 350 passenger, 144 foot long Tahoe Queen sails from Ski Run Marina over in South Lake Tahoe on the California side.

The Tahoe Gal is a sidewheeler based in Tahoe City, CA, on the northwest shore of Lake Tahoe. The address is 952 N. Lake Blvd. (Lighthouse Mall). At 64 feet long, she is the smallest of the three excursion boats. For more information, call (800) 218-2464.

Types of Cruises on Lake Tahoe's Paddlewheelers

Both the Tahoe Queen and M.S. Dixie II run a year round schedule of sightseeing cruises across Lake Tahoe and through Emerald Bay. In addition, each boat offers trips with special amenities, such as sunset dinner cruises with live entertainment and captain's dinner dance cruises. Check the cruise schedule for departure times for each trip.

The Tahoe Gal operates cruises from spring through fall and offers a variety of trips, including Emerald Bay lunch cruises, scenic brunch cruises, happy hour cruises, and dinner cruises with live entertainment. Learn more from the Tahoe Gal daily cruises page.

More Lake Tahoe Paddlewheeler Cruises

Tahoe Queen Ski Shuttle - This cruise takes skiers to the north shore of Lake Tahoe at the Hyatt Regency in Incline Village. The fare includes a lift ticket to Northstar California. Even if you don't ski, you can enjoy the ride and shopping or other activities at the Village at Northstar. The return trip includes an onboard après ski party. Visit the Tahoe Queen Ski Shuttle web page for sailing times and other details.

Tahoe Queen North Shore Scenic Cruise - On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Tahoe Queen takes passengers on a scenic cruise around the north end of Lake Tahoe. The one and a half hour trip departs from and returns to the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe in Incline Village.

Reserve a Lake Tahoe Paddlewheeler Cruise on the M.S. Dixie II

M.S. Dixie II Sunset Dinner Cruise - A delightful combination of dining, dancing and sightseeing make for an unforgettable evening on beautiful Lake Tahoe. Watch the sun go down over Lake Tahoe on the M.S Dixie II Sunset Dinner Cruise. For a great evening of entertainment, this cruise onboard the M.S Dixie II features live music, dancing and a healthy sit-down dinner.

Emerald Bay Cruise on M.S. Dixie II - Take a 2-hour sightseeing cruise on the M.S. Dixie II around magnificent Lake Tahoe to savor the wonders of this picturesque area. Discover breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Emerald Bay, charming Fannette Island, and Vikingsholm Castle.

Private Charter Cruises

Both the Tahoe Queen and M.S. Dixie II are available for private charters. A third boat, the 82 foot long luxury yacht Tahoe Paradise, is also available. Between the three, most any size group can be accommodated. These charters can be ideal for events such as weddings, receptions, and company outings. Should you be looking for a special event theme or a certain kind of entertainment, it can probably be arranged. For more information, call (800) 23-TAHOE (238-2463).

The Tahoe Gal offers private charter cruises for up to 135 people. They do weddings and receptions, rehearsal dinners, birthdays, anniversaries, company parties, and family reunions. There are a variety of ways you can structure a private charter to meet your needs. Call (800) 218-2464 or (530) 583-0141 for more information.

Check the Weather Before You Go

Boating activities of all types are subject to the weather. Big lakes like Tahoe can get mighty rough when winds swoop down from the peaks, making it hazardous for even big boats like the Tahoe Queen and M.S. Dixie II to be out on the water. Check the weather forecast before heading up to Lake Tahoe for a paddlewheeler trip. If in doubt, call ahead. The number at Zephyr Cove Resort is (775) 589-4906 (for the M.S. Dixie II). At Ski Run Marina, it's (530) 543-6191 (for the Tahoe Queen).

Paddlewheeler Cruises on the Mississippi River

If you enjoy this mode of transportation and want to experience the real thing, get down to New Orleans for a paddlewheeler ride on the Big Muddy, the Mississippi River. The article Take a Ride on a Riverboat on the Mississippi River in New Orleans provides details, but you have to get to New Orleans first.

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