Legend has it that this town was named after card shark Joe King, who won the rights to the area in a poker game nearly a century ago. Despite its royal name, Kings Beach is anything but pretentious, with dozens of family-run motels, eateries, and places to pick up your “I heart Tahoe” t-shirts. Sunny Kings Beach State Recreation Area is known as the “banana belt” of the North Shore because of almost nonstop sunshine making it a prime spot for anyone with a beach towel, especially large groups and families who like the easy parking and walking distance to grab-and-go eateries. If you want to take a break from the action, slip away on a standup paddleboard, available for rent here (along with instruction). After dark, eat with locals at Lanza’s, a family-friendly Italian joint complete with red-and-white checked tablecloths.
Positioned at the junction of Highways 267 and 28, Kings Beach is also a good jumping off point for skiers and snowboarders looking to hit the slopes at one of the North Shore’s alpine resorts. Shops, restaurants, and colorful street vendors round out the fun here.