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Light shows abound in Lake Tahoe

A popular destination for pilots and outdoor lovers alike, Lake Tahoe provides stunning views, great food, and a plethora of entertainment for all ages. This Fourth of July weekend, visitors will have their pick of patriotic-themed entertainment and aerial displays.

Fireworks over South Lake Tahoe. Image courtesy of Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.

Situated on the California-Nevada state line in the Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe is a major tourist attraction year round. Lovers of winter sports, summer recreation, unique dining, and casinos flock to Lake Tahoe daily to take advantage of all the region has to offer.

To start off your patriotic celebrations, visitors can attend the Kings Beach Drone Light Show and Beach Party. Located at the Kings Beach State Recreation Area in California, guests of all ages are invited to this free event taking place July 3 from 7 to 10 p.m. featuring three food vendors, a beer and wine garden, and a drone light show display at 9:30 p.m. Walking, biking, and public transportation are recommended to get to this event.

A Drone SkyShow by Verge Aero team. Photo courtesy of Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau.

On July 4, just six miles east of Kings Beach in Incline Village, Nevada, visitors can view the inaugural Incline Village Crystal Bay Drone SkyShow put on by the Verge Aero team. The company told the Tahoe Daily Tribune, “Our team has decades of experience and has executed shows across the country and around the world. Our creative and beautiful show is a perfect complement to Lake Tahoe’s natural beauty and we’re thrilled to help create a fun and responsible Independence Day Celebration in Tahoe.” Hosts of this event recommend bringing blankets, beach chairs, and a picnic to the Incline Middle School Ball Field No. 1 and No. 2 for the best viewing of this first-time event.

“We are excited to provide a fun, safe and responsible way to celebrate Independence Day this year through our drone SkyShow,” said Andy Chapman, president and CEO of Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau. Walking, biking, and public transportation are also recommended for this event.

Fireworks over South Lake Tahoe. Photo by Brad Scott Visuals, courtesy of Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.

Lake Tahoe’s Lights on the Lake Fireworks show is also set to return after a two-year hiatus. According to the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, the display was recognized by NBC’s Today show as “one of the country’s top Fourth of July weekend celebrations,” and the American Pyrotechnics Association calls it “one of the top five displays in the nation.” The show is scheduled to begin at 9:45 p.m. on July 4. The show can be seen all over town, but the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority recommends a few sweet spots for viewing. For a unique view, spectators can take to the lake with local boat rentals, charters, and tours. Other locations of note are family- and barbecue-friendly Nevada Beach; Timber Cove Marina at the Beach Retreat and Lodge at Tahoe; and El Dorado Beach at Lakeview Commons, which is located about five miles from the shoot site and offers viewers free access, amphitheater-style seating, and public restrooms.

As with any popular attraction, guests are encouraged to plan ahead and stake their spots early.

Aerial view of South Lake Tahoe and Lake Tahoe Airport. Photo by Todd Quam.

Pilots flying in have airport options, too. Lake Tahoe Airport is located less than five miles from South Lake Tahoe. Pilots looking to be closer to Incline Village and Crystal Bay in Nevada may choose to fly into the Truckee-Tahoe Airport, located about 16 miles from Incline Village.

It’s important to note that both of these airports are located at high elevations and are surrounded by mountainous terrain. Pilots are encouraged to familiarize themselves with mountain flying and performance. The FAA’s Density Altitude publication states, “At airports in higher elevations, such as those in the western United States, high temperatures sometimes have such an effect on density altitude that safe operations are impossible. In such conditions, operations between midmorning and midafternoon can become extremely hazardous.”

Aerial view of Truckee Tahoe Airport and Lake Tahoe. Photo by Todd Quam.

Niki Britton

eMedia Content Producer
eMedia Content Producer Niki Britton joined AOPA in 2021. She is a private pilot who enjoys flying her 1969 Cessna 182 and taking aerial photographs.

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