lakes near phoenix

Top 13 Lakes Near Phoenix Arizona for a Fun Day Outing

Phoenix, nestled in the Sonoran Desert, might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of lakes and water fun. But don’t be fooled by the desert backdrop – Phoenix and its surroundings offer some surprisingly lovely lakes.

Whether seeking adventure or a peaceful day by the water, these aquatic hideaways provide a welcome relief from the desert heat and a perfect summertime escape. Let’s explore the lakes near Phoenix that are perfect for your next outing.

Best time to visit lakes in Phoenix

The best time to visit lakes near Phoenix is during the winter months, from November to April. Throughout this period, the climate remains gentle and enjoyable, characterized by average temperatures that fall within the mid-60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit range. This is ideal for enjoying all the lakes offer, such as swimming, boating, fishing, and picnicking.

The summer months in Phoenix can be very hot, with temperatures often reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This can make spending time outdoors for extended periods uncomfortable and even dangerous. Additionally, some lakes may have lower water levels during the summer due to evaporation.

Tips before you leave

Here are some tips before leaving for lakes near Phoenix:

Check the weather forecast – Phoenix is known for its hot and dry summers, so it’s important to check the weather forecast before you go to ensure you’re prepared for the conditions.

Bring plenty of water and sunscreen – It’s important to stay hydrated and protected from the sun when spending time outdoors in Phoenix, especially at the lake.

Wear appropriate clothing and footwear – If you plan on swimming or wading in the lake, wear a swimsuit and water shoes. If you will be hiking or exploring the area around the lake, wear comfortable shoes and clothing that you can move around in easily.

Be aware of your surroundings – Some lakes in Phoenix may have dangerous currents or riptides, so it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and swim in designated areas.

13 lakes near Phoenix AZ

Each of these bodies of water brings unique charm and recreational opportunities, proving that nature’s beauty knows no bounds, even in the heart of the Sonoran Desert. Here are 13 Arizona lakes near Phoenix that will give you a moment of relaxation from the scorching sun.

1. Tempe Town Lake

Tempe Town Lake is an artificial lake located in central Tempe, Arizona. It was created by damming the Salt River and serves as a focal point for recreational activities in the city.

The lake offers many recreational activities, including swimming, boating, fishing, and walking along its picturesque shores. Additionally, it hosts various events like the Tempe Festival of the Arts and the Tempe Beach Park Concert Series, making it a vibrant and popular destination for residents and visitors.

2. Lake Pleasant

Lake Pleasant is a sizable reservoir approximately 45 minutes to the northwest of Phoenix, making it a convenient recreational destination for city residents.

It is favored for various activities, including swimming, boating, fishing, and camping. It offers numerous coves and inlets, making it an ideal place for kayaking and canoeing, enhancing its appeal as a versatile outdoor destination in Arizona.

3. Saguaro Lake

Saguaro Lake, nestled in the Tonto National Forest, offers an attractive escape from the desert landscape, with its stunning backdrop of saguaro cacti and diverse desert flora, providing you with a unique and beautiful setting for outdoor activities.

It is also one of the lakes near Phoenix, suitable for outdoor enthusiasts. It provides ample swimming, boating, fishing, and camping opportunities, making it a popular choice for those looking to enjoy nature and water-based activities just a short drive from Phoenix.

4. Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake is known for its breathtaking natural beauty. It is situated in the Texas Hill Country and surrounded by rolling hills and rugged limestone cliffs. The clear blue waters of the lake offer an amazing backdrop for various recreational activities, including boating, fishing, and swimming. The surrounding Canyon Lake Gorge is also popular for hikers and nature enthusiasts, featuring unique geological formations and fossils.

It covers approximately 8,230 acres, making it one of the largest reservoirs in Texas. Boating is a favorite pastime, with several marinas and boat ramps available for easy access. The lake is stocked with various fish species, making it a prime location for anglers.

Additionally, the Guadalupe River, which flows from the bottom of the lake, offers tubing, kayaking, and white-water rafting opportunities, drawing people seeking relaxation and adventure.

5. Bartlett Lake

Bartlett Lake is a popular recreational destination in the Sonoran Desert northeast of Phoenix. The lake covers approximately 2,815 acres and offers various outdoor activities.

The lakes near Phoenix feature the stunning desert landscape of the Tonto National Forest, providing a unique contrast between the water and the arid terrain. The desert scenery with saguaro cacti, rugged mountains, and diverse plant and animal life creates a mesmerizing backdrop.

6. Apache Lake

Apache Lake is known for its remote and unspoiled wilderness. Rugged and dramatic landscapes surround it, including the Superstition Wilderness and the Mazatzal Wilderness.

This remote location makes it an ideal destination for those seeking a true wilderness experience. You can enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, and other outdoor activities while surrounded by the natural beauty.

Moreover, the lake is a popular destination for house boating enthusiasts. Unlike many other lakes, Apache Lake’s unique shape and relatively low boating traffic make it an excellent location for houseboats. The lake offers calm waters, numerous coves, and picturesque canyons, creating an idyllic setting for houseboaters to explore and enjoy a peaceful vacation on the water.

Houseboat rentals are readily available, making it easy for you to experience the beauty of the lake while enjoying the comforts of home on the water.

7. Watson Lake

Watson Lake, located near Prescott in Arizona, is renowned for its stunning Granite Dells. These unique rock formations have been eroded over millions of years, creating a fantastic landscape of giant boulders and cliffs surrounding the lake.

You can explore the dells by hiking or kayaking, and the reflections of these rugged formations in the lake’s calm waters create breathtaking and surreal scenery, making it a popular spot for photographers.

This lake near Phoenix covers approximately 70 acres and features numerous hidden coves and inlets to explore. The Granite Dells formations create a maze of narrow waterways, providing both beginners and experienced paddlers with an exciting and adventurous experience.

8. Woods Canyon Lake

Woods Canyon Lake is around 7,000 feet in the cool pine forests of the Mogollon Rim. This high-altitude setting provides a refreshing escape from the heat of the lower desert areas of Arizona.

The lake is renowned for its excellent fishing opportunities. It is stocked with rainbow, brown, and brook trout, making it a popular spot for anglers. Whether fishing from the shore, a boat, or a kayak, you’ll have a good chance of reeling in a catch.

The peaceful and scenic surroundings enhance the fishing experience, making it a favorite destination for novice and experienced anglers. The lake’s clear waters and abundant fish population create a haven for those who enjoy this outdoor recreational activity.

9. Havasu Lake

This lake is renowned for its strikingly vibrant blue-green waters. Its intense turquoise color is due to the high mineral content in the water, particularly calcium carbonate. This visually contrasts the surrounding arid desert landscape, making it a popular spot for boating, swimming, and water recreation.

Also, it is one of the lakes near Phoenix, situated in a remote location on the Arizona-California border, near the border with Nevada. It’s one of the more secluded areas in the region, providing a serene escape for those looking to enjoy the natural beauty and solitude of the desert while still having access to the lake’s refreshing waters. This unique location offers a sense of tranquility and the opportunity to experience the Mojave Desert’s distinct ecosystem.

10. Roosevelt Lake

It is the largest lake or reservoir entirely within the state of Arizona. The lake is situated along the Salt River, formed by the Roosevelt Dam, completed in 1911. It serves as a critical water storage facility, helping to supply water to the Phoenix metropolitan area and other communities in the region.

Its impressive size and capacity make it a hub for recreational activities such as boating, fishing, camping, and wildlife watching.

11. Horseshoe Lake

Horseshoe is one of the unique lakes near Phoenix known for its unique underwater petrified forest. When water levels drop due to drought or changing seasons, the submerged petrified trees, estimated to be around 1,000 years old, become visible. These ancient tree trunks and stumps create a fascinating and eerie landscape, offering a glimpse into the past.

Also, the lake is a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts. Its diverse ecosystem attracts a variety of bird species, making it an excellent spot for birdwatching. You can spot waterfowl, raptors, and migratory birds, making it a unique destination for those interested in ornithology and wildlife observation.

12. Patagonia Lake

Patagonia Lake is also renowned for its exceptional biodiversity, making it a paradise for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. The lake and surrounding areas are a critical stopover for migratory birds, including the elegant sandhill cranes and vibrant hummingbirds. The diverse ecosystems around the lake, from wetlands to woodlands, provide a home for a wide range of species, making it a prime destination for wildlife observation and photography.

Also, it offers a refreshing escape from the desert heat of Arizona. What makes it unique is the opportunity for water-based activities such as swimming, boating, and fishing. The lake is stocked with various fish, including rainbow trout, bass, and catfish, providing ample opportunities for anglers.

You can also rent canoes, kayaks, and pedal boats to explore the tranquil waters, creating a distinct and enjoyable experience for outdoor enthusiasts.

13. Hidden Lake

Hidden Lake is renowned for its exceptionally clear and pristine waters. The lake’s clarity results from the glacial meltwater that feeds into it, creating a stunningly transparent and inviting environment. You often marvel at the opportunity to see the lake’s bottom, even at significant depths.

The lake is also known for its abundant wildlife, particularly mountain goats. Hikers and visitors frequently encounter these sure-footed animals on the trail leading to the lake. Combining breathtaking scenery and the opportunity to observe mountain goats in their natural habitat makes Hidden Lake a unique and memorable destination for nature enthusiasts.

Final thoughts

Phoenix and its surroundings offer numerous lakes and water-based recreational opportunities. Each lake offers unique charm and recreational activities, making it ideal for a day of relaxation or adventure away from the desert heat.

Also, remember to check the weather, stay hydrated, and be prepared for the conditions when visiting these beautiful lakes near Phoenix, Arizona.


1. Is there a lake near Phoenix?

Yes, there are several lakes near Phoenix, including Lake Pleasant.

2. How many lakes are near Phoenix?

There are multiple lakes near Phoenix, with Lake Pleasant and Saguaro Lake being two of the largest.

3. What lakes can you swim in near Phoenix?

You can swim in lakes like Lake Pleasant and Saguaro Lake near Phoenix.

4. What is the best party lake near Phoenix?

Lake Pleasant is often considered one of the best party lakes near Phoenix.

5. What are the two largest lakes Arizona?

The two largest lakes in Arizona are Lake Powell and Lake Mead.

6. Does Arizona have good lakes?

Arizona has some good lakes, including popular ones near Phoenix.

7. Is Phoenix a good destination for girl’s trip?

Phoenix can be a great destination for a girls’ trip, with various activities and attractions.

8. Can you swim in Lake Pleasant?

Yes, you can swim in Lake Pleasant.

9. Does Phoenix have good nightlife?

Phoenix has a vibrant nightlife scene with plenty of bars, clubs, and entertainment options.

10. Does Phoenix have any rivers?

Phoenix is unknown for its rivers, but the Salt River flows near the city

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