Where to swim in Arizona? Lakes around Phoenix

If you’re looking to cool off in Arizona, look no further. I have the lake for you!

If you dream of visiting Arizona, you will want to visit at least one of these lakes on your way! Blessed by the natives of Arizona, here is the ultimate guide to watering holes in AZ.


Lake Pleasant

Lake Pleasant – Peoria, Arizona
Lake Pleasant is easily accessible from all over the Phoenix Valley and provides an escape from the heat. Lake Pleasant has hills that rise directly from the base of the lake and river which allow for stunning views at the top. Hike one of the trails or, if you’re brave, rent a mountain bike and race down the hills!

Indeed, when the weather is warm, the lake offers a number of activities for tourists and locals alike. The marina offers a restaurant, boat rentals and several docks. If you’re looking for adventure, stop by the marina and rent a jetski, kayak or pontoon boat.

If crowds and boats aren’t your thing, don’t worry! Lake Pleasant has many areas just for staying just the day that you can enjoy with a little more privacy. They offer picnic tables, restrooms and ramps to launch your kayak as well as campsites for overnight stays.

Saguaro Lake – Mesa, AZ

Next on our list of great lakes, Lake Saguaro west of Phoenix. First, it is part of the Sonoran Desert in the Tonto National Forest. When heading to Saguaro, you will need to purchase a day pass called “Tonto Pass” for $8. These passes are sold at most stores on the way to the lake. For example, at petrol stations, as well as at the marina and at ticket machines at the entrance.

Saguaro is known for its namesake, Saguaro cacti. Indeed, these beautiful plants define this region and this lake is full of them. Not only are the views of Saguaro Lake outstanding, but they offer plenty of activities and easy access to parking.

Additionally, there are many species of fish including Largemouth & Smallmouth Bass, Yellow Perch and Rainbow Troutl. A fun place to go fishing with family and friends, get there early if you want to find the perfect spot! Especially since there are also many water activities to enjoy during your visit to the lake. Water skiing, tubing and other motorized sports are popular options for those looking to try something new.

Saguaro LakeLac RooseveltRoosevelt-AZ

Heading to Arizona in fall or winter? Even when you don’t need to escape the heat, you’ll want to visit this one. During these seasons, you can observe many species of migrating birds, including the bald eagle. Lake Roosevelt is a great place for bird watching as well as the usual lakeside activities.

The lake offers some of Arizona’s longest and most beautiful hiking trailheads. Which makes it a favorite spot for hikers and sunset lovers. Spend a weekend camping with your tent on one of the many shaded pitches around the lake.

Lake Bartlett – Rio Verde, AZ

Lake Bartlett is almost a local secret, it’s not the biggest and there’s no big marina. But this hidden gem is my favorite.

Another reservoir in the Tonto National Forest, Lake Bartlett, was formed by the pooling of the Verde River. Bartlett offers a great area for water sports and is a floating buoy destination. There are plenty of coves for those without a boat just looking to cool off, dogs are welcome! The small Marina offers the basics and can provide you with the Tonto Pass and bait to fish.

If you want to sip your morning coffee with your feet in the sand. Bartlett Lake has many free scattered campsites along the lake. If you want a view and don’t mind heights… find a spot on the cliffs overlooking the lake! If you have an RV or van, you can pull up and park on the plains and stargaze. There are also several paid campsites around and near the lake that offer privacy and restrooms. Personally, we find a spot in one of the coves for a private, shaded camping experience.

Barlett LakeLac CanyonMesa, AZ

Right next to Lake Saguaro, this lake is another favorite. First of all it must be said that Canyon Lake offers the most unique views of all the lakes in AZ.

You do not believe me ? Go see for yourself!

The east side of the lake is popular with paddleboarders and kayakers, you can weave through the canyons. Use the day to paddle slowly through the canyon or swim in the lake’s many swimming areas.

However, if you want to go to the lake, but you don’t have any nautical equipment, don’t worry. The Dolly Steamboat is a perfect idea if you are looking for a fun time on the lake. Book a nature cruise by day or discover the dinner cruise at dusk for a romantic night!

On the west side, on the other hand, you will find the motorboat area and the marina. The marina offers many docks similar to Lake Pleasant, so renting a jet ski or boat is close at hand. Finally, if you’re lucky, you might be able to catch bighorn sheep wandering around the apartments.

Canyon Lake

To conclude if you need a day on the lake in the Valley of the Sun, look no further than these five spots. Arizona is known for its desert climate, red rocks and unparalleled heat, but we also know how to cool off. Pack a picnic, bring your towel and head to the lake for a day of relaxation.

Find my top 10 hikes in Arizona click here!

Have fun ! Thank you for staying until the end. Leave me a comment if you liked this article or if you have any questions!