Home Travel & Leisure Travel Arizona’s Water Wonders Offer Ways to Cool Off

Water, water everywhere. Arizona is filled with natural bodies of water around every turn. Lakes, rivers and canyons are classically Arizona and contribute significantly to our state’s picturesque reputation.


Photo: Lake Pleasant

Editor’s Note: The Arizona Office of Tourism is blogging throughout the summer to help Arizonans enjoy the state’s local attractions and vacation experiences.

Summer is the perfect time to cool off and explore the state’s water wonders. Each region has an abundance of options for all types of wet and wild adventures. Whether you’re looking to plan a weeklong trip or a last-minute getaway, we recommend the following destinations:

Northern Arizona

Take to the water at Lake Powell. It’s the ultimate aquatic playground for families and groups. Luxury houseboats and personal watercraft are available for rental, allowing you to explore canyons or secret coves for relaxation. Tackle the day by wakeboarding or waterskiing, and later unwind by warming up by the campfire under a canopy of stars.


Photo: Lake Powell

Northwest Arizona

Plunge into rafting at the Grand Canyon. Looking for an exhilarating way to experience the Grand Canyon? Venture out for a half-day to two-week motorized or oar-powered white-water rafting excursion. You’ll ride the rapids and leisurely float over smooth stretches of water. Be sure to book as early as possible – waiting lists can be lengthy.

Western Arizona

Rev up your river fun in Parker. This 16-mile stretch of Colorado River offers some of the most exciting water sports in the world, including the marathon ski races, personal watercraft championships and powerboat races and the Great Western Tube Float. Or, “jet set” to Lake Havasu, which rests along the Colorado River’s beautiful shoreline and boasts 60 continuous miles of lake and river waterways. You can find the London Bridge here, a landmark imported from halfway around the world.


Photo Lake Havasu

Southern Arizona

Get hooked on natural beauty in Patagonia. The friendly town is a crossroads for avian enthusiasts and nature lovers from all over the world. Tucked away in the hills of southern Arizona, Patagonia Lake State Park offers a quiet reprieve for the day. Rent a canoe or rowboat, and enjoy the wildlife viewing or cast a line to fish for bass, bluegill, freshwater trout and catfish.

Central Arizona

Finding a liquid oasis in Phoenix may be easier than you think. Just east of Greater Phoenix, this collection of four lakes, also known as the “Chain Lakes,” feed into one another downstream from the Salt and Tonto rivers. The chain starts at high elevation in the Tonto National Forest with Roosevelt Lake, which feeds into Apache Lake, transitioning down into Canyon Lake, with a grand finale at Saguaro Lake. All lakes accommodate jet skis, wakeboards, boats and pontoons.                                 

Check out www.summerinaz.com for more water-filled escape ideas – all within a short drive.