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Phoenix, Arizona, and water experiences wouldn’t seem to go together, but in reality, the region is a boater’s paradise. Based in the Sonoran Desert, this thriving Southwestern United States city has plenty of land and water activities for all ages. Surprisingly, Phoenix is also located within an easy drive of several scenic lakes and rivers. The close proximity to these inland water destinations draws Phoenix area residents (and visitors) to explore a variety of popular boating activities.
The greater Phoenix area boasts several lakes just a short drive from the city’s downtown. These inviting bodies of water offer a cooling respite from the region’s heat while accommodating boaters with different tastes.
Boating License/Education Rules: There are currently no mandatory boater education requirements for operators of recreational motorized boats in the state of Arizona.
Life Jacket Requirements: 12 and under must wear a PFD.
For more information, visit Arizona Game & Fish.
Where to dock your boat, or meet your rental:
Pleasant Harbor Marina
Scorpion Bay Marina
Saguaro Lake Marina
Barlett Lake Marina
Learn more in about Lake Pleasant marinas.
The weather in Phoenix can be extremely hot and dry during the summer months, but very cool during the winter. The best time to visit Phoenix for boating and water activities is from late May to early August, and from late August to early October.
Avg. Temperature High: Peaks around 105°F in August
Avg. Temperature Low: Ranging between 45-66°F in December
Avg. Water Temperatures in Phoenix during the Summer:
76°F in May
92°F in June
93°F in July
89°F in August
Phoenix is a city surrounded by beautiful rivers and lakes that get very warm during the summer months. When planning your next Phoenix boat rental, be sure to try some of these popular on-the-water activities and excursions.Search Boats
Several Phoenix-area lakes have become fishing hot spots. Before you can coax those crafty fish out of their lairs, though, you’ll need a boat to get you there. No problem, as you can easily find a boat rental on any of these local lakes. Lake Pleasant, Lake Encanto, and Barlett Lake are all popular lakes for fishing. To avoid disappointment, especially during the winter season, book your trip in advance.
Moorage: Most, if not all of the local lakes, have docking options for fishing boats at the local marinas.
Wake zonee: Yes
Pro Tips: Phoenix is a great place to fish at any skill level. The fish you can expect to catch around Phoenix include Tilapia, Apache Trout, Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, and many more.
Seasonality: Phoenix provides many year round fishing opportunities.
Lat/Long: Lake Pleasant (42° 2.748' N, 87° 37.082' W); Lake Encanto (45°48′51’ N 84°44′56’ W); Bartlett Lake (41°56.089’ N 87°33.391’ W)
Speed-loving boaters often gravitate to jet skis (or PWCs). These gasoline-powered machines are known for their speed and maneuverability, making them a favorite for zipping around places like Canyon Lake. With more than 950 surface acres of water to explore on Canyon Lake, there are endless opportunities for adventure.
Moorage: Canyon Lake Marina has dozens of slips available.
Wake zone: Yes
Pro Tips: Aside from jet skiing, Canyon Lake is also ideal for anglers. The Arizona Game and Fish Department stocks the lake with fish from November through March.
Seasonality: Canyon Lake is open year-round for boaters and jet skiers.
Lat/Long: 33.5421°N, -111.4357° W
Lake Pleasant is an artificial lake that covers 7,500 acres. Boaters and swimmers often come to Lake Pleasant to cool off and escape the brutal summer heat. Popular swimming spots include Humbug Cove, Fireman’s Cove, and Coles Bay.
Moorage: Lake Pleasant has 3 popular marinas: Scorpion Bay Marnia, Pleasant Harbor Marina, and Lake Pleasant 10 Lane Boat Ramp
Wake zone: Yes
Pro Tips: Lake Pleasant is the second largest lake in Arizona, and just an hour from downtown. For the best raft-up experience at a party cove, head to the Humbug Cove.
Seasonality: Lake Pleasant is open year-round, but we recommend visiting during spring and summer.
Lat/Long: 33.8897° N, -112.2799° W
Beautiful Bartlett Lake, set in the Tonto National Forest, has 2,815 acres of navigable water surface. Ringed by the desert mountains, Bartlett Lake offers stunning views along with several popular water sports. The lake is a favorite destination for fishing fans, PWC operators, and kayaking enthusiasts. A marina operation also offers convenient boat rental options.
Moorage: Bartlett Marina
Wake zone: Yes
Pro Tips: Camping is available directly on the shoreline around Bartlett Lake. Be sure to check shoreline water levels before planning your camping location.
Hours: 9:00am-5:00pm Monday-Sunday
Lat/Long: 33.8273°N, 111.6273° W
The Superstition Wilderness, about an hour’s drive from Phoenix, hosts stunning Canyon Lake. This scenic destination boasts eye-popping rock formations and imposing desert cliffs. Best of all, Canyon Lake offers numerous coves that make perfect fishing spots.
Moorage: Canyon Lake Marina and Crane Mills Marina
Wake zone: Yes
Pro Tips: Canyon Lake is known for its beautiful shorelines, and red rock cliffs, so keep an eye out.
Hours: Marinas are open from 8:30am-6pm
Lat/Long: 33.5427°N, -111.43594° W
The 10,000-acre Lake Pleasant is located about 40 minutes outside downtown Phoenix. This expansive reservoir has 100 miles of shoreline that attracts boaters, standup paddleboarders, and kayakers looking to relax and bond with nature. If you don’t have your own small craft, book a boat rental and explore the Sonoran Desert’s scenic beauty while you cool off from the heat.
Moorage: 3 Popular Marinas: Scorpion Bay Marnia, Pleasant Harbor Marina, and Lake Pleasant 10 Lane Boat Ramp
Wake zone: Yes
Pro Tips: If you’re ready to take a break from the water, you can dock your boat at one of the lake’s marinas and hike the local trails, including Pipeline Canyon Trail, Roadrunner Trail and Visitor Center Trail.
Hours: The lake is most enjoyed during the summer months between May and early October.
Lat/Long: 33.8907° N, -112.2806° W
Frequently asked questions