Arizona’s expansive and varied landscapes are simply incredible, but few realize that this desert state has tons of water recreation opportunities as well! Gorgeous Arizona lakes are scattered throughout the state and can be found from the White Mountains to the Colorado River, with many spots in between.
Don’t take these Arizona lakes at face value - spending a day at the lake can surprise you with so many fun outdoor activities, whether you're alone or an adventure with the whole family! A unique experience and very different adventure is available at each of the lakes on this list, so plan a trip to see them all! Catch a wave to adventure at one of our top six picks for water recreation below!
Jump To: Alamo Lake | Lake Havasu | Lyman Lake| | Fool Hollow | Patagonia Lake | Roper Lake
Top Six: Best Arizona Lakes
1. Alamo Lake State Park
The desert landscape here is seemingly offset by a refreshing +/-17,000-acre impoundment that has no shortage of water recreation opportunities. You can swim, boat, or ski...but the real hidden treasure of this off-the-beaten-path watering hole is the bass and crappie fishing!
Alamo Lake is actually a world-renowned largemouth bass and crappie fishing destination! At times, novice and beginner anglers hook fish with regularity, just like seasoned veterans. The sunrise is always inspiring here, and the sonoran desert landscape is the perfect backdrop for your Alamo lake fishing adventure! So get up early, grab your fishing rod, and get out to Alamo to catch a desert memory!
While you're at the park, stay in an air-conditioned cabin with close lake and restroom/shower access! Pitch a tent or park your RV it in our spacious campgrounds is that's more your speed! Just make sure you stay long enough to experience all this western Arizona desert oasis has to offer before heading home.Back to top
2. Lake Havasu State Park
West of Alamo Lake, the ancient Colorado River flows south with power and purpose. Tamed in 1938 when Parker Dam was constructed, Lake Havasu was born and would soon provide diverse and exciting recreation opportunities for literally millions of visitors. Lake Havasu’s sandy beaches coax you in with sparkling water views, a promise of relaxation and the potential for genuinely good times. Boating is encouraged, but swimming is a must! Get your feet wet and your toes sandy while you enjoy a welcome reprieve from the hustle and increased temperatures of metropolitan areas. Have a need for speed? Crank up your boat, and take off! Feel the wind and cool mist of Havasu's subtle waves as you ski, wake board, or just enjoy the scenery. This is one of those Arizona lakes specifically designed for a good time, so book a trip below and start your adventure!
Lake Havasu is home to three bass species and provides world class fishing opportunities for each of them! Largemouth and smallmouth bass can be caught in the varied structure and rockpiles along the lake shore and islands, and striped bass cruise around in large schools eating like scaled machines. Tactics vary so please check out the Lake Havasu fishing page for more information about catching them effectively.
Whether you’re looking for Arizona's best water sports destination, just something to do over a weekend, or great fishing, you’ll find total relaxation mingled with adventure at this western Arizona park! With so much outdoor recreation potential here you might want to stay for a while in our well-established, clean campground or lakefront, air-conditioned cabins! Back to top
3. Lyman Lake State Park
Eastern Arizona’s premier water recreation destination, Lyman Lake, leaves nothing to the imagination and somehow provides each visitor with exactly the experience they need. The surrounding high desert almost seems painted upon the horizon, and the sunlight bouncing and reflecting off the reeds, the water, and even the rocky desert shoreline easily sets your mind to wander…This lake is one of opportunity! The opportunity for relaxation, adventure, or somewhere in-between. You'll find whart you're looking for right here at Lyman Lake.
Tons of hiking trails help you explore the ancient history associated with this beautiful area. Specifically the petroglyph trail will lead your mind to wander as it gives you a vivid glimpse into the lives of past area inabitants. While on a hike, you might experience one of the mane waterfowl spoecies that call Lyman Lake home, or perhaps cross paths with a mule deer, or coyote!
Walleye, largemouth bass, and channel catfish await in the rocky depths and at times provide fantastic fishing, although it’s up to savvy anglers to coax them out. Boaters tow skiers and wake boarders to give each their daily dose of adrenaline. Stay in the cabins or a campsite to give yourself enough time to make lasting memories in these foothills of Arizona's White Mountains. You aren't limited at Lyman by motor restrictions, nor are you limited by exploration opportunities! Get out there, open the throttle and your mind to experience this Arizona lake adventure. Back to top
4. Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area
Among Arizona’s high country rests a beautiful northern Arizona lake nestled within a forest of tall ponderosa pines. The sweet aroma juniper trees mixes wonderfully with the pine scent to add depth to your experience. Soothing white clouds roll by without a care in the world, and watching them helps you forget about the day-to-day back home. Just outside of Showlow, AZ, Fool Hollow Lake stretches amid the forest to create the quintessential forest lake experience.
This is a spot far enough away from the rush of nearby towns that you can let go of stress and enjoy your getaway as purely and peacefully as you can imagine! If you’re the adventurous type, rent a kayak from the park vendor and head out on the water, where you can let the waves usher you into total serenity. If you’d rather, find a shady spot on the shore with a good book, letting the Arizona sunshine wash over you, or take a hike through the woods along interesting and adventurous trails around the lake.
Rainbow and brown trout, walleye, bass, northern pike, catfish, and bluegill will keep anglers busy while they take advantage of the gorgeous high-country climate. Each of these species offers a specific challenge, so read up on how to catch them before your trip!
Book a spot at the campground and to be at the lake at first light when the fish bite best, or hit the trail and see the forest animals before they bed down for the day. Your Fool Hollow Lake experience won't soon be forgotten, so plan a trip and start collecting those memories! Back to top
5. Patagonia Lake State Park
The mystique of southern Arizona is filled with rich history, and gorgeous spanning vistas that leave memories etched into your mind forever. Patagonia Lake is southern Arizona's high desert oasis for those who would like to enjoy some time amid the beautiful sights and experiences provided here.
Fascinating resident ans migratory birds, diverse wildlife, lake visits, and at times, fantastic fishing opportunities are right here waiting for you to enjoy! If you know where to look. Patagonia Lake is home to thriving populations of largemouth bass and crappie and is supplemented with rainbow trout stockings during the winter months so there's plenty of fishing opportunity here. Not into fishing? That’s cool too!
Kick back on the shore and watch the sun go down, hike the area trails, kayak the lake, or just soak in the southern Arizona beauty! Your experience os totally up to you, and this os one of those Arizona lakes that has something to offer everyone. Cabins and campsites are available for outdoor enthusiasts that want to make the most of their trip and stay for a while, because the longer you stay, the more memories you can take home with you. Back to top
6. Roper Lake State Park
Roper Lake is a smaller body of water, with a big draw! Fishing, kayaking and boating are available here, as well beautiful mountain views and a mind soothing calm. Roper’s weather, like most of southern Arizona, can get into the upper 90s during summer months, so paddling in the cool lake is a welcome reprieve from Arizona’s infamous heat. The rest of the year, weather is absolutely perfect for exploring the surrounding desert areas.
Have a picnic on the peninsula surrounded by south-eastern Arizona beauty and feel the cool breeze as it blows across the lake. Extend your stay with a cool, air-conditioned camping cabin, and use the park as "home base" for your exciting adventures into the diverse life zones of Mt. Graham, right behind the park. Or you can stay close and experience the relaxation provided by this high desert oasis. Wander along the shore to catch a glimpse of local birds and wildlife, such as great blue herons, egrets, various waterfowl, deer, and javelina!
Just a few miles down the road, Dankworth Ponds will show visitors good fishing, great views, and discovery hikes that give a glimpse into the ancient past of this gorgeous area. There's just so much to do in this pretty little slice of Arizona, you might just have to see for yourself! Back to top
Arizona Lakes are varied, diverse, and offer a ton of outdoor recreation opportunities! It's no accident that every lake on this list comes complete with campgrounds, and in most cases cabin rentals! In order to get the most out of an adventure to one of these gorgeous Arizona Lakes, sometimes its necessary to stay for a while! Reserve a spot and you'll be sure to enjoy a variety of experiences in Arizona';s beautiful places. Hike, fish, play on the water, or just kick back and take in the pretty sights...We've got a spot for you in nearly every corner of Arizona!
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