One of the favorite summertime activities of Arizonans and visitors alike is finding ways to cool off. Fortunately, Arizona is overflowing with options for water-seekers. For those seeking ultimate relaxation, Arizona’s world-class hotels and resorts beckon vacationers and staycationers with crystal-clear pools, shady cabanas and unmatched poolside service. But there’s more.
“I really love all the amazing contrasts our state offers, waiting to be experienced by travelers,” says Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “Arizona’s hidden beaches, secret swimming holes, refreshing rivers and numerous lakes perfectly pair with the sunshine and sunglasses of summer!”
Whether you’re the type that once you see water you just have to take a dip or if you prefer to float (or speed) across the surface, Arizona offers an amazing collection of lakes, rivers and beaches just waiting to be enjoyed. So whether you prefer your swimming holes to be nestled within timeless canyons, beautiful rock formations or amongst the cool pines, Arizona has just the spot.
A true Arizona gem, Patagonia Lake State Park lies in the gentle rolling hills of southern Arizona, and is renowned as a great spot to fish for bass or catfish. This beautiful destination offers RV and tent camping, overnight cabins and boat-in campsites. Plus, the surrounding trails connect to Sonoita Creek State Natural Area. If you’re looking for a day trip or weekend adventure, this park will take your breath away.
Accessing Grand Canyon National Park’s beaches is really a matter of your chosen mode of transportation. Boat Beach near Phantom Ranch offers hikers a welcome respite after the 7.5-mile hike on the South Kaibab Trail or the 10-mile hike on Bright Angel Trail. Plan ahead for a permit or reservation to stay overnight; after this challenging hike, it’s highly recommended. Football Beach and Owl Beach are far more exclusive as they’re only accessible via a river trip or guided rafting tour.
West Clear Creek near Camp Verde presents a challenging 8.8-mile round-trip journey along West Clear Creek Trail in the Coconino National Forest, culminating in your arrival at the legendary Bull Pen swimming hole. The rocky pool varies from three- to 10-feet deep and water play options range from cannonballs or a leisurely float through the calm waters.
Hutch’s Pool is located off West Fork Trail No. 24 in the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area in Tucson. This destination requires several miles of hiking, but you’ll be rewarded with a nearly year-round swimming hole surrounded by sheer rock sides and a small sandy beach. It’s great for a quick rest stop while exploring the wilderness trails in the area.
Buckskin Mountain State Park is a beautiful, relaxing getaway along the Colorado River in Parker. The park features tent and RV camping including beachfront sites, river access and amazing desert hiking trails. It’s also a great spot for fishing, too. Whether you want to spend the day boating or cool off in the water after a beautiful hike, this laidback park is a perfect choice.
At the base of Mt. Graham in Safford sits Roper Lake State Park. This quieter park offers RV and tent camping as well as lakeside cabins and is a fantastic birding destination. The lake includes a beach that stretches along the day-use island that juts into the lake. Combine it with nearby Dankworth Pond State Park, and you’ll have swimming, trails, fishing, boating, kayaking and relaxation to spare.
Lyman Lake State Park sits at a cool 6,000 feet near St. Johns in eastern Arizona. The park offers a huge lake with no sizing restrictions, so it’s perfect for boating, water skiing, kayaking or simply swimming. Stay a while and rent an RV or tent site and take in the eye-catching wildlife or lounge in one of the rustic camping cabins. This remote destination is a must-see.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Phoenix, Arizona’s largest water park, boasts more than 30 thrilling rides. The thrill-seeker Bahama Blaster is a favorite and is the first and only ride of its kind in the world that allows guests to race in tandem tubes down two side-by-side slide tracks. For families and smaller children, Splashwater Beach offers a 4,700-sq.-ft. kid’s pool, interactive play structure, shade and more lounge chairs in a secluded area just for kids and parents.
Where will your summer adventures take you?