Although technically there are no beaches in Arizona as the state is landlocked entirely, there are plenty of lakes, rivers and reservoirs.
Arizona is one of the few states in the USA with volumes of water greater than all the states on the west coast combined, spanning from the deep blue waters near Mexico to the pristine white sand found in Northern Arizona.
So if you are looking to escape the blistering temperatures of the Grand Canyon State, you can choose from hidden beaches, secret swimming holes, refreshing rivers and numerous lakes, all set amidst gorgeous rock formations and majestic canyons to cool off with your family.
On Arizona’s best beaches, you can enjoy a wide range of activities, including sailing, fishing, water skiing, and jet boating.
You can even go camping near some of these beaches, ideal for those seeking an outdoor holiday.
Plus, most of these beaches have all-out beach-facing resorts, making them ideal for a relaxing beach getaway with your loved ones.
TOP BEACHES IN ARIZONA
TEMPE BEACH PARK
One of the most visited beaches in Arizona is Tempe Beach Park, among the busiest, attracting large crowds most of the year, especially during the holiday weekends and hotter months.
This famous beach has no shortage of activities, offering something for every type of traveler.
You can enjoy skating on the lake, renting paddle boats or kayaks the lake, enjoy walking, jogging, and going hiking.
There is also a splash playground, picnic areas, grassy fields, boating facilities, baseball and athletic fields
If you time it right, you may also attend one of the many famous festivals of Arizona or the US Tempe Beach Park is a famous venue for festivals and events throughout the year.
CATTAIL COVE STATE PARK
One of the top beaches in Arizona is located at Cattail Cove State Park, a stunning 2,000-acre park. Situated on Lake Havasu’s eastern shore, about a 25-minutes drive, the park encompasses 61 campsites and boat ramps.
The main lake, 45 miles long, is a popular summer getaway thanks to the many fantastic hiking trails, grills, and picnic tables, apart from camping. You can enjoy fishing largemouth, flathead catfish, crappie, bluegill, and striped bass.
The best time to go hiking is in March when the wildflowers bloom.
In the park’s day use area, there is a beautiful sandy beach where you can go kayaking, paddle boarding, or swimming. There are well-maintained bathrooms and shower facilities at Cattail Cove.
While in Cattail Cove, check out the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge, home to 355 species of birds and many reptiles, butterflies, and mammals.
Entry Fees – Day use ($10-15); Overnight parking ($15-20)
LAKE HAVASU STATE PARK
Among the most popular beaches in Arizona is Lake Havasu State Park, located in the northwest corner of Lake Havasu City, just upstream from London Bridge.
Lake Havasu State Park is home to many fabulous white sand beaches along the Colorado River in western Arizona.
Lake Havasu was created when Parker Dam dammed the Colorado River, and Lake Havasu State Park stretches along the lake’s beautiful shores.
It is known for 47 great campsites, three boat ramps for all kinds of boats, and stunning beaches.
Skier’s Island has a beautiful natural cove, popular with water skiers and wakeboarders.
If you are looking for a relaxing beach for a stroll along the shore, check out the wide Sand Bar spanning a half-mile-long, located about one mile north of Blankenship Bend.
No matter the area you want to explore, you can enjoy plenty of activities, including boating, swimming, hiking, sunbathing, picnicking, and fishing near these beaches.
One of the shortest beaches in Arizona is Body Beach, located on the eastern shore of Lake Havasu.
This half-mile body beach is a beautiful stretch of sand, packed with activities, from boating to sunbathing to jet skiing. There is also a nudist section if you want to relax in your birth suit.
Located on the southern outskirts of Lake Havasu State Park, Windsor is one of the best beaches in Arizona, known for its magnificent sunsets and its sprawling sands.
This isolated beach overlooking the gorgeous mountains is the perfect secluded retreat for a quiet day out with your loved ones, which draws fewer crowds compared to other beaches in the Lake Havasu area.
The beach has many areas dedicated to water sports like sailing, boating, fly skiing, jet skiing and fishing. Hikers can access the many trails leading to stunning views of the coastline.
If you are traveling with kids, meadows and playgrounds around the beach are perfect for them. Well-kept restrooms are available near the waterfront.
LONDON BRIDGE BEACH
Located to the south of the historic London Bridge, which was transported to Lake Havasu City from London, England and rebuilt brick by brick in the 1970s, London Bridge Beach is on a small island to the southeast of Lake Havasu City.
London Bridge Beach is known for its turquoise waters and beautiful fine sand. It is home to playgrounds, swimming areas, picnic areas, beaches, grassy parks, BBQ, basketball and sand volleyball courts.
You can also try kayaking and stand-up paddleboard for a thrilling water adventure.
Located on the Colorado River’s southern bank, Centennial Beach is a city beach in Yuma regarded as one of the best beaches in Arizona.
Yuma’s waterfront and seashore lie along the Colorado River. Combined with this, the adjacent 110-acre West Wetlands Park, gorgeous views, fantastic wildlife, playgrounds and picnic spots to explore make it an ideal weekend getaway.
Unlike other beaches in Arizona, you can experience the seashore appeal at Centennial thanks to the sandy shores kissed by the sun, which makes it a popular spot for sunbathing.
Check out the 110-acre West Wetlands Park housing the beach, home to many picnic areas, playgrounds, fishing piers, and gardens.
On one of the hiking paths in the Wetlands Park, you will find memorials honouring the US army, including statues representing Mormon Battalion or soldiers from other wars.
The trails also lead along the river through heavy woods and a canopy of cooling shade.
BUCKSKIN MOUNTAIN STATE PARK
One of the best beaches in Arizona is at Buckskin Mountain State Park, located south of the Parker Dam on the Colorado River.
Buckskin Mountain State Park is located between Hedgegate Dam and Parker Dam and is approximately 18 miles long.
You can also play volleyball, swim, and basketball, have a picnic and go boating. Playgrounds for kids and riverside walks, cabana sites and hiking trails.
If you love fishing, you can try fishing for large bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, and carp.
One of the best things about this park is its location. Buckskin Mountain straddles a gorgeous section of the crystalline blue river and rocky desert landscapes on the horizon, offering beautiful views.
RIVER ISLAND STATE PARK
If you are planning a trip to Buckskin Mountain State Park, you can add River Island State Park, home to some of the pretty stretches of Arizona beaches and gorgeous views, located on the Arizona banks of the Colorado River.
You can enjoy various water activities, including water skiing, kayaking and paddleboarding. Rent a boat from the rental shops nearby or have a picnic lunch near the grassy areas.
Hiking trails lead to pretty views, ideal for leisurely walks to enjoy the natural beauty.
The best trail is Wedge Hill Trail which passes through an uphill curve opening to magnificent views.
With over two dozen tent campgrounds overlooking the water, River Island State Park is a popular spot for camping.
The park is crowded almost yearly for fishing because of the evergreen fishing conditions.
ROTARY PARK BEACH
Another one that’s worth adding to the list of beaches in Arizona is Rotary Park Beach, located in Rotary Park, which is known for its warm sands and collection of volleyball courts.
Spanning 40 acres, it has bocce courts, skate parks, tennis, grasslands, hiking trails, picnic areas, basketball and sand beach volleyball courts for you to enjoy, which draws families over the weekends. There is a skate park area and a golf course too.
Since the water is shallow and calm, it is a fantastic beach to visit with young children. To use the picnic tables, you need to reserve them.
The beach area has a section blocked off with buoys reserved for swimming and a boat ramp nearby.
If you want some theme park adventure, you can also stop at the nearby Lake Havasu City Aquatic Center, which offers indoor pools, water slides, and other options.
GATEWAY PARK BEACH
In the northeast corner of Yuma, one of the best beaches in Arizona that draws people for its peaceful location amidst the shaded areas is Gateway Park Beach, set beneath the Kumeyaay or Ocean to Ocean Highway bridge.
You can either choose to relax or swim, enjoy a picnic lunch or try fishing, all perfect ways to escape the scorching heat of the Arizona sun.
BEST BEACHES IN ARIZONA – LAKE POWELL
Also known as the Chains, one of the best beaches in Arizona for a weekend escape is Lake Powell, located to the north of Glen Canyon Dam, which cuts off the Colorado River.
Although swimming is risky here, it’s a prominent relaxing and fishing spot because of the deep waters, which attracts a lot of travelers and fishing enthusiasts to this beach in Arizona State.
With 1,900 miles of shoreline, Lake Powell harbours countless remote beaches amid a colourful labyrinth of canyons. Some of them are easily accessible, and many are secluded.
Here are some beaches in Lake Powell that you should add to your bucket list.
LONE ROCK BEACH
Located on the Arizona side of Lake Powell, Lone Rock beach stretches on for a few miles. It is one of Arizona’s recommended beaches if you plan to go camping as there is a large campsite.
You can launch your boat from one of the several marinas, enjoy sunbathing, or take a relaxing walk along the sandy shores.
There are some pit toilets and a cold outdoor shower facility.
Entry Fees – $14 per vehicle per night
One of the pretty beaches in Arizona is Wahweap Bay, located near Utah Border in Lake Powell.
This sprawling beach is known for its golden sand and crystal-clear water, perfectly backdropped by views of incredible rock formations and mountains.
Thanks to its isolated location, if you are looking for a quiet beach, Wahweap Beach can be an excellent option for you, ideal for swimming, sunbathing and majestic views.
Wahweap Bay is the largest bay of Lake Powell, home to Wahweap Marina for the boaters and campgrounds around Lone Rock Beach and Glen Canyon Dam.
The water is the perfect temperature in the summer and is ideal for cooling off from the desert sun.
If you enjoy hiking, you can plan hikes around many canyons. There are bathrooms, fire rings, showers, laundry, and even Wi-Fi at the campground.
You can rent any watercraft from Wahweap Marina. There is a restaurant, a gift shop, and showers.
With no big waves and plenty of space for all, Wahweap Beach is an excellent place for families.
The beach is slightly rocky, so wearing water shoes is recommended.
Entry Fees – $35 for a 7-Day Pass
PATAGONIA LAKE STATE PARK
One of the beautiful beaches in Arizona is Patagonia Lake State Park, a stunning park located around the 265-acre artificial Patagonia Lake.
It is one of the high-desert sanctuaries located 75 miles south of Tucson.
Also, Arizona’s largest concentration of vineyards and wineries form a part of the magnificent backdrop for this state park.
A popular destination for sunbathing, swimming, camping, boating, kayaking, jet skiing, paddle boarding, water skiing, and hiking, the number of beaches around the lake means you have plenty of space for all these relaxing activities.
Patagonia Lake State Park, established in 1975, is situated amongst South Arizona’s rolling hills and offers some stunning panoramas for visitors.
The lake and the park attract many species of wildlife, including many beautiful migrating birds, the blue herons, canyon towhee, vermilion flycatcher, and Inca pigeon.
You can rent and go boating at the boat ramp, and there is a campground and a picnic area with tables and grills.
The region close to the campsite is famous for fishing. Make sure you spend some time fishing here for a great catch.
Do you know? It’s not all outdoors, and water activities as the place have its fair share of rich history.
The lake’s namesake town was once a supply hub for the mining industry and military. Also, under the water in the lake lies the train tracks from the 1882 New Mexico and Arizona Railroad, which served the mines and military forts.
As the name suggests, Buddha Beach, located in Crescent Moon State Park in Sedona, is one of the best Arizona beaches you should visit if you are looking for a spiritual retreat to connect with nature.
The beach gets its name after the small stacks of rock similar to tiny Buddhas amidst the sands and the shade, which is a respite during a hot day.
To access this beach, take the trail towards Red Rock Crossing. A short one-mile-long hike will lead you to this pretty beach. On the way, you will come across magnificent views of Cathedral Mountain.
You will find people meditating, relaxing and even doing beach, which you can enjoy.
Entrance Fees – $10 per vehicle
ROPER LAKE STATE PARK
A small park on the southern outskirts of Safford, Roper Lake State Park is home to one of the best beaches in Arizona.
Roper Lake is a 400-acre state park on the Gila River, surrounding a lovely 32-acre lake at the foot of gorgeous Mount Graham, a part of the Pinaleño Mountains.
It is a famous relaxation spot offering many activities ideal for families. Enjoy sunbathing, take a relaxing stroll along the white sandy shores, and have a picnic lunch.
For a more active holiday experience, you can lease a boat, rent a paddleboard or canoe, go hiking, fish for bass and trout, or rent a cabin or camp overnight.
You can also explore the waters and sail aboard a small electric motor boat or a canoe. Once done, you can take a relaxing swim or go bird watching or wildlife viewing before joining your friends and family.
BEACHES IN ARIZONA – GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Boat Dock, located on the Colorado River is one of the lovely beaches in Arizona in Grand Canyon National Park on the northern rim near the Phantom Ranch.
You can combine a visit to the beach while exploring Grand Canyon, a perfect way to unwind after wandering in the hot sun all day.
Depending on where you are, you can hike to the beach, which takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour. You can also reach here by rafting the beautiful Colorado River.
The crystal-clear water from Bright Angel Creek finds its way onto the shores of this hidden alcove, and this is the famous starting point for rafting that you can enjoy if you are here during the peak season.
Another stop you should make while visiting Grand Canyon is Redwell Cavern, one of the underrated beaches in Arizona. This stunning cove was carved by the vast Colorado river’s water flowing into the Grand Canyon’s limestone walls.
It is one of the many spots known for its fossils in the Grand Canyon, so check out the exciting and well-preserved fossils.
The overflowing water from the cavern turns into a plunging waterfall if you visit right or after the monsoon.
Among the hidden beaches in Grand Canyon are Football and Owl Beach, created by the curves in the Colorado River.
If you are looking to get away from the famous spots, hit this pair of beaches in Arizona, where most of the time, you may be in the company of a few handfuls of tourists.
You need a boat ride to reach these beaches, and one of the main reasons for the lack of crowds is the not-so-easily accessible path.
You can swim, sunbathe and relax on the beaches. It is best to enjoy a picnic or watch the sunset in Sedona after exploring the mammoth Grand Canyon.
One of the famous attractions in Phoenix is the Pebble Beach Recreation Area. Located on the outskirts of Phoenix, it is one of the most popular beaches in Arizona among families, thanks to its ideal location and the many activities it offers.
On either side of the Bush Highway bridge are sandy river banks forming Pebble Beach.
Since the water is refreshingly excellent year round and close to Phoenix, expect large crowds if you plan to go there on the weekends. It is better to go mid-week to avoid too many visitors.
You can arrive at Pebble Beach by renting a tube. You can enjoy swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, tubing, paddle boarding and rowing.
Entry fees – $ 7-day pass
BUTCHER JONES RECREATION BEACH
Located on Saguaro Lake just a few miles past Pebble Beach on Bush Highway is Butcher Jones Beach, one of the pretty beaches in Arizona known for its shady areas, a privilege given the open, nearby cliffs.
This tiny beach gets packed on the weekends as it has become a famous venue for many water activities.
You can launch your kayak or rent a paddle board or canoes and head to the shores of Saguaro Lake nearby. Swimming is another popular activity here enjoyed by many.
It is a perfect beach for a quick beach retreat to beat the Arizona heat for everyone.
Entry fees – $7 Day Pass
Located deep in the Havasupai Indian Reservation near the Grand Canyon is Havasu Falls, comprising a stunning waterfall and small beach.
Havasu Falls, a beautiful desert oasis is known for its crystal clear turquoise waters surrounded by palm trees and rustic landscapes.
You need to do a lengthy but easy hike to reach these falls, but it is worth visiting this pretty Arizona beach for the rewarding views and very few tourists.
DIAMOND CREEK BEACH
Located on the Colorado River, on the outskirts of the Havasupai Indian Reservation is one of the underrated hidden beaches in Arizona,
Thanks to its isolated location and the need for a permit to visit Diamond Creek Beach, you can have the beach primarily for yourself, ideal for relaxing, swimming in tranquil waters, or enjoying the views of the magnificent Grand Canyon forming beautiful backdrops.
You can sign up for white water rafting just a short way down the river.
Located at Canyon Lake, this may not be your typical sandy beach, but the Acacia recreation area is a popular beach that draws many visitors throughout the year.
Kayaking and paddle boarding on the lake are popular activities through which you can check out the rocky canyons and beautiful coves hidden amidst the cliffs in this no-wake zone beach.
On weekdays, you might have this whole beach to yourself. Swimming is another activity you can enjoy here thanks to the cool and shallow waters.
There are also shaded picnic tables, bathroom facilities, and easy access from the parking lot.
Entry Fees – $7 Day Pass