Discover 6 Stunning Lakes in Arizona That Have Sandy Beaches

Written by Ashley Day
Updated: November 14, 2023
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Arizona’s striking landscapes are home to numerous stunning lakes with sandy beaches glistening under the sun’s embrace. These aquatic havens offer more than just attractive vistas. They provide a symphony of experiences where nature’s beauty and adventure converge. From tranquil moments by the water’s edge to heart-pounding water sports, these lakes cater to every whim. This article will explore five of the best lakes with bountiful beaches and recreational activities. Let’s get started!

6 Stunning Lakes in Arizona That Has Sandy Beaches
These six beautiful lake beaches are great places to swim.

1. Cattail Cove State Park on Lake Havasu

First on our list of stunning lakes in Arizona with sandy beaches is Lake Havasu. It is one of the most popular lakes in Arizona. And nestled along the southern edge is Cattail Cove State Park. This state park is home to a stretch of white-sandy beach and a few other remote sandy beaches that can be accessed on foot. The main beach, and smaller remote beaches, offer visitors an opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of more popular beaches on Lake Havasu.

Seasons and Beaches

Cattail Cove State Park graces the shoreline of the sprawling Lake Havasu, a reservoir formed by the Parker Dam on the Colorado River. This magnificent lake spans across the borders of Arizona and California, its crystal-clear waters serving as a playground for those looking to get in the water, not to mention the numerous beaches surrounding it.

The attraction of Cattail Cove State Park is timeless, with each season bestowing its unique charm. However, the most popular time to visit to enjoy its beaches is undoubtedly during the spring, summer, and fall months when the weather is idyllic for an array of outdoor activities. Fortunately, the lake’s appeal extends throughout the year, allowing visitors to enjoy its splendor in every season. The main beach has convenient amenities the state park provides, such as picnic tables, running water, and bathrooms.


The inviting waters beckon swimmers with its inviting waters, while the beaches invite sunbathers to bask in the glorious sun. Amongst the many activities, visitors can explore the lake’s depths by kayaking, paddleboarding, or canoeing. At the same time, those seeking a bit of a faster exploration can partake in motorized boating, wakeboarding, or jet skiing. Conveniently, a boat launch is not far from the main beach and provides an easy launching point. Fishing is also popular as the lake is abundant with fish such as smallmouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, channel catfish, and largemouth bass.

Cattail Cove State Park offers more than just its beaches. Surrounding the beaches are also campsites and hiking trails, allowing visitors to enjoy a variety of experiences. The park’s commitment to conservation ensures that this picturesque haven remains preserved for generations to come.

Plants and Wildlife

The park’s surroundings are teeming with diverse flora and fauna. On the lake, you might encounter waterfowl gliding gracefully across the surface, from majestic bald eagles to elegant great blue herons. The presence of bighorn sheep and elusive bobcats can be seen along the shores and nearby trails.

The lake’s aquatic ecosystem hosts an array of submerged plants like sago pondweed and Eurasian watermilfoil, which are both invasive species. The park’s arid landscape surrounding the beaches has various plants, including hardy and typical desert vegetation such as sagebrush.

A beautiful view of Lake Havasu

For those seeking lake activities and sandy beaches, Lake Havasu is a popular destination.

©Cheri Alguire/

2. Lake Powell

Lake Powell is an expansive and shimmering jewel adorned with a collection of remote sandy beaches scattered along its shorelines. This reservoir was formed by the Glen Canyon Dam and is fed by the Colorado River. This sanctuary of water and wilderness spans Arizona and Utah, offering a bounty of experiences for those seeking remote beaches.

Seasons and Beaches

Lake Powell has numerous remote sandy beaches that dot its expansive shoreline. From the easy access of Lone Rock Beach, slightly north of the Arizona border, to the numerous un-named remote sandy beaches often best reached by boat, these sandy segments allow visitors to connect with the wilderness in a way that stirs the soul. The Utah side of Lake Powell has many well-known locations with sandy beaches, some of which include Warm Creek Bay, Bullfrog Bay, Glen Canyon, Halls Creek Bay, and Wahweap Bay.

The most coveted time to explore Lake Powell’s beaches is during the balmy spring and scorching summer months into early fall before the cold sets in. The sun-drenched days make for perfect conditions to indulge in many activities, such as sunbathing. Yet, Lake Powell itself is not confined to a single season. With its mild winters, this oasis offers a year-round waterscape for those seeking exploration and solitude amidst this captivating location.


The many sandy beaches of this lake serve as gateways to boundless adventures. Water lovers can partake in swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, and motorized boating, gliding through the crystal-clear waters that stretch for miles and miles. Visitors can experience the exhilaration of wakeboarding, jet skiing, and waterskiing. At the same time, anglers can cast their lines into the depths to reel in smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, channel catfish, striped bass, walleye, and crappies. The soft sands invite picnics and sandcastle crafting. At the same time, the serene ambiance is ideal for unwinding and soaking up the sun’s warm embrace. 

The beaches here are not void of amenities. While some beaches are primitive, others offer facilities such as restrooms, camping sites, and boat ramps. The National Park Service strives to preserve the area’s pristine beauty, ensuring that future generations can revel in its untouched charm. However, many remote beaches do not offer amenities and are often only accessible by boat. Visitors must come prepared to be self-sufficient. All visitors must also practice Leave No Trace principles, such as packing out whatever they bring (including litter and human waste), to protect the environment and preserve it for future generations.

Plants and Wildlife

Animal life here is expansive. The shimmering depths are home to fish such as rainbow trout, striped bass, and channel catfish. On the land, the surrounding desert landscape offers glimpses of desert mule deer and sandhill cranes.

Adorned with the hardy flora of the Southwest, visitors can find various species of flora. Desert plants such as Atwood’s evening primrose and prickly pear cacti thrive amidst the arid landscapes.

Man on Boat in Arizona

Across Arizona and Utah, Lake Powell is home to numerous remote beaches, often only accessible by boat.


3. Windsor Beach on Lake Havasu 

Another sandy beach perched on the inviting shores of Lake Havasu in Arizona is Windsor Beach. It emerges as a splendid sandy haven within Lake Havasu State Park. It is a popular destination near Lake Havasu City’s London Bridge. The beach also boasts striking panoramic views of the mountains beyond the lake.

Seasons and the Beach

Windsor Beach finds its home on the glistening expanse of Lake Havasu, a reservoir. This majestic lake, stretching between Arizona and California, embraces Windsor Beach on the Arizona side of the lake.

The sun-drenched magnetism of the sandy beach that is Windsor Beach is most vibrant during the warmer seasons, particularly spring and summer. These times see a flurry of activities as visitors flock to enjoy the crystalline waters and pristine sands. However, visitors’ enjoyment of Lake Havasu doesn’t fade with the changing seasons; it stands as a year-round attraction for those seeking lakeside fun.


At Windsor Beach, the spectrum of possibilities is as boundless as the horizon. The cerulean waters lure visitors itching to get in or on the water. Swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding are popular shoreside activities. While sailing enthusiasts set sail to explore further. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, water skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing offer heart-pounding thrills. Fishing is also popular here casting lines to lure catfish, bass, and more from the depths. The soft sands invite picnics, sandcastle crafting, and beach volleyball while sunbathing is a cherished pastime under the warm sun. There is also a scenic hiking trail that leads to an interpretive garden.

Windsor Beach thrives within Lake Havasu State Park, which encompasses it in the natural world. The park furnishes facilities like picnic areas, restrooms, and even campgrounds, ensuring that every need is met for an unforgettable outing. Nearby, the town of Lake Havasu City adds an array of opportunities and establishments to cater to every whim.

Plants and Wildlife

The waters off of Windsor Beach are home to many species of fish and mollusks, such as the quagga mussel. Along the shores, visitors may glimpse coyotes or peregrine falcons amongst the surrounding rugged beauty.

Meanwhile, plants such as creosote bushes, mesquite trees, and golden pothos thrive amidst the arid landscape. The lake’s watery embrace cradles submerged aquatic plants like spiny naiad.

Fisherman at Lake Havasu, Arizona, USA

Lake Havasu has opportunities to connect with secluded nature and beaches, yet with the convenience of Lake Havasu City nearby.

©Laurens Hoddenbagh/

4. Boulder Beach on Patagonia Lake

Next on our list of stunning lakes in Arizona with sandy beaches is Patagonia Lake. Boulder Beach is a sandy beach on this stunning lake within Patagonia Lake State Park in Arizona. Located in southern Arizona, this lovely site offers a variety of beach and water activities.

Seasons and the Beach

Boulder Beach finds its home on the pristine shores of Patagonia Lake, a serene sandy oasis within Santa Cruz County. The 2.5-mile-long, 250-acre expanse of Patagonia Lake beckons all during the summer months, offering a haven of sun-dappled waters against the scorching sun.

Boulder Beach is most popular during the warm seasons, particularly spring, summer, and early fall when the sun casts its golden glow across the desert state. These times witness vast amounts of beachgoers partaking in a variety of activities. However, like most lakes in Arizona, it remains open for exploration throughout the year.


Boulder Beach offers all the pleasures many state park beaches typically provide. The crystalline waters offer an excellent refuge for swimmers, while kayakers and paddleboarders can glide across the lake’s serene surface. Visitors can set sail on boats, partaking in waterskiing or wakeboarding, while the shores become a canvas for sandcastles, picnics, and sunbathing. Fishing is also popular on Patagonia Lake, with various fish species to seek out. Young or old, Boulder Beach is a pleasant destination to cool off and soak up the summer ambiance.

Surrounded by the embrace of Patagonia Lake State Park, Boulder Beach benefits from a rich array of amenities. The park grants access to picnic areas, campsites, boat launches, a marina, and nature trails, ensuring visitors can explore with convenience.

Plants and Wildlife

Patagonia Lake’s azure waters host various fish species, including bass, trout, and sunfish. Visitors can find terrestrial creatures around Boulder Beach and the lake, such as white-tailed deer, javelinas, foxes, or the black hawk, an endangered species on the IUCN Red List.

Surrounding Boulder Beach is a mosaic of desert flora. Cottonwoods, willows, sycamores, and mesquites thrive amidst the arid landscape. At the same time, cattails and water lilies grace the lake’s shores, contributing to the vibrant ecosystem.

Patagonia Lake is one of the best lakes for swimming in Arizona.

©Gabriel Walter Farmer 1/

5. Canyon Lake Scenic Beach on Canyon Lake

Visitors can find Cayon Lake Scenic Beach in Tonto National Forest within the Arcadia Recreation Site. This beach is located on Canyon Lake, a reservoir with a surface area of 950 acres. This location offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy sandy beaches and water activities. 

Seasons and the Beach

Canyon Lake Scenic Beach resides amid the rugged landscapes of Arizona, making it one of the most stunning lakes in Arizona with sandy beaches. The lake’s shimmering expanse mirrors the often gorgeous skies, and the cool waters offer a refreshing respite from the intense desert heat.

Canyon Lake Scenic Beach is most popular during the warm summer months, though it also sees crowds in the spring and early fall seasons. These seasons see an influx of visitors seeking aquatic escapades and leisurely beach days. Canyon Lake is also a year-round destination for other activities, such as fishing.


The enjoyment of Canyon Lake extends far beyond its beautiful waters. Visitors can dive into various activities that immerse them in the natural world. The inviting waters offer a refreshing sanctuary for swimmers and tubers. At the same time, kayaking, paddleboarding, and canoeing allow people to glide upon the lake’s serene surface and explore its expansive shorelines. Motorized boating is also an option, with a nearby boat launch with easy access. And fishing is yet another popular activity. Anglers can catch various species of bass, catfish, and trout from the lake’s considerable depths of nearly 130 feet at its deepest. The sandy shores invite picnics, sunbathing, and gatherings, while the surrounding trails cater to hikers.

Canyon Lake Scenic Beach thrives within the embrace of Tonto National Forest, a haven for anyone seeking a pristine outdoor environment. The beach offers amenities such as picnic areas and restrooms to ensure a comfortable visit. Nearby marinas and establishments cater to visitors’ needs, adding convenience to the adventure.

Plants and Wildlife

Canyon Lake’s aquatic world teems with life, including various fish species such as rainbow trout and largemouth bass. Along the shores, desert fauna abounds, with creatures such as white-tailed deer, coyotes, and even bald eagles gracing the landscape.

Canyon Lake’s surroundings flourish with desert flora. Mesquite trees, saguaro cacti, and brittlebush bloom amidst the arid landscape.

Canyon Lake Arizona

Canyon Lake in Arizona is surrounded by stunning rock formations and arid landscapes.

©Dean Pennala/

6. Roosevelt Lake Beach on Theodore Roosevelt Lake

Last on our list of stunning lakes in Arizona with sandy beaches is Theodore Roosevelt Lake. A sandy beach, in particular, is Roosevelt Lake Beach along the northern shores of this sprawling lake. It is a resplendent playground where beach and water activities are plentiful, and visitors can revel in both tranquility and adventure, creating memories of Arizona’s natural beauty.

Seasons and the Beach

Roosevelt Lake Beach finds its serene abode on the shores of Theodore Roosevelt Lake, a vast reservoir cradled within the embrace of Arizona’s Tonto National Forest. It is northeast of Canyon Lake by roughly 35 miles. The lake is surrounded by stunning beauty, creating a mesmerizing panorama.

Spring, summer, and early fall are the prime seasons to enjoy Roosevelt Lake Beach. These seasons draw visitors from far and wide to savor aquatic delights and sun-kissed days. The lake is a stunning destination, no matter the time of year.


Theodore Roosevelt Lake serves as a canvas for an array of outdoor experiences. The inviting waters invite swimmers to immerse themselves in refreshing coolness. Kayaking, paddleboarding, canoeing, and motorized boating transform the lake into a playground. The lake’s depths offer abundant fishing as well. Some fish species include flathead catfish, channel catfish, black crappie, bluegill, and yellow bass. The sandy shores welcome picnics, sun-soaked relaxation, family gatherings, camping, and sandcastle crafting, while the surrounding trails invite hikers to explore the arid landscapes.

Roosevelt Lake Beach has amenities like camping sites, picnic tables, fire pits with grills, and restrooms. There is also a marina located 8 miles down the lake. Visitors can launch boats from various access points around the lake’s shores.

Plants and Wildlife

Roosevelt Lake’s depths teem with aquatic life, including numerous fish species. Around the lake, the Tonto National Forest is a wildlife sanctuary, hosting creatures such as various species of deer and birds roaming the landscape.

The Tonto National Forest surrounding Roosevelt Lake is home to many plant species, including mesquite trees, cockle burr, and Bermuda grass. These common plants reside amidst the arid landscape creating a harmonious blend of desert beauty.

Theodore Roosevelt Lake Recreation Area in Tonto National Forest, Arizona, USA

Theodore Roosevelt Lake has many recreational opportunities, including camping, swimming, hiking, and boating.


Summary of 6 Stunning Lakes in Arizona That Have Sandy Beaches

Sandy Beach Lake Where Beach is Located
1Cattail Cove State Park BeachLake Havasu
2Lake Powell BeachLake Powell
3Windsor BeachLake Havasu
4Boulder BeachPatagonia Lake
5Canyon Lake Scenic BeachCanyon Lake
6Roosevelt Lake BeachTheodore Roosevelt Lake


In the rugged American Southwest, various stunning lakes in Arizona have sandy beaches and breathtaking views beckoning those seeking a relaxing respite from the desert heat. From the sun-kissed shores of Lake Havasu to the tranquil haven of Theodore Roosevelt Lake, the spectral that is Lake Powell, the captivating beauty of Canyon Lake, and the serenity of Patagonia Lake, each destination offers similar experiences yet offers its unique qualities.

These lakes, each cradled within the embrace of nature’s bounty, offer a variety of activities that cater to all. The warm sun-kissed sands invite picnics, playing in the sand, and leisurely lounging. The pristine waters offer extensive opportunities for swimmers, boaters, and anglers alike. There are endless opportunities to explore the vast waters, shorelines, or surrounding arid landscapes. There are lasting memories to be made year-round at any of these delightful lakes, all while surrounded by immense beauty.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Galyna Andrushko/

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About the Author

Ashley is a writer for A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on wildlife, nature conservation, the environment, and pets. As a writer and wildlife photographer, Ashley has been writing, photographing, and researching about animals and the environment for over eight years. Ashley is a resident of the Pacific Northwest, where she enjoys being out in nature, hiking, and scouring local bookshops. Insatiably curious and drawn to knowledge, she has a passion for sharing the wonder of the natural world with others.

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