The 7 Best Arizona Lakes For Swimming

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: July 5, 2023
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Arizona, with its scorching temperatures and arid climate, is one of the best places to swim year-round. And thankfully, there are many places to do it. Whether you choose a sparkling pool, a spring-fed swimming hole, or a recreational lake, there are many ways to cool off during the summer (or any time). Check out the seven best Arizona lakes for swimming, including their locations, amenities, and activities.

7 Best Arizona Lakes for Swimming
These Arizona lakes are popular destinations for summertime fun!

Like with any natural swimming area, check for up-to-date information on lake closures or swimming prohibitions before you go. Some areas may close swimming beaches and boat ramps due to low water levels or high levels of bacteria.

1. Lake Mohave

Lake Mohave Nevada

Luxurious Lake Mohave. Fantastic fishing and year-round swimming!

©Norm Lane/

Located on the Colorado River, Lake Mohave is a reservoir that extends 67 miles along the Arizona and Nevada border. It was constructed to regulate water released from the Hoover Dam, and today it is also used as a recreational lake. There are two marinas on the Arizona side, where you can launch a boat. And the lake is stocked with fish, including native and introduced game species, for all of your fishing needs. Lake Mohave features seven public swimming beaches where you can relax on the sandy shores and splash in the bright blue water. There are also campgrounds, RV parks, boat launches, fishing tackle, docking areas, and nearby restaurants.

2. Lynx Lake

Lynx Lake

Lynx Lake has two places for public swimming

©Norm Lane/

This 55-acre reservoir is inside the Prescott National Forest in Central-west Arizona. It’s a scenic area perfect for swimming, birdwatching, boating, fishing, hiking, and horseback riding. A 2.5-mile hiking trail goes around the lake, and there are boat docks, bathrooms, picnic tables, and BBQ areas. Lynx Lake can get pretty crowded on extremely hot days, so get there early! There are two places for public swimming: the North Shore and the South Shore. Prescott National Forest allows dogs, and there is even a dog park in the area. However, they must be leashed.

3. Apache Lake

Apache Lake, Arizona, USA

The Apache Lake features music festivals and lakeside camping

©Bernard Gagnon / Creative Commons – License

Apache Lake is a reservoir along the Salt River outside of Phoenix. It’s in the Tonto National Forest and is a popular area for its beautiful scenery and refreshing blue water. Visitors can enjoy swimming, boating, paddling, fishing, water skiing, and other water sports. There are also nearby campgrounds and hiking trails, so you can make a weekend of it. Or you can pitch your tent right on the shore. You can even catch a music festival here from time to time. 

4. Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu is the ultimate summer vacation spot


Lake Havasu is a reservoir along the Colorado River and is one of the most popular lakes in the state, especially in the western region. The city of Lake Havasu sits along its banks, acting as the gateway to water sports and desert activities. Lake Havasu State Park features the famous London Bridge, campsites, swimming beaches, hiking trails, and a unique wildlife-filled garden. Bring your boat, attend a seasonal event, and lounge in the sand. This area is an excellent weekend getaway, where you can stay at resorts, rent jet skis, and splash in the clean, blue water. 

5. Patagonia Lake

Locals and travelers in the know love Patagonia Lake for a fully natural experience without a lot of noise from powered watercraft

©Gabriel Walter Farmer 1/

Patagonia Lake is in Southeastern Arizona in Patagonia Lake State Park. It’s nestled among rolling hills and plentiful wildlife and is a popular destination for recreational activities. While it has a “middle of nowhere” feel, there are campgrounds and rentable cabins near the lake. Pack in your food and stay the weekend for fishing, boating, water sports, hiking, birding, and swimming. Fair warning, though, the area does not have plumbing, wifi, or other modern amenities. But if you like to rough it in nature, Patagonia Lake is for you!

6. Roper Lake

Friends having fun enjoying a summer day swimming and jumping at the lake.

Swimming at Roper Lake is perfect for families

©Zoran Zeremski/

Roper Lake is 32 acres of water in Roper Lake State Park in Southeastern Arizona. The state park is a popular place to camp, swim, and boat. The swimming beach is on the west side of the beach, away from boaters and fishers. And it features a sandy shore with shallow water, perfect for young children to splash and play. The campgrounds are dog friendly and feature a dog run, where you can let your dog run free and play. While it can get crowded depending on the day, there is plenty of room to spread out. Bring your fishing pole, bathing suit, and picnic basket to this lake!

7. Lyman Lake

Lyman Lake

Lyman Lake is a great site for history buffs and nature lovers

©Jonathan Manjeot/

Lyman Lake is one of the largest reservoirs in the state and is popular for recreational activities year-round. You can hike the trails and see petroglyphs and ruins from the native Pueblo. And you can stay the night at the onsite campground. Lyman Lake is excellent for fishing, camping, water skiing, and swimming. The shoreline consists of 1,500 acres, so there is plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the serenity.

Summary of the 7 Best Arizona Lakes For Swimming

#Arizona LakeLocation
1Lake MohaveBetween the Black Mountains of northwestern Arizona and the Eldorado and Newberry Mountains in southern Nevada
2Lynx LakeInside the Prescott National Forest in Central-west Arizona
3Apache LakeAlong the Salt River outside of Phoenix
4Lake HavasuCity of Havasu in western Arizona
5Patagonia LakeIn Southeastern Arizona in Patagonia Lake State Park
6Roper LakeIn Roper Lake State Park in Southeastern Arizona
7Lyman LakeEastern Arizona, 11 miles south of St. Johns and 18 miles north of Springville-Eagar

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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