The 5 Cheapest Lakes in Arizona to Buy a Second Home

Written by Theresa Pogach
Published: October 3, 2023
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Arizona, renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and abundant lakes, offers many affordable opportunities to own a house by the water. While lakefront properties in some areas may come with a hefty price tag, there are plenty of budget-friendly options for those seeking a tranquil lakeside lifestyle. Let’s explore five popular and relatively affordable lakes where you can own a house in Arizona, along with essential details to help you make an informed choice.

1. Lake Pleasant

Fishing at Lake Pleasant

Fishing and other recreational sports are popular on Lake Pleasant.

©Roger Siljander/

Lake Pleasant, situated just 25 miles northwest of Phoenix, presents an appealing option for those seeking an affordable lakeside home. With a median home price of around $450,000, it offers a perfect blend of affordability and accessibility. The lake, surrounded by the stunning desert landscape, provides ample boating, fishing, swimming, and water sports opportunities. Beyond the water, you can enjoy golfing, dining, shopping, and entertainment in nearby towns like Surprise, Peoria, Glendale, Sun City, and Scottsdale.

House for Sale: This charming 4 bedroom, 2 bath home includes a large porch with a built-in jacuzzi. It also boasts manicured grounds surrounded by hundreds of acres of natural beauty. This lake haven is available for $395,000.

2. Lake Havasu 

Lake Havasu Arizona

Lake Havasu has 60 miles of waterways.

©Pamela Au/

Located approximately 150 miles west of Phoenix, Lake Havasu is another fantastic choice for lakefront living in Arizona. While it comes with a slightly higher median home price of around $500,000, the stunning scenery and abundant recreational opportunities make it worthwhile. Lake Havasu City and its iconic London Bridge offer a vibrant atmosphere, numerous water-based activities, golfing options, and a diverse dining and entertainment scene. Nearby towns include Bullhead City, Kingman, and Laughlin.

House for Sale: When you’re not on the lake, enjoy the beautiful pool and modern amenities of this 3 bedroom, 2 bath home. It’s sure to be a relaxing retreat a short distance from the shores of Lake Havasu. 

3. Roosevelt Lake

Roosevelt Dam Bridge behind a stunning sky and of course over the beautiful lake.

Hiking and exploring nature are popular pastimes along Roosevelt Lake.

©Andrew Hanning/

For those who prefer a quieter, more remote lakeside experience, Roosevelt Lake, situated about 100 miles east of Phoenix, is an excellent choice. With a median home price of approximately $350,000, it’s an affordable option for nature enthusiasts. The surrounding area boasts hiking trails, secluded camping spots, and excellent fishing opportunities. The nearby towns of Tonto Basin, Roosevelt, and Globe provide essential amenities and a close-knit community.

House for Sale: This 3 bedroom, 2 bath home will have you cooking up the fish you catch in style! Its chef’s kitchen and open floor plan are perfect for hosting friends after a long day on the lake. 

4. Alamo Lake

Alamo Lake and Artillery Peak

The remote location of Alamo Lake offers solitude and affordable living.

©duroc2006 / Creative Commons – License

 Alamo Lake, located roughly 200 miles southwest of Phoenix, offers an ideal retreat for those seeking solitude and affordability. With a median home price of just $250,000, this remote oasis is perfect for fishing, boating, and stargazing enthusiasts. Alamo Lake State Park is a highlight, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities. Nearby towns such as Wenden, Vicksburg, and Parker offer essential services and a taste of small-town Arizona life

House for Sale: Homes are hard to come by in this small rural area. However, if you are game for a project, plots of land do become available occasionally, and you can always keep a search in Alamo Lake active.

5. Patagonia Lake

Patagonia Lake

The beauty of the lake ties in wonderfully to the slower pace of life.

©Burley Packwood / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

Patagonia Lake, nestled about 250 miles southeast of Phoenix, provides an affordable lakeside experience with a median home price of approximately $300,000. This serene retreat is surrounded by lush greenery, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a cooler climate and a slower pace of life. Activities at Patagonia Lake include fishing, boating, camping, hiking, wildlife viewing, and dining. Nearby towns, including Patagonia, Sonoita, and Elgin, offer a charming taste of southern Arizona living.

House for Sale: Lake Patagonia Ranch Estates offer brand new construction and ample space, with this property boasting nearly 10 acres and 3 bedrooms 2 baths designed with style and amenities in mind.

When selecting a lakefront property in Arizona, consider several crucial factors:

Proximity to Major Cities

When choosing a location for your Arizona lake house, one of the first factors to consider is your preference for proximity to major cities. Arizona offers diverse options, from lakeside properties close to bustling metropolises like Phoenix to more secluded and remote spots.

  1. Proximity to Phoenix: If you thrive on the convenience of urban amenities, entertainment, and a bustling lifestyle, living near Phoenix might be your ideal choice. The city is not only Arizona’s capital but also its most significant, offering a wide array of cultural events, shopping centers, dining options, and professional services. Being close to Phoenix ensures easy access to major airports, healthcare facilities, and a vibrant social scene. You can balance the tranquility of lakefront living with the excitement of city life.
  2. Seclusion and Remote Locations: On the other hand, if you yearn for solitude, peaceful natural surroundings, and an escape from the noise and crowds of city living, you might prefer a more remote lakefront property. Arizona boasts numerous picturesque lakes in less densely populated areas, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature, enjoy the serenity of the wilderness, and experience a slower pace of life. Keep in mind that these areas may have limited access to certain amenities, so careful planning is essential.


Arizona is renowned for its hot and dry climate, but there are still variations across the state. When selecting a lakefront property, consider your temperature preferences and how they align with the region’s climate.

  1. Hot Desert Climate: The majority of Arizona experiences a hot desert climate characterized by scorching summers and mild winters. If you enjoy year-round warmth and minimal precipitation, lakes in the southern and central parts of the state are your best bet. Locations like Lake Havasu, known for its sweltering summers and mild winters, might be appealing.
  2. High Desert Climate: Northern Arizona offers a high desert climate with cooler summers and occasionally cold winters. Lakes in this region are ideal if you prefer milder summers and the possibility of snow during the winter months.

Activities and Amenities

Your interests and hobbies play a significant role in choosing the right lake for your lifestyle. Consider the following:

  1. Boating Enthusiasts: If you love boating, water skiing, or fishing, look for lakes that permit these activities. Saguaro Lake, for example, is popular among boaters and water sports enthusiasts.
  2. Golfers: Arizona is known for its world-class golf courses. Find a lake house close to golf courses if you’re passionate about the sport. The Scottsdale area is renowned for its golfing options.
  3. Hikers and Outdoor Enthusiasts: If hiking, camping, and outdoor adventures are your passions, explore lakes near national parks or forests.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Arizona can vary significantly depending on the location. Here’s how to factor it into your decision:

  1. Urban vs. Rural: Generally, urban areas like Phoenix and its suburbs tend to have a higher cost of living due to increased demand for housing, services, and entertainment. Rural areas, on the other hand, are often more affordable, but they may have limited access to certain amenities.
  2. Property Costs: Research the cost of lakefront properties in different areas. Waterfront properties tend to be more expensive, but you may find more affordable options in less crowded regions.
  3. Taxes and Utilities: Consider property taxes, utilities, and other ongoing expenses when assessing the overall cost of living. Some areas may have lower property taxes, which can impact your long-term budget.
  4. Commute Costs: If you choose a remote location, factor in the cost and time associated with commuting to major cities if needed.

Arizona’s affordable lakeside retreats provide the perfect opportunity to embrace a tranquil and picturesque lifestyle without breaking the bank. Whether you opt for the proximity of Lake Pleasant or the solitude of Alamo Lake, these budget-friendly options cater to various preferences. Assess your priorities and embark on your journey to own a piece of Arizona’s captivating lakeside paradise!

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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