State Parks To Visit This Summer – Water Edition

Before we get into some great State Parks to visit this summer we want to remind you to practice the LEAVE NO TRACE principles. Please remember to stay on trail, pack out all trash, explore prepared, and follow State Park rules!

Don’t forget to check in with your free and digital Arizona Parks Pass

1. Lake Havasu State Park

Things To Do:

  • Rent one of the 13 lake side cabins
  • Swim at the beach in designated swim areas available
  • Bring/rent a boat or jetski
  • Check out the London Bridge
  • Visit neighboring Cattail Cove SP listed below
  • Check out Go Lake Havasu for more ideas
  • Fees Per Vehicle (1-4 adults):
    $20 (Fri – Sun and holidays)
    $15 (Mon – Thu) Check out the State Park website for more information

While Lake Havasu City gets hot in the summer, the Colorado River and Lake Havasu make it a great place to cool off. Lake Havasu City is a little over 3 hours from the Phoenix area. We enjoyed cooling off in the lake, renting jet skis, and renting kayaks at the neighboring Cattail Cover State Park which we get into below. We also enjoyed going into Lake Havasu City to see the London Bridge and eating in town.

2. Cattail Cove State Park

Things To Do:

  • Rent kayaks or paddleboards
  • Swim at the beach in designated swim areas available
  • Boat up to a campsite & camp
  • If you start early there are trails you can hike
  • Per Vehicle (overnight parking is for unoccupied vehicles at boat accessible campsites only):
    $15 (Mon – Thu)
    $20 (Fri – Sun)

We rented kayaks at Cattail Cove State Park about 20 minutes from Lake Havasu State Park. A lot of boats launch from Lake Havasu State Park so Cattail Cover is a lot calmer to launch kayaks from. We docked our kayaks at a camping spot and took a swim. Our trip was shortly after a heavy monsoon season and some of the shoreline had branches and twigs from the storms. Some of our experience was abnormal.

3. Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area

Things To Do:

  • Rent a canoe or kayak (summer only)
  • Launch boats from boat ramp on either east or west side of the lake
  • Camp at one of the many camp or RV sites
  • Walk the trail around the lake
  • Go into town (Showlow/Pinetop). One of our favorite places to eat is Pinetop Brewery. Their patio is dog friendly!
  • Hike in Pinetop. There are a ton of trails in Pinetop and the surrounding area!
  • Park entrace fee: Mon – Thurs per vehicle (1-4 Adults): $7.00 Fri. – Sun. and holidays per vehicle (1-4 Adults): $10.00 Individual/bicycle: $3.00

Fool Hollow is a great escape from the heat! We camped at one of the RV campsites because we had a Cruise America RV rental. Owen’s parents camped at a tent spot. The sites are dog friendly so we brought our dog, Finnick. We also went to Pinetop and did a hike. We camped in September and had a great time! Also, we had amazing Milky Way nights as you can see in one of the photos.

4. Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Things to do:

  • Float in the Verde River
  • Hike one of the many great trails
  • Walk around the lagoons
  • Bike the Lime Kiln trail connecting Dead Horse State Park to Red Rock State Park
  • Camp at one of the many great campsites
  • Dead Horse Ranch SP is right by Cottonwood. You can go into town and grab lunch and a drink!
  • Park entrance fee: Per vehicle (1-4 Adults): $7.00 Individual/bicycle: $3.00

Dead Rock State Park can still be very hot in the summer, but we enjoyed cooling off in the Verde River, walking around the lagoons, going into Cottonwood, and camping at one of the great campsites. The park is great for fishing or picnicking with plenty of benches and ramadas.

5. Slide Rock State Park

Things to do:

  • Cool off in Oak Creek
  • Slide Rock has a natural rock slides that you are able to slide down
  • This park can get really busy and the parking lot can fill up. We recommend to get there early to secure a spot
  • Please remember to Leave No Trace. This park has been closed in the past due to pollution from visitors. Always pack everything out, including food waste!
  • Park entrance fees depend on the time of the year. Check of Arizona State Parks website for more information

Slide Rock State Park is a great place to cool off in the summer! We visited in the summer on one of our weekend trips, but it’s doable to do as a day trip as well. It’s along Oak Creek and the 89-A Highway. You can visit Sedona or drive up to Flagstaff!

6. Patagonia Lake State Park

Things to do:

  • Rent a cabin or tent site
  • Go swimming! Patagonia Lake allows swimming in any part of the lake except the boat launch areas. There is a roped off swim area at Boulder Beach, but there is no lifeguard on duty. Swimming is at your own risk.
  • Fishing
  • Launch your boat and spend the day on the water or you can rent canoes, rowboats, paddle boats and pontoon boats
  • Go into the city of Patagonia for food/drinks. We enjoyed Patagonia Lumber Company!
  • Per vehicle (1-4 adults): $15-$20
    Individual/bicycle: $3

We haven’t been here in the summer, but this is a great State Park to check out in the summer. We visited in the winter and stayed in one of the park cabins, hiked in Madera Canyon, explored the State Park, and went into Patagonia for dinner & Drinks!

To learn more about the gear we bring on our hikes and in some of the photos above, CLICK HERE

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