Arizona is home to the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River, not to mention blistering summers and a rich history of the American Wild West. While there are plenty of bustling cities and monuments to explore, there are lots of small towns worth a visit.
Though Arizona is well known for its deserts and rock formations, there are numerous beaches to which visitors are drawn. Because of the scorching summer heat, you'll want to spend your days relaxing on the beaches of the area. Plus, you can indulge in plenty of water activities, including swimming, jet skiing, fishing, boating, kayaking, and more.
Lake Havasu City
Lake Havasu City sits on the California-Arizona border and the eastern shore of Lake Havasu, part of the Colorado River. With 643 kilometers of coastline, there are plenty of sandy beaches lining the shores, ideal for swimming in the vibrant blue waters of the lake. There are also 355 species of desert birds, perfect for anyone with an interest in birdwatching and a pair of binoculars.
Another spot to visit is the London Bridge. Originally built across the River Thames in London, England, the London Bridge was purchased for $2.4 million and dismantled in 1967, and is now in Lake Havasu City across the Bridgewater Channel. After you enjoy the beauty of the bridge, head out on a hiking or biking excursion at SARA Park, or one of the many trails located throughout the town.
One of the most beautiful river towns in Arizona, Parker sits along the Colorado River, home to over fifty miles of farmland and endless water activities. Buckskin Mountain State Park is the best spot for an escape in the beautiful desert landscape, not to mention scenic views of the water. The state park is brimming with sandy beaches, ideal for swimming, boating, and camping adventures. Jet skiing, water skiing, and boating are all popular activities in Parker, though there are plenty of bars and restaurants worth a visit. Plus, there are museums, a casino, and even the picturesque Parker Dam, whether you are looking for a taste of history, a big win, or a beautiful view.
Divided by the United States-Mexico border, Nogales is an important transportation and travel hub, though it also offers a taste of Mexico without having to leave the US. Upbeat music plays in the streets, boasting a unique culture and excitement as you wander the town and explore the different Mexican restaurants and locally owned boutiques.
Bring your binoculars and visit Madera Canyon, a retreat for birds as they escape the winter climates. Peña Blanca Lake is a beautiful spot to stop and take in the quiet, relaxing moments of nature, bordered by grassy hills and full of sparkling blue waters. Enjoy a hike or horseback ride through the trails of Sonoita Creek State Natural Area, where you might even spot a few endangered species.
Home to the Salt River, Tempe is a quiet town with a rich culture. It is just east of Phoenix, and a hub of concerts, dance and comedy shows, and events. The Desert Botanical Garden is the best spot to stop for a photo op with an abundance of flowers and cacti. The downtown streets offer endless shopping options, as well as plenty of restaurants and bars.
The Salt River is home to many beautiful animals, including herons, egrets, and ducks, but it is also a popular hub for tubing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and camping. If you are in search of sandy beaches, however, pay a visit to Tempe Town Lake, home to numerous festivals each year, and the perfect spot to relax, paddle board, or go for a sunset walk.
With over a dozen Mexican restaurants and a locally-owned tortilla factory, Safford is the place to be if you want a taste of Mexican food and culture. Though the town is small, it will fill your belly with food and your heart with love and adventure. Drive along the Black Hills Back Country or Coronado Trail scenic byways, or pay a visit to the Gila River, full of scenic views, a rich history, and adorable critters and wildlife.
Visit Roper Lake State Park to enjoy the beautiful beaches of the town, where you can swim, sunbathe, and tell scary stories around campfires. There are also mineral springs, perfect for anyone on the hunt for some pure and utter relaxation. If you are looking to hike, horseback ride, camp, or hunt, be sure to visit Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness.
Best known for its distinct red rock formations, Page is home to some of the best outdoor adventures in Arizona. Lake Powell, the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, and Monument Valley are all nearby, ideal for anyone looking to sight-see during the day and relax at night. You can also take a guided hiking tour of Antelope Canyon or spend hours rafting on the Colorado River.
If you want to indulge in some sandy activities, Wahweap Beach is the place to be. It isn't too crowded and the clear blue waters are perfect for swimming and spending a relaxing day. There are numerous camping spots, as well as hotels and inns, so you can extend your stay.
Known as one of the most historical towns in Arizona, Yuma sits on the Colorado River near the Mexican border. It earns a spot in the Guinness World Records as the "Sunniest Spot on Earth," though it is also home to US Army warehouses that play an important role in the military. The Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park is another interesting spot, where the buildings of a Wild West–era prison are still standing.
With 310 sunny days each year, you'll want to spend as much time outside as possible in Yuma. You can offroad along the Imperial Sand Dunes, hike and bike along endless trails, or canoe and kayak along the Colorado River. You will also find Centennial Beach along the riverside, perfect for kicking back and relaxing after a day of fun in the sun.
Arizona's Beaches Welcome You
While paying a visit to the Grand Canyon or Colorado River, be sure to stay a little while at one of these Arizona beach towns. You will find plenty of exciting activities, with plenty to do in and out of the water. Whether you are there to swim and fish or build sand castles and relax on the beach, the possibilities are endless. Stop along the way for some of the most picturesque views in the world, taking in all the beauty Arizona has to offer.