NOTE: To help cope with the new stresses that we are all facing due to COVID-19, you may want to get outside and enjoy the Arizona sunshine. View our blog about outdoor options in Tempe during COVID-19. You can practice social distancing and experience the outdoors at the same time. And check out the City of Tempe’s website for the latest updates on closures. ***Please note, swimming at Tempe Town Lake is never permitted.
Tempe Town Lake is the perfect spot to experience some fun and enjoy the outdoors. It’s a bit unexpected for visitors to find a large body of water right in the heart of the city, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Tempe Town Lake. The lake and the surrounding Tempe Beach Park are home to many events. Check out our events page for upcoming events. Besides attending a festival, the lake is a nice place to visit throughout the year.
Located on the northwest corner of Mill Ave. and Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe Town Lake is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Arizona. This two mile long lake is so much more than just something nice to look at when you’re driving on the 202.
Rent a boat
Boat Rentals of America – Tempe Town Lake, located on the south shore at Tempe Beach Park, offers visitors the opportunity rent all kinds of watercraft. If you’re with a group of friends, I suggest checking out the electric boats. The 21′ electric surrey can hold up to 12 people and comes equipped with a radio and dining table. It costs $98/hour, which is a pretty good deal if you split the cost amongst the people in your group. But some of the more popular rentals are kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. There are two kayak options to choose from: single and double. They are sit-on-top kayaks, kind of similar to how a canoe might look. They recently added Swan, Duck and Dragon Pedal Boats to their inventory. They are totally adorable. My personal favorite is the stand-up paddleboard (SUP). I know, it looks difficult and everyone thinks they’ll fall off, but I’m here to tell you it’s easier than you think. All the paddleboards have a traction grip that you stand on. Yes, it’s a bit of a balancing act but it’s pretty easy to stay on. You can find a full list of boats and rental rates here.
Stand-up paddleboard yoga
Another fun Tempe Town Lake activity that not too many people know about is stand-up paddleboard yoga. Yogis paddle out onto the lake in a group and participate in a class that features traditional yoga moves and meditation. The classes are really fun, but expect to find that familiar yoga poses are totally different on the water. A good sense of humor is a requirement! Visit the City of Tempe website for more information about SUP yoga at Tempe Town Lake. Search for “yoga” in the activities search box to find upcoming classes.
Go for a run
If you’re more of land lover, you can still enjoy the lake from the shore. Grab your sneakers and go for a jog along the 5-mile path around Tempe Town Lake. The pedestrian bridge, located by the Tempe Center for the Arts, connects the paved north and south shore sidewalks for those of you wanting to a longer run. From the north side of the lake, you can cross back over the water by using the stairs that are located near the southbound Mill Avenue bridge. Take a quick right and you’ll be on the sidewalk for the bridge that takes you back to the entrance of the park along Rio Salado Parkway.
Enjoy a bike ride
If you’re not a runner, I would suggest renting a bicycle from The Bicycle Cellar, located at Fifth St. and Forest Ave. in Downtown Tempe in the Tempe Transportation Center. You can also borrow a bike from the Grid Bikes station located at Mill Ave. and Rio Salado Parkway (on both the east and west side of the intersection). Or, try your skills on an electric scooter or bike that can be rented throughout downtown and in Tempe Beach Park. Enjoying a fun ride along the water isn’t something that you’d expect in the desert, but it’s just one thing that makes Tempe a truly special place.
Fishing at Tempe Town Lake is another popular activity to enjoy the lake. Trout, bass, catfish and sunfish can all be found in the Tempe Town Lake’s waters. Make sure you have the proper fishing license before dropping your line. Those ages 14 and older must have a valid Arizona Fishing License to cast a line into Tempe Town Lake. Fishing licenses can be purchased at any Arizona Game and Fish office, at most fishing supply stores or sporting good stores. Trout is stocked in every month from November until February, depending on water conditions, and bass, catfish and sunfish can be caught year-round.
Explore public artwork
And, last but not least, in a college town like Tempe, you can expect art at every turn and that’s definitely true at Tempe Town Lake. There are lots of public artworks along the lake, from the lights that line the Valley Metro Rail bridge to the “Words Over Water” tiles that line the south shore of the lake. Use the City of Tempe brochure to take a self-guided tour of Tempe Town Lake public art.
For more information about things to do in Tempe, visit our website or call 480-894-8158.