Outdoor and Active

There’s so much to do at Tempe Town Lake

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 annual events, such as Four Peaks Oktoberfest at Tempe Town Lake, the Innings Festival and IRONMAN Arizona. 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.

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. Kayak rentals range from $25/hour (single) to $35/hour (double) and both come with life jackets. They recently added Swan Pedal Boats to their inventory. They are totally adorable and start at $40 an hour. 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. Paddleboard rates start at $15/hour. You can find a full list of boats and rental rates here.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Toni Smith
Written Toni Smith

An Arizona native, Toni Smith loves to dine out, conquer hiking trails, go to concerts and survive hot yoga classes. She has also never met a dog she didn’t love instantly. She lives in Tempe with her husband and daughter.