The 15 best beaches near Tucson, AZ – the closest lake and ocean beach locations

Tucson is known for its incredible selection of restaurants, luxury ranches and champion golf courses.

It is safe to say that a trip to this beautiful city will make you relax well. But those aren't the only things you can enjoy while you're here.

If you want to spend time in the water, visit the ocean and lake beaches nearby. There are so many beautiful beaches nearby for a day trip, no matter which way you choose to go.

What are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to the best beaches near Tucson, AZ.

1. Montezuma's Fountain

Montezuma's Well

2800 Montezuma Castle Road
Camp Verde, AZ 86322
(928) 567-3322

Montezuma's Well is about 3 hours and 10 minutes from Tucson and is located in Camp Verde.

Why we recommend this beach

Montezuma's Well is a popular place for hiking. It is a crater lake made of limestone, which has a history with the Sinagua Indians in the area.

It's not the right beach spot if you want to go swimming, but the hike and views are worth the trip.

Expert Tip

To enhance your hiking experience, ask your guide lots of questions. The fountain has a rich history and will interest many history buffs throughout the walk.

Recommended hotel near Montezuma's Well: Cliff Castle Casino Hotel

See also: The best activities in Tucson

2. Puerto Penasco

Puerto Penasco

Puerto Penasco is a small resort town in Mexico that is 3 hours and 36 minutes from Tucson. It is also called Rocky Point.

Why we recommend this beach

Take weekend beach trips from Tucson in this beautiful Mexican city. It is known for its most beautiful beaches like Playa Bonita and Tucson Beach.

Each coast is known for something unique. So make sure if you want to experience unique snorkeling (Sandy Beach) or enjoy the nightlife by the sea (El Mirador Beach).

Expert tip

Take the whole brood on a trip? Las Conchas is a six-mile golden sand beach with gentle waves. It is perfect for families of all sizes.

Recommended hotel near Puerto Penasco: Penasco del Sol Hotel & Conference Center-Rocky Point

3. Lake Roosevelt

Lake Roosevelt

28085 AZ-188
Roosevelt, AZ 85545
(602) 977-7170

Roosevelt Lake is a man-made reservoir about 2 hours and 35 minutes from Tucson. It is Arizona's largest lake.

Why we recommend this beach

There are not many beaches in Tucson in particular. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy others like Roosevelt Lake. Here you can walk to the marina, rent a boat, traverse hiking trails for stunning views of the lake, and even fish.

Expert tip

If you want to see the lake but don't plan to go near it, the Roosevelt Lake Visitor Center offers a breathtaking view from its back terrace. You can also check out the Salado artifacts while you're here.

Recommended hotel near Roosevelt Lake: Roosevelt Resort Park

See also:
Best Beaches Near Scottsdale, AZ
Best Beaches in Arizona

4. Catalina State Park – Romero Pools

Catalina State Park - Romero Pools

11570 N Oracle Road
Tucson, AZ 85737
(520) 628-5798

The Romero Pools in Catalina State Park can be visited via the Romero Canyon Trail.

Why we recommend this beach

Would you like to have a fantastic outdoor adventure? Hike to Romero Pools, the closest beach in the area (actually in Tucson). It's not a white sand beach, but you'll still love your time here.

It's a relatively easy hike, and the pools are definitely worth it. Just be careful as the terrain can be rocky and slippery at times.

Expert Tip

Don't stop when you reach the first pools, as most people do. Keep walking and cross the creek. You will be surprised by the many pools and waterfalls you will encounter.

Recommended hotel near Catalina State Park – Romero Pools: La Posada Lodge & Casitas, Ascend Hotel Collection

5. Lake pleasant

41835 N Castle Hot Springs Road
Morristown, AZ 85342
(602) 506-2930

Lake Pleasant in Morristown is a reservoir about 2 hours and 16 minutes from Tucson. Located between the borders of Maricopa and Yavapai counties.

Why we recommend this beach

Take a trip to Lake Pleasant for some family fun. You can take a boat out and spend the day fishing for bass, catfish and black crappie.

Adrenaline junkies can also enjoy water sports during their visit.

Expert Tip

Besides the lake itself, you can also camp and hike around Lake Pleasant. The many things you can do here make it one of the best Tucson beach vacations you can experience.

Recommended hotel near Lake Pleasant: Bluegreen Vacations Cibola Vista Resort and Spa and Ascend Resort

6. Centennial Beach – Yuma

Centennial Beach - Yuma

282 N 12th Avenue
Yuma, AZ 85364
(928) 373-5000

Centennial Beach in Yuma is a riverfront along the Colorado River. It is about 3 hours and 30 minutes from Tucson.

Why we recommend this beach

If you're not looking for an ocean view, the Colorado River is an excellent place to swim. Now you can even lounge on the sandbars of Centennial Beach when you're not in the water.

Expert Tip

The Colorado River is wild, so it's always best to be vigilant when swimming or wading, especially if you're traveling with children. There are no lifeguards at this beach.

Recommended hotel near Centennial Beach – Yuma: Travelodge by Wyndham Yuma

See also: fun things to do in Tucson with kids

7. Slide Rock State Park

Slide Rock State Park

6871 N Highway 89A
Sedona, AZ 86336
(928) 282-3034

Slide Rock State Park in Sedona is about 3 hours and 21 minutes from Tucson. It runs along a half mile of Oak Creek.

Why we recommend this beach

For quick beach trips from Tucson, be sure to check out Slide Rock's natural waterslides. This swimming hole is 80 feet long and slippery, perfect for inflatables all the way down.

It's entertaining and close enough to Tucson that you can go back and forth within the day.

Expert Tip

The rocks at Slide Rock are slippery, so be careful when crossing on foot. You should also be careful when swimming, as there are no lifeguards in the area.

Recommended hotel near Slide Rock State Park: L'Auberge De Sedona

See also:
Best Family Beaches in Arizona

8. Riggs Flat Lake

Riggs Flat Lake

Riggs Flat Lake is located in the Coronado National Forest in Willcox. It's about 3 hours and 26 minutes from Tucson.

Why we recommend this beach

The views from this scenic lake are reason enough to visit. This lake at the end of the Swift Trail is a worthy reward for hikers.

Here you can fish for different species of trout. You can even do this from the middle of the lake while riding a small boat.

Expert Tip

Bring your own food during your excursion. There are plenty of picnic tables in the area for you to use.

Recommended hotel near Riggs Flat Lake: SpringHill Suites Thatcher

9. Locust Point

Sedona, AZ 86336
(928) 203-2900

Grasshopper Point is a popular local swimming hole in the Coconino National Forest in Sedona. It's about 3 hours and 36 minutes from Tucson.

Why we recommend this beach

Make the most of your day by combining hiking and swimming. From Grasshopper Point, you can access three different trails, Allen's Bend, Casner Canyon Trail, and Huckaby Trail.

The swimming hole itself is located on Oak Creek Canyon and is perfectly shaded and cool.

Expert Tip

Visitors to Grasshopper Point love cliff jumping off the rocks, but it's actually discouraged. The swimming hole has different depths and can be rocky, so it can be a dangerous activity. It's best to avoid scuba diving.

Recommended hotel near Grasshopper Point: Sedona Pines Resort

10. Bull Enclosure – Camp Verde

Bull Pen Road
Camp Verde, AZ 86322
(928) 203-2900

Bull Pen is a local swimming hole in the Coconino National Forest in Camp Verde. It's about 3 hours and 29 minutes from Tucson.

Why we recommend this beach

Bull Pen runs along West Clear Creek and is easily accessible and known as a cliff diving hole. Adventure seekers will love jumping off the designated cliffs, some of which are up to 15 feet high.

Toddlers and young children can also enjoy the pool, as it begins with shallow beach access.

Expert Tip

The creek bottom is somewhat gravelly, so it's best to wear water shoes when you visit.

Recommended hotel near Bull Pen – Camp Verde: Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock

11. Patagonia Lake State Park

Patagonia Lake State Park

400 Patagonia Lake Road
Nogales, AZ 85621
(520) 287-6965

Patagonia Lake State Park contains Patagonia Lake, a 250-acre man-made lake. It is about 1 hour and 18 minutes from Tucson.

Why we recommend this beach

Patagonia Lake is already popular with many because of its scenic views, camping and fishing opportunities. But it's also the safest beach for kids near Tucson.

It has clean, shallow water that's perfect for swimming and wading. There are designated areas that are closed off for your safety (however, you can swim outside the area at your own risk).

Expert Tip

Patagonia Lake has a large, wide shoreline where children will enjoy playing. You won't feel cramped and crowded if you could take advantage of this much space.

Recommended hotel near Patagonia Lake State Park: Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Nogales

12. Parker Canyon Lake

Parker Canyon Lake

S Parker Canyon Road
Elgin, AZ 85611
(520) 378-0311

Parker Canyon Lake is located in the Coronado National Forest. This 132-acre lake is about 1 hour and 41 minutes from Tucson.

Why we recommend this beach

Just a bit from the Mexican border, Parker Canyon Lake is an Arizona insider tip that not many visitors know about.

Here you can spend the day fishing and boating. You can even rent some kayaks and glide gently across the water.

Expert Tip

Want to see something similar, but don't want to go inside? This is good. You can also hike and camp around Parker Canyon Lake.

Recommended hotel near Parker Canyon Lake: Best Western Sonora Inn & Suites

See also: Activities near Tucson

13. Cattail Cove State Park

Cattail Cove State Park

Lake Havasu City, AZ 86406
(928) 855-1223

Cattail Cove State Park is on the shores of Lake Havasu, which is about 4 hours and 29 minutes from Tucson.

Why we recommend this beach

Lake Havasu is a pretty desirable vacation spot near Tucson, and you can enjoy it a lot from Cattail Cove State Park.

Go swimming, bass fishing or just lounge around when you're here.

Expert Tip

For visitors looking for more excitement, you can also water ski and jet ski on the open lake.

Recommended hotel near Cattail Cove State Park: London Bridge Resor

14. Pena Blanca

Pena Blanca Lake, Arizona 85621

Pena Blanca is a reservoir in the Coronado National Forest. It is about 1 hour and 11 minutes from Tucson.

Why we recommend this beach

Pena Blanca is the closest beach to Tucson on this list, just an hour's drive away, give or take. This mountain lake offers impressive views of grassy, oak-covered hills that are worth the trip alone.

You can go boating and fishing when you visit this lake in Nogales.

Expert tip

Pena Blanca has become a pretty well-known place, so many people come here on weekends and holidays. If you don't want to deal with the crowds, avoid going here during these times.

Recommended hotel near Pena Blanca: Fiesta Inn Nogales

15. Roper Lake State Park

Roper Lake State Park

101 East Roper Lake Road
Safford, AZ 85546
(928) 428-6760

Roper Lake State Park contains the 32-acre Roper Lake… It is about 1 hour and 55 minutes from Tucson.

Why we recommend this beach

Some of the best beaches near Tucson, AZ, are on a lake, and this one is no exception. You can go boating and fishing on the lake.

Or you can also opt for the Mariah Mesa Loop Trail in the park.

Expert tip

Roper Lake has its own swimming area with a sandy beach. It is the best beach for swimming because of its calm, shallow water and clearly designated area. Remember that there are no lifeguards here; be careful when swimming.

Recommended hotel near Roper Lake State Park: SpringHill Suites Thatcher