Things To Do at Lakes

There are many things to do at lakes. Some are probably obvious. But when you gather them all together - there may be some you might not have thought of!

We've got ideas for fun-filled days at the lake of your choice. Some lakes have the best stuff for you to do already set up. Like what?

lake surrounded with desert landscape as the sun setsWhat Do You Want To Do At Lakes?
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Monthly Lakeside Fun, Tips, Info & Scoops


SWIMMING - Swim from a dock or float. Or from a boat or houseboat's swim platform. We love finding lakes with a sandy beach. Then often connected to lakes, how about the best swimming holes?

Cabin on a lake with a rowboat and trees in the background.Take the rowboat out & hang your feet over for a refreshing cooldown.
Just enjoy the rowing exercise & the lake ambience.
Or put out a fishing pole. - What else can you do?

WATER SPORTS FUN - Some lakes have all kinds of rentals (if you don't have your own): paddle-boats, kayaks, canoes, all kinds of boats!

  • Or Toys: tubes, jet-skis, paddle-boards, bumper-boats, even noodles!
couple lake canoeing

NATURE & WILDLIFE - Many lakes have adjacent wildlife refuges, with viewing areas. There may even be a small one in your area you've not noticed!

  • Wildlife love lakes. It's their drinking water, and provides cover for nesting & dens.
  • Sighting birds is wonderful fun. Birds can be very quirky! Yes, fun to watch. I love doing that & I drag Bill along!
man at bird watching area by a lakeBill at the Bird Viewing Area by a Local Tucson Lake

HAVE A PICNIC - Lakeside parks are the best for providing picnicking spots. Often they have covered picnic pavilions.

  • Sometimes set up for groups. Don't you love inviting friends, or the family? Have a celebration!

COUPLE DATES - Couples can include lots of what we're mentioning here - for fabulous outdoor dates. Many had been thinking of that in recent times.

Nothing like spending some healthy outdoor time together!

  • What unique date ideas at the lake can you think of?

HOBBY TIME - Take your hobbies to a lake. Because many lake parks have fields reserved for flying Hobby Planes.

  • OR they have areas to run your model vehicle. 
  • Some lakes have special water areas for launching electronic RC Boats. Or they may instead schedule events for EC Boating hobbyists.
  • We have a lake down the road from us that does all this. Archer Lake has Radio-Controlled Boating & UMX (ultra-micro sized) Aircraft action.
model boat with barbie outboardingIs That Barbie at the Helm?

ENJOY YOUR FAVORITE SPORT - Bring your own soccer ball, softball, baseball or basketball, to have an informal game with friends and family. When lake park fields aren't officially in use.

Some have miniature golf.

Another style has now become popular: called disc golf (some call if Frisbee Golf).

Our granddaughter regularly plays that at Cottonwood's Riverfront Park, which is adjacent to the Verde River.

disc golf lakeside

FUN WITH DOGS - Take your pet to the lake. Dogs are probably the prime pet to especially love it!

There are some lakes where they can swim. Or they can splash into the shoreline. They love to run at the lakeside fields.

Irish Setter dog lakesideIrish Setters Often Love Going Lakeside!

THE KIDS - Thinking of tiny tykes. What fun things to do at lakes can we find? To keep them entertained? We have suggestions!

Things to Do at Lakes With Kids

Looking around, there are really fun lakes for kids. Children usually like active things, getting animals involved, & things to do at lakes that are fun in the water. Specific ideas:

ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS - Kids love animals. Parks have many ways to safely provide ways for kids to connect with animals. Lake parks are especially suited to that.
PLAYGROUNDS - Seems pretty obvious, yet there are particular styles worth checking into. Created to provide special things to do at lakes with unique playgrounds.

CAMPING - Many kids love this. We always took our kids camping. Our son loved it, our daughter, not really. As adults today, that trend still lives on!

a boy and girl looking at a lakeThe Kids Are Ready for Lake Fun!

But that childhood experience, as a family, we think it was good for them. Today, as parents themselves, they both say that.

We often included their friends along, too. Was a new experience for some - to have a meal cooked over a campfire!

  • Many lakes have campgrounds. What can you think of to include in that experience?
camp-site cooking

Magical, Ideal Lakes for Kids

We know about parks that have such fun things to do at fabulous Lakes For Kids. Take a look at these lakes in the southwest states.


Lake Siskiyou - The Resort there has beach Splash Zone for kids.17

Lake Tahoe - Summer or winter, the place to go!

Kids with their adults find many things to do at Lake Tahoe! Like year-round ski resorts for many activities, lots of safe beaches & other fun kid-friendly things to do at that lake.


Hume Lake Recreation Area - In Sequoia/Kings Canyon. Gorgeous lake area with lots of things to do! Like the lakeside trail with informational waymarks.16

A nature placard explaining the animals of an area.Displays in Parks Help You Know the Types of Animals to See Near the Lake

We've Gathered Even More Details>


Lake Austin in Texas

This huge state has many lively & relaxing things to do at lakes for kids. Their adults will be pretty happy with all the possibilities, too.

What Local Lakes Have Cool Stuff to Do?

Every Southwestern state has towns and cities with their own local parks. Many are well-organized to give their citizens happy times close to home.

But anyone is welcome to come enjoy the facilities they offer. If you're traveling, they'll provide you a refreshing break along the road. Maybe for your kids or pets, too.

We've maybe found things to do at lakes near you - in your town, or a nearby town or city. Which have we found?

Arizona Local Lakes

Two main interstates traverse the state, others are inter-connectors. Phoenix is a large sprawling city, but suburbs have beautiful local parks with lakes.

Tucson also has some great things to do locally at lakes. We know some really good ones, because after all - we live here!

TUCSON - Crossing southern Arizona on Interstate 10, there are excellent Lakes in Tucson.1

Reid Park - Exiting on 22nd St. & heading East, you'll get to its left entrance.

Two lakes are there, but much more to do at this fabulous park. It's a huge park, with lots of parking. You'll find a rose garden, dog area, playgrounds, scheduled activities & so much more! Even an adjacent zoo!

Christopher Columbus Park - Open 6am-10:30pm. I-10 Exit 252 to El Camino Del Cerro, left at Silverbell. Shortly take a left at entrance. Two lakes - one stocked for fishing. Picnicking, dog park, playground & more.

Quite popular locally.

Rocks line a stream comes from a distant lake with trees alongside.A stream connects the 2 lakes in Reid Park


Desert Breeze Park - In Chandler

Kiwanis Lake Park - In Tempe

Dobson Ranch Park - In Mesa: One of the Best for Every Child!


Off I-17 Exit 333 - Pumphouse County Natural Area & farther up the road on right to Kachina Wetlands Preserve. These parks are somewhat hidden gems in Arizona's North Country!

We Have More About These Arizona Parks

And Even More Arizona Parks Throughout Our State:

Great California Country Areas With Lakes


Arch Rock & Twin Tanks - Hidden history & fairly secretive to get there.6 But we'll let you in on the best way to go. 

  • From Hwy. 62 in Twentynine Palms, take Pinto Basin Rd.
  • Take the shorter trail off White Tank Campground Road's end.
  • Find a natural bridge with no water underneath. Trek south past boulders for a tiny man-made pond-like historic basin for cattle.

Lake Morena - Visit this San Diego County Park for a day or more. Trails, picnic area, playground, boating & fishing.


Yosemite National Park - Very popular for visitors. But there are hidden gems to visit, as well - some little discovered lakes!6

  • Tenaya Lake - Alongside Tioga Rd. Lakeside picnicking with awesome views.

Mono Lake - A most Mysterious Lake you won't forget! The first time we drove by, I had dozed off. Bill woke me, saying "Wow - this looks so weird, I had to wake you to see it!"

Off to the east of Hwy. 395, North of Lee Vining.

mono lakeview in California


Lake Earl Wildlife Area - From Crescent City take 101N to Lake Earl Dr. for the biggest lagoon on the west coast. Terrific birding.6 Hiking, boating, fishing. Lake Talawa connects, adjacent, near the ocean & Tolowa Dunes State Park.7

Burney Falls/Lake Britton - From Fall River Mills, 11 miles on 299W. Take 89N 6 miles to waterfall trails parking.6 The state park has access to Lake Britton for boating & fishing. Or from Clark Creek Rd. for picnicking.8

Mammoth Lakes - Lots of things to do at this gorgeous lake! Try winter, for the Dog Sledding!


Colorado Small Town Lake Parks

Rocky Mountains at the lakeside

Grand Lake - The state's largest natural lake. From I-70, 40N to Granby, then 34N.

  • The lakeside town of Grand Lake is known for its country style.6 Their claim: year-round vacation paradise. Plenty to do!9
  • Nearby is Rocky Mountain National Park & Arapaho National Recreation Area. 

Overland Trail Recreation Area - Sterling, off I-76 Exit 125 to Business 76/6 West. Onto 370 North, Rec Area lake on left.

  • Paved trail around the lake. Swimming dogs, people fishing.10

New Mexico Lake Parks

navajo lake in New MexicoNavajo Lake

Navajo Lake State Park11 - Lake created from damming the Los Pinos River. State's 2nd largest. All boating craft & water sports. Two marinas (505-632-3245), 7 campgrounds, picnicking, etc. 

  • From US64 forty miles East of  Farmington, then NM511 to NM539 to Navajo Dam, NM. 

Lake Roberts12 - Lakeside campground, trails, picnic tables. Small lake for non-motorized/ electric boating.

  • From I-25 Exit 63, 152W, 35N at San Lorenzo about 25 miles.

Nevada "Back-of-Beyond" Park Lakes

Fallon Area - Lahontan State Recreation Area is a delightful lakeside oasis, with camping, boating, fishing & swimming.6

  • Off Hwy. 50, East of Silver Springs.

Pioche Area - Echo Canyon has amazingly colorful cliffs!6 There's camping, ranger programs, picnicking & a wonderful lake.13

  • Southeast of town go to Echo Canyon State Park.

Oklahoma Town Lakes

Claremore - Community park. Walk/jog track. Splash Pad & two playgrounds for kids. Picnic tables, fishing, small craft.

  • From I-44 Toll Road Exit 255, make left to E2nd St., Right on N.Dorothy Ave., Right on E.Blue Starr Dr., take left into Lake Park Dr.

Paradise Hill - For access to 130 miles of Tenkiller lakeshore! Tenkiller State Park is the place to go for all your fun activities.

  • From I-40 Exit 287, take Rt. 100N.

Texas Local Lake Parks

BALMORHEA - You might not notice it! We've been here twice, each time a unique necessity! Once in summer to this unique oasis for a road-trip stop. Once in winter, when we were ice/snow stranded! What's it about?

  • The curiosity is Balmorhea State Park. With a combo spring fed pool/lake/swimming hole/concrete swimming pool! It's a West Texas experience.

COMFORT - Joshua Springs Park & Preserve. 9-acre Lake for boating & fishing. Opens 7am. Fabulous things to do at this lake park. Not run of the mill! Picnic tables, playground, dog park, much more!14

  • From I-10, north of Boerne & Nelson City, Exit 533. Turn left & follow FM 289, left entrance into park.

Utah Communities With Lakes


FISH LAKE - Within Fish Lake National Forest. Lake community with many activities year-round.

  • From I-70 Exit 48, get 259 to follow Utah 24E, about 9 miles after Koosheram Resevoir take left at intersection of 25N, 6 miles more to Fish Lake.6

DELTA - Gunnison Bend Reservoir's county park. Famed for Snow Goose Festival: February's Last Weekend & March's 1st weekend. Summertime boating, fishing, swimming, picnics.

  • From Delta, take Main Street to Sutherland. Turn left at 3000 West, go two miles south.15

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