Think Arizona is all dry desert? Think again. Arizona is home to a number of gorgeous lakes perfect for escaping the heat. While temperatures can climb well above the 100 degree mark in the summertime, the spring and fall months are often temperate to warm, which means that you can dip your toes in the water without worrying about hypothermia. Book an Arizona vacation rental on the shore of one of these amazing lakes to get away from it all on your next vacation.

1. Big Lake

Wooden dock in the water.
Source: Flickr / Jason Thompson

Located near the border with New Mexico, Big Lake is one of the best trout fishing spots in the world. It is well-stocked with Rainbow, Brook, Cutthroat, Apache and Brown trout, which are most active during the spring months. In addition to premier fishing, Big Lake also offers opportunities for hiking, boating and sightseeing in the meadows and pine forests of the White Mountains. Since the lake is situated at almost 10,000 ft, the temperature is mild even in the summer, so be sure you pack a jacket.

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2. Canyon Lake

Kayaking on the water.

Canyon Lake in Maricopa County is a man-made reservoir that is also open for swimming, boating, jet skiing and other outdoor activities. The Canyon Lake Marina is well-furnished, offering everything you need to maintain and care for your boat. There is also a recreation center onsite where you can secure boat and recreational equipment rentals. Stay observant and you may spot javelina, deer, big horned sheep, and other desert wildlife roaming the rocks surrounding the lake.

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3. Bartlett Lake

People on the beach by the water.
Source: Flickr / ToddonFlickr

Bartlett Lake is another reservoir that is open to the public. It is a popular destination for Arizona residents and out-of-town visitors alike, so expect a party atmosphere on the shore. However, once you get out on the water, there’s plenty of time to enjoy the peace and quiet, whether you are sailing your own boat or taking a cruise on the Party Yacht. Bartlett Lake is located less than an hour from downtown Phoenix, so it’s just a short trip from your vacation rental in the city.

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4. Ashurst Lake

Stars in a night sky.
Source: Flickr / Deborah Lee Soltesz

Located in the heart of the Coconino National Forest, Ashurst Lake is a peaceful escape from city life. It has a reputation for holding water even during long dry spells, which is always a possibility in Arizona. This makes it an idyllic spot for fishing, and is regularly stocked with rainbow and brook trout. If you’re not having much luck fishing, you can take to the trails surrounding Ashurst Lake, which are ideal for hiking and mountain biking.

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5. Lynx Lake

Arial view of a body of water surrounded by trees.
Source: Wikimedia Commons / Benjamin Cody

Lynx Lake, which is located near Prescott, is a small lake that offers visitors cool temperatures and privacy among the pines. Catch trout, bass, and crappie among Ponderosa pines and the Sierra Prieta mountains. Watercraft usage on the lake is limited, so check with the local recreation center before you haul your jet skis or powerboats out of your vacation rental.

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6. Watson Lake

Rocky terrain around a lake.
Source: Flickr / LunchboxLarry

The real attraction at Watson Lake is the Granite Dells, massive rock formations that surround the lake, often pushing right up to the water. The placid surface of the lake is perfect for kayaking or canoeing. Take your boat out among the Granite Dells and look for a small stretch of private beach to set down and enjoy a picnic or take some photos you won’t soon forget.

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7. Chevelon Canyon Lake

Water flowing through a cannon.
Source: Flickr / Alan Levine

If you’re looking for an adventure in Arizona, you can’t go wrong with Chevelon Canyon Lake. Located near the tiny town of Heber, AZ, Chevelon Canyon Lake is located at the end of a dirt road and a steep hike of 3/4 of a mile. If you are willing to brave the journey, expect to be treated to a picturesque lake nestled among steep canyon walls that open up into pine forests. Boats need to be carried in, so limit your water crafts to tubes and float rafts.

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8. Granite Basin Lake

Reeds in a body of water.
Source: Flickr / Michelle Milla

Granite Basin Lake is located next to the Granite Mountain Wilderness Area in the Prescott National Forest. Despite being situated in the mountains, the lake is open year-round and generally does not close for snow. Enjoy fishing or non-motorized boating in the crystal clear waters of the lake, or take to the unique granite mountains nearby for hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding and photography.

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9. Woods Canyon Lake

Red Kayak by a body of water.
Source: Flickr / Alan Levine

Woods Canyon Lake is one of the more accessible lakes situated along the Mogollon Rim. It makes for a great day trip from a vacation rental in Payson. Though it is better developed than some of the other lakes and recreation areas in the region, it is still quite wild. You can frequently spot bear, skunk, and deer near the water. Some pleasant picnic areas near the beach make this a great getaway for families.

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10. Acker Lake

Wood bench beside a body of water.
Source: Flickr / Kristina C.C. Hoeppner

Acker Lake (sometimes spelled Aker or Akre) is a remote meadow fishing hole located near Hannigan Meadow in the White Mountains. It’s secluded nature makes it a major draw for avid fishers and outdoor enthusiasts. Head out to this lake of you are looking to get away from it all – even if just for a day.

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