Arizona: where the turf meets the surf

It is safe to bet that cacti, triple digit temperatures and rattlesnakes all figure their way into your train of thought when thinking about the state of Arizona–its only natural.

Unless discussing the backyard pool or the urgency to escape another seasonal drought, it isn’t often that water matriculates its way into the barren desert land.

Albeit truthful, it is a stereotype that distracts from the state’s water-related recreational opportunities. Do I dare even go as far as to tap into the Arizona Surf Club? Is that such a thing?

Map of Arizona's lakes and waterways

Although incomparable to Minnesota’s reputable 10,000 lakes, Arizona is home to 31 lakes, which offer various activities. From fishing to boating to kayaking to waterskiing, Arizona has room for them all. 

If you’re looking to kick your feet up, seclude yourself from technology and simply relax, then pack up your fishing gear for Patagonia, Ariz. Patagonia Lake, which rests just 12 miles north of Nogales, is Tucson’s closest lake. The quaint 2.5-mile-long and 250-acre lake is best known for its Largemouth Bass and Flathead Catfish.

Or, if you’re looking to go tubing, jump on the I-10 up to the Salt River. If Lake Havasu is spring break, then the Salt River is spring break’s hangover. The inner-tube trip is as lazy as any Sunday should be as you soaking in the sun’s rays, all the while floating down through Tonto National Forest.

Drawing away from the college-polluted spring break city and “Personal Watercraft Capital of the World,” of Lake Havasu, try Northern Arizona to fulfill your wild side.

creative commons licensed picture by Alan English

Situated in Flagstaff, Ariz., the Arizona Raft Adventures & Grand Canyon Discovery is a historic family-run rafting trip operation that has been sending travelers down river since 1965.

The company offers three trips that weave through the historic scenery of the Grand Canyon while rolling down the Colorado River.

 

The All-Paddle Adventure Trip, which is suitable for the ultimate whitewater rafting junkie, the Motorized Adventure Trip, which suits the guests who want to traverse through the adventure in a more mild and less rambunctious manner, and the Classic Adventure Trip, which is a hybrid of all the trips and uses both an oar raft, which accommodates four guests and one guide, and a paddle raft, which accommodates six guests and one guide.

Erin Kelly, the Reservation and Social Media Coordinator for Arizona Raft Adventures & Grand Canyon Discovery, said, “We run about 60 to 64 full canyon trips per year, and our most popular trip is the Classic Adventure Trip. One day you find yourself relaxing on the oar raft taking pictures, and the next day you are challenging the rapids in the paddle raft.”

No matter the choice of trip, one thing is for certain, they aren’t for the weak or noncommittal type of person.

“Our trips vary in duration, but range anywhere from 6 to 16 days and cover between 89 and 226 miles of river,” Kelly said. “Again, it just depends on the style of trip.”

With the sun and water temperatures starting to heat up, the dawn of a new commercial rafting season is preparing to launch. Although the season typically begins in April and runs through the end of October, there are no such thing as off days.

 

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