When you think of Arizona, you’re more likely to imagine desert landscapes than waterways. So you might be surprised to learn that this state has more boats per capita than any other. And it also has some incredible boat tours on offer.
If you enjoy seeing new sights from the water, you’ve come to the right place! We’re going to take you through 20 of the best boat tours in Arizona.
So put on your life jacket, sit back and let’s get started!
Best Boat Tours in Arizona
Desert Belle Cruises offer a relaxed way to explore the beautiful surroundings of Saguaro Lake. There are two or three departures every day, and a range of options to choose from.
Narrated tours last for 80 minutes, providing a great opportunity to see the Arizona wildlife and towering canyon walls. Or if you prefer, you can charter a boat for a private tour for your party.
Also available are special music tours, plus options that combine music with craft beer or wine. Relax in air-conditioned style as you take in the sights.
Dolly is a steamboat that sails the Canyon Lake in the heart of Superstition Mountains. Climb on board for a trip around the secluded inner waterways.
The large windows and open aft decks provide great vantage points for viewing the wildlife and scenery. And the upper and lower decks are air conditioned in the summer.
Choose from a six-mile daytime nature cruise, a twilight dinner cruise, or an evening cruise with dinner and an astronomy presentation.
Lake Pleasant Cruises depart from Pleasant Harbor Marina in the town of Peoria. They offer a range of different options for a fun and comfortable tour of the lake.
Daytime cruises last 90 minutes, with a guided commentary. Or why not combine food and drink with taking in the views? Either brunch or sunset dinner cruises are available. The brunch option lasts for 90 minutes, while the sunset dinner cruise lasts 105 minutes. Both are suitable for all ages.
There’s also a sunset music cruise with live music, suitable for those over the age of 13. And over-18s can book the DJ party cruise for a night of dancing on the lake.
Antelope Canyon Boat Tours offer tours that allow you to get up close-up views of the canyon walls. The comfortable tour boat has open sides and a canvas canopy to keep you cool.
Boat tours can also be combined with a tour of the shore. It’s a great way to get a more complete sense of the wildlife and ecosystem of the canyon. Packages generally include an hour in the boat and two hours on land.
If you’re feeling energetic, it’s also possible to hire a kayak and explore the canyon under your own steam.
Sunset Charter and Tour Co. focus on lake and river tours in the beautiful Lake Havasu City. Two vessels operate seven days a week.
The Kon Tiki Canyon Cruiser is a 30-foot open air pontoon with a cover to provide shade and shelter. It will seat up to 18 passengers in comfortable bench seating.
The Serenity Now features luxurious bucket seats in a stadium formation that allows everyone to get a perfect view. It will carry up to six passengers in style, and there’s a restroom available.
There’s a range of tours to choose from. Favourites include sunset wildlife tours and the Lighthouse Tour, which takes in Lake Havasu’s 28 replica lighthouses.
Waheap Marina at Lake Powell Resort offers a wide range of guided boat tours of the lake.
There are private tours of either the North or South Lake. Boat tours of the Navajo Canyon provide breath-taking views of the rock formations and dam. Or book the Rainbow Bridge tour to see one of the world’s largest naturally formed rock bridges.
Most tours offer only water, coffee and lemonade on board, although you can bring your own refreshments. If you prefer to dine as you sightsee, check out the two-hour Canyon Princess Dinner Cruise.
If you want to find out more about Lake Havasu, Blue Water Jet Boat Tours are a great option. All their trips are narrated, providing loads of information about the lake’s geology, history and wildlife.
All trips are made on the memorably named Starship 2010. This shallow draft vessel features a climate-controlled cabin, restroom and snack bar. Choose from 1.5, 2.5 or 5-hour round trips. The 5-hour option includes a stop for lunch at the Pirate Cove Resort.
Under-5s travel for free, and there are discounts for senior citizens and children aged from 6 to 14.
For the ultimate in quirky boat tours, check out Cruisin’ Tikis Havasu. They offer tours of the lake on a floating tiki bar!
It can carry six passengers, plus the crew. This is a bar where you bring your own booze and snacks. It means you’ll need to do some shopping, but that also means you can have whatever you want. Just make sure you bring an ice chest to keep everything cool.
Cruise options include the 90-minute Bridgewater Channel and Thompson Bay tour. And you can take a swim in the channel too.
Parties of up to four can take a tour of Lake Pleasant with Arizona Sailing Adventures. Get on board the 22-foot sailboat Catalina with your captain and prepare to take in the sights.
Excursions are available in either the afternoon or the evening. There’s a seating area and table in the cabin for refreshments. And there’s a porta-pottie if you’re caught short.
Dillons Restaurant on the Marina is a great place to enjoy an after-sail meal.
Lake Powell Experience, also known as LPX, offers a great combination of excitement and relaxation. Book a two-hour, half-day or full-day excursion. The boat will carry up to six passengers, and the price is the same no matter how many of you there are.
Your captain will ferry you around the lake, with non-alcoholic drinks available throughout. You’ll need to bring your own snacks, though, and alcohol isn’t permitted on board.
You’ll also be able to choose your own watersports. Training is included, so why not pick something new? Options include water-skiing, wakeboarding, tubing and knee boarding.
The fun Rubba Duck Safari allows you to pilot your own small craft as part of a guided group tour.
The range of itineraries includes a 2.5-hour South Tour taking in the Copper Canyon, Pilot Rock, Big Booty Bay, Teal Bay and Ski Island. And on Wednesdays there’s a 5.5-hour North Tour including Topcock Gorge, Old Trails Bridge and Havasu Wildlife Refuge. That one includes a stop for lunch.
If you’re looking for something quicker, a 1-hour tour operates in the summer months. The Early Riser Island Loop includes London Bridge, Thomson Bay, Great Lake Lighthouses and Crazy Horse.
Over the state line in Laughlin, Nevada, London Bridge Jet Boat Tours run from Laughlin to London Bridge.
The six-hour round trip involves a 58-mile cruise of the Colorado River to Lake Havasu. There, you’ll stop at the landmark London Bridge for two hours. Choose from one of the four restaurants at the bridge to enjoy a spot of lunch before heading home.
The captain will provide a fun and informative guide to the region as you travel. And you’ll get your own fact book to peruse at your leisure too.
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, a whitewater rafting tour could be the perfect way to experience the Grand Canyon.
Hualapai River Runners offer one and two-day guided excursions. And they combine information on the canyon with opportunities to learn about the Hualapai Tribe who live there. The result is a fascinating and immersive insight into the region and its history.
Extend your stay by booking into the Hualapai Lodge on Route 66. Alternatively, you can book a lodge or RV camping at Grand Canyon West.
If you love kayaking, why not paddle your way into the hidden corners of Lake Powell? Hidden Canyon Kayak, based in Page, offer kayak-only or combined kayaking and hiking tours of the area. There’s also a full-day tour that adds in a trip on a charter boat.
Spend as little as three hours or as much as a full day on your excursion. Longer tours include lunch and snacks. And you’ll have the opportunity to take a dip in the lake too.
Tours from Antelope Point Marina leave three times a day to take in the sights of Lake Powell. They depart from the marina at 10am, 11am and 1.15pm, seven days a week. And they specialize in showing you places only the locals know about.
The marina hosts three different restaurants to eat-in or order takeout. Live music is often on offer there too. And if you need some retail therapy, there’s an extensive market and gift store.
Many lakes and rivers lie within an hour of downtown Phoenix. So if you’re in the area, a boat tour is a great way to see more of the wildlife and landscape.
Arizona River Runners offer trips in both motor and rowing boats. And there are hiking options available too, some combined with the boat tours.
These are serious excursions. The motorboat tours range from 3 to 8 days in duration. Oar trips are even longer, from 6 to 13 days. Note that there’s a minimum age requirement of 8 years for motorboat trips, and 12 years for oar trips.
If you want to try white-water rafting, Salt River Rafting offers a whole range of tour options. There’s the “classic” full day trip, or a half-day option for those with less time. The latter involves 1.5 hours on the water, during which you’ll cover about 5 miles of river.
You can also extend your tour from two to five days and combine rafting with camping. If you love the great outdoors, this could be the perfect option.
Rivers & Oceans offer rafting and kayaking tours in various locations across the US. If you’re in Arizona, their Grand Canyon excursions are well worth checking out.
They offer one or two-day rafting trips. But for those who truly want to immerse themselves in the landscape, there are also a range of much longer trips – up to 18 days. These leave from Flagstaff, Page and Marble Canyon, as well as over the state line in Las Vegas.
And unlike many excursions, you can leave your hiking boots at home with this one. That makes it a good option for anyone seeking a more accessible trip.
If you want rafting without the white-water, the Horseshoe Bend Rafting Experience from Wilderness River Adventures could be perfect.
This smooth-water rafting excursion allows you to take in the beautiful sights of the Horseshoe Bend in the Colorado River. You’ll spend half a day on board a 32-foot raft, seeing and learning about the unique landscape and its history. There’s time for a beach trip and a dip in the river too.
The trips are suitable for all ages from 4 upwards, and you’ll get water and lemonade thrown in.
Arizona’s Verde River is categorized as “wild and scenic”. Get to know it better with a tour from Verde Adventures.
The range of options include tubing, inflatable kayak tours and tours combining kayaking with a trip to a winery. Choose between guided and self-guided excursions.
You don’t need to be an expert boater either. The “Sporty and Sweet” trips are specially designed for those new to kayaking.
Time to Book Your Boat Trip!
That brings us to the end of our look at 20 of the best boat tours in Arizona. Whether you want to relax on a steamboat, or paddle like crazy on a raft, there are loads of options. And you can combine your tour with food, music or hiking too.
We hope you’ve found a tour to whet your appetite. And we hope you’re soon enjoying discovering the waterways of Arizona!