Best Beaches in Arizona

Hit the road this summer and take a trip out to the beach. The beach life might not be what you expect when you live in Arizona, but there is plenty of sandy, water retreats to indulge in this summer. These might not be the big, blue oceanside landscapes that our coastal states enjoy, but they are fun nonetheless.

Here are the best beaches in Arizona that are shore to be a hit. 

***Disclaimer, some of these amazing beaches might be temporarily closed due to Covid-19, forest fires or they may have additional restrictions. Plan accordingly prior to your visit. 

Butcher Jones Beach

Cost: $ 8-day permit
Constantly ranked one of the best beaches with the clearest water in the whole state of Arizona, head to Butcher Jones Beach for fun in the sun. Situated along Saguaro Lake and the Salt River, this beach boasts crystal blue water that rivals Caribbean waters. The sand is also a pristine white that offers the best sandcastle building and sunbathing opportunities for families. 

Keep in mind that to visit this beach, you will embark on a 4.9 mile out and back hike. You can picnic under large, shady Mesquite trees and enjoy various recreational activities. These include but are not limited to four-wheeling, swimming, fishing and kayaking.

Also, be on the lookout for the famous Salt River wild horses. They tend to make appearances throughout the day. Just don’t try to pet them, as they are wild and may bite. Stay until sunset to see the most magnificent Arizona orange and purple colors collide. It becomes quite clear why this is the most visited site in the Tonto National Forest. 

Gateway Park in Yuma

Cost: Free
Located under the historical Ocean To Ocean Highway Bridge, Gateway Park in Yuma is a great Arizona beach destination. You can splash around in the cool, Colorado River and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy. The surrounding area includes grass, fishing piers, a playground, and plenty of picnic areas. Additionally, visitors enjoy taking a stroll around the bridge, and paths along the river.

There are bathroom facilities and outdoor showers to rinse off in before heading home.

Havasupai Falls

Cost: varies
Perhaps the most breathtaking place in all of Arizona, with its iconic natural wonder, Havasupai Falls is the beach destination for visitors and residents alike. This beach is located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, just outside of Grand Canyon National Park. It is often confused with Lake Havasu, but these places are different. To get to Havasupai Falls requires quite the journey.

You will need to muster a 4-5 hour hiking journey just to get to the trailhead. Then you will plunge downhill for a ten-mile hike to see the waterfall. It does require hikers to be physically fit, but the payoff is worth every step.

You’ll notice the blue-green waters and the Havasupai Falls plunging more than 100 feet into a beautiful pool of clear water. The blue color comes from the naturally occurring calcium carbonate and magnesium found in the waters that feed the falls. On top of this, the water originates from a spring, making the temperature stay at nearly 70 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. On our very own bucket list of best beaches in Arizona. 

It is important to note that day hiking is not allowed. Camping space is in short supply and a reservation is required prior to your arrival.

River Island State Park

Cost: $10/car, $3 per individual
Escaping the heat can be done at River Island State Park located in Parker, Arizona. The beach has plenty of sand and is conveniently tucked away in a cove, away from the river’s current.

This desert escape also offers 37 campsites with 8 sites on the beachfront, a ramada and boat launch area. During the summer months, a two-night minimum stay is required. Visitors enjoy fishing, camping, boating, kayaking, jet skiing and swimming.


Pebble Beach

Cost: $8
Located 20 miles northeast of Mesa, Pebble Beach brings many visitors escaping for a desert retreat. This place has sandy shores, shaded ramadas, and picnic tables. This is a great place for families to swim as no motorized boats are allowed here. Float along the river in a tube or kayak and soak up the Arizona sun rays. 

Final Thoughts

Who knew that Arizona was home to some great sandy beaches? Some places are more breathtaking than others, but they all have great summer vibes. Which is your favorite place?