Kayaking and Paddleboarding Lake Pleasant, Arizona

Lake Pleasant’s expansive and open and clean body of water is located in the Northwest Valley in Peoria and Morristown, Arizona.

It is a convenient drive off of Route 17 in Northern Phoenix, approximately 40 miles from downtown. It’s a straight shot to the first launch area at Pleasant Harbor in Peoria. You’ll pay a day fee at the entrance gate or stay overnight at the Pleasant Harbor RV resort, where you can leave your RV all summer. If camping’s your thing, enjoy that instead!

You’re likely to share the water with watercraft of all types, including sailors taking advantage of the often windy conditions. And don’t forget to look for the bald eagles that nest at the lake!

Where to paddle at Lake Pleasant

There are two boat launch areas to drop in and then drive your car to park. Park at the North Ramp Parking Lot. From there, it’s about a 10-minute walk, or you can take a shuttle.

Riverbound tip: The marina offers Dylan’s BBQ restaurant right on the water, and you can watch the boaters and standup paddlers go by. Or stand up paddle there yourself — just pull your SUP up on the dock and have a bite. 

Another great option for great paddling spots are on the lake’s west side. Drive past Pleasant Harbor on Carefree Highway, then you’ll come to the Lake Pleasant Regional Park entrance. Note that this area is part of the Maricopa County Parks system, so there’s an entrance fee. There are an enormous amount of drop-in options here. For more convenient parking closer to the water, drop in at Fireman’s Cove. 

Paddleboarder next to a sailboat at Lake Pleasant, Arizona.
Lake Pleasant, Arizona

Riverbound tip: When paddleboarding at night, always have lights on the front and back of your board. If it’s crowded on the lake, stay close to shore as you may not be visible to the bigger boats.

Lake Pleasant events and tours

The park provides scheduled events for water exploration led by one of the local knowledgeable park rangers. Sometimes the rangers will do expeditions going toward the Aqua Fria river, where the water comes in from the Lower Colorado River.

In July, Lake Pleasant has an annual firework display and come springtime in April there is the Paddlefest event which consists of plenty of vendors that provide demos and a lot of enjoyable lake experiences. Arrive early for this event, parking typically gets crowded.

Fishing at Lake Pleasant

The coves at the lake offer a great kayak and SUP fishing for anglers. The smaller crafts allow the opportunity to get back into those tighter shallow water locations a boat can’t reach. The lake is home to 12 species of fish, including white bass, big mouth bass and bigmouth buffalo fish.

Kayak and SUP PaddleBoard Rentals

Pickup a kayak or paddle board rental at Riverbound Sports Tempe shop location for Lake Pleasant and get on the water with all equipment you need starting at $40 a day. Check out our pricing and options for Paddleboard Rentals in Arizona.

Rent A Paddleboard or Kayak Now

Be sure to check the Riverbound Sports Events Calendar for dates and information on events happening around the Phoenix area.

Lake shoreline at Firemans Cove Lake Pleasant.

Directions from Riverbound Sports


Author: Suzi DeMaio-Parmentier

Photo by Nat Parmentier