Boating with Kids on Arizona Lakes


Today we’re sharing our best hacks for boating with kids on Arizona lakes this summer.

I always tell people that the summer isn’t that bad, as long as water is involved, so here’s my best tip: go to the lakes. In the East Valley, we’re lucky that we have lakes so close to us. (ICYMI, here’s Salt River hacks with kids as well).

One thing we have added to our summer fun list is boating with family and friends. We have had such a blast trying this out with our kids and I’m so happy they’ll have memories of the beautiful desert lakes near us.

No boat? No problem!
Here are two ways to enjoy boating when you don’t personally own a boat.



If you don’t have a boat, here’s how to enjoy the lakes

Boating with Kids on Arizona Lakes–  When friends or family invite you on their boat- say yes as often as possible! In my experience, when friends know we have enjoyed a family outing together, we are more likely to be invited again and again! We always do what we can to pitch in like providing snacks or drinks or contributing to gas.

–  Did you know you can rent a boat and Captain for a day? A quick google search will pull up local drivers who essentially act as an Uber for your boating adventures. They typically charge by the hour and it includes a captain and gas for the boat. You can peruse different boats to see which ones fit your needs (wakeboarding, leisure, etc.). Most of the boats I have found also include all the necessary fun stuff like a tube, wake boards, water skis, life jackets, etc. How fun would this option be for a tween or teen birthday party?!

What to bring for a successful boating day with kids

–  So much sunscreen. Like way more than you think necessary. The Arizona sun feels extra bright on the water and you’ll need to reapply a lot.

– Snacks and drinks of course! We always bring a cold and a dry bag. Dry bag holds all the chips, candy, crackers, etc. and the cold bag or cooler has lots of drinks and fruit and sandwiches. If you’re going to rent a boat and captain, look for a boat with built in coolers! This saves a lot of space on the inside and makes it easier for clumsy kids (ahem and adults) to walk around.

– Shoes that easily slide on and off. Boat etiquette says no shoes in the boat, so kids have to be prepared to slide them off on the dock and jump into the boat quickly. The dock gets super hot so you want to wait until the very last second before you take shoes off.Boating with Kids on Arizona Lakes

More Mom Tips for Lake Day:

Boating with Kids on Arizona Lakes– In the words of Nike, just do it. Sometimes kids get nervous on boats but if they see the parents having fun and enjoying it, they’ll feel so much more comfortable. Personally, I don’t love tubing and getting whipped around, but my 9 year old loves it and could be out there all day. Last year his older sister got nervous and bailed, so I jumped in with my son and hung on for dear life. He thought it was hilarious to see me so nervous and we laughed the whole ride. His sister saw me be brave and gave it another go later on and loved it. It was worth my stiff neck the next day.

– We only take 2-3 towels for our family of 6. In Arizona you dry so fast in the heat, that towels just get in the way and end up soaking wet and heavy to carry back to the car. But, I do like having a couple for my toddler to wrap up in and lay across the hot benches when you first get in.

– For extra fun parent points I recommend bubbles! Its unexpected magic for toddlers and young kids to hold up the bubble wand and watch as the bubbles fly out when the boat starts to go!

Boating is a super fun activity but can feel daunting if you’ve never done it with kids. I set my personal expectations low, expect a few melt downs, and jump in to be the fun-maker when I can. Kids will gain more confidence each time you go and its a really fun way to make summer memories with your family outside without melting!


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