Park Guide: Tempe Beach Park with Kids


Tempe Beach Park with KidsTempe Beach Park is much more than a typical Arizona neighborhood park.

Really, this park is a “lake” (a man-made lake) in downtown Tempe–who was here when the rubber dam broke a few years ago and the lake created quite the street flood?

Anyways, the area includes a long stretch of walkway on either side of the lake, a beach area and, of course, Tempe Beach Park. There’s something for every kid (and parent) at this outdoor mecca!

As an Tempe transplant from California, we’ve leaned into exploring its many offerings to families.



How to get there

A lay of the land can be helpful because the lake, beach and park encompass a huge area.

If you’re new to the area like us, it’s near ASU’s main campus, right off Mill Ave. Be warned, you do pay for parking here at $2/hour.

For those who want more details: The entrance to Tempe Beach Park is on the south side of the lake at the corner of Rio Salado & Ash.

Directly across, on the north side of the lake from the park, is the beach. Parking for the beach can be accessed off of Lake View Drive via Curry Road. The Tempe Lake Marina & Boat Launch is also on the north side. And there is a single pedestrian bridge that crosses the lake to the West of the park. Each of these areas has its own offerings of activities!

At the Park

The classic park activity? A picnic! And there really is no better park to do this! With so much activity to enjoy watching, it’s a perfect place to throw down a blanket just to sit. We really like to pickup lunch from Daily Jam (easily walkable, a few blocks down Mill Ave). 

We like to do a full-fledged city picnic – including your frisbee and pets! You can take advantage of the shade ramada that also provides space for solar paneling that powers the lake and marina lights. Bonus: This park does have bathrooms!

With a baby and toddler, we often find ourselves taking in a game at the Luis Gonzalez Baseball Field that’s in the park, too. Built in honor of the famous Arizona Diamondback, the field hosts games for younger generations.

On the Water

More for older kids (or a day date with your spouse), you can do just about any water sport on the water, except swimming.

Boat Rentals of America located on the walking path just at the mouth of the park has a variety of boat rental options including kayaks, paddle boards, pedal boats, surrey (multiple person) bikes and electric pontoons. 

But the best option in my opinion? The donut boats! They are circular electric boats with a table in the middle that can seat up to 10 people. I haven’t rented one yet but I can’t wait to do this with some friends as a night out! Booking happens in advance online through Boats 4 Rent or just walk up to the hut.

If you have your own watercraft, then all you need is a permit to access the lake with it. And you launch from the marina on the north side.

On the Path

For those who prefer to stay out of the water, the pedestrian path is where it’s at. Ideal for stroller runs or scooter rides for little ones, the full stretch is a 7 mile paved-path loop from Priest to Mill to Rural, but the path is made much shorter with the pedestrian bridge at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

You’ll also find a variety of permanent and temporary art installations along the path for viewing. This adds another unique and fun addition!

If you’re looking for more park reviews, here’s our favorite East Valley parks across the whole area!


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Emily Carden
Emily relocated from Los Angeles in 2019 and now lives in Tempe with her husband and her two boys, Oskar & Dominik. Although it’s taken some time, Emily has finally found her village and is happy to be a permanent East Valley Mom! Emily is a laid-back, crunchy, boy-mom who loves to gather with girlfriends to drink wine and chat it up. As a yoga teacher, doula and most recently, Beautycounter consultant, she’s into all things clean and sustainable living, alternative lifestyle and health and happiness. She loves to read books, visit the spa and spend time cuddling with her furry and human babies. Although mostly a stay-at-home mom, Emily still works with a small number of clients as a prenatal yoga teacher, birth doula and most recently expanded her business as Clean Beauty Consultant with Beauty Counter in anticipation of her second son's arrival, adjusting her work to fit more with motherhood. She is passionate about clean, healthy living and supporting women in having happy and empowering lives. Emily loves to relax and steal moments of self-care after bedtime by reading good books, enjoying a great show or turning her bathroom into a spa for the night. You can almost always catch her out a park pre and post nap-time chasing after her very active toddler.


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