People may associate Northern Arizona with more lakes, but Southern Arizona still boasts beautiful lakes tucked away in scenic locations from grassy hills, valley lows, and mountain slopes. A few great lakes are within a two-hour drive of the Tucson Metro area, making for a fantastic day trip or even a quick weekend getaway. Consider setting up camp or renting a cabin at some of these picturesque locations.
- Patagonia Lake State Park. The official lake for Tucsonans to sneak away is packed with activities from swimming, fishing, boating, camping, and hiking. It's about a 90-minute drive, that's an experience in its own right with beautiful vistas of Sonoita and Elgin. Don't forget to explore the Sonoita reek Natural area that offers 20-miles of hiking trails to enjoy.
- Parker Canyon Lake. This beautiful 130-acre mountain lake is about 80-miles away from Tucson and 20-degrees cooler. Parker Canyon Lake features a marina to rent both boating and fishing equipment. It's also an excellent fishing spot where the lake contains stocked rainbow trout and resident bass, sunfish, and catfish.
- Roper Lake State Park. 2-hours east of downtown Tucson and near Safford, enjoy the wildlife through boating, finishing, hiking, swimming.
- Pena Blanca. It's about an hour south of Tucson near Nogales, and features beautiful vistas where you can boat, picnic, and fish where it's recommended to practice 'catch and release'.