Mesa, Arizona is neighbors to the Tonto National Forest and visitors to this desert oasis take advantage of being incredibly close to one of the nation's largest playgrounds. Tonto is the fifth largest forest in the United States and one of the most-visited "urban" forests in the country. There are three lakes and two rivers in Mesa that allow for desert boating, paddle boarding, kayaking and water skiing. These tucked away canyons, raging rivers and expansive lakes are all surrounded by breathtaking mountain ranges. Mesa has miles of shoreline and miles of trails that set the stage for back-country wilderness trips with expert outfitters serving as guides. Visitors can choose their own adventure such as paragliding in our parks, climbing up the cliff faces of the Superstition Mountains, or hiking to the Wind Cave set high atop Usery Mountain.
Take an exciting rafting tour down the beautiful Lower Salt and Verde Rivers with Desert Voyagers. Learn about the local flora, fauna, geography, geology, and history of the area from knowledgeable guides while enjoying an entertaining and challenging river float tour. Or, partake in the ever-popular activity of "tubing", a leisurely float along the cool waters of the Salt River via inner-tube. Just above the Lower Salt River lies Saguaro Lake, offering spectacular desert beauty and natural wildlife. Take a seat on the Desert Belle, which has been plowing the waters of Saguaro Lake since 1964. Relax on a 90 minute cruise and see exotic Arizona wildlife, towering canyon walls, and dramatic desert vistas. Visitors to Saguaro Lake can enjoy all the pleasures of a beach-inspired retreat at Butcher Jones Beach where the sandy shoreline offers convenient parking and walk-up access making it an ideal stop for a picnic or afternoon dip. Views of the majestic canyon walls are prevalent here and the beachfront is also a popular area for swimming, floating and catching some rays. Kayakers in particular appreciate the convenient water entrance and exit that only a beach can provide.
The newest activity in Mesa is stand-up paddle boarding, better known as SUP. Visitors can glide along mild rapids and float along the Salt River from the many launch points including Granite Reef and Coon Bluff. Boarders can rent from No Snow Stand Up Paddle Board company and go to Mesa's closest lakefront, Butcher Jones Beach at Saguaro Lake. The sandy shoreline offers convenient parking and walk-up access making it an ideal stop for a picnic or afternoon dip in the lake.
One of the most popular activities during the summer is spending the day ..or night.. at Golfland Sunsplash - Mesa's very own 20-acre waterpark and entertainment center. One of the more popular attractions here is the giant Thunder Bay Wavepool. This incredible attraction holds 450,000 gallons of water that is set to a timer, setting swimmers in motion every 12 minutes to a barrage of waves not unlike the Pacific Ocean. Grab a raft and hang on for this wet and wild ride!
And last but not least, Mesa boasts a collection of local hotels featuring stunning pools and poolside lounges worthy of a staycation this Memorial Weekend. To check out the latest hotel deals and other discounts on attractions this summer, visit us online at: http://www.visitmesa.com/trip-planning/deals-discounts/
Be safe and have fun!