Recently Susan Lanier-Graham of North Peoria Lifestyle Magazine interviewed Scorpion Bay General Manager Brian Straight about the best bets for year-round family-friendly recreation. Below are excerpts from her article. Visit or subscribe to learn more: https://citylifestyle.com/phoenix-az/articles/life-and-culture/lake-pleasant-regional-park
Lake Pleasant Regional Park is part of Maricopa County Parks & Recreation. The 23,362-acre park features 114 miles of shoreline around the reservoir, which gets its water from the Agua Fria River. There are many year-round activities available at Lake Pleasant—located about 20 minutes north of the Loop 101—including camping, boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, picnicking, water sports, and even dining.
Water levels fluctuate throughout the year, so check online before you visit to find out which areas offer the best outdoor activities. As Brian Straight, general manager at Scorpion Bay Marina says, “It’s amazing how many people don’t realize we have lakes so close by. And, the size of the lake surprises people.”
Camping at Lake Pleasant
Lake Pleasant Regional Park features two campgrounds, each of which requires advanced reservations. There are developed sites with water, electricity, a picnic table, a ramada, a barbecue grill, a fire ring, and a dump station. There are also semi-developed sites and tent sites with a ramada, picnic table, a barbecue grill, and a fire ring.
Desert Tortoise Campground features 25 developed sites and 39 semi-developed sites. Roadrunner Campground features 71 developed sites. There is a group area at Desert Tortoise with an area for RVs, designed for groups of at least 10 RVs or tents. You will find restrooms and/or showers at all campgrounds.
Lake Pleasant also has boat-in camping, available at the 10 Lane Parking Lot. There are about 30 spaces available, which fill up quickly on weekends and holidays, so you should reserve your spot online. Each space is 45 feet long to accommodate a boat trailer and tow vehicle. You must stay overnight on your boat, not in the parking area. Arrival must be before 8 p.m. each night.
In addition to the facilities offered by Lake Pleasant and Maricopa County Parks, there are two private marinas at Lake Pleasant: Scorpion Bay and Pleasant Harbor marinas.
Scorpion Bay AZ
Scorpion Bay is a full-service marina with 420 wet slips, both covered and uncovered, along with 400 spots for trailers and boats. Scorpion Bay is owned by Desert Troon Companies, known for exceptional luxury desert communications and resorts. According to Straight, “The upscale type of marina and services we provide is what sets us apart.”
You can rent a variety of watercraft at Scorpion Bay. They have two 53-foot double-decker boats, each accommodating up to 40 people, that are ideal for weddings, parties, and business gatherings. There are pontoon boats, sport boats, kayaks, and an assortment of water toys. You can also rent tubes, wakeboards, kneeboards, and even water skis for use behind the boats. Pleasant Water Sports at Scorpion Bay also rents Wave Runners and standup paddle boards.
Straight is excited about the new features opening in Summer 2021 and extending into Summer 2022. The floating Wibit obstacle course opens this summer as the first Wibit location in Arizona. In 2022, Scorpion Bay will open a new dock with 70 to 100 new slips.
One of the most exciting additions is already underway? Creating a boutique floating resort. Scorpion Bay already has one floating cabin, four more should be available by 2022, with a total of 14 in the future.
According to Straight, “Each cabin has a private slip for your own personal boat or one you rent. Then, you can enjoy the lake and pull your boat up to your front door.”
Scorpion Bay is also home to Scorpion Bay Grill. It opens at 11 a.m. daily, serving lunch and cocktails Sunday through Thursday, and adding a seasonal dinner menu on Friday and Saturday evenings. Straight says it’s not uncommon for locals to make the 20-minute drive out for a waterfront lunch even if they’re not staying for the day to go hiking or boating.
Fishing and More at Lake Pleasant
On a hot summer day, the waters of Lake Pleasant beckon. Even if you’re not a boat person, you might want to take along a tube—or rent one—for floating and swimming. The most popular swimming spots are Fireman’s Cove, Coles Bay, and Humbug Cove.
Fishing is a major pastime at Lake Pleasant. It is fully stocked with 12 species of fish, including bass, bluegill, catfish, sunfish, and tilapia.
With 10,000 acres of surface water and depths up to 260 feet, Lake Pleasant is popular with inland scuba diving enthusiasts. You can check out underwater structures, including the original Waddell Dam, as well as natural canyons and rock walls.
There is outdoor adventure off the water as well, thanks to miles of hiking trails ranging from easy to moderate. The Pipeline Canyon Trail has a floating bridge so you can enjoy the trail even in high-water months. Roadrunner Trail is a scenic 1.5-mile hike that starts from the Discovery Center parking lot and meanders along the lake with access to several picnic areas and smaller trails.
Lake Pleasant is one of Arizona’s premier outdoor playgrounds, just minutes from Peoria neighborhoods. As Straight says, “We want to keep that sense of remoteness, but we’re only 15 minutes away from North Peoria.”
Lake Pleasant Regional Park is open 5 a.m. to 9 pm May through October, and 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. November through April. Due to high summer traffic, Lake Pleasant may restrict entries or close early. Check online at MaricopaCountyParks.net/park-locator/lake-plleasant-regional-park/
Scorpion Bay is Arizona’s premier floating playground, offering everything from daily pontoon and ski boat rentals to slips for harboring your yacht (or dinghy). Come for the fishing or come for the frolicking—either way, incredible mountain views, fantastic dining and world-class marina services await less than an hour out of Phoenix. https://www.scorpionbayaz.com/