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Whether you’re looking for the pristine, clear waters of a mountain lake or the desert landscape of a reservoir, the southwest has you covered. Be sure to add these top five southwest lake destinations to your travel bucket list.

Lake Powell, Arizona & Utah

With one-of-a-kind sandstone banks lining reservoir, Lake Powell offers an experience unique to the southwest. It may feel more like Mars than a lake at times, but in a beautiful way must be experienced. The lake stretches from southern Utah to northern Arizona through mostly desert country. Houseboats are available for rent to set up an unforgettable vacation so you can tow your Axis behind the houseboat and explore the hundreds of coves, twists and turns that make up Lake Powell. Storms can pop up quick, so be sure to stay alert with weather apps. 

Lake Mead, Nevada

Similar in feel to Lake Powell, Lake Mead is just east of Las Vegas, making it a popular destination to get away from the summer heat. This reservoir was formed by the mighty Hoover Dam containing the Colorado River. With mountain ranges in the distance and the unique desert landscape surrounding, Lake Mead is a feast for the eyes. A popular destination for houseboating, adventurers will tow their boat behind and find the perfect cove to while away the weekend riding and cliff jumping while basking in the desert sun. Just like Lake Powell, storms can take a turn for the worse rather quickly, so monitor weather apps and don’t take chances. 

Lake Havasu, Arizona & California

Another gem created by the Colorado River, Lake Havasu is farther south, sharing its shores with Arizona and California. With warm water (an average temperature of 79 degrees year-round) and 300 sunny days a year, Lake Havasu is always inviting. The water is pure and clean, and there’s something for the entire family, from cliff jumping to watersports to marinas and on-the-water restaurants— this area was made for boaters. Weekends and holidays bring crowds, but there’s always a riding spot if you’re looking for it.

Lake Tahoe, Nevada & California

Offering emerald-green to sapphire-blue tones that can rival the natural beauty of any lake in the world, Lake Tahoe sits at over six thousand feet in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The lake is split roughly down the middle between Nevada and California, just south of Reno. The lake is 99.994% pure, and if that sounds impressive, it is. Lake Tahoe is considered one of the purest lakes in the world, especially considering its size. With a maximum depth is 1,644 feet, Lake Tahoe is one of the deepest lakes in America. Be sure to bring a wetsuit in shoulder season, and consider a heater top or shorty wetsuit in summer months. 

Lake Shasta, California

Near Redding in Northern California, Lake Shasta is another reservoir set in a picturesque valley with mountain views and clear water. With four major rivers contributing to the lake, boaters can explore the various tributaries to find calm water in one of the many coves. With relatively low winds and plenty of marinas offering houseboat rentals, Lake Shasta is the perfect northern California destination for an unforgettable summer experience. 

When you’re ready for your next boating adventure on one of the Southwest’s best lakes, check out our 3D Build-a-Boat tool or visit your local dealer for a day on the water. 

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