Discover bucket-list adventures at Lake Powell – boat or not! Dive into desert fun with things to do at Lake Powell and nearby attractions.
If you’re here, then let me welcome you to the beauty of Lake Powell! If you’re dreaming of a beautiful, bucket-list getaway where clear blue waters meet rugged red rock landscapes, Lake Powell should be at the top of your list. This giant lake straddling Arizona and Utah offers a smorgasbord of activities for everyone, whether you’re a water lover or prefer to stay on solid ground. Let’s dive into this comprehensive guide on all the epic things to do at Lake Powell and beyond.
This post is all about all of the things to do at Lake Powell
Things to do at Lake Powell
Lake Powell is all about the water, and the best way to see it and immerse yourself in it is by getting out on a boat. Whether you rent a houseboat or a speedboat (or both!), the lake’s 2,000 miles of shoreline and deep, clear waters make it a paradise for water sports. From wakeboarding to jet skiing, there’s no shortage of aqua thrills. Especially with all of that room to play!
But what if you don’t have a boat? No worries! Lake Powell offers boat rentals for all budgets and experience levels. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a first-timer, you’ll find the perfect boat for your trip. If you do, don’t forget to explore the beautiful slot canyons like Antelope Canyon and Labyrinth Canyon, accessible only by water, for a truly unique experience.
When it comes to lake toys, you can’t go wrong with what you will use! We love these water toys and always recommend them to others when they ask us what things to do at Lake Powell.
Things to be aware of
Navigating the lake can be tricky due to changing water levels and submerged obstacles. Safety precautions and familiarity with the lake’s layout are going to be key to helping you!
2. Kayak, Canoe, or Paddleboards
If you’re looking for a more chill way to explore the lake’s nooks and crannies, grab a kayak or canoe! Paddling across the lake is one of our favorite things to do at Lake Powell. It is so beautiful and peaceful. It’s like gliding through a watercolor painting. You can rent these kayaks and canoes at Bullfrog Marina or Wahweap Marina. Meander through narrow canyons, discover hidden coves, and take in the breathtaking scenery up close and personal. You can also get your own inflatable paddleboards for pretty inexpensive!
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Not a seasoned or experienced kayaker? Don’t you worry! There are actually guided tours available to help you have a safe and unforgettable experience. Guided tours are one of our favorite ways to explore new places and when it comes to things to do at Lake Powell, it is no exception! Keep your eyes peeled for the resident wildlife, including otters, lizards, and even the occasional bald eagle soaring above.
3. Houseboat Living
For the ultimate Lake Powell experience, try renting a houseboat! These floating homes-away-from-home have all the comforts you need, from kitchens to bedrooms, and even decks for sunbathing and stargazing. Imagine waking up to a serene sunrise on the lake or enjoying a barbecue on your private deck as the sun dips below the horizon. Sunsets are one of our favorite things to do at Lake Powell. There is something so peaceful about watching a sunset at Lake Powell and all of the beauty that it enhances all around you.
Houseboats are available in many sizes, which makes them perfect for couples, families, or large groups of friends. You can spend your days swimming off the back deck, fishing for striped bass (Josh’s favorite!), or simply enjoying the tranquility of this desert oasis.
If you are looking for a great place to park your houseboat, we have really like Last Chance, Padre Bay, and San Juan Arm on the south end of the lake if you are coming from Wahweap. For the north end (if you are coming from Bullfrog Marina, Iceberg, Forgotten, Escalante, and Moki are great options.
4. Exploring the Lake
Whether you are new to this vacation and are looking for things to do at Lake Powell, or you are a frequent visitor, there is no shortage of spots to explore in Lake Powell. The lake is constantly changing and revealing some pretty amazing things! Check out this blog post with a full list of some hidden gems you can find at Lake Powell.
5. Lakeside Camping Under the Stars
If you prefer solid ground beneath their feet, there are plenty of campgrounds on Lake Powell with amazing lake views. When it comes to things to do at Lake Powell, camping is not going to disappoint. You can pitch your tent under the star-studded desert sky and fall asleep to the lapping waves. Wahweap Campground and Lone Rock Beach Campground are some really good and popular choices.
These campgrounds come equipped with basic amenities like restrooms and picnic tables, which makes it easy to enjoy a rustic adventure without sacrificing comfort.
Book your spot in advance, especially during the peak summer season when Lake Powell is in high demand!
6. Scenic Overlooks
If you’re more of an “admire from a distance” type of traveler, then adding scenic overlooks to your list of things to do at Lake Powell is a must. You can drive to spots like Alstrom Point or Horseshoe Bend, where you can gaze in awe at the vastness of the lake and the Colorado River below.
These spots are especially magical during sunrise and sunset, so bring your camera and capture the desert’s ever-changing palette of colors. It’s an Instagrammer’s paradise! And the crowds will definitely reflect that as well, so be prepared!
Josh is going to be so disappointed that I didn’t make this number one, seeing as it’s one of his favorite things to do at Lake Powell! Lake Powell is a fishing heaven full of striped bass, catfish, and crappie. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie like me, you’ll find many opportunities to cast your line and reel in a big one.
For the best results, consider hiring a local fishing guide who knows the lake really well. They can take you to the secret spots where the fish are biting and share their expertise to ensure a successful day on the water. Or just call Josh up. He would be more than happy to help!
8. Lakeside Picnics
Sometimes, the simple pleasures are the best, like a picnic on the lake. Just pack your picnic basket with your favorite goodies and find a quiet spot along the shoreline. Isn’t there something so magical about a picnic with the shimmering lake as your backdrop? When it comes to things to do at Lake Powell, a picnic will not get old!
Whether you’re eating sandwiches, savoring a barbecue feast, or indulging in a charcuterie spread, lakeside picnics are a great way to unwind and connect with nature. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit for a quick swim in the lake if it calls to you! Which you know it will!
9. Rainbow Bridge
I know I’ve already mentioned exploring the lake, but Rainbow Bridge deserves its own spot on things to do at Lake Powell. If you’re a nature lover, or just like seeing cool things, you don’t want to miss the chance to visit Rainbow Bridge National Monument. This sandstone arch is one of the largest natural bridges in the world! You can take a boat, boat tour in Lake Powell, or a nice, long hike from the Navajo Nation side to get there.
Rainbow Bridge is not only a geological marvel but also a sacred site for the Navajo people. Be sure to show respect and follow any guidelines set by the local community when visiting.
9. Stargazing Paradise
Lake Powell’s remote location and clear desert skies make it an amazing spot for stargazing. After the sun sets and the desert cools down, you can lay out a blanket and enjoy the show! Stargazing is something I highly recommend you add to your list of things to do at Lake Powell.
If you want the ultimate stargazing experience, head over to the area around Rainbow Bridge. This area is a Dark Sky Sanctuary, making it the PERFECT place to do some epic stargazing. Don’t forget your telescope!
Things to do Near Lake Powell
If you prefer to stay on land but still want to head out to Lake Powell and Glen National Park to explore, here are some things that you can do near Lake Powell!
10. Hiking Hotspots
Lake Powell isn’t just about the water, even though there’s plenty of it. It’s also surrounded by some of the most beautiful and unique desert landscapes in the United States. If you’re a hiking enthusiast, you’re in for a treat! The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (of which Lake Powell is a part) has an array of hiking trails suitable for all skill levels, including little kids!
For an easy hike, take the Hanging Garden Trail, where you’ll discover a lush oasis in the heart of the desert. If you’re up for a challenge, try the iconic Buckskin Gulch, one of the longest slot canyons in the world. These hikes are so cool and offer a unique perspective on the rugged beauty of the region.
11. Slot Canyon Exploration
If you decide to venture beyond Lake Powell to explore, you will find some incredible slot canyons that have been carved by hundreds of years of water and wind. Antelope Canyon is the most famous and a must-visit. The narrow, winding passages and the interplay of light and shadows create a surreal and almost spiritual experience.
Guided tours are available to help you navigate these unique formations safely. Lower Antelope Canyon and Upper Antelope Canyon each offer their own brand of enchantment, so why not explore both?
12. Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend is one of those places you’ve probably seen in photos, and it’s even more incredible in person. And it’s only a short hike from the parking area to the edge of a sheer cliff that overlooks a dramatic horseshoe-shaped bend in the Colorado River.
The view from here is breathtaking (as is the view down the cliff), and it’s a great spot for photos! Just be super careful near the edge because there are no guardrails!
13. Cultural Exploration: Page, Arizona
While you may be looking for things to do at Lake Powell, the nearby town of Page, Arizona, is worth a visit too. Take a break from the outdoors and explore the town’s cultural offerings. Visit the Navajo Village Heritage Center to learn about the rich history and traditions of the Navajo Nation.
Don’t forget to check out the John Wesley Powell Memorial Museum, where you can delve into the history of exploration in the region. And if you’re a fan of photography, the Powell Museum offers workshops and exhibits that showcase the beauty of the area.
14. Local Cuisine in Page, AZ
After all that adventuring, you’ll work up an appetite. Luckily, the Lake Powell area has some fantastic dining options. Whether you’re craving a juicy burger, fresh seafood, or Southwestern cuisine, you’ll find it here. We’ve found some pretty delicious restaurants that we can vouch for that you can find in this blog post!
15. Glen Canyon Dam
This very significant structure is the reason for Lake Powell, so I would be remiss if I didn’t add it to our recommendations of things to do near Lake Powell! The dam was completed in 1966 and created Lake Powell, which is one of the largest reservoirs in the world. Standing at 710 ft high, it is an incredible sight to see. There is a visitors center that you can access off of US 189. However, they are not running tours of the dam at this time. That doesn’t mean you can’t stop and get a quick pic or stop at the visitors center to learn more about the Glen Canyon Dam!
Now that you have the lowdown on all the incredible things to do at Lake Powell and in the surrounding areas, it’s time to start planning your trip! Whether you’re a water lover, a hiker, an explorer, or simply looking for relaxation, Lake Powell has something for everyone.
This post has been about all of the things to do at Lake Powell.