The cactus pictured below is a true rare sight. Only about 1 in 200,000 cacti develops the crested stem featured below.

Cactus with a crested stem seen on the Desert Belle cruise on Saguaro Lake

Other wildlife you may encounter depending on time of day and year, temperature conditions, and pure luck include: bobcats, mountain lions, coyote, deer, and bighorn sheep. Our captain informed us that a black jaguar was spotted several months ago! Bring with some binoculars so you can be on the lookout for any wildlife. Most often that not, wildlife sightings will be limited to various birds, however, the cruise scenery is beautiful nonetheless.

A beautiful and educational journey

Along the route, you will learn interesting facts about various plants and animals native to the Sonoran desert, along with unique characteristics of this rare landscape. Did you know that the Sonoran is the wettest desert in the world? As you travel along taking in the magnificent sights, you will see how lush this desert is compared to others across the world.

Beautiful mountain views and cacti seen on the Desert Belle cruise on Saguaro Lake in Mesa, Arizona

Other recreational opportunities

Because there are more than 22 miles of shoreline available, Saguaro Lake is a very popular summer recreational destination. During your time on the lake, you will see all sorts of people out enjoying the beautiful surroundings including fishermen, kayakers, paddleboarders, jet skiers, boaters, and even cliff jumpers.

Speedboat out on Saguaro Lake with Four Peaks in the background- Mesa, Arizona
Boaters enjoying a summertime visit to beautiful Saguaro Lake in Mesa, Arizona

One of the best summer activities in Phoenix

So, next time you find yourself visiting Phoenix during the extreme summer months, don’t limit yourself to an afternoon trip to the mall or movies. As a more interesting alternative, consider a leisurely ride along the Desert Belle. For just a small price tag, you will take in the beauty of this gorgeous lake, possibly see some native wildlife, and enjoy many views of the beautiful Saguaro cacti, all along with enjoying an entertaining history lesson of the area.

Beautiful views of Four Peaks mountains from the Desert Belle cruise on Saguaro Lake in Mesa, Arizona

Address & Pricing Info

Location: 14011 N Bush Hwy # 2, Mesa, AZ 85215. Tip: Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to departure in order to choose the best seating available. There are no reserved seats.

Pricing: Desert Belle cruises are $25 per adult and $17 for kids aged 5-12. Special live music, craft beer, and wine cruises available for an extra fee. Learn more on the Desert Belle website.

Water, beer, and wine available on board.

No smoking. No restrooms. Pets not allowed.

Check the Arizona Key magazine for special promo codes, in addition to discount sites like Groupon, Travel Zoo, and Living Social.