The kids and I took a fun trip over to Tempe Town Lake to rent a paddle boat. The boat fits four people, and in 2021, it cost a little less than $40 for an hour of paddling around the lake. We looked at their donut boa, run by electricity. That The donut boat fits up to ten people, but costs $100 an hour. It was a beautiful day and the paddle boats costs $40.. You can also rent boats at Kiwanis Lake (in Kiwanis Park). You can also check them out at Lake Pleasant!
When I looked up the information about the boats on the website, I was under the impression that I had to put in a reservation. Well, there were plenty of boats available when I got there, so I don’t think a reservation was completely necessary. Maybe at some high peak times, but on a weekday morning, it doesn’t seem like it was really needed. You do need one person 18+to be in a boat with kids under 13. Anyone under 13 needs a life jacket. The life jackets are provided or you can bring your own. They have to be Coast Guard Approved.
When I read the information after I checked out, I saw something that said life jackets cost an extra $10 per person. I thought that it was going to cost me a lot more for this trip. They did not charge for the life jackets. It was very confusing! Also, if you are doing paddleboarding, it seems that they may charge separately for the board and the paddle? It is a very clunky website!!
Where to go
The parking lot is not right next to the boat area, which is just a little hut. There is a porta potty that is next to the boat hut, so I would plan accordingly for the bathroom as well.
Directions are Tempe Boat Rentals, 72 W Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe, AZ 85281
You’ll have to walk about 400 feet or so from the parking lot to the boat launch area. If you have a reservation, there is a reservation line. However, there was only one person working the day we went so a we just waited in the regular line.
If you have lived in the valley for more than 6 or 7 years you may remember that there was an amazing splash pad that had slides for kids! There were even life guards because the area would fill up with water! I unfortunately only have a few bad pictures of the place. Tempe took the splashpad down, saying they would replace it and then, never did because of budget concerns. But, they did make the Kiwanis Cloud
We headed to our paddle boat and Munchie and I sat in the front and Giggles and Dimples sat in the back. Keeping my boys separated was one key to none of us going overboard. Ha HA!! The covers also were very nice! I truly appreciated the covers. The paddle boat has a maximum of four people. So, we left husband at home so we didn’t have to rent another boat. Actually he had to work! There are also duck boats, and other types of canoes and more!
The people who work at the boat launch seemed to be young college students or perhaps graduate students and they were super kind. They let us know where the boarders were and the rules. It was very easy. Don’t go onshore, no boat bumping and how far we could go. We all brought our own water. I didn’t bring my purse, but I had a camelback to drink from.
These are the electric donut boats!
Do you remember the train fire on the bridge? This was that bridge!! We could still smell a little bit of fire…it was interesting to smell the smokiness as we went under it, but it was not overwhelming. This picture was taken from under the light-rail bridge.
We loved talking with the gentleman on the left who had his dog on his boat! He came up to us and chatted with us for a bit about his boat and his dog, which made my kids day!!
The picture on the right was very concerning! The Second Mill Avenue Bridge had tons of wasp/hornets/bee nests or whatever underneath it. It was under every bit of the bridge. So, I will warn you to be super cautious if you are going this way. I did call the city of Tempe to let them know, and they put in a parks and rec request. So, hopefully it will be rectified. But, if you are very sensitive to bees or notice any bees, you may want to go the other way.
Munchie let the two other kiddos steer from the back of the boat, while we paddled along. Giggles and Munchie did switch at the end of the ride so that Giggles could sit up front and paddle. They asked me to switch to the back, but I knew that I would probably tip over the boat if we did that!
There is not a lot of storage on the boat at all, so I highly suggest bringing in only what you absolutely need. I didn’t even bring my purse on. My camelbak served as my wallet holder and key holder. We rented the boat for an hour, andt hat was plenty of time. My legs were pretty tired too!
It was a fun trip and my kids really loved it. I think next time we might split the cost with another family and do the donut boat on Tempe Lake
Tempe Lake Boat Rentals
72 W. Rio Salado Parkway Tempe, AZ 85282