Growing up in Utah, one of my all-time favorite vacation spots was Lake Powell. We had family and friends who owned time-share rentals for a houseboat and were able to tag along on trips to Lake Powell. As an adult, I no longer have access to a houseboat through friends or family and I am not interested in having the expense of a houseboat or a boat. However, we have found various ways to still enjoy all the beauty and fun of Lake Powell without a boat.
Don't get me wrong, Lake Powell is amazing on a houseboat and there are awesome locations that you can only access via a boat, but you don't have to have a boat to enjoy all the fun of Lake Powell. You can rent a houseboat or boat if you want that experience and don't own a boat, they even offer lessons or training videos on how to drive and dock a houseboat, but you can also pay extra for someone to dock it for you.
Here are some of our top destinations or things to do without a boat. All are family friendly and can be done with even young children (Note: there are five marinas on Lake Powell and all of our destinations are located near the largest marina: Wahweap Marina at Page, AZ).
Location: 12 North Lake Powell Boulevard, Page, Arizona (Just 10 minute drive from Wahweap Marina)
Tours are currently closed due to the state of the public. They are suppose to open back up March 2021, but haven't yet – check their website for when they open. You can still drive to the dam and view it from the bridge.
Once things open back up, you can check out the Carl Hayden Visitor Center which has a small museum and hands on exhibits about the dam. You can also sign up for dam tours here. The 45-minute tour includes the top and interior of the dam for a small fee.
Spending a day at the beach can be fun and relaxing. Bring a shade tent, sand toys, inflatable water toys and a picnic. We have inflatable stand-up paddle boards and kayak that we like to bring, but you can always rent those here. You will need to pay the National Park fee to enter any beaches.
There are a couple of beaches we like near Wahweap Marina. Lone Rock Beach is a huge beach area that offers camping right on the beach. Located just 14 minutes from Wahweap Marina and technically in Utah. This area is tucked away from boats and would be great to paddle around. There are potable toilets near this beach.
Location: 1001 Page Parkway, Page, AZ (Just 17 minute drive from Wahweap Marina)
This location has recently become super popular and is the iconic image on the “Welcome to Arizona” sign as you cross the State line. They have added a new parking lot and bathrooms to this hike. There is now a $10 parking fee that is NOT included in your National Parks pass.
The hike is a fairly flat hike with two shade stations along the way. Besides the shade stations, there is no shade on this hike. It is 1.5 miles round trip.
Location: A short distance East of Glen Canyon Dam (Just 11 minute drive from Wahweap Marina)
Hanging Garden Trail is just 1.2 miles round trip and offers some great views along the way. There is no shade on this trail until you reach the garden. There is also a Viewpoint trail that cuts off from Hanging Garden Trail that leads to the top of a mound and offers even better views of Lake Powell.
Location: 11-minutes from Wahweap Marina
This hike is not quite as cool as the famous Wave, but with no lottery permit required, it's free, and small crowds – make it a great alternative. Located just North of Glen Canyon Dam. The trail head can be found across the street from the Beehive Campground. There are no signs, but you will find a line of rocks to mark the trail. The trail is marked with a line of rocks on both sides of the trail and will loop you around the large rock formation. This hike is only about an hour to loop around and is fairly easy. There is no shade, avoid extreme summer heat.
Location: 33-minutes from Wahweap Marina
Note: these tours are temporarily closed due to COVID, check back for openings. Even though these tours are expensive (starting at $50 each adult), we have to make mention of them because they are an extremely popular destination. Antelope Canyon is protected by the Navajo Parks and Recreation and only authorized tour companies can take visitors. You cannot tour this area alone. There are two tours to choose from: Upper and Lower and tickets sell out quickly. Here are available tours: Upper: Antelope Canyon tour, Lower: Kens Tour, Dixie's Tours, Upper & Lower: Taadidiin Tours,
You can also explore Antelope Canyon from Lake Powell by boat or kayak. You can take a 90-minute boat tour here or rent your kayak and plan on kayaking for about 2.5 miles before reaching dry ground. You can also pay for a kayaking tour here – these are currently the only tours open during COVID, we actually saw many kayakers near the entrance to Antelope Canyon on Lake Powell.
Location: 30-minutes from Wahweap Marina
This is an easy 1.8 mile hike round trip. Enjoy the gorgeous scenery and a collection of balanced rocks. There is very little shade on this hike, avoid going mid-day in the summer. Potable restrooms are available at the trailhead.
Lake Powell will always be one of my favorite vacation spots. What do you like to do at Lake Powell?