Desert Belle Cruise | Saguaro Lake | Mesa AZ | Discount code for our readers.
So, you’re looking for something to do in Phoenix, eh?
Post last updated October 2021.
Do I have the perfect solution for you! As long as there are no people in your group who are not big fans of boat rides.
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About 45 minutes to an hour southeast of downtown Phoenix, there’s a lake called Saguaro Lake.
Never heard of it?
Once you’ve been there (or you look at the pictures), you’ll know why it’s called that.
Delightfully, there’s more to do than visit Butcher Jones Beach (butcher??? gulp) or take your boat out on the lake. You and your family/friends can go on a cruise on the Desert Belle.
The public cruise options available are:
- Live Music,
- Wine and Live Music,
- Narration Cruise.
This post is dedicated to the Narration Cruise on the Desert Belle.
NOTE: The current FAQ page and their website do not mention any COVID protocols.
Get ready to sit back (or stand, if you like) and relax and enjoy your time on the lake.
Buying a ticket
- Buy at the ticket booth right there by the dock (not recommended – this could be risky, as the cruise may be sold out).
- Go on to their website and buy a ticket. (Recommended at least a day in advance so you ensure you can get on the cruise.)
For my readers, they have granted us a discount code! Are you doing a happy dance? To get $3 off of one adult ticket (sorry, they do not discount kids’ tickets), book online and use the discount code Journey.
- Call them to buy a ticket.
(Work that discount – if you have an Entertainment book and there are 2 of you traveling, look for the Buy 1 Get 1 coupon in there.)
You’ll want to pile as many in a car as you can – the parking is limited.
I mean, I’m not saying you have to have a clown car.
Unless you want to. 😉
If that’s your thing, go for it.
Should I bring anything?
So glad you asked!
- Cash for the bar/snacks/tips for captain and crew (they do take cards, but once out on the lake, the wifi goes out, so the card reader doesn’t work).
- A hat.
- Sunscreen – our favorite organic sunscreen can be found on Amazon (affiliate link).
- If you go on the 1230 tour, bring your lunch to eat in your car before you get on the boat – no outside food or drink allowed.
There’s also a restaurant up the hill from the dock, if you want to get there early and have lunch there.
Once you’re on the boat, it’s open seating, either down in the cabin where there’s AC, or up on top in the fresh air, or even in the front outside.
The crew offers food for sale (popcorn, candies) and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) for sale at the bar, and if you’ve purchased a premium ticket, you get a choice of one of those food items included in your ticket.
The captain takes you on your tour and narrates over a loudspeaker. He points out interesting sights, features, and wildlife if the wildlife is out. Sometimes bobcats are out, sometimes eagles.
You never know.
I love the rare, funny-looking saguaro he points out. Watch for it.
On our cruise, the wildlife came to us!
Best time to go
Going on a holiday, or the day after Thanksgiving, you will probably find yourself on a sold-out, packed-like-sardines boat ride, making for a less-than-pleasant experience (unless you like that sort of thing).
We haven’t tried weekends, but they are probably busier, also.
If you can, and you would like a little more breathing room, going during the week has been the best time for us to be able to experience more elbow room.
If you DO go on a holiday or weekend during warm weather, add an extra 10-20 minutes on your drive time from what your GPS tells you. There are slow-downs along the road as you get closer, due to Salt River tubers walking on the side of the road with their tubes.
Once you disembark, tips are appreciated (the crew is great), and there’s a gift shop just off the boat.
Almost forgot to mention the most important part! They DO have bathrooms on board, on the lower level.
The boat IS wheelchair accessible, but sorry, there’s no elevator to the upper part of the boat, so you’ll just have to suffer it out in the AC looking out the windows. 😉
Any way you do it, have a great time!
Let us know in the comments if you saw anything unusual during your cruise.
Other similar boat tours in the area (again, check the Entertainment book to see about a discount):