March 2018 – The places where the Arizona desert meets the many waterways that flow through the state are very beautiful. We’ve hiked the shorelines and taken boat rides out onto some of Arizona’s desert lakes to see them up close. We’ve also recently discovered two fun places to dine on the waterfront right in the middle of the desert.
Lake Pleasant – Scorpion Bay Grill
The first is the Scorpion Bay Grill at Scorpion Bay Marina on Lake Pleasant on the northwest edge of Phoenix. Lake Pleasant is large enough to have two marinas, one on the east side which is privately owned and another — Scorpion Bay — on the west side which is part of the Maricopa County Parks system.
Friends of ours told us about the Scorpion Bay Grill and suggested we have dinner with them there. Despite having the word “scorpion” in the name, we were totally charmed by this special spot.
The first thing that struck us as unusual and kinda neat about Scorpion Bay Marina was the funicular ride that takes you from the parking lot down to the water. A “funicular” is a kind of enclosed cross between an escalator and an elevator that gets people up and down a steep slope without having to climb a million stairs. We first rode one in the colorful town of Guanajuato, Mexico, which is built on a steep hillside.
You can take the stairs at Scorpion Bay, but we went for the ride. Mark opened the door to the funicular and down we went!
The Scorpion Bay Grill is built on a huge floating dock so the water is all around you. The fabulous outdoor patio has a view of the lake and is a great place to watch the sunset. The fish and chips dinner was outstanding!
There’s special seating for people with dogs, and now that we count ourselves as “people with dogs” we sat there. Each dog is given his own mat next to the table! The dog area is on the shady side of the patio, which is great in the hotter months, but the view is not as dramatic as the people-only area out front, but Buddy loved it.
We had such a great time eating dinner with this up-close lake view that we forgot to take any pics (oops!). But here is a sunset shot on a different night at Lake Pleasant to give you an idea of what’s possible when you enjoy a sundowner at the Scorpion Bay Grill.
Colorado River – River’s Edge Cantina
The other place we discovered is up in the northwest corner of Arizona on the Colorado River in the town of Parker. The Colorado River is a popular spot for boaters and RVers, and there is a VW & Microbus rally and a balloon festival there every winter.
There are many places to access the Colorado River around Parker, some with palm trees and others with beaches and picnic ramamdas.
The Bluewater Casino and Marina Resort just east of downtown Parker has a big marina.
And there’s a little outdoor bar next to the boat docks called the River’s Edge Cantina.
Some folks arrive at the River’s Edge Cantina by boat!
The setting gives you a waterfront view and is very casual. It’s a pretty spot for a beer as the sun goes down.
This outdoor patio is dog-friendly too, and we brought our little pooch along. Buddy even tried to order a beer (he wanted a Bud), but they don’t serve beer to people who walk on four legs.
Nearby there was a little grassy area to play. When Buddy heard that, he ran down to the docks and jumped for joy!
This is a great spot to romp with a favorite toy.
Down by the water’s edge you can put a toe — or paw — in the water.
Buddy was quite parched, since his request for a beer had been turned down, so he reached down and put two paws in the water for a drink.
He leaned out a little too far and suddenly he fell in. Oops! Well, we all found out he knows how to dog paddle! He got a great bath and came out of the water sparkling clean.
But Cleanliness is not next to Dogliness, he told us. So, he made a beeline for a dirt patch under a bush, plopped himself down in the dirt and started digging holes as fast as his paws could go.
When he stood up he was shocked to discover he was a muddy mess!
He ran around in circles a few times and then settled down on the dock to lick himself clean.
He was too cute for words, so our cameras were clicking away.
With two owners constantly following him around taking his photo, Buddy is now a much photographed dog. And he’s becoming quite aware of his status as a model.
When I crouched down to get a shot of him showing off his backside for Mark’s camera, he squinted his eyes and gave me a sly look and muttered under his breath, “Talk to my agent!”
Even without a puppy, the boat docks and area around River’s Edge Cantina are a lovely place for a stroll in the late afternoon.
And at either the Scorpion Bay Grill on Lake Pleasant or the River’s Edge Cantina on the Colorado River, there’s always the chance you’ll get a classic Arizona sunset as you enjoy your lakeside sundowners!!
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More info about Scorpion Bay Grill and River’s Edge Cantina:
- Scorpion Bay Grill – Great fish ‘n chips on Lake Pleasant
- River’s Edge Cantina – Fun spot for sundowners on the Colorado River
- Pleasant Harbor RV Resort – On the east side of Lake Pleasant
- Lake Pleasant Regional Park – Several campgrounds on the west side of the lake that are part of Maricopa County Parks
- Locations of both restaurants – Interactive Google Maps
Other blog posts from where the Desert meets the Water:
- Bighorn Canyon – A River Runs Through It in Montana! 07/27/18
- Dolly Steamboat – Gliding Through the Arizona Desert on Canyon Lake 02/09/18
- Lake Pleasant & Canyon Lake – Waterfront Camping in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert 02/02/18
- Fall Colors and Wildlife on the Sonoran Desert Rivers in Arizona 12/22/17
- Sand Hollow State Park, Utah – An Oasis in the Desert! 11/21/17
- Bryce Canyon National Park – “Mossy Cave” – Mystery Waterfall! 10/18/16
- Fall Color in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert near Roosevelt Lake 12/10/15
- Roosevelt Lake – Lakeside Camping in AZ 05/01/14
- Phoenix on the Wing – Waterbirds of Arizona! 03/27/14
- Rivers of Phoenix – Oases in the Desert! 02/14/14
- Roosevelt Lake, AZ – Desert Oasis 04/15/09
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