Tips when Planning A Trip To Lake Powell

Lake Powell

Lake Powell is a beautiful spot near the Grand Canyon. Part of what makes it so unique is that the lake itself is in Utah and Arizona. Only 115 miles from the North Rim, Lake Powell is a world-famous recreation area and a boater’s paradise known for spectacular red cliffs and unforgettable sunsets. 

When planning a trip to Lake Powell, careful planning is a must. That way,  you can make sure to see Lake Powell at it’s best and take advantage of everything it has to offer. When mapping out your trip, consider:

  • When to visit
  • Length of your trip
  • Accommodations 
  • What to pack
  • Where to eat
  • Other activities

If you’re ready for some of the most spectacular views available in the US, a trip to Lake Powell needs to be in your future. Start planning now so you can make the most of your adventure. Keep reading for tips on planning a trip to Lake Powell. 

When is the Best Time to Visit Lake Powell?

Lake Powell is an all-season destination. Rain is rarely an issue, and the sun shines almost every day. The lake doesn’t freeze, so boating is an option all year round.


The water will be cold as the snow from the mountains melts into the lake. The lake’s activity is usually quiet in the spring, but spring break draws families to the area. 

Like the water, there’s a chill in the air, especially at night, when it can drop below freezing. Spring is an excellent time for fishing on the lake.


Summer is peak season on Lake Powell. The water is warm, and the sun is hot. If you’re into water sports, there’s not a better destination than Lake Powell in the summer. 

You should expect everything to be busy in the summer. Boat rentals and hotels are sold-out, and the hiking trails are crowded.

One advantage of Lake Powell is its size. It’s so large that you can still find quiet areas to beat the crowds. Another advantage is that you can enjoy stunning sunsets without swatting at bugs all evening because there aren’t many bugs.

Lake Powell
On the water at Lake Powell


Autumn at Lake Powell means cool evenings and warm water. The summer rush ends as the kids go back to school. Boat rental and hotel prices fall with the temperatures. It’s an excellent time for fishing, and the traffic slows down on the lake and trails. 


The winters on Lake Powell are brisk but not freezing. Average high temperatures range from the mid-’40s to low-50’s. Winter is peaceful on and around the lake. At times, it may feel like you have the whole lake to yourself.

How Many Days Do You Need at Lake Powell?

The length of your stay on Lake Powell depends on what you plan to do on your trip. Some people want to visit the lake, and others go to experience everything it has to offer.

Just a Few Days

If you only have a short time to visit the area, spending time on the water is an absolute must. A great way to see Lake Powell is a boat tour. The Canyon Princess Dinner Cruise allows you to witness the stunning sunset from out on the water. If tours aren’t your thing, you can rent a boat or jet ski for a day and discover your private beach.

The must-see destinations on any trip to Lake Powell are the geological treasures of Horseshoe Bend, Rainbow Bridge, and Antelope Canyon. Visiting all three sites will take more than a single day, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Lake Powell Boating
Boating on Lake Powell

A Week or More

The absolute best way to experience all Lake Powell has to offer is by houseboat. In the summer, Lake Powell can look like a small subdivision with the number of houseboats on the water. 

Learning how to pilot a houseboat is not too difficult, and short lessons are available before getting on the water. Houseboating allows for exploration of the almost 100 side canyons and beaches on the expansive shoreline.

Many sightseeing tours will pick you up directly from a marina, or you can stop for the day and take a hike. Advanced planning is necessary, but it’s impressive to experience Lake Powell from the water and the tops of sheer cliffs.

Lake Powell

Where Will You Stay at Lake Powell?

Budget options for visiting Lake Powell are wide-ranging depending on the type of traveler and accommodations. You can rent a world-class houseboat and stay in luxury or pitch a tent and spend your days swimming and hiking.

Entrance to the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area requires an admission fee based on your vehicle type. Passes and rates are available from the National Park Service.

Houseboat Rental

Houseboat rentals can get pricey! At Lake Powell Resort and Marinas, some houseboats rent for upwards of $15,000 a week in the summer. Economy options are available for as little as $1,300 for a four-day rental in the off-season.

Keep in mind that these prices don’t include fuel, and current prices are in the $5 per gallon range. Also, not included are the cleaning fee and insurance. As you might imagine, the costs add up quickly.


Due to the vastness of Lake Powell, hotel options vary widely with locations in Utah and Arizona. The Lake Powell Resort mentioned above is a popular destination, as are all the major hotel brands in the area. 

Pricing for all hotels is seasonal, but here are some additional Four Star recommendations from Tripadvisor:


There are several campgrounds available throughout the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The National Park Service operates some sites, and concessioners run others. Only Halls Crossing, Bullfrog, and Hite Outpost offer full-hook-ups for RVs within the recreation area.

Several traditional and primitive campsites are available within the recreation area for a $12 or $14 per night fee. These campsites are first-come, first-served, and no reservations are accepted.

What Should I Bring to Lake Powell?

Packing for a trip to Lake Powell is definitely a seasonal decision. In the summer, a bathing suit, shorts, t-shirt, and sunscreen are all you’ll need during the day. If you plan on hiking, be sure to bring appropriate hiking shoes as the terrain is uneven and rocky. 

A hat and sunglasses are also must-haves to protect from the intense sun.

At any time of year in the desert, evenings can get chilly. Be sure to pack long pants and a sweater to stay warm while gazing at the spectacular starlit night sky from around a campfire.

Lake Powell

Where Should You Eat When Visiting Lake Powell?

The number 1 rated restaurant by Tripadvisor in the Lake Powell area is Big John’s Texas BBQ. Big John is a born and bred Texan with the BBQ skills to back it up. This spot is the place to go for smoked meat and live music.

Fiesta Mexicana is a popular chain of nine restaurants located throughout the Southwest. Family-friendly, authentic Mexican food is their calling. Vegetarian options are available at the Page, AZ location.

If you have a taste for Italian while in the desert, give Bonkers Restaurant a try. Everything is made from scratch at Bonkers using the best ingredients. Italian is the specialty, but the reviews point to the steak at this quaint hidden gem.

You probably weren’t expecting sushi in Lake Powell, but Blue Buddha Sushi Lounge made its mark in this area. They fly fish in daily, and they have great wine and stake selections. The Blue Buddha is perfect when you’re looking for a clean, modern atmosphere after a day of dust in the desert.

When the view is just as important as the food, make a reservation at the Rainbow Room. Floor to ceiling windows flashes stunning views of the lake with the desert backdrop. A breakfast buffet is available on the weekends, but a dinner timed with the sunset is an unbeatable combination.

What Else is There to Do Around Lake Powell?

There is no shortage of things to do near Lake Powell, in addition to the traditional lake fun. Sightseeing the Grand Canyon is a day trip by car, or you can catch a helicopter tour from the Page Municipal Airport.

There is an excellent concentration of National Parks only a day’s car ride from Lake Powell. The most popular destinations are Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Zion, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches National Parks.

Start Planning Your Trip to Lake Powell

Now is the perfect time to start planning your trip. The more time you allow for planning, the more prepared you’ll be for your trip to Lake Powell. That means less time spent researching while you’re there, and more time spent enjoying Lake Powell.