Best Activity for Out-of-Town Guests (2010)

Dolly Steamboat Tours

Just when you think you've exhausted every "touristy" event in Phoenix to take your visiting Aunt Sally, something new pops up on the horizon. In this case, it pops up in a canyon. After finding this little gem of a tour, we're shocked at how few people know about it. The Dolly Steamboat winds its way through the breathtaking waterways of Canyon Lake, where secluded, pristine vistas justify the nickname "The Junior Grand Canyon." Wildlife sightings are commonplace along these nature cruises; once, we saw an entire family of bighorn sheep climbing up steep, enormous rock walls. The air is much cleaner 50 miles east of Phoenix, so everything along this spectacular ride just seems more colorful. Dolly's captain is entertaining and knowledgeable about not only the boat but all kinds of history related to the Apache Trail and its parts, as well as the flora and fauna of the area. The tours range from the simple — but spectacular — nature cruise to dinner cruises and even a once-a-month astronomy cruise, and Dolly is also available for private events. Even the drive out to Canyon Lake is magnificent. Make sure you pack your camera and binoculars, but leave the alcohol at home. (There's a bar and snack bar on board, though.) Prices for tours range from $20 to $79, with discounts for seniors and kids.


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