North Shore Beach in Tempe is about the closest Phoenix kids can get to water and sand. Yes, this little beach has real sand! The water in Tempe Town Lake is not for swimming or wading, but this stop makes for a simple, fun outing with great views of downtown Tempe!
We stopped here one May evening, bringing along some take-out dinner and our picnic blanket. The kids were so excited to play in the sand! Be sure to bring sand toys. The lake water lapped at the shoreline, almost bringing us back to our favorite Oceanside, CA beaches. As noted swimming and wading is not allowed in Tempe Town Lake.
The sunset the night we visited was so beautiful! We stayed until the sky was nearly dark, enjoying the playtime. Kayakers passed, people on paddleboards too. And to the right is the popular train trestle, for real trains and the metro! Overall, this simple family outing was one of our favorites in the craziness of 2020.
You can find this sand pocket on the north side of the lake, off Lakeview Drive. Parking is free, and under the 202 freeway. North Shore Beach does show up on Google Maps and directions are accurate. Take exit 6 for Center Parkway off the 202, turn north, then take the next right on to Washington Street. Stay in the right lane. In 0.2 miles turn right on Lakeview Drive (can be hard to miss this turn). The beach will be visible on your right at the bottom on the hill! Continue to the free parking lots under the freeway to park.
North Shore Beach in Tempe also gives access to a fabulous walking and biking path around the lake, as well as connects to a nature habitat which we love. Boating is very popular on Tempe Town Lake! More info can be found here. Or browse the Tempe Tourism website here.