Fun on the Water in Santa Fe

When you think of Santa Fe, your mind might immediately wander to its sunbaked adobe buildings, the vibrant art scene, and the rich history and culture of the native peoples of the region. However, nestled within this desert gem, you’ll also find a world of lakes and rivers ready to add a refreshing element to your vacation. From the rapids of the Rio Grande to the serene waters of local lakes, Santa Fe offers unexpected yet thrilling water adventures for everyone. Let’s take a look at how to have some fun on the water in Santa Fe so you can start dreaming up your vacation activities!

White Water Rafting on the Rio Grande

White Water Rafting

Dive into the heart-pounding world of white-water rafting with the Santa Fe Rafting Co., the premier guide to navigating the wild currents of the Rio Grande. From March to October, the rafting season offers a variety of experiences suitable for all experience levels. Beginners can enjoy the gentle flows, learning the ropes from experienced guides with the half-day Rio Grande Orilla Verde tour, which traverses a mellow, lower section of the river above the rapids. And for the adrenaline junkies, the half-day Rio Grande Racecourse is the most popular option featuring six miles of technical twists and turns. Regardless of the tour you choose, the guides ensure a safe and exciting day of fun on the water in Santa Fe.

Kayaking Santa Fe’s Local Lakes

If you’re looking to get out on your own, kayaking through the local lakes in Santa Fe is just the ticket. Explore the serene beauty of Abiquiu Lake, a 5,200-surface-acre reservoir, as you pilot your own kayak along the glassy waters. Surrounded by stunning landscapes, you’ll be able to connect with nature and take your time enjoying your surroundings on this peaceful water activity.

If you’re new to kayaking and want to take lessons or a guided tour while in Santa Fe, New Mexico River Adventures offers tons of options to help you create a personalized experience on the Rio Grande.

Windsurfing and Stand-Up Paddleboarding on Cochiti Lake

Windsurfing and Stand-Up Paddleboarding on Cochiti Lake
Silhouette of a young woman kitesurfer at sunset. Trainings in calm weather on the estuary.

Cochiti Lake, a Corps of Engineers project located a short drive south of Santa Fe, offers two areas open to the general public: the Cochiti Recreation Area on the western shore and the Tetilla Peak area on the east. As a fully no-wake lake, this is a popular area for those looking to swim in the calm water or try windsurfing or stand-up paddleboarding. With boat ramps for easy entry, Cochiti Lake is also an ideal spot for those looking to cast a line. The waters, especially in early spring, are great for catching northern pike. So, be sure to bring your gear and enjoy a full day of fun on the water in Santa Fe.

Wakeboarding and Water Skiing on Conchas Lake

Located just two hours from Santa Fe, on the Canadian River, the beautiful Conchas Lake is the perfect place if you’re looking to rip through some open water on your vacation. Free from the no-wake restrictions of other lakes and deep enough to really let loose, Conchas Lake offers 88 miles of shoreline for you to enjoy. With eight boat ramps and a full-service marina, it’s easy to unload and hit the water. Attracting all kinds of water sports enthusiasts, Conchas Lake is the ideal playground for wakeboarding, water skiing, and tubing. Don’t have a boat of your own? Don’t worry! At Invert Sports, you can rent boats, jet skis, waverunners, and more, so you can enjoy all the thrills of fun on the water in Santa Fe.

Unique Adventures Along the Rio Chama

Paddle Boarding
They are floating on a SUP board down a river in summertime

If you have a few days to spare and are looking for a truly unique adventure on your Santa Fe vacation, the three-day stand-up paddleboarding tour from New Mexico River Adventures is one of the most popular tours in the area. As pioneers of stand-up paddleboarding in the state, they’re the regional experts on this challenging and ever more popular watersport.

On your three-day tour, you’ll traverse 31 miles of Rio Chama wilderness, getting up close to the stunning landscapes of the desert river canyon, from the pristine waters to epic sandstone walls. With stops at beautifully forested campsites and delicious meals prepared by your guides each day, this is an elevated camping experience you won’t soon forget. Learn about this exquisitely beautiful region from guides who truly love being on the river when you book this tour. Appropriate for children as young as 12, so long as they’re comfortable with the outdoors, this is a great family activity to incorporate into your Santa Fe vacation plans.

Your Santa Fe Water Adventure Awaits

After a day filled with fun on the water, there’s no better way to relax and reminisce than in the comfort of your own Santa Fe vacation rental. At Casas de Santa Fe, we offer a selection of properties that provide the perfect retreat to unwind and recharge. Whether you’re looking for a cozy hideaway or a spacious home base for your group, we have the perfect spot. Browse our available vacation rentals and book directly with Casas de Santa Fe for the best rates and service in the area. And, with monthly rentals available, it’s never been easier to plan an extended stay. Let Casas de Santa Fe be your home base for all your Santa Fe adventures.