Fodor's Expert Review Patagonia Lake State Park
Five miles south of town, this is the spot for water sports, birding, picnicking, and camping. Formed by the damming of Sonoita Creek, the 265-acre reservoir lures anglers with its largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and catfish; it's stocked with rainbow trout in the wintertime. You can rent rowboats, paddleboats, canoes, and fishing gear at the marina. Most swimmers head for Boulder Beach. The adjoining Sonoita Creek State Natural Area is home to giant cottonwoods, willows, sycamores, and mesquites; nesting black hawks; and endangered species. From mid-October to mid-April, rangers offer guided birding and discovery tours by pontoon boat ($5) on weekends at 9, 10:15, and 11:30 (call visitor center to sign up); free guided bird walks are on Monday and Friday at 9 (call first to check schedule).