By Lynette Carrington
Arizona's World Class Cruise, the Dolly Steamboat is a gorgeous sternwheeler that transports up to 140 passengers on Canyon Lake, taking them through colorful canyons as they enjoy scenic desert vistas and beautiful wildlife. On the way to Canyon Lake and in the vicinity, there are also some other attractions that can also be enjoyed during a day or weekend trip.
The Best Western Apache Junction Inn is one popular stop made by many people taking the Dolly Steamboat dinner cruise. It is located just minutes from Canyon Lake on the Apache Trail on the south side of the road and is a convenient place to stay if you want to make your trip a mini staycation. The inn features a complimentary full hot breakfast, clean and comfortable accommodations and beautiful views of the Superstition Mountains.
As you proceed on the Apache Trail from Apache Junction you see the Superstition Mountain Museum. It features Southwestern Artist Ted DeGrazia’s Apache Collection and many compelling artifacts from the Apache Junction and Superstition Mountains area.
PR Director and namesake of the Dolly Steamboat, Dolly Kennedy says, “The Mining Camp Restaurant is a boarding house-style restaurant that features platters of barbecue ribs, chicken and all the trimmings. It is definitely casual and has a fun Western mining camp theme.” One portion of the restaurant has family style seating where everyone eats at long tables with benches. Eating at the Mining Camp Restaurant really gives you the sense of what it must have been like back when gold mining was in its heyday at nearby Goldfield Ghost Town.
Goldfield Ghost Town is a real town and was home to one of the richest gold mines in the United States more than 100 years ago before it flooded. Goldfield “Mayor” Bob Schoose is the owner and has built it out to be a neat little town complete with mine tours, gold panning and a narrow-gauge railroad ride for entertainment. This is definitely a great place to take the entire family. The on-site Mammoth Steakhouse & Saloon is where you can wet your whistle or enjoy a juicy steak. Don’t miss the views of the Superstition Mountains from the back patio. They are breathtaking!
The Lakeside Restaurant & Cantina is adjacent to the Canyon Lake Marina and physically located right next to where the Dolly Steamboat embarks on its journey. The restaurant features fish frys and an outside patio overlooking the lake. This is a great stop for an afternoon lunch or early evening cocktail.
Kennedy states, “About two miles past the Canyon Lake Marina is Tortilla Flats - my favorite hamburger place! They have the biggest hamburgers and the spiciest chili and my favorite dish is the fresh fruit plate. Best of all, the fresh fruit is accompanied by a prickly pear sherbet...dee-licious!” Dollar bills paper the walls and you can even attach your business card. It is one unique restaurant and boasts a huge Southwestern gift shop.
The Dolly Steamboat Twilight Dinner Cruise is 2 ½ hours and includes a full buffet dinner as you watch the sun sink behind the cliffs and capture the desert beauty as the moon rises and the stars reveal themselves. Private charters are also available for just about any event. The Dolly Steamboat has full catering available for guests who need it.
Discover the beauty of Canyon Lake during a daily 1 ½ hour Scenic Nature Cruise. You will learn about our desert plants and saguaros along with the some of the desert inhabitants that are found along the lake including bald eagles, water fowl and other birds. Keep your eyes peeled and you just might see some of the many big horn sheep herds that can be spotted climbing amongst the canyon’s steep trails.
There is also a 2 ½ hour Astronomy Cruise (including dinner) with Dr. Sky, Steve Kates who will give cruise guests a breakdown of the night sky and interpret the constellations in a fun and engaging way, complete with a huge telescope.
For additional information on the Dolly Steamboat, a photo gallery and directions to the Canyon Lake Marina, visit www.dollysteamboat.com. For any other questions or to arrange private charters or corporate events, please call (480) 827-9144.