Tempe's very own man-made lake provides a cool location for water sports and outdoor recreation.. In Short The fact that Tempe is located in the middle of a vast desert doesn't mean it can't have a lake. Realizing that people enjoy water-based recreation, Tempe's city fathers built their own and named it Towne Lake. Boating and walking along the shore are popular activities, as are paddle boating, kayaking and canoeing. The on-site Rio Lago cruise line offers chartered cruises of the lake.