I am amazed at how many people I have met who live in Arizona or the surrounding areas who have never been to Lake Havasu City, Arizona. The deserts of Southern California and throughout Arizona offer numerous outdoor activities such as hiking, off-road driving, and beautiful scenery. But in my opinion, Lake Havasu City is one of the hidden treasures of Arizona, USA.
Located off I-40 at Hwy 93, approximately 2½ hours south of Las Vegas Nevada, is where this desert playground is located. Lake Havasu was formed when the Parker Dam, located south of the town of Lake Havasu, was built in the 1930s, creating the lake now known as Lake Havasu. Robert McCullough, the godfather of Lake Havasu, bought London Bridge for $ 2.5 million and spent another $ 7 million to dismantle it and ship it from England. What used to be just a peninsula is now an island after a channel was dug for the bridge. And yes, the song “London Bridge is falling” is about Lake Havasu’s London Bridge.
The following list includes some of the greatest attractions that Lake Havasu has to offer, that only a few connoisseurs know about. So, to fully enjoy every minute of your stay, do yourself a favor and be sure to schedule a time to include them all. Lake Havasu can be enjoyed all year round, but the best times of the year are during the spring and summer months; especially if you plan to play in the water. Winter and fall are ideal if you don’t plan on swimming, boating, and skiing.
So, don’t let the heat from May to September hold you back. Just stock up on 150 SPF more sunscreen and enjoy.
1. London Bridge – Get the bridge out of the way first. This is obvious. If you go to Lake Havasu and don’t see the bridge, there is a chance you already have heatstroke. The English Village surrounds the bridge to give it the feel of London, except that it is surrounded by a desert. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great, but for some unknown reason, the English Village doesn’t compare to its jewel in the crown, the London Bridge. Some really cool shops and attractions are long gone, but an ice cream cone and some souvenirs are still worth buying. Don’t forget to come back in the evening.
2. Spring Break – College-age kids love it and the locals hate it. In my opinion, Lake Havasu is the West Coast’s best kept secret when it comes to spring break spots. If you can pull it off, try making reservations at the Nautical Inn on the island or the London Bride Resort located on the canal next to London Bridge. Not to mention Lake Havasu’s most popular nightclub, Kokomo’s, is also located there.
3. Watersports: This is Havasu’s bread and butter. Swimming, boating and jet skiing is what Lake Havasu is all about. You should have no problem finding boat rentals under London Bridge. If you are traveling in a group, consider renting a houseboat for the day. Be sure to check out the sandbars located north of the city. Ask the locals, they will point you in the right direction. Also take a look at the swimming holes in the area. Rotary State Park, located at the end of Smoketree Ave, and The State Beach located on the island, are excellent places for children and families. There are numerous swimming holes on the island if you like privacy, but be sure to wear shoes. Lake Havasu doesn’t have the luxurious sandy beaches like Southern California, and the rocks will destroy your feet.
4. Fishing – If you are a fisherman, you will have fun at Lake Havasu. Bass, catfish, and bluegill populate the region, just to name a few. Lake Havasu is known for its countless coves and inlets that beg to be fished. You also don’t have to have a boat. So if you just want to grab a lawn chair and relax, the island has plenty of places to fish. Don’t forget to buy a license.
5. The island at night: that’s what it’s all about. Most of the Lake Havasu homes can see the lake due to its layout. So when you are by the lake, you can see the whole city. And, at night, it is absolutely beautiful. Clear nights give way to the skies – you get a clear view of the stars in all their glory. Make sure you go to the end of the island near Site Six. Just follow McCullough Blvd over the bridge all the way to the end and exit anywhere to find a good spot. But be careful, there are many dangerous ravines, and if you don’t pay attention it could get ugly. You’ll see what I’m talking about once you’re there. You can hear the wild donkeys on some nights across the lake in California, or the boaters enjoying it. I can’t even tell you how many nights I spent there throwing a few cold ones down my throat and taking it all in.
6. Copper Canyon: Boating Havasu residents have always known about this hot spot, but MTV brought this little cove to Hollywood. Made famous by MTV’s visit during spring break in 1994, Copper Canyon is now a must-see if you own a boat and like to party and jump off the cliffs. During spring break, the full boats make a floating walkway. This also applies to Labor Day, July 4, and Memorial Day weekend. If a lot of people aren’t your thing, you may want to experience the Copper Canyon at another time of year.
7. Boat trips: If you just want to relax and hang out for a couple of hours, and enjoy all the sites, you might be interested in a boat trip. The storytellers give you a step-by-step, play-by-play experience that is truly second to none. Watch wildlife, enjoy dinner, or relax; the choice is yours.
8. Bison Blvd – I’m about to upset the neighbors, but the view from the desert of Bison Blvd across Kiowa is too good not to speak to them. However, the pavement will only take you so far, a car will work if you drive very slowly; We advise using only one truck if possible. Bison is found at the base of the mountains behind Lake Havasu. See the city from the other side, and just like the island, there are incredible views of the cosmos. During the day, the desert is a paradise for off-road neophytes; this is where the desert really opens up.
9. Cliffs: If you like jumping off cliffs, this is the place for you. Located north of the town of Lake Havasu, off I-93, in the desert foothills, are cliffs ranging from 15 to 150 feet high. This is not a park and parking is limited, unless you are accessing this area using an ATV or boat. The water is deep enough, but you need to be very careful if you plan to jump big. Again, ask the younger locals for exact directions.
10. Off-road: The wilderness is wide open to the north, south, and west of Lake Havasu. There are numerous buggy rentals in the area to choose from. But like I said, prepare yourself with water, a GPS device, a cell phone, and a spare tire. Rent a buggy and hit the open desert trails. Just be careful, because if you get into trouble during the summer months, the Arizona heat is not very forgiving.