Lake Havasu, a desert oasis on the ArizonaCalifornia border, offers 400+ miles of coastline, navigable waterways that stretch another 60 miles, year-round sunshine, and diverse activities, from water sports and off-roading to exploring the London Bridge and surrounding desert ecosystem.

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Key Takeaways

  • Lake Havasu, a picturesque Colorado River reservoir, offers numerous recreational activities.
  • The relocation of the famous London Bridge adds a unique historical touch to Lake Havasu City.
  • The area boasts various events, water sports, and off-road trails for an unforgettable outdoor experience.

Fun Facts About Lake Havasu

  1. History: Lake Havasu City was originally an Army Air Corps rest camp, called “Site Six,” during the Second World War on the shores of Lake Havasu. The city was established on September 30, 1963, by the Mohave County Board of Supervisors resolution as the Lake Havasu Irrigation and Drainage District. The town was incorporated in 1978.
  2. Population: The current population of Lake Havasu City is 56,254, based on projections of the latest US Census estimates for 2020.
  3. London Bridge: Lake Havasu is home to the London Bridge. The London Bridge was purchased by Robert P. McCulloch in 1964. The opening of the London Bridge in October 1971 brought the world’s largest antique to the area, a world-famous attraction that continues to draw tens of thousands of sightseers to Lake Havasu City.
  4. Climate: Lake Havasu City holds the record high temperature in Arizona history, with 128 °F recorded on June 29, 1994.
  5. Lighthouses: There are 27 lighthouses on Lake Havasu in Arizona, all replicas of famous lighthouses throughout the United States.

History of Lake Havasu City

Lake Havasu City has an intriguing history that dates back to World War II. Initially, the community started as an Army Air Corps rest camp, known as Site Six, situated on the shores of Lake Havasu. After the war, in 1958, American businessman Robert P. McCulloch purchased a vast expanse of land totaling 3,353 acres on the east side of the lake along Pittsburgh Point. This investment laid the foundation for the vibrant city you see today. Throughout the years, various noteworthy events unfolded, with one particularly fascinating story being the relocation of the London Bridge.

The Story of London Bridge

In 1968, Robert P. McCulloch made an audacious move, leaving many in disbelief. He purchased the historic London Bridge, which once spanned the River Thames in London, England. You might wonder why an entrepreneur would buy an old bridge, but McCulloch saw it as a clever marketing tactic for his newly established town. He believed that bringing such a world-renowned monument to Lake Havasu City would attract tourists and propel the city’s growth.

Transporting the London Bridge thousands of miles from England to Arizona was no small feat. The bridge was meticulously dismantled, with each stone individually numbered to be reassembled accurately on-site. Completing this ambitious project took three years and cost over $7 million. Today, the reassembled London Bridge is a testament to McCulloch’s ingenuity and vision, attracting millions of visitors to Lake Havasu City annually.

As you explore Lake Havasu City, you’ll gain an appreciation for its rich history, which all began with a World War II rest camp and culminated with the arrival of a famous bridge. The story of Robert P. McCulloch’s audacious plans and investment in this beautiful desert oasis proves that even the most unconventional ideas can become reality with boldness and ingenuity.

Experiencing Lake Havasu’s Nature

Lake Havasu is a beautiful desert oasis that offers many opportunities to connect with nature. In this section, we’ll explore some of the best parks and recreation areas in Mohave County, where you can immerse yourself in the outdoor adventure of Lake Havasu.

Mohave County Parks and Recreation

Lake Havasu is in Mohave County and offers various parks and recreational areas perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. Take the time to explore the many parks in the area and see all the natural beauty the desert offers. Some popular spots include:

  • Lake Havasu City Parks & Nature Attractions
  • Ten Top-notch Trails and Hikes in Lake Havasu City
  • Boat Tours and Water Sports for adventure seekers

Lake Havasu State Park

The Lake Havasu State Park is a gem in western Arizona. With over 900 acres and 2.5 miles of shoreline, this park has something for everyone. The 1.75-mile Mohave Sunset Trail is perfect for hiking enthusiasts, taking you through desert vegetation and along the lake’s shoreline. Additionally, you can visit the Arroyo-Camino Interpretive Garden to learn more about the local ecology.

Adventures in Sara Park

Sara Park, another popular destination, offers many outdoor adventures, such as:

  • Biking or walking appropriate for experience levels
  • Off-road trails for thrilling ATV and 4×4 experiences
  • The multi-use Sara Park Rodeo Grounds, which host various events throughout the year

Wildlife in Havasu

Alongside the adventure opportunities, Lake Havasu and its surrounding areas offer abundant wildlife viewing options. Visit the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge to enjoy birdwatching or catch glimpses of bighorn sheep and foxes in their natural habitat. The area is home to various plant and animal species native to the desert.

Now that you know about the nature experiences waiting in Lake Havasu, it’s time to grab your gear and head out for a day filled with outdoor adventure and stunning desert landscapes.

Water Activities in Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu is a popular destination for various water activities and fun. With its sparkling waters, beautiful scenery, and navigable waterways, you’ll always have thrilling water sports to enjoy. In this section, we’ll explore some of the most popular activities to do on the lake, like jet skiing, boating, fishing, and paddleboarding.

Jet Skiing

Nothing can match the exhilarating feeling of riding a jet ski on the waters of Lake Havasu. As you zip through the crystal-clear waves, you’ll be in awe of the stunning Colorado River scenery surrounding you. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, rental companies near Lake Havasu offer jet ski rentals and even lessons for those new to the sport.

Boating in Lake Havasu

Boating on Lake Havasu is a fantastic way to explore this gorgeous body of water. From high-speed speedboats to laid-back pontoon boats, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Navigate the Bridgewater Channel, admire the famous London Bridge, and discover the many hidden coves, cliffs, and canyons along the river. Watch for the abundance of wildlife as you take in the breathtaking views.

Popular boating activities on Lake Havasu:

Fishing in Lake Havasu

Are you an angler looking for a great fishing spot? Lake Havasu is the perfect place for you! With year-round fishing opportunities, you can catch many fish species, the most common being the largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, and even striped bass. Lake Havasu also hosts numerous fishing tournaments yearly, where professional and amateur anglers can showcase their skills.

Some popular fishing spots in Lake Havasu:

  • California Bay
  • Cattail Cove State Park
  • Havasu Springs

Paddleboarding and Kayaking

For a more serene and relaxing water activity, try paddleboarding or kayaking on Lake Havasu. Both offer great low-impact workouts, and they’re a fantastic way to explore the lake’s hidden coves and beaches while getting close to nature. Rental companies near the lake provide equipment for both activities, making it easy to get out on the water and enjoy your day.

So whether you’re a thrill-seeker or prefer a peaceful day on the lake, Lake Havasu has plenty of water activities and sports for everyone to enjoy. Remember to stay safe, wear the proper gear, and, most importantly, have fun!

Events Celebrated in Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu is known for its fantastic year-round events, offering a fun-filled experience for you and your family. Let’s dive into some of the popular events in Lake Havasu so you can plan your visit accordingly.

The Annual Balloon Festival brings color and excitement to the skies, with various hot air balloons showcasing their unique designs. This event is perfect for aspiring photographers and those who love a visual treat.

Relics and Rods Run to the Sun will catch the eye of classic car enthusiasts, featuring beautiful vintage automobiles. Enjoy the nostalgia and marvel at the incredible vehicles showcased in this event.

Desert Storm Poker Run offers boat racing excitement on the waters of Lake Havasu. If you are a speed and fierce competition fan, this event is perfect for you and your friends.

IJSBA World Finals is the International Jet Sports Boating Association’s thrilling jet ski competition. Come witness world-class athletes pushing their limits on the watercourses as they compete for the ultimate prize.

The Annual Western Winter Blast Pyrotechnics Show lights up the night skies with a stunning fireworks display. This mesmerizing event will surely leave you in awe as you experience the magic of colorful explosions in the air.

The Duck Derby Race is a fun and family-friendly event with a unique twist to traditional racing. Cheer on your favorite rubber ducks as they speed down the river in a race to the finish line.

In addition to these remarkable events, Lake Havasu hosts other activities like the Free Family Swim Day for a refreshing day of swimming. Golf enthusiasts can test their skills at the 5 Iron Annual Golf Tournament. At the same time, boat lovers can attend the Marine Association’s 26th Annual Boat Show to explore various boats on display.

With so many exciting events happening in Lake Havasu throughout the year, mark your calendar now and plan on attending with your family or friends.

Attractions Around Lake Havasu

With its replica lighthouses, bustling Bridgewater Channel, and striking London Bridge Resort, there’s never a dull moment in this desert oasis.

Exploring the English Village

Feel transported across the pond by visiting the quaint English Village. This charming area beautifully recreates a traditional English setting beneath the iconic London Bridge. The bridge is a reinforced concrete structure clad in the original masonry from the 1830s bridge in London. While strolling through the village, you’ll find shops, restaurants, and various events throughout the year.

Among the unique attractions in the vicinity, the Lake Havasu Lighthouses, 23 in total, are noteworthy.

London Bridge Resort and Surroundings

Another must-visit destination is the London Bridge Resort. Set along the beautiful Bridgewater Channel, this resort offers many amenities, including a golf course, pool, and scenic walking paths.

When you can explore further, check out the celebrated Sara Park. This park is great for kids, young and old, with trails ranging from easy to challenging. The park is also great for hiking, biking, or simply enjoying the desert landscape.

For water enthusiasts, Lake Havasu State Park is a prime destination. This park boasts beautiful views open all week and provides opportunities for various water sports and outdoor activities.

If you’re traveling with kids, visiting the Lake Havasu City Aquatic Center is a must. The center features an indoor giant pool, hot pools, and a beach entry pool design, making it a fun-filled attraction for the whole family.

While in the area, take advantage of Rotary Community Park, which offers spots for picnics, barbeques, and camping. Watch boats of all sizes traverse the blue waters as you unwind by the shores⁴.

Lastly, drop by the Lake Havasu City Visitor Center to learn more about the iconic London Bridge and its incredible journey from England to Arizona.

Whether exploring the replica lighthouses, experiencing the English Village, or enjoying the numerous events at the London Bridge Resort, the attractions around Lake Havasu will surely make your visit unforgettable.

Visiting Lake Havasu

Weather in Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu is known for its warm, sunny weather and clear blue skies. You’ll experience more than 300 days of sunshine annually, making it an ideal year-round destination. In the summer, temperatures can soar above 100°F, perfect for water activities on the lake. In winter, daytime highs stay comfortable in the 60s-70s°F, while evenings cool down to the 40s°F. Checking a weather webcam before packing your bags is a good idea to prepare for your visit.

Eating Out in Lake Havasu City

When dining in Lake Havasu City, you’re in for a treat with a great variety of restaurants. Whatever your taste buds fancy – seafood, steakhouses, or ethnic cuisine – you’ll find it here. Some popular spots include:

  • The Red Onion: A local favorite, offering American-style breakfast and lunch dishes
  • Barley Bros. Restaurant & Brewery: A perfect spot for brew-lovers and food enthusiasts alike, with a range of handcrafted beers and flavorful dishes
  • Shugrue’s: Boasting a fantastic lakeside view, indulge in their top-notch seafood and steak selections

Travel from Nearby Cities and Counties

Lake Havasu is easily accessible from nearby cities and counties. Here’s a quick breakdown of travel distances from surrounding areas:

  • Parker, AZ: Approximately 40 miles south, less than an hour’s drive
  • Kingman, AZ: About 70 miles east, a 1.5-hour journey by car
  • San Bernardino County, CA: Roughly 150 miles to the west, around a 2.5-hour drive
  • Las Vegas, NV: Just under 150 miles north, also around a 2.5-hour drive

Enjoy your visit to Lake Havasu and create memories to last a lifetime, whether relaxing by the lake, exploring various activities, or diving into the local culinary scene.

Booking a Vacation Home in Lake Havasu

This beautiful city is famous for its stunning lake views and various vacation homes, including houses, condominiums, and villas suitable for all kinds of travelers. Let’s walk you through the step-by-step process of booking your ideal vacation home online.

First, decide on your budget and the type of vacation home you’re interested in. Lake Havasu City offers numerous options, with pricing starting at around $129 per night. Also, consider the number of people in your group, as some properties are better suited for larger parties, such as the Desert Gem Getaway, which sleeps eight people.

Next, gather reviews and recommendations from friends or visit websites like Lake. These platforms showcase previous guest ratings, making your choices of the most popular vacation homes easier. Highly-rated properties, such as a home with a 4.98 (out of 5) rating on Airbnb, are usually preferred by guests for their amenities and great lake views.

Once you’ve got a shortlist of potential vacation homes, it’s time to compare their features and amenities. For instance, if you want an equipped kitchen or a place that allows pets, filter your search accordingly. Also, check for any ongoing promotions or discounted rates on the market.

After identifying your preferred choice, you can directly book through the respective website. The check-in process is typically quick and hassle-free, as you will often receive instructions to go straight to your vacation rental without needing to wait at a check-in desk.

Lastly, remember that customer support is available 24/7 at some properties, such as those managed by Destination Havasu. This level of support ensures that someone will handle any issues or emergencies promptly during your stay.

Following these steps, you can book a comfortable and memorable stay in a Lake Havasu City vacation home. 

Lake Havasu is more than just an oasis in the desert. It offers an adventure playground and a sanctuary for relaxation. Whether you are drawn to water activities, exploring desert landscapes, or immersing yourself in events and stunning scenery, it’s easy to see why this destination appeals to travelers. 

If you want excitement, peace, or just a break from the routine, Lake Havasu, Arizona’s Desert Oasis by the Water, guarantees a unique experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What fish species can you find in Lake Havasu?

Lake Havasu is home to various fish species, making it a popular angler spot. You may just catch a largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, catfish, or sunfish. So grab your fishing gear and try catching some of these impressive fish in the lake!

Are there waterfalls at Lake Havasu?

While Lake Havasu has no natural waterfalls, you can explore the nearby areas to discover beautiful cascading falls. For instance, check out the Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon, a stunning destination known for its turquoise blue waters and breathtaking scenery.

What events are happening in Lake Havasu City in 2024?

Lake Havasu City hosts various events, from boat races to music festivals. To stay updated on the events for 2024, check the official Lake Havasu City website or local event calendars for the most accurate and current information. Plan your visit around the events that interest you the most!

Is Lake Havasu a good destination for vacation rentals?

Absolutely! Lake Havasu is an excellent destination for vacation rentals, offering various options to suit your needs. From cozy cabins to luxurious waterfront homes, you’ll find the perfect place to stay while enjoying all that Lake Havasu offers. Plus, you can find more information about short-term rentals on Lake Havasu City’s website.

What are the popular beaches around Lake Havasu?

Lake Havasu boasts numerous beaches that cater to different preferences. Some well visited beaches include Windsor Beach, Body Beach, Skier’s Island, and Rotary Beach. Each beach offers unique amenities and activities, such as swimming, picnicking, water sports, or simply lounging in the sun. Be sure to explore multiple beaches to find the one that best suits your ideal beach day!

Can I swim in Lake Havasu?

Yes, swimming in Lake Havasu is generally safe. Be aware of posted warnings, use life jackets when appropriate, and always swim with a buddy. Keep an eye on water conditions and avoid swimming in areas near boats or marinas to ensure a safe and enjoyable time at the lake.

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