With most schools in the Valley wrapping up in the next few weeks, it’s time to start thinking about planning your summer activities. If you are looking to keep it fairly local, one of the towns that offers the best summer experiences in Arizona is Lake Havasu City! This small town is located in western Arizona, right on the border between Arizona and California. The drive from Phoenix to Lake Havasu City is right under four hours, making it an easy trip if you just want to go for a weekend, but also a great place to stop during a longer road trip if you are on your way to Las Vegas or California.
You can expect Lake Havasu City to be warm, as the town does hold the record for being the hottest city in Arizona at 128° F in June 1994, but the water is really what makes Lake Havasu City a local favorite spot for boating, fishing, and all other water sports! The arid desert climate and year-round sunshine make it a great place to spend a hot Arizona day out on the water.
Lake Havasu State Park
The main attraction of the city is Lake Havasu State Park. This is a beautiful state park to visit to really experience the full variety of nature this town has to offer. The state park has scenic beaches, nature trails, and it’s a great place to go boating or hiking.
While at Lake Havasu State Park, you must spend some time out on the Colorado River. One of the easiest ways to do so is to enjoy a beach day! Swimming is allowed on the shoreline, and many people are surprised to discover the sand at the state park is actually quite soft for walking.
The water is the warmest in the summer months, but be prepared that the water can be quite cold at other times of the year, as the water originates from further up north from snow runoff. The beaches do not have lifeguards on duty, so always be cautious if you do choose to get in the water.
Lake Havasu is also a fabulous place to spend the day fishing! The conditions in this area are perfect for the sport, with fresh water from the Rocky Mountains and ideal temperatures for bass fishing. There are lots of fish to be found in this area thanks to a very successful fish habitat improvement project, with bass fish being the most prevalent species. More specifically, you can expect to catch catfish, largemouth bass, panfish, and striped bass in the nearby waters.
There are plenty of launch ramps and marinas if you want to bring your boat to Lake Havasu City and take it out on the water. There are also plenty of free public fishing docks and piers where you can fish from the shore for a more casual excursion. If you plan to fish, know before you go that everyone age ten or older will need a valid Arizona fishing license to fish in the area.
See the London Bridge
This is a fun fact that surprises many people, but the original London Bridge has actually been relocated from England to Lake Havasu City! The 1831 London Bridge was ultimately removed and replaced with a heavier more study option in England, and the purchaser of the original bridge ended up being a real estate developer who helped develop Lake Havasu City. When the town of Lake Havasu City was being constructed in 1964, the bridge was transported in parts and reassembled over the water. This unexpected landmark is definitely worth stopping by to see during your time in Lake Havasu City! If you notice that some of the shops in town have a British flair, that is done on purpose to tie together the local history with the bridge!
Lake Havasu Museum of History
If you bring your whole family on a trip to Lake Havasu City, one of the best family friendly spots to visit is the Lake Havasu Museum of History, which has a specific focus on the Native American tribes that originally settled in the area.
Museum guests get to explore how the area looked two hundred years ago, including a close look at the native plants and animals in the city. You can learn about the important history of the steamboats on the Colorado River, and how the town came to be developed and eventually became the populated place you see today. The museum is open to the public and costs $7.50 for adults, and is free for children 12 and under. It’s a great place to have on your trip itinerary to learn more background knowledge about the city and to get out of the heat when you’ve had enough fun exploring outside.
Plan to Camp at Lake Havasu State Park
Visitors have options on where to stay during your visit to the Lake Havasu State Park. If you are feeling adventurous, try either tent camping or RV camping at one of the park’s 54 campsites! Campground reservations are available online and it costs $5 to reserve a spot. The nightly rate is $35 a night or $40 for a camping site with a beach view. That nightly rate also comes with access to the restroom facilities and use of the park during the day. Something to know if you plan to visit during the summer is that there is a two night minimum for weekend camping from April through September, and a three night minimum if you plan to camp over one of the holiday weekends.
If tent camping isn’t your style, there is also an option within the state park to stay in a camping cabin on the Colorado River! On the state park grounds, there are thirteen cabins available for rent that can comfortably sleep six people. The cabins are equipped for your comfort, and include air conditioning and electricity. This is a slightly more costly option, with a rate of $119 per night.
The fun part of staying inside the state park is having such quick access to all the outdoor activities. You will get the most authentic experience and get to see the diverse array of animals that call the park home. From your tent or cabin you are guaranteed to see many different birds, reptiles, and desert friends, and be close to the walking and hiking trails.
Lake Havasu City is a unique town as it blends desert life with water sports, while also having a rich history of historic spots to visit. There is a lot to do in Lake Havasu City, making it a great local getaway to add to your Arizona cities destination list!