Maybe you love Lake Havasu, Arizona. www.golakehavasu.com . Maybe you’ve never been there; in which case, you really ought to go. Or maybe you’ve been there, and while you enjoyed the no-kidding-it’s-the-real-London Bridge, and all the action around Lake Havasu, you longed for a quieter, calmer place nearby that’s also near water. I found it. It’s Cattail Cove State Park.
If your criteria for a great camping experience includes being near (as on!) a body of beautiful water, serenity, and clean facilities, Cattail Cove State Park, just 10 miles south of Lake Havasu, Arizona, may be calling your name.www.pr.state.az.us/parks/CACO/facilities
Cattail Cove knocked us over with its beauty two weeks ago. It’s like an oasis…a paradise. Seriously. It felt more tropical that desert-a-torial. We actually went over to photograph the wild flowers but they were late to bloom this year, so we’ll return for that. Staff there said it’s the latest blooming in memory, due to the unusually cold and wet winter Lake Havasu experienced. But, Cattail Cove is so incredible we didn’t care.
On the water? You bet. There’s a great boat ramp (photo of dock) , and someone said you can rent water toys but I missed that, so you may want to check. There’s hiking right alongside the Colorado River, as well as a sandy beach. There are 28 primitive camping sites right on the river. Not for us, the primitive thing, but the more stalwart among you may like it. But it doesn’t matter where you park your RV or camp; you’re essentially by the water. The water is everywhere. You can’t miss it. For folks into water activities, you can’t beat it.
Serenity? It was quiet, really quiet. Your teens may miss the action of Lake Havasu. I love Lake Havasu, but its great appeal to the young and rowdy (like my 20-something nephews) can get to me. Cattail Cove, to our knowledge, doesn’t entice the young and rowdy. Therefore, it appeals to us; the old and rowdy. We loved the peaceful, family environment at Cattail Cove.
Facilities? The sites were close together but plenty nice. They have 57 sites with 30 amp service, however, only 4 sites have 50 amp service. The two handicap accessible restrooms were more than clean and made me happy. The showers were equally nice. It sounds silly, but I loved the Ranger Station with its little gift shop and cheerful staff. Oh, and we loved the armadas and palm trees. Gorgeous.
Cattail Cove State Park has a great website with lots of details, and their staff will tell you anything you need to know if you call. Overall, Cattail Cover offers one of those camping/ RVing experiences where you leave thinking, “We’ll be back here, for sure.”
And one last thing: we’re not extreme hikers so we loved the easy hiking trail snaking alongside the Colorado River. Whytes Retreat Trail is a 1½ mile trail with a difficulty rating of easy, which meets my criteria of “plenty arduous enough.”The trail follows the shoreline of Lake Havasu, and you get a great view of the lower part of the Colorado River and Parker Dam. You’ll walk through low desert hills and there’s a shallow gorge surrounded by bluffs. Maybe we’re slow witted because we had a heck of a time finding the trail head, and finally had to ask. You can reach the trailhead if you follow the entrance road to the boat launch ramp on the south side. I read that but still had to have it pointed out. You’ll do better, I’m sure.
I think Woodall’s readers would love to hear about your experiences at Cattail Cove, if you’d like to write back. We love it there!
Happy Tales to you and yours,
Note: This part of Arizona can be hot. Real hot. Yes, Cattail Cove is right on the river…but starting in May, temperatures can rise to 117 degrees, and for me, that’s hot even by a river! Those of you sensitive to heat, as I am, may want to check the weather before heading over.