Southwestern Desert Destinations: Lake Havasu City

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October 22, 2011

By Bob Difley

Lake_Havasu_Windsor_BeachYou might not want to visit Lake Havasu in the summer when temps stay above 100 degrees for months, sometimes reaching 110 degrees or more for days at a time. But in winter you will find a warm, sunny winter destination popular with snowbirds.

And if you just planned to pass through Lake Havasu City on your way south to the Parker Strip, Yuma, or Quartzsite, pay a visit to the Lake Havasu Tourism Bureau, at 314 London Bridge Road (enter from the parking lot, not from London Bridge Road) and pick up theior multiple page list of the extensive activities available during the temperate winter months. That alone may tempt you to stick around for awhile.

Because of its fine restaurants and cultural agenda, Lake Havasu City has attracted upscale winter visitors as well as year round retirees. As a result you will find a surprising list of events and activities, quite unlike the summer’s line up of rowdy LA basin fast boat owners and personal watercraft users. Several upscale RV resorts and campground lie within city limits for easy access to the area’s activities.

Locally produced little theater plays and musicals are surprisingly well done, with several programs offered during the season. The new Lake Havasu Museum of History, next door to the Tourism Bureau, has on display historic artifacts and archives dating from the earliest Colorado Indians through the reconstruction of Robert McCulloch’s London Bridge.

In addition to cultural events auto shows attract some of the finest hot rods and custom cars from all over the west. Semester and holiday breaks on the river mix equal parts of testosterone, hormones, and youth with warm sun, sandy beaches, and string bikinis for the form of entertainment that is only a distant memory for most of us.

Don’t ignore the state parks either. Windsor Beach (photo), on the banks of Lake Havasu two miles north of the bridge on London Bridge Road, is close enough to walk to town yet is set amid desert trees and shrubs for a real desert feel–and the campsites are nicely spaced. The city is surrounded by BLM land which is open to boondockers on both sides of town, and the BLM designated “short term camping area” of Craggy Wash, just north of the airport, is popular with boondockers with easy access to town. The Havasu National Wildlife Refuge is also a draw for birdwatchers and kayakers.

Downstream, the Parker area offers a choice of activities beyond the new Blue Water Casino, like bicycle racing, which is popular along this part of the river. Whatever your interests, the lower Colorado River has enough to keep your interest level above falling asleep in a chair in the sun, which is also not a bad way to spend the cold hard winter.

Check out my website for more RVing tips and destinations and for my ebooks, BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands (now in Kindle version), Snowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts (Kindle version), and 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang out of your RV Lifestyle Dollar (Kindle version).

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  14. In case there are any Square Dancers you can dance at the Senor Center during the winter.

  15. Drew


    Great to hear about Havasu back in the sixties. Do you have any pictures that you can put up here?


  16. Rod Mann

    Boondocked than moved to Havasu in 1968 during the 1st development phase. Long before the London Bridge and all the businesses. Was a wonderful recreation area back then. You have to stay away from the lake shore during the early mornings and evenings thou, as the Skeeters will eat you alive.. Hundreds of miles of 4X4 tracks to explore, Some of the best water sport/boating areas in the west. IMHO Access to Lake Havasu in 68 was a partially paved road to US 40. Monthly trips the 40 miles to Kingman Az were required for supplies as the one small store in Havasu had limited supplies. Stayed in a 16ft TT for several months as Wings Best Western and the Nautical Inn were the only places to stay if you didn’t bring your own.. Sure has changed sense they paved US 95 to Parker. One mile off the highway will still put you in desert wilderness where nature takes over. Coyotes, Roadrunners, Lizards, Scorpions, are all common. Shake out your clothing and check your shoes as nature is full of surprises.. One additional point DO NOT camp/park in a wash as you may find yourself Washed away even on a sunny day as flash floods are common.

  17. butterbean carpenter

    Howdy Bob-boondocker,
    I just read Dan Chance’s blog before reading this one and he lives in Lake Havasau
    City.. They love it in the winter, but workcamp up north in the summer.. this year @
    South Rim of GC.. Good to hear from you.. Wishing you and yours:
    Smooth roads, clear blue skies & balmy breezes!!!!!!!!!