2020 has been a year, am I right? Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, we’re all wearing our masks, socially distancing, and washing our hands until they’re raw. But if you’re like us, you’re ready to put this virus in the past. You’re not sure what show to binge watch next (check out our list here!) and you’re going a *little* stir crazy.
To break the monotony of work-from-home life, we *safely* traveled to Lake Havasu City, Arizona to take in some new scenery. We booked a spacious AirBnb with an epic rooftop to watch the sunset. Luckily, you get a lot of bang for your buck during off season in Lake Havasu City (for us, only $110/night with 3 bedrooms, rooftop, lake views). In this case, our Airbnb had a fun pool table/ping pong table combination and poker set. It was perfect for us and our friends.
Exploring Lake Havasu
Lake Havasu City, Arizona is a destination for those who are longing for an outdoor adventure. With biking, boating and hiking in its domain, there’s a lot to explore in Lake Havasu City, so let’s get to it!
Yes, you heard that correctly. The real London Bridge is located in Lake Havasu City. . wait, what?
Built in the 1830s, the London Bridge connected the Thames River in London. However by 1962, the London Bridge could no longer support the heavy load of traffic and was sold by the City of London to build a new, larger bridge. Robert M. McCulloch, the founder of Lake Havasu City, purchased the bridge, and it was actually transported to Arizona. Random fact for trivia night, huh? Finally completed in 1971, the London Bridge now stands above the Colorado River.
London Bridge is probably the main attraction in Lake Havasu, and I see why. Adorably lit up at night with Christmas wreaths when we visited, a tiny touristy village sits beside it. You can get something to eat and stroll the canal. Walk either way along Bridgewater Channel, north to Lake Havasu State Park or south to Rotary Community Park.
We very much enjoyed seeing London Bridge. There are some fun characters there as well. We went three times to London Bridge, and there was always someone playing the ukulele or someone feeding the birds (*cue Julie Andrew singing “Feed the Birds” in Mary Poppins*).
We visited in the fall, so there weren’t too many people around. However, I imagine it gets very busy in the summer since that’s where many party boats dock and the ferry to the casino departs. There’s also a pool bar that looks like a crazy good time. If you’re visiting Lake Havasu, a trip to London Bridge is a must!
Hiking and Biking
One of the most popular land attractions in Lake Havasu is SARA Park. Located just outside Lake Havasu off I-95, this 1,100 acre park has hiking and mountain bike trails, BMX and motocross tracks, sports fields, a shooting and archery range, hockey fields and an RC plane field. If you have an interest in *anything* outdoor, then visit SARA Park.
We love to hike, so we hiked SARAs Crack (LOL). Yes, it’s called SARA’s Crack. SARA stands for Special Activities and Recreation Area, and the area we hiked was a slot canyon. Therefore, SARA’s Crack. Like always, we strapped Amelia to Andrew’s back in our LilleBaby, and off we went to the crack!
This trail was of moderate difficulty, and you need to have some basic skills in climbing if you want to hike SARA’s Crack. There was also an unsteady ladder to peruse and a rope to climb down about 7 feet. This 5 mile hike passes through a slot canyon and ends at the waters of Lake Havasu. It took us about 3 hours to get through the hike.
The hike, even with all the obstacles, was doable with a one year old strapped to Andrew’s back. At the waters of Lake Havasu, Amelia (and I!) loved seeing all the ducks and listening to the peaceful sound of water hitting the rocks. I’m so glad we were able to accomplish this hike.
Note to travelers: Depending on when you visit Lake Havasu, you may or may not be able to hike due to extreme heat in Arizona. November was perfect for a hike through SARA’s Crack! (I’m having too much fun with these jokes.)
For a list of hiking trails in SARA Park for all skill levels, check out this link.
For those who are interested in mountain biking, SARA Park is a great spot to do it! We saw many cyclists on SARA’s Crack who biked to the slot canyon and hiked the rest of the way. There are also many other combination biking-hiking trails. For more information, click here.
Bring your own mountain bike or rent one for the day. If you want to rent gear, we recommend checking out Cycle Therapy. *Make sure you call ahead a week or so in advance (especially if visiting in the fall/winter/spring when it’s comfortable enough to be outside).* If you can’t get through to Cycle Therapy, Havasu Biking & Fitness is your next option.
In addition to SARA Park, there are two other parks we enjoyed that have beautiful views of Lake Havasu: Rotary Community Park and Lake Havasu State Park. Both parks are located within walking distance of London Bridge.
Rotary Community Park
Rotary Community Park is just south of London Bridge. This 40 acre park is a beautifully-maintained and family friendly park where the kids can play on the playground, you can launch a kayak or just sit on one of the beaches of Lake Havasu. There are also picnic areas, grills, volleyball and bocce courts, as well as a skate park. No dogs allowed.
Located near Rotary Park is the popular Aquatic Center which has indoor pools, slides and an outdoor splash pad. The slide looked pretty incredible while driving by.
Lake Havasu State Park
Lake Havasu State Park is another park located just a 5 minute walk north of London Bridge. There is a parking fee to visit the park. It is $20 Friday-Sunday and holidays and $15 Monday-Thursday.
If interested, you’re able to camp on the beach for a fee. While we visited, there were many RVs and campers situated at its campgrounds right on the beach. There are also 13 cabins available by reservation if you do not own a tent or RV. The next time we visit Lake Havasu, we’ll definitely reserve a cabin so we can be as close to the beach as possible.
Fun fact: Notice 18 lighthouses surround the lake. Lake Havasu actually has more lighthouses than any other city in the United States!
In addition to helping boats navigate in the nighttime, the lighthouses are meant to be smaller scale replicas of other larger lighthouses throughout the country. On the west side of the lake, the lighthouses are replicas of West Coast lighthouses. This is the same for the east side and East Coast lighthouses. The lighthouses around the island are replicas of those on the Great Lakes. Learn more about the lighthouses here!
The star of Lake Havasu is obviously the lake itself. Surrounded by beautiful mountains, Lake Havasu is a popular destination for water lovers. You’re able to swim, fish and boat! If you’re interested in more than just getting a tan and drinking on your boat, there are several attractions you can boat to.
If you own your own boat, there are several marinas and launch ramps on Lake Havasu. Just about every type of boats is allowed from pontoons to speed boats. Also, if you love speed, lucky for you. The only speed limit on Lake Havasu is in no-wake areas.
If you don’t have your own boat, have no fear. You’re able to rent one through several vendors. We wish we had been able to take part in the boating scene in Lake Havasu, however not many people were out when we visited in November.
Lake Havasu State Park is by far the most popular place to jump in the water. Surrounded by views of the lake and mount. Bring your dog (leashed only), and plan on bringing food to grill on one of the park’s barbecues. If you’re interested, there’s also a 1.7 mile walk along the beach called the Mohave Sunset Trail.
The second option for swimming in Lake Havasu City is at the London Bridge Beach located on the Bridgewater Channel. The beach has picnic tables, grills and great views of the London Bridge itself. There are also grassy areas with lots of room to spread out and play beach games. Dogs are allowed in the enclosed dog park, but not directly on the beach.
Located directly next to the London Bridge Beach is your third option for swimming. In addition to being a great park in the Lake Havasu area, Rotary Community Park is located right on the beach, so it’s perfect for swimming! It also has picnic areas and barbecues for you to make a day out of it.
If you are planning to visit with a dog, checkout Mesquite Bay, we found a little secluded spot, sat down for a picnic and let our dog, Samson, swim in the water. There’s nothing like hearing waves crash against the beach and rocks.
When you’re fishing on Lake Havasu, you’re fishing within the Colorado River corridor which is home to largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and striped bass. When we visited Lake Havasu, there were many fishermen near London Bridge, as well as on fishing boats.
If you want to fish in Lake Havasu and you’re over 10 years old, you’ll have to purchase an Arizona fishing license. Fishing licenses for anglers are $37 dollars for residents and $55 for non-residents.
We really enjoyed our visit to Lake Havasu and hope to be back during the warmer months to take advantage of the boating and swimming scene. We hope you enjoy your stay in Lake Havasu City, Arizona!
Let us know if you’ve been before. What do you think are the best spots to see?