Lake Havasu City Arizona


Grab your bikini. Prepare your boat. This is the water-lover’s paradise of the southwest. Home to the transplanted historical London Bridge, the city sets along the banks of Lake Havasu on the Colorado River. The lake is 45 miles long and features over 400 miles of shoreline. These crystal-clear waters attract over 3 million tourists that descend upon Lake Havasu City AZ every year.

Convenient to Arizona, California and Nevada, Lake Havasu is the Spring Break destination of choice for college students looking for much needed relaxation and endless fun. Lake Havasu is located about 200 miles from Phoenix, 150 miles from Las Vegas, and just over 300 miles from both Los Angeles and San Diego. It is only about 60 miles south of Laughlin, Las Vegas on the Colorado River.

London Bridge at Lake Havasu

The 900-foot bridge is Lake Havasu City’s main attraction. An English Village sits at its base and features a waterside promenade, shops and restaurants.

Picture of London Bridge at Lake Havasu

London Bridge was falling down. And it made its way to Lake Havasu City, Arizona. The historic bridge built in 1831 over the Thames River in London. In the 1920s engineers discovered it was slowly sinking and by 1967 it became apparent the bridge needed to be replaced with a more modern rendition. The City of London put the historic bridge up for sale.

Having created a new city along the shores of Lake Havasu, the founder of Lake Havasu City, Robert McCulloch, purchased the London Bridge for just under $2.5 million with the wild intention of moving it to Lake Havasu as a tourist attraction to his new city. He pulled it off. The bridge was disassembled, transported to Arizona and reassembled crossing a small bay from the city to Lake Havasu Island. The entire project took about three years to its final reconstruction in 1971.

The bridge is the landmark icon of Lake Havasu City, AZ. The bridge lost 53 feet from its original length looks right at home at Lake Havasu. The spirit of Jack the Ripper was left in London and was not part of the purchase. The English Village was created underneath the bridge’s graceful stone arches which gives an “English Flavor” to the setting. Here you will find shops, restaurants, strolling paths and limited nightlife. Find a bench and watch the parade of boats that pass under the bridge. At Spring Break, it can be quite crowded and raucous with “happy” college kids on break. Read more about Lake Havasu itself and its endless water recreation adventure.

Havasu National Wildlife Refuge

Lake Havasu City is one of the premier tourist destinations in the entire state of Arizona. Most well-known for its reconstruction of the original London Bridge, many visitors also enjoy relaxing in the hot desert sun, taking part in a variety of watersports, or playing a round or two at one of the area’s many fantastic golf courses.

Canoeing at the Bill Williams River National Refuges
Canoeing at the Refuge; Creative Commons

An attraction that many visitors to Lake Havasu City choose to pass up is the Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge, but not because it is lacking in something. Rather, it’s because not many visitors actually know about it. If they did, then there is no doubt that more people would travel there to take in the stunning natural beauty of the place.

The Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge is situated in the beautiful Sonoran Desert. Soaring rock cliffs, shimmering streams, and cattail-filled marshes are mixed into the gaping and sometimes barren desert landscape. It’s one of the best places for nature lovers to hike in Arizona. In addition, many people enjoy casting a line and enjoying a day of fishing at the river.

The wildlife refuge also provides the ideal habitat for several unique species of animals and a part-time home for many migratory birds. The animals that call the Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge home include numerous birds, reptiles, and mammals. Several large species of mammals like bobcats, mule deer, gray foxes, beavers, and desert ring-tailed sheep live in the refuge and are fun to try to spot while visiting. If you’re a bird lover, then you should definitely bring a pair of binoculars along because the chance of seeing species like the southwestern willow flycatcher, yellow-billed cuckoo, and western tanager make the Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge a bird lover’s paradise.

The refuge isn’t just home to animals though. It is also filled with a number of species of plants. The most famous of these are the cottonwood trees that band together near the Colorado River. They form one of the last remaining groups of these trees in the United States. The Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge is actually the only area in the world where a visitor can stand and see a towering saguaro cactus, a cattail, and a cottonwood tree all together. This diverse array of plant life is one of the main reasons that so many different types of animals are able to live in the refuge together.

Many visitors will also enjoy roaming through the wildlife refuge and succumbing to the feeling of being in one of the last wild desert landscapes on earth. While taking a morning hike you feel so far away from the hustle and bustle that is Lake Havasu that it can be hard to believe you were there earlier in the day.

If you decide to visit the Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge, then you should consider picking up a guidebook before making the trek down. A guidebook allows you to better observe and identify the variety of plants and animals that the refuge holds. It will also provide you with details regarding the history of the refuge including facts about the original Indians that inhabited the area, the first pioneers, wild western shootouts, and Bill Williams himself.

Speaking of that, Bill Williams was a mountain man who traveled, lived, trapped, and hunted in the area that now bears his name. He spent a lot of his time on the river which runs through the wildlife refuge. The river is also named after him. Bill had a very mysterious life and an even more mysterious death – no one knows where he is buried. It is fun to imagine what life must have been like for him alone in the desert before modern conveniences.

The Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge is a truly remarkable place, and it is definitely worth at least a day or two of your time during your visit to Lake Havasu City. Anyone from adventurers to nature lovers to people who just want a new experience are sure to appreciate its unique array of plants, animals, history, and breathtaking scenery.

How To Get There

The Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge is only a short drive from Lake Havasu City. The best way to get there is on Arizona Highway 95. Head south from the city for about 25 miles and you will see the refuge headquarters between mileposts 160 and 161. They have useful information here including maps, guidebooks, and further driving directions.

More Information

Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge
60911 Highway 95
Parker, AZ 85344

Lake Havasu Spring Break

Rated the 5th Best Spring Break Destination in the World. That’s according to Entertainment Television and Travel Channel. During March and April, college students, teens and those that still think they are students head to Lake Havasu which many call Arizona’s West Coast. So dump the books, grab the bikini and prep the boat. It’s vacation getaway party time in Lake Havasu City. Sunny skies, great spring temperatures, crystal clear waters, active nightlife and the 45-mile-long Lake Havasu beckons spring breakers from Arizona, California, Nevada and the Southwest.

Lake Havasu was created by the Parker Dam on the Colorado River and the 400 miles of coastline offers spring breakers plenty of water recreation action. Souped-up speed boats are as colorful as male peacocks to attract the bikini clad ladies. The water-lovers water-ski, jet-ski, sail, parasail, kayak, fish, and swim the refreshing waters. Although there are hiking trails along the lake’s edge, most boats tie-up together, socialize and dance to blaring music. Copper Canyon and the Sandbar are favorite hook up spots while others parade on boats at idling speed under the London Bridge and around the Havasu Island.

When the sun sets it’s time for party hopping. Indoors and outdoors. Some head to camping sites and party under the stars while other head to the bar and grilles along the banks of the lake or back to hotels and resorts for some quiet time. Parties usually win-out and revelers rush to places to light-up the nightlife. Breweries, live entertainment, the casino or dancing the night away.

Bring your own boats and water toys. Invite yourself on someone’s boat or rent speed boats, jet skis or house boats. Reserve early. The demand for Lake Havasu hotels, motels, resorts, RV parks, vacation rentals and boat rentals peaks during spring break in Lake Havasu AZ.

Be careful, safe and responsible. The lake straddles the Arizona and California borders, and each state has its own boating laws. Although not totally true, generally the centers of the lake and river bodies are the dividing lines. What may be legal in Arizona waters may not be in California waters. For example, 12-year-olds can drive boats in Arizona but not in California. The general DUI laws apply. Boat drivers should be designated drivers and under-age drinking is illegal. Party and have fun but be responsible.

Lake Havau History

On the popular shores of Lake Havasu is a desert town located in northwest Arizona where summertime temperatures routinely soar above 110F. Although the lake was created in 1938 by the construction of Parker Dam, the town was not established until 1963. Then, in the late 60s, business magnate Robert P. McCulloch dreamed up the extraordinary idea of bringing the London Bridge to Arizona.

Lake HavasuAt the time, the famous British landmark was deteriorating and slowly sinking into the Thames River from heavy vehicular use. In a bold attempt to save this bit of history, the bridge was put on the market for sale to the highest bidder. McCulloch saw his chance and snapped it up for $2.4 million dollars.

In the early 1970s, the bridge was taken apart, transported to America and reassembled on Lake Havasu — literally brick by brick. Four-digit numbers are still visible on many of the blocks. By the mid-1980s, tourists began flocking to Lake Havasu City to see the bridge and enjoy the now flourishing recreational areas. Today, the town is a desert oasis populated with resorts, eclectic restaurants, golf courses and botanical gardens. From Phoenix, take I-10 west to Arizona 95, then drive north to Lake Havasu City. From Las Vegas, drive US 93 south to Kingman, then I-40 to Arizona 95 south to the city.



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