How Far Is Lake Havasu From Phoenix When one thinks of Arizona, the mind conjures up images of iconic saguaro cacti, rugged canyons, and an unrelenting sun. But what about pristine white sand beaches? Surprisingly, these tranquil oases exist even in the heart of land-locked Arizona, along the Colorado River Corridor.
Begin a captivating 200-mile road journey from bustling Phoenix to Lake Havasu City, nestled on Arizona’s western frontier. Along this scenic route, you’ll encounter the expected elements of cacti, canyons, and endless sunshine, but you’ll also discover the unexpected allure of beaches bordering the dazzling turquoise waters of the mighty Colorado River.
Lake Havasu City, part of what’s known as Arizona’s West Coast, isn’t exactly a hidden gem. Thousands of spirited college students descend upon the community during spring break to revel in parties and revelry amid the backdrop of speedboats and pontoons pulsating with music.
However, if you’re seeking a more tranquil escape, it’s advisable to plan your visit outside of the spring break season. The best times to explore Lake Havasu City are during the mild winters, with average highs ranging from the high 60s to low 70s, or in the inviting autumn months when November offers a temperate 75 degrees, and October hovers in the pleasant high 80s. May is another delightful option, with average highs in the comfortable mid-90s. Summers, on the other hand, usher in extreme heat, with average highs soaring close to the 110-degree mark in June, July, and August.
While the allure of Lake Havasu’s beaches and boating is undeniable, the journey from Phoenix offers an array of other captivating experiences:
Phoenix: A Thriving Metropolis
Phoenix, with its nearly 5 million residents, offers an abundance of activities, dining establishments, and accommodations. When embarking on the road trip to Lake Havasu, consider staying in one of Phoenix’s West Valley communities like Glendale, Peoria, or Litchfield Park. These locales provide convenient access to diverse entertainment options, including sporting events at State Farm Stadium (home to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals) and Gila River Arena (hosting the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes). Nature enthusiasts can explore the scenic White Tank Mountain Regional Park, offering a multitude of hiking trails. For a touch of classic luxury, check out Litchfield Park’s historic The Wigwam Resort, with its extensive grounds, swimming pools, tennis courts, and championship golf courses.
Surprise: Baseball and Golf Paradise
A mere 20 minutes northwest of Glendale, Surprise welcomes baseball and golf enthusiasts with open arms. Home to both the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers during spring training at the Surprise Stadium, it’s a great starting point for your road trip. Golf aficionados will relish the eight public golf courses in the area. Nature lovers can explore the Wildlife World Zoo and its adjoining aquarium and safari park. The serene shores of Lake Pleasant, dotted with cacti, offer a serene escape for outdoor activities.
Wickenburg: An Oasis of Western History
Wickenburg, a must-visit on your road trip, radiates the charm of a Western town. With around 8,000 residents, it retains its small-town atmosphere while boasting restored downtown streets adorned with Western-themed murals. You’ll find delightful open-air cafes like Anita’s Cocina and the Rancho 7 Bar, offering Western fare. Explore the town’s rich history at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum. Wickenburg, known as the “dude ranch capital of the world,” offers various Western lodging options, including Rancho de los Caballeros, the Flying E Ranch, and the Kay El Bar Guest Ranch. Plan to spend a few hours strolling through the town or extend your stay to immerse yourself in the dude ranch experience.
Yarnell: A Scenic Detour
A half-hour detour from Wickenburg leads you to Yarnell, perched in the high desert. The winding Highway 89 offers panoramic vistas of the vast desert terrain. Yarnell, home to several antique shops and rustic restaurants, is most renowned for the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park. This poignant memorial honors the 19 elite firefighters who lost their lives battling a wildfire in 2013. A challenging 7-mile hike retraces their final steps, offering a stirring tribute to their heroism.
Wenden, Salome, Hope, and Quartzsite: Desert Roadside Attractions
Heading back to Wickenburg, continue on Highway 60 through the remote desert, passing through small towns like Wenden, Salome, and Hope. These regions, with their mild winters, are a haven for RV enthusiasts. Quartzsite, a 30-minute detour from Hope, transforms into a bustling marketplace during winter, showcasing a diverse array of wares, from rocks and gems to jewelry, apparel, and home decor.
Parker: Riverside Oasis
As you approach the Colorado River, you’ll reach Parker, a town marked by rows of palm trees, fast-food restaurants, and gas stations. Parker offers several river access points, including the Bureau of Land Management’s River View Day Use Area, Buckskin Mountain State Park, and River Island State Park, with limited camping spaces. The BlueWater Resort & Casino sits along the Colorado River, providing an ideal riverside retreat.
Lake Havasu City: London Bridge and Beyond
Lake Havasu City is famed for the iconic London Bridge, purchased from London and reassembled over a Colorado River channel in the 1960s. Begin your exploration at the bustling Bridgewater Channel area, where the bridge draws over a million visitors annually. The region boasts 60 miles of navigable waterways, a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Rent a boat, pontoon, or jet ski from Arizona WaterSports or simply stroll along the boardwalk, taking in the 27 small lighthouses, replicas of famous beacons from around the U.S. Ample accommodations line Lake Havasu City’s riverside, including the London Bridge Resort and camping options at Lake Havasu State Park. Dining options abound, with the Island Mall & Brewery and the Javelina Cantina offering scenic views of the river and the surrounding mountains.
Plan to devote at least a day or two to savoring the charms of Lake Havasu City and its picturesque waterfront.
Parking near the London Bridge can be challenging. Consider parking at the Rotary Community Park, offering ample parking, picnic areas, and a scenic 2-mile walking and jogging trail leading to the London Bridge area.