What Time Is It In Lake Havasu Arizona.Nestled within the picturesque Mojave Desert lies a realm of expansive waters, perpetual sunshine, and breathtaking natural splendor. Lake Havasu City, situated in northern Arizona, is a sprawling waterfront community with a population exceeding 52,000. Despite being a relatively youthful city of only 60 years, Lake Havasu boasts a rich history, a vibrant Main Street, a bustling waterfront district, and an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities.
For years, I’ve sought refuge from the cold winters of Vermont by escaping to the warmth of Lake Havasu. It’s a straightforward journey, with affordable flights from New England to Las Vegas, followed by a rental car to soak in the sun while my friends back home endure the chill by their wood-burning stoves. Furthermore, Lake Havasu is just a day’s drive from Los Angeles, making it an ideal weekend getaway from the bustling city.
However, my connection to Lake Havasu runs deeper, as my father called this beautiful place home for a considerable period. Initially, he was a Snowbird, one of the retirees who migrate to warmer regions during the winter months. Lake Havasu City is a favored destination for Snowbirds, and it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with this oasis.
Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or simply seeking a tranquil escape, Lake Havasu City offers an array of experiences to savor throughout the year, from hiking and paddling to swimming and landscape photography. Let’s dive into the top activities and attractions that Lake Havasu has to offer.
1. Explore the Iconic London Bridge
Lake Havasu City’s most renowned landmark is undoubtedly the London Bridge, one of Arizona’s most visited historic sites. Originally built in 1831 to span the River Thames in London, this historic bridge faced deterioration and had to be dismantled by the 1960s. It found an unlikely new home in Lake Havasu City thanks to the winning bid of $2.46 million by American tycoon Robert McCulloch. The bridge was transported brick by brick and reconstructed in its new desert setting, officially opening in 1971. Today, London Bridge is a thriving tourist attraction, surrounded by shops, restaurants, parks, and hotels.
2. Enjoy Boating Adventures on Lake Havasu
Lake Havasu, straddling the California-Arizona border, encompasses 19,300 acres of pristine water waiting to be explored. Known for recreational fishing and boating, it draws over 750,000 visitors annually. Anglers flock here, mainly in pursuit of bass, with numerous fishing tournaments held throughout the year. Boating is a cherished pastime for both locals and tourists, offering clear turquoise waters, towering cliffs, rugged mountains, and abundant wildlife. You can easily rent various watercraft, from kayaks to jet skis and pontoon boats, making it one of the best ways to beat the desert heat.
3. Discover Serene Paddling Spots
Lake Havasu also provides tranquil coves and unspoiled shores perfect for kayaking and canoeing. Renting kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards is a breeze at London Bridge Beach in Lake Havasu City. The area north of the city offers picturesque paddling locations, including the 4.25-mile water trail along the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, where diverse wildlife sightings are common. For a more adventurous experience, venture north to the awe-inspiring Topock Gorge, a wild canyon that will leave you spellbound. Guided full-moon tours of the gorge are available, making kayaking one of the top Lake Havasu activities.
4. Relax on the Shores of Lake Havasu City
If your idea of a perfect day involves lounging on a beach, swimming in crystal-clear waters, and watching your children play in the sand, look no further than Rotary Park in Lake Havasu City. With its scenic beauty, playgrounds, barbecue grills, swimming areas, walking paths, and a skateboard park, Rotary Park offers everything you need for a relaxing day. Covered picnic tables provide shade, making it an ideal spot to enjoy a sunset stroll along the channel, explore waterfront restaurants and bars, and walk across the famous London Bridge.
5. Marvel at the Lake Havasu Lighthouses
While Lake Havasu City may not have the ocean, it boasts 25 lighthouses gracing its shores, an unexpected sight in a landlocked desert state. These fully functional 1/3 scale replicas of historic US lighthouses from the east and west coasts, as well as the Great Lakes region, are a delightful and unique attraction. Many of them are easily accessible on foot, while others require a boat excursion. Embark on a lighthouse tour, guided by the map and GPS coordinates available, or enjoy a narrated lighthouse boat tour from October to May.
6. Experience the Lake Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair (January 18-21, 2024)
For an extraordinary winter celebration, consider visiting during the Lake Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair in mid-January. This event features six mass ascensions of over 80 hot air balloons, creating a breathtaking spectacle against the lake and city backdrop. Days are filled with music, activities, demonstrations, carnival rides, and delectable food options. The festival concludes with the mesmerizing Field of Fire, where all balloons are illuminated, providing a dazzling display.
7. Embark on Memorable Hikes
While Lake Havasu offers abundant water activities, it also boasts excellent hiking opportunities, especially during the winter months. Trails cater to various skill levels, from leisurely nature walks to full-day treks. Among the favorites is the Crack in the Wall hike in SARA Park, a five-mile loop that takes you through a beautiful slot canyon and offers stunning views of cliffs, rock formations, and wading birds. Other recommended trails include Dead Burro Canyon Trail, Mallard Cove Trail, and Water Tank Trail, each offering unique desert vistas.
8. Conquer Mountain Biking Trails in SARA Park
SARA Park in Lake Havasu City not only features hiking trails but also offers a haven for mountain biking enthusiasts. Rent a mountain bike and helmet from local shops, like Cycle Therapy, and explore well-marked, albeit challenging, trails. The park boasts a variety of routes, including one rumored to have been crafted with various features and jumps by a local enthusiast. Whether you’re an experienced rider or a novice, the park caters to different skill levels.
Best Time to Visit Lake Havasu City
Determining the best time to visit Lake Havasu City depends on your preferences. Spring Break is popular for its mild weather and lively atmosphere. January is ideal for cooler temperatures and the Lake Havasu Balloon Festival. June offers great rates for travelers willing to endure the heat and is considered the off-season. For a balance between warmth and outdoor activities, consider December to April.
Getting to Lake Havasu City
Lake Havasu City is conveniently located just a two-hour drive from McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas. Flying into Las Vegas and renting a car is a common choice. Alternatively, numerous shuttle services provide airport transfers directly to Lake Havasu hotels or vacation rentals. For a unique adventure, consider renting an Escape Campervan in Las Vegas, allowing you to park near Lake Havasu State Park