This illustrated city on the banks of human-made Lake Havasu isn’t Arizona’s mandatory stop, but it can lay claim to the iconic London Bridge. Yes, that would be the first, beautifully arched structure that spanned the Thames from 1831 until 1967, when it was legit falling (as predicted in the famous nursery rhyme) and put up for sale. Purchased and reassembled by the city’s renowned developer, it’s now a top-rated attraction. Day-trippers come by the busload to wander across it and enjoy the faux British heritage in the kitschy-quaint ‘English Village’ at its eastern border.
The lake itself – which can be very beautiful – is the other major attraction. Formed in 1938 by the development of Parker Dam, it’s much beloved by water rats, particularly students on spring break (roughly March to June) and summer escapees from Phoenix and beyond.
Top Attractions in Lake Havasu City
When Robert McCulloch needed a fixture to drum up recognition for the planned community of Lake Havasu City, London Bridge was up for sale. Snapped up for just under $2.50 million, it was broken into 10,000+ slabs and assembled again in the Arizona desert. The first car rolled over in 1971. Registered in the Guinness World Records as the largest antique of the world, it’s one of Arizona’s most bizarre tourist sites and among its most loved.
London Bridge Beach
This sandy band against Bridgewater Channel has palm trees and eucalyptus, ramadas, playgrounds, a sandy beach, and a lovely dog park with a faux fire hydrant in the center. It also offers a beautiful, palm-framed view of distant peaks and the lake.
Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
The Havasu National Wildlife Refuge is a significant habitat for waterbirds and migratory birds. Look for ducks, herons, blackbirds, geese, and other winged animals (including two dozen species of dragonfly) as you canoe or raft through Topock Gorge. Under the surface hides the endangered razorback sucker, and there are plenty of coves and sandy beaches for sunning and picnics. It’s situated 30 miles north of Lake Havasu City; the main access point is off I-40.
Top Things to do in Lake Havasu City:
- World War II: While visiting London Bridge, don’t forget to notice the scars from World War II that mark the construction’s exterior, and enjoy the Lake Havasu view with all the kinds of boats moored in the shadow of this icon.
- Fishing in Lake Havasu: With excellent fishing conditions year-round, the lake is considered probably one of the best fishing lakes in the region. It also hosts over twenty-five fishing tournaments and adventure activities throughout the year. Participate in contests and flaunt your catch.
- Bridgewater Channel: Situated below the famed London Bridge, this narrow strip of navigable water is joined by a waterfront full of restaurants and shops perfect for enjoying the non-stop boat rituals. Shop, eat, and enjoy this thin water ribbon.
- Picnic: Lake Havasu State Park is a unique spot and a stunning retreat with many activities. The park offers a picnic, three boat ramps, cozy beach areas, and plenty of romantic campsites. It is family-friendly and an adventure in itself.
- Boating: Sports boaters, family boaters, house-boaters, sightseeing boaters, all of them are welcome on Lake Havasu’s endless stretch of guaranteed sun-kissed streams.
- Lighthouses: Lighthouses in the midst of a desert? Lake Havasu City houses more lighthouses than any other city in the South-West. In 2000, a group of concerned citizens thought something needed to be done to better night-time navigation for Lake Havasu boating. The solution, twenty-six miniature copies of well-known lighthouses, was built on the lake’s shores, and they have become a tourist draw on their own.
- Hiking Trails: As a favorite destination for hiking in Arizona, hiking enthusiasts can find that Lake Havasu is one of Arizona’s best-kept mysteries for hiking. With many stunning hikes within a short distance of the town center, its wide range of natural diversity, terrain, and spectacular beauty make Lake Havasu’s vast trail network an excellent option for trekkers of all types.