In Lake Havasu City, the message is 'Come and play!' - East Valley Tribune: Travel

In Lake Havasu City, the message is 'Come and play!'

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Posted: Sunday, October 24, 2010 10:30 am

Most everything that is fun about Arizona can be found in Lake Havasu City — but with an added advantage ... there is a quality of experience here that is unbeatable!

Come hike, boat, camp, fish, off-road, parasail ... you name it. Do all of these things in a most beautiful landscape with clean air and space to spread your wings ... just imagine, there are a million vacant acres of public land surrounding you!

In this playground, you can choose to kick back and relax at a lakeside café or roar across that same lake on a jet ski, adrenalin pumping. Whatever your favorite recreation, you won’t have to fight any crowds.

Lake Havasu City nestles on the shores of Lake Havasu, created by the Parker Dam in 1938. Where there was once only barren desert, man’s ingenuity has established both a superb recreational lake and a lively city.

Play Wet and Wild

Fishing is excellent here, with some of the best to be had during the winter months. Anglers hook quality large and small-mouthed bass, stripers, and catfish, either from a boat or from shoreline facilities that include six different fishing piers.

In addition to every kind of personal boating adventure, tours are offered on the lake and up the Colorado River. Visitors can explore the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge and the ruggedly beautiful Topock Gorge by jet boat or by gliding quietly in a kayak: view Native American petroglyphs and, if you are lucky, desert bighorn sheep scrambling high on a ridge.

The range of water-based offerings is exceptional. Enjoy the Dixie Belle Paddlewheel River Boat tour or be serenaded in a gondola! The latest sport is stand-up paddling — on what looks like a surfboard — and the best athletes will compete in Lake Havasu City on Oct. 9 at the annual “Paddle to the Channel”. For something different, you can even take a stand-up paddle boat tour!

Play with Eagles

Or at least, get an eagle-eye view on an airborne adventure! The choices are many, from helicopter to ultralight rides. Thrill to a parasail 600 feet above the lake or soar in a hot-air balloon for a new perspective of the desert or river.

Many places may offer scenic air tours in a biplane, but in Lake Havasu City, you are in the cockpit of a vintage World War ll Stearman. Now that’s exciting!

If it’s bird watching that you prefer, head to the Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge south of the city, which boasts more bird species than any other area of Arizona, including several unique to the region.

Landlubbers Play Too

Land-based fun can take you on a remote desert hike through a slot canyon ... or on the other end of the spectrum, hop on a bus for a city tour. Explore the area’s most scenic attractions by jeep tour or check out the London Bridge Ghost Tour.

For a really unusual experience, try a Segway tour. If you have never ridden a Segway, you are in for a treat! This two-wheeled transport responds to your every move and reaches speeds of up to 12 mph as you cruise past scenic beaches, cross the London Bridge, and more.

Off-roading is a popular pastime here, as the Bureau of Land Management operates several OHV areas. Rent an ATV or jeep and hit the trail — it’s a great way to get out and enjoy the natural world.

For something unique, take a tour of Lake Havasu’s lighthouses. More than 15 lighthouses dot the shores of the lake. These are actual functioning navigational aids, built to the specifications of famous East and West Coast lighthouses — but at 1/3 the size.

Golfers will find numerous courses in the area, including the 18-hole Havasu Island Golf Course, the 9-hole Bridgewater Links, the London Bridge Golf Course with 36 holes, and Emerald Canyon Golf Course, carved out of the mountains and canyons overlooking the Colorado River a few minutes south of Lake Havasu City.

If the family pet is along on your trip, the Lions Dog Park, Avalon Dog Park, London Bridge Beach and SARA Dog Park are Fido-friendly zones where dogs and their owners can congregate for some interspecies friendship.

Festive Fun

Lake Havasu City’s calendar is full of fun and exciting events, large and small, throughout the fall and winter months. From the personal watercraft championship races in early October to the Festival of Lights throughout the holiday season, there is something for everyone. Check out the calendar on this page and more listings on the general event pages of the paper.

Stay Here While You Play

Accommodations are numerous and varied in Lake Havasu City and include 22 hotels/ motels, 17 different sources of condos/ vacation rentals, and more than a dozen campgrounds and RV resorts, not to mention campsites and even houseboats!

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