Looking for the best things to do in Lake Havasu City? Here’s everything you need to know.
Did you know that the original London Bridge is in Arizona? They moved it piece by piece to its new home in Lake Havasu City and made it into a tourist destination.
With 300 days of sunshine a year and one of the best boating lakes in the US, Lake Havasu City attracts people year-round. In the summer, it’s a spring break crowd vs a quieter vibe with snowbirds in the off-season.
A big thank you to Holiday Inn Express and Suites for sponsoring our trip and post. All opinions are always our own. This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.
Last Updated: November 17, 2021
For us, it’s an easy day trip or weekend trip from Las Vegas. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites at Lake Havasu, and it was a great home base. It’s located right next to the London Bridge, and we were able to walk to all the major attractions. More on our hotel later in this post! For now, let’s get into the best things to do in Lake Havasu City.
15 Best Things to Do in Lask Havasu City AZ
1. London Bridge
The London Bridge is the centerpiece and the reason why Lake Havasu is a destination (click here to find out why it was moved to Arizona).
When walking the bridge, you’ll see love locks on both sides. When boating under it, you’ll see remnants of the numbering system they used to dismantle and put it back together like a puzzle.
You can also see a marking made by two U.S. soldiers during WWII. You might also see swallow nests and bats that live under it.
Local Tip: The bridge is rumored to be haunted! Jack the Ripper killed most of his victims near the bridge, and visitors claim to see a British police bobby and a woman in black roaming around. In October, they have guided tours inside the bridge if you want to inspect it yourself. – Tera from Cruisin Tikis.
2. Lake Havasu Lighthouses
After several boating accidents, a group of boaters started the Havasu Lighthouse Club in 2000 to make the lake a safer place for night boating and fishing. Rather than installing basic lights, they made replicas of famous lighthouses in the US and Canada.
There are currently 28 lighthouses and more in the works. and you can find a map of them here.
Maybe it’s because I’m a water baby, but I love lighthouses and made it a mission to see them all. What I didn’t realize is that many of the lighthouses aren’t accessible from land until we started looking for them.
The easiest way to see all the lighthouses is via boat. Otherwise, these are the ones you can reach on land.
- L1 Cape Hatteras (Lake Havasu State Park)
- L3 East Quoddy (Lake Havasu State Park)
- L4 West Quoddy (can be seen from Lake Havasu State Park)
- L6 Vermilion (dirt road on the Island)
- L7 Split Rock (dirt road on the Island)
- L8 Point Gratoit (dirt road on the Island)
- L9 Alpena (dirt road on the Island)
- L10 Wind Point (dirt road on the Island)
- L14 Lake Havasu (can be seen from London Bridge Beach)
- L15 Buffalo Main (London Bridge Beach)
- L16 Currituck Beach (Rotary Park)
- L17 Fire Island (Rotary Park)
- L27 Cape Henry (Lake Havasu State Park)
Fun Fact: All lighthouses on the west side of Lake Havasu are famous lighthouses on the West Coast and the east side lighthouses East Coast replicas. Everything on the island is from the Great Lakes.
Note: L24, however, was labeled wrong and was across the water on the California side slightly north of where the map indicates). I’m guessing it was moved after because it’s in an unlikely spot.
3. Lake Havasu State Park
Park Entrance Fee: $15 Mon – Thur | $20 Fri – Sun and Holidays (per vehicle up to 4 people, $3 per additional person)
Lake Havasu State Park is north of the bridge and is one of the best spots for boating, kayaking, canoeing, picnicking, and camping. There is a beach that runs along the main part of the lake and the channel.
We ended paying to go into the state park to see 4 of the lighthouses (Cape Hatteras, Cape Henry, East Quoddy, and West Quoddy). You can see the West Quoddy across the channel, and you can walk up to the other three.
In addition, it’s a great RV camping spot or you can stay in one of their cabins.
Local Tip: Cape Hatteras lighthouse is in lot 1, Cape Henry in lot 3, and East Quoddy in lot 4.
4. London Bridge Beach
The London Bridge Beach is south of the bridge, free to visit, and another great spot to access the open lake and Bridgewater Channel.
There’s a dedicated area for swimming, and you can launch your kayak or canoe. You can also get decent views of London Bridge along the walkway or Kenny’s Beach, whereas the actual beach portion faces the lake. The best bridge view is from Shoreline Trail or on the water.
Local Tip: There is one lighthouse at London Bridge Beach and you can see two others across the water (Currituck at Rotary Beach and Lake Havasu Marina lighthouse at the Nautical Beachfront Resort).
We had so much fun on Cruisin Tikis in Key West, we wanted to do Cruisin Tikis in Lake Havasu too. It’s such a fun way to party or relax with a drink on the water.
The ride takes you along the channel, and it’s BYOB. You can even bring a cooler to make sure you have plenty of bevvies for the ride. During the summer, you can hop in the water to cool off.
Each floating tiki can sit up to 6 people, so gather your friends for a party on the water. Don’t forget to bring cash to tip your captain (20% of the regular price ride is roughly $14).
If you’re hunting down lighthouses, you’ll see 7 lighthouses on the ride.
Local Tip: During the summer, they are constantly booked so make reservations early.
The lake and bridge are the two main attractions of the city, so the best way to experience Lake Havasu is on the water.
We rented a pontoon boat from At the Bridge Rentals, located right at the base of London Bridge (on the island side).
Since we wanted to see as many of the lighthouses as we could, that’s what we prioritized since a lot of them can only be seen from the water. Don’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen!
We’ve taken a few boats out before but always need a refresher, and the staff helped us get comfortable before heading out.
If you are looking to rent after summer until February 1st, make a reservation ahead of time because they don’t always have it staffed. In the summer, be sure to book rentals at least two weeks out.
Local Tip: Pad in an extra 20-30 minutes to get in and out of the no-wake zone. It can feel painfully slow if you’re cutting it close.
7. Lake Havasu Museum of History
This small museum tells you the history of the area, boating, the London Bridge, and more. Entrance is by donation and they also hold special events throughout the year.
There’s a gift shop and the Lake Havasu Gem & Mineral Society also has a temporary store there. Ask them about their rockhounding events.
Note: they are closed on Sunday and Monday.
Local Tip: The backside of the museum has a few murals, and the ones below were our favorites. They also have a shadow museum sign that can only be seen when the sun hits it correctly.
8. Sara Park
Park Entrance Fee: Free
Sara Park is a local favorite with hiking trails, mountain biking, a huge dog park, motocross tracks, rodeo grounds, baseball fields, a shooting range, and more.
Saras Crack in the Wall/Mountain hike was so much fun, especially the natural slide portion with the rope. It’s one of the popular hikes in Lake Havasu, and we saw a few groups on our hike.
The hike is roughly 3 miles round trip to the end of the crack or 5 miles roundtrip to the lake.
Local Tip: Hiking during the summer is really brutal. The majority of the hike is exposed so bring a lot of water and proper clothing.
9. Rotary Community Park
Park Entrance Fee: Free
This is the largest public beach and park in Lake Havasu City and has boat access, picnic tables, volleyball courts, swimming beaches, and one of Arizona’s largest skate parks. The skate park is dedicated to a fallen soldier from Lake Havasu, which includes a giant replica of his U.S. Army helmet.
Local Tip: You can find two lighthouses in Rotary Park.
Lake Havasu City isn’t an official dark sky community, but the founder, Robert P. McCulloch, designed the city with no streetlights in residential areas with the purpose of stargazing.
You don’t have to travel far outside of town to see the stars and combined with an average of 290 clear nights, you don’t have to worry about an obstructed view. Don’t forget binoculars when you head out.
Here are a few of the best spots to stargaze according to the Lake Havasu Astronomy Club (LHAC):
- The End of Bison Drive – dirt trail and no facilities
- Site Six Overflow Parking Lot – some light but lots of parking
- SARA Park Trailhead – great unless someone approaches the restroom and the lights turn on
- Yonder Park – limited street parking and no facilities
- Scenic Pullout at Milepost 171 south of Hwy 95 – just a short drive out of town
Local Tip: LHAC holds star parties that are open to the public. They bring telescopes and can tell you more about what you’re seeing. Check their events page for details.
11. Cattail Cove State Park
Park Entrance Fee: $10 Mon – Thurs | $15 Fri-Sun and Holidays (per vehicle up to 4 people, $3 per additional person)
Cattail Cove State Park is best known for camping with over 60 sites. Of course, there is plenty of boating, hiking, beaches, and wildlife as well.
Local Tip: Whytes Trail is easy and one of my favorite hikes. – Leslie, Havasu Rocks Volunteer
12. Bridgewater Channel
This man-made channel runs below London Bridge and is lined with waterfront restaurants, shops, trails, and beaches.
If you plan on spending any time on the water, you’ll most likely find yourself in Bridgewater Channel. During the summers, it’s completely filled with boats and paddlers.
After walking both sides of the waterfront, we prefer the mainland side for restaurants and shops, but we rented our pontoon boat from the island side.
Local Tip: During the first week of December, they do a boat parade to celebrate the holidays.
13. Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge
On the south side of the lake is Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge. It’s popular for birding (cuckoos, flycatchers, etc), kayaking, and fishing. There are a couple of trails short trails for wildlife watching and an auto tour loop that you need a high-clearance 4×4 for.
We made a quick stop and didn’t see many birds, but here’s a list of all the birds you might see and which season.
The Audubon Christmas Bird Count here is the oldest bird-watching event in North America.
Local Tip: On the south side of the road, look for a brown sign with binoculars. Drive-up the rough dirt road to an overlook where you can see fall colors. – Leslie, Havasu Rocks Volunteer
14. Mudshark Brewery
We didn’t end up going on this trip because we’re trying to cut weight for climbing, BUT it’s unique in that they make solar-powered brews.
When it’s not outdoor climbing season, we’ll definitely be checking it out.
15. Lake Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair
If you are visiting in January, consider planning your trip around the Lake Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair when hot air balloons fill the sky. They take off from the island and some surrounding parking lots and golf courses.
The next event is January 20-23, 2022 at Lake Havasu State Park. The schedule hasn’t been released yet but you can find it here once it does. Try to catch a mass ascension!
Local Tip: Whether you want to see it from land or water, be sure to review the parking rules and boating rules.
Map of the Best Things to Do in Lake Havasu City
More Things to Do in Lake Havasu
- Aquatic Center – Indoor water slide, wave pool, splash park, etc. Great for kids.
- Area 66 UFO Museum in Yucca (40 mins NE)
- Birding – Lake Havasu is a birder’s paradise with over 350 identified species of birds.
- Bowling at Havasu Lanes and Keglers Pub – Bowling, darts, billiards, and pub food.
- Bucky’s Rare Odd & Unusual – antique shop
- Casino – Havasu Landing is located on Chemehuevi Reservation on the California side of Lake Havasu. There’s a $2 round trip ferry to get there.
- Copper Still Distillery – $8 and up
- Desert Diamond Distillery Factory Tour
- Flying X Saloon – bar and live music venue
- Franconia – meteorite hunting
- Golfing at Lake Havasu Golf Club
- Grand Island Disc Golf Course
- Grace Arts Live – Live theater with both classics and contemporary shows.
- Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
- Havasu Riviera State Park
- Lake Havasu City Visitor Center
- Kokomo Beach Club – located by the lake and has a pool.
- Memorial Walkway along Bridgewater Channel.
- Movies Havasu – Family-operated movie theater.
- Off-Roading – check out these trails.
- Rockhounding – You can find agates, quartz, geodes, gneiss, fossils, copper, chrysocolla, gold. See this resource.
- Shops at Lake Havasu or Havasu North Shopping Center – A large shopping center with all the big box brands.
- That Dane Bar – a dog-friendly bar and you can order from barktenders.
Hiking in Lake Havasu City
Don’t leave your hiking boots at home. Lake Havasu is more than just water recreation.
- Crossman Peak – 14.4 mile RT moderate hike that features a waterfall.
- Dead Burro Canyon Trail – 7.5 mi strenuous, nice views of the valley
- Mallard Cove Trail – 5.3 mi loop, wildflowers in spring.
- Water Tank Trail – 6.2 mi easy, nice views of lake havasu.
- More Hikes
Where to Eat in Lake Havasu City
- Angelina’s Italian Kitchen (💰💰, Italian)
- BaBaLoo Lounge (💰💰, Gastropub, Cuban)
- Blue Chair (💰💰, Bar) – We ate here as a recommendation from Captain Tera. The food isn’t the best, but it’s good enough, and it has a great atmosphere with live music. The sign outside said, “If the food, drink, and service are not up to your standards… please lower your standards.”
- Boat House Grill (💰💰 Seafood)
- Cha-Bones (💰💰, Seafood) – also recommended by Tera.
- College Street Brewhouse and Pub (💰💰, Pub)
- Hangar 24 (💰💰, Bar)
- Golden Phoenix Chinese Restaurant (💰💰, Chinese) – We got the lunch special Almond Chicken and Pepper Steak. We like taking a gamble and trying random Asian spots and supporting the local restaurants. Jacob liked the bossy, mean Chinese lady who was yelling at her employees/husband. Reminded him of someone… haha
- Juicy’s the Place with the Great Food (💰💰, American) is recommended by a bunch of blogs.
- La Vita Dolce Italian Bistro (💰💰, Italian) – Ate here bc we were craving Italian. We ordered the linguine and clams and shrimp scampi. The pasta was not al dente, but they were generous with their clams. If you like Olive Garden, you’ll be just fine.
- Mudshark Brewery and Public House (💰💰, Breweries, Sandwiches)
- Peggy’s Sunrise Cafe (💰, Brunch)
- The Red Onion (💰💰, Brunch)
- Rusty’s Restaurant (💰💰, Brunch
- Scotty’s Broasted Chicken & Ribs (💰💰, BBQ
- Shugrue’s (💰💰, Wine, Seafood, Steak) – One local told us a lot of people in town will say this is the best restaurant in Lake Havasu, but it’s overrated.
Lake Havasu Hotels near London Bridge
When we travel, we like to stay central. During our visit, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites.
The location is amazing. It’s a short walk to the English Village, London Bridge, and all the waterfront shops and restaurants. Plus the staff was friendly, rooms are comfortable, clean, and you always know what to expect.
They include a hot breakfast which gave us one less thing to worry about during our trip.
We stayed on the second floor which didn’t have a view of the bridge, but if you’re up on the fourth floor, you should be able to get a view.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Lake Havasu worth visiting? What is so great about Lake Havasu?
If you love boating, then it’s no question that Lake Havasu is worth visiting. It’s one of the best boating destinations in the US. Beyond that, there is plenty of outdoor recreation, the London Bridge, and lighthouse replicas to check out.
Why was London Bridge moved to Arizona?
The London Bridge started sinking in the early 20th century because of the increase in vehicle traffic. So the City of London sold it at auction in 1967. Robert P. McCulloch wanted to make Lake Havasu City a tourist attraction and won the bid, paying $2.46 million for the bridge and $7 million to transport it piece by piece to Arizona. On October 10, 1971, it was rededicated and it kicked off the growth of Lake Havasu City. According to the Tourism Bureau, 1.5 million people visit each year.
How can I have fun in Lake Havasu?
The best way to enjoy Lake Havasu is from the water. Rent a boat, kayak, or SUP. If water isn’t your thing, there are also plenty of hikes in the area.
What is the best time to visit Lake Havasu?
Summer is best if you’re looking to party. The lake is crowded with boats and people. If you want a quieter experience to explore the hikes and view wildlife, fall through spring is better. You’ll still get warm days but cool nights. The holidays are magical too since the area surrounding London Bridge is full of lights and decorations.
Is Lake Havasu expensive?
Lake Havasu City hotels range from $64 to $294 per night, with the summer season being the most expensive. Outside of that, there are plenty of restaurants and grocery stores to choose from to fit your budget. The next largest costs are activities and rentals. Fortunately, if you come with a group, you can always split renting a boat.
Is Lake Havasu a party town?
Yes and no. During the summer, there’s a younger crowd. The lake is full of boaters partying on the water and has decent nightlife. They even have shuttles to help you get home safely. In the winter, the city is filled with snowbirds looking to escape the colder seasons up north. Life gets quieter.
Are there sharks in Lake Havasu?
To date, there are no documented accounts of sharks in Lake Havasu.
Why is Lake Havasu so popular?
Lake Havasu has become one of the best boating lakes in the US and brings 750k visitors a year to fish and boat. There are fishing tournaments and different water events held there.
Is Lake Havasu Natural or Man Made?
Lake Havasu is a man-made lake created from damming the Colorado River. The island was also once a peninsula, but they created the channel and installed the London Bridge.
Is Lake Havasu drying up?
The inflow to the lake is decreasing but residents have been successful at conserving water. So even though the river is drying up, the water levels at the lake have held steady. With that said, it will continue to be a concern in the future as the inflow continues to decrease.
What is the water temperature of Lake Havasu?
Water temperatures in Lake Havasu change significantly throughout the year. The warmest month is July with an average of 93.2°F, and the coldest month is January with an average of 49.5°F.
It stays above 80°F between June and September, above 60°F in March-May and October-November, and drops below 60°F the rest of the year.
What kind of fish are in Lake Havasu?
You can find smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, striped bass, bluegill, flathead catfish, redear sunfish, channel catfish, and crappies in Lake Havasu.
- Getting to Lake Havasu usually requires driving. There is a small municipal airport (HII) in town but the closest major airports are:
- Laughlin Bullhead International Airport (IFP) in Bullhead City, AZ which is roughly 1 hr 2 min or 65 miles away
- McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas, NV which is about 2.5 hrs or 150 miles away
- Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) in Phoenix, AZ that is roughly 3 hours or 210 miles away
- Look for the best rental car pricing here.
- When hiking, bring water and wear sunscreen, not many trails in Lake Havasu have shade. Avoid hiking in the summer as temperatures are extremely hot.
- Pack out what you pack in Leave no Trace Principles. Or leave it better if you’re feeling up to it.
- Never hike alone and make sure other people know where you are going.
- Beaches and parking are crowded during the summer so have backup plans or leave early to get your spot.
- There are events throughout the year, it’s best to check what upcoming events there are in case that affects any of your plans.
- Parker, AZ (45 min / 38.5 mi, map) – Nellie E Saloon The Desert Bar – Quirky, rustic watering hole, built on the site of a former mining camp, open weekends Oct–Apr.
- Oatman, AZ (1 hr 10 min / 54.2 mi, map) – along route 66 an hour north of Lake Havasu
- Kingman, AZ (1 hr / 59.9 mi, map) – Nearby, Historic Route 66 Museum and memorabilia, Desert Diamond Distillery, Mohave Museum of History and Arts.
- Las Vegas, NV (153 mi north, 2 h 45 min, map)
What to Pack
- Always Bring Layers – layers are essential when you travel. These are our favorite travel jackets.
- Dresses – I like to wear flowey summer dresses to boating destinations. These are great travel dresses.
- Shoes – If you’re going out at night, you’ll probably want some dressy shoes, but make sure you bring a pair of comfortable travel shoes as well.
Can you think of any other things to do in Lake Havasu that can’t be missed?
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Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.