Goodbye Lake Havasu

After almost three months of hanging around Lake Havasu City, Arizona, the itch to roll became too strong to ignore. So today we said goodbye to Lake Havasu City. We’ve hitched up and the wheels are rolling in search of new scenery. However, we won’t be venturing too far from the Colorado River. We’re actually going from one man-made Colorado River lake to another.

sunset at Lake Havasu

The sunsets are always beautiful!

When jello jiggles

lighthouseWe’ve thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Lake Havasu City. It was never our plan to visit western Arizona this winter, but when hurricane Harvey hit our favorite Texas Gulf Coast town square in the middle  …. well, let’s just say the jello jiggled  and we were onto plan B.

When an RVer says, “Our plans are written in jello“, they basically mean their travel itinerary is flexible, ever-changing and not firm. Your lesson for the day on RVing jargon 🤣

Once our friends, the one’s we met last summer in Prescott, heard we weren’t going to Texas, they encouraged us to come spend some time with them on their property in Lake Havasu City (sure, twist my arm).They were eager to share their town with us and show us why they love living in Havasu.

When Al and I sold our Colorado home on a whim five years ago, we thought we’d only be doing this full-time RVing thing for a year or two. Thus, we’re always looking at real estate, especially me. It’s one of my favorite pastimes. Hey, you can’t take the home builder/realtor out of me just because I live in an RV. I still love architecture and home design.

golf course

Golf is popular in Lake Havasu City

With that said, our search to find a new home base started the minute we sold that last house. But if we’re being honest here, this RVing gig is kind of addictive and the thought of putting down roots in one location usually finds us hitching up and rolling before putting any ink to paper. To say we can’t (don’t want to) make a commitment would be an understatement.

float plane

We feel very fortunate to have stayed and explored some beautiful parts of this country, and when we have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in an area, we think about the possibility of a home base. That certainly doesn’t mean we’d ever give up RVing. Nope, we enjoy RVing way too much to stop anytime soon!

What we like about Lake Havasu City

For starters, there’s a lake here along with a ton of other recreational opportunities. All that recreation makes for a great destination for a variety of people. During winter months, the town attracts retirees from colder regions around the U.S. and Canada. During spring months, the community fills with university students on spring break.

Whatever hobbies or interests you may have, it’s most likely happening around here. There are all kinds of activities available for all ages. There are clubs to join for those living here and festivals to attend for locals and tourists alike.

If you enjoy gambling, there are a bunch of casinos up and down the Colorado River and many offer live entertainment including top name talent.

A variety of competitions take place in Lake Havasu City. Just a few of the events include the International World Jet Ski Races, a pyrotechnics convention, a speedway, professional fishing tournaments, custom boat regattas, charity events, a balloon festival, and more.

Toys, toys, and more toys! It’s all about the toys around Lake Havasu City …. Boats – you’ll see everything from kayaks to jet boats and everything in between. Cars – hot rods, sports cars, old cars. 4×4’s – Jeep’s, ATV’s, UTV’s. Aircrafts – large and small. RVs of all shapes and sizes with plenty of RV parks, state parks and boondocks to camp.

Weather – From October to April the weather is wonderful and perfect for outdoor activities. The mild winter weather is a snowbirders delight.

A regular part of our day included a three-mile out and back walk along the Bridgewater Channel. Al and I would start our walk at Rotary Park and walk under the iconic London Bridge and turn around at the Lake Havasu State Park. Hiking the stairs at the London Bridge became part of daily exercise routine.

Bridgewater Channel

walking along the Bridgewater Channel is a popular activity

Housing and property taxes are relatively affordable and most lots have room to park those toys. There are some great hiking trails at the south end of town at Sara Park, and where there’s water, there are birds. So even though I didn’t get a chance to do my usual bird photography along the Gulf Coast this winter, I still managed to capture a few bird photos along the shores of Lake Havasu.

lighthouses of Lake Havasu City

Location – the location is great for connecting with like-minded folks. We kept very social during our stay, not only with our Havasu friends and their friends, but with other RVers. With Quartzsite only an hours drive to the south and Laughlin an hour to the north, there’s always someone passing through or stopping in Lake Havasu City.

Our latest meet up was with Debbie and Steve when they spent a week in the area. Then a week later when Al and I needed to make a Sam’s Club run up to Bullhead City, we reconnected not only with them but also with their friends.

RVers meet up at Bubba Gumps in Laughlin, NV. We meet some of Steve and Debbie’s friends. From left to right – Craig, Steve, Debbie, Al, me, Steve Dianne, Jo

The downside to Lake Havasu City

Weather is not only a huge plus half the year, it’s also a negative. Summer gets hot around here. Lake Havasu City is lower in elevation than Phoenix, Arizona, which means summertime temperatures soar into the 100 degree Fahrenheit range regularly. Lake Havasu City holds the all-time record high temperature in Arizona history with 128 °F recorded on June 29, 1994. However, on December 31, 2014, snow actually fell on the town.

The desert landscape around here is rather barren. You won’t find any majestic saguaro’s or desert wildflowers, but you will find plenty of rock. The longer I was here, the more I was bothered by the lack of vegetation.

Shopping is limited. However, Havasu pretty much has everything I need these days. The biggest draw back for me personally is the distance to the nearest city. The closest major city is Las Vegas which is a 2 1/2 hour drive away while Phoenix is a 3 1/2 hour boring drive away. That means I can’t just pop in on my kids for lunch in Phoenix. Yeah, a bit too far away for a spur of the moment visit with one of the kiddos.

London Bridge

London Bridge, Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Recommended businesses

When we spend a prolonged amount of time in a new location, we have the opportunity to learn about the area and that includes where to shop and good places to eat. Just in case you find yourself visiting western Arizona, here are some businesses in Lake Havasu City that we enjoyed and feel comfortable recommending.

Palm treesGrocery stores: I’m usually fond of shopping at a Kroger Grocery store (aka Fry’s or Smith’s in Arizona) but in Lake Havasu City, I prefer Arizona’s local supermarket brand, Bashas. The produce is fresh, local (when possible) and reasonably priced. Safeway comes in second. There’s also a RV friendly Walmart in town for non-perishables.

Repair shops: During our drive from Phoenix to Lake Havasu City, we discovered we had a broken shackle on the RV. Once we set up camp and reassessed the situation, Al decided he didn’t feel comfortable doing the job himself. After all, we were on private property plus set up on gravel. With a little research, we scheduled the work with  Adrenaline Trailers. They were more than happy to sell us just the parts, but we decided this seemed like a good time to have the bearings repacked and the trailer brakes tested along with having all the shackles replaced. They did a great job, although they were a tad messy with the grease.

My truck needed general maintenance. This was the second time I used this small, two-man shop for service on my Toyota Tacoma and both times I was pleased with the work and the price. I even recommended E & J Auto Repair to fellow RVers, Laura and Kevin, for needed repairs on their Xterra. They too were pleased with Ed’s work. He doesn’t have a website but he can be contacted at – E & J Auto Repair, 1600 W. Acoma Blvd #60, Lake Havasu City, AZ (928) 854-9399.

Lake Havasu Arizona

Lake Havasu, Arizona

RV Parts: The top rubber seals on our RV slides were starting to deteriorate from all the extreme sun that we experience here in the desert southwest. We have used rubber conditioner, but being exposed to over 300 days of sunshine a year and 70-100 degree F temperatures takes a toll on our equipment. (I know, tough job dealing with all that sunshine 😁) The folks at Sunshine RV were very helpful in making sure we ordered the right rubber slide seal for our RV. Sunshine RV became our go-to shop for RV parts. A new propane valve and shower seals were part of our purchases.

Computer Repair: Whiz Kid was extremely helpful when I encountered some computer issues.

Car wash: Our equipment was in dire need of cleaning. Mesquite Car Wash is owned and operated by a husband and wife team who enjoy RVing. As a matter of fact, they spent a year RVing full-time and would like to hit the road again if they could find a good manager for their business. Al and I had both our trucks detailed and the RV washed. They even have a nice outdoor sitting area and an inside ‘tiki shed’ with TV for entertainment while you wait. Good job and super friendly staff!

Restaurants: Lake Havasu City offers a nice variety of local establishments as well as some of my favorite chain restaurants. This is a tourist town after all. On the local front, our first stop had to be Mudshark Brewery for their Vanilla Caramel Porter and Burger Monday special. Al  loves this porter and first discovered it being sold at Total Wine & More in Phoenix. Once Al realized the maker of this tasty porter was located in Lake Havasu City, a visit to Mudshark Brewery became tops on the ‘must do‘ list.

Next up was Hangar 24. Monday through Thursday during lunch they offer all their burgers at a special price of $7 and after 7:00 p.m. the appetizers are $5. The food here is really good, and I insisted we eat here one more time before heading out of town. A fun bonus for me was the ’70’s/’80’s rock music playing in the background. Guess with all the silvers in town, they considered the lunch crowd when choosing what music to play.

Hangar 24

Hangar 24 has a very casual party atmosphere with picnic table seating, occasional live entertainment, and even an outdoor swimming pool. Yeah, you read that right … a brewery/restaurant with a swimming pool. I’m pretty sure this is a popular spot for spring breakers. Silvers for lunch and breakers at night …. smart marketing!

Barley Bros Brewery

Barley Bros Brewery has a great location – check out the view of the London Bridge

I had heard mixed reviews from fellow RVers about Barley Brothers Brewery. So we decided to check it out ourselves. The location is prime. Talk about a view! Of the four breweries we sampled, this one seemed to be the most expensive and didn’t offer any specially priced items. Although we enjoyed our meal and drinks, we enjoyed the view and location more.

College Brewery Lake Havasu City

Meeting up with Steve and Debbie at College Brewery

Near the end of our Lake Havasu City visit, we met Debbie and Steve at College Street Brewery and were pleasantly surprised with the happy hour prices … good food, good drinks, and of course, good company. Steve’s flight of beer was $6 while my margarita was under $4. College Street Brewery turned into one of those restaurants we would definitely return to for happy hour.

Overall, Al thought Mudshark had the best beer. We both thought Hangar 24 had the best burgers. College Street Brewery had the best happy hour and Barley Brothers offered the best view!

The end of our visit

We had a great time hanging around Lake Havasu City and know we’ll be back … just not during the summer months. Hmm, after writing this post, perhaps Lake Havasu City should go on the short list of places to consider when we’re ready for that home base. It’s a thought!Lake Havasu Arizona

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51 thoughts on “Goodbye Lake Havasu

  1. Great review on Havasu. We loved the area, our only negative view of our stay was the constant roar of boats with open pipes. It was great meeting you both and we hope our paths cross again one day. Safe travels!

    • Yeah, I wasn’t a fan of the jet boats either… my daughter and I always say, men need to compensate for their short comings in some form 🤣 Hope to bump into you guys down the road some time!

  2. I knew a couple who sold their house and working from “home” they literally drove about for the next 14 years. I met them at that juncture and they had no plans to ever buy a house again. Travelling with a camera for your beautiful photographs would be a dream. Have a lovely day! c

    • Thank you! We have friends that have been RVing full-time for 20 years and don’t intend to change anytime soon. I’m not sure I’ll last that long, but I can see us doing this for at least another 2.

  3. Great info, Ingrid. I’ll have to come back and read again if/whenever we visit Lake Havasu City. Like you, we are “loosely” looking for a perfect home base, but could never give up traveling. We’re not the kind of people to adjust to and remain in one and the same place.

    As sailors, we always used the expression: “Plans are written in sand at low tide.” 🙂

    • When you’ve lived such a mobile lifestyle, I’m sure it will be difficult to settle on one place. I know I’m having that problem. That’s why I know we’ll always own a RV. It’s such a great way to travel and live.

  4. On the move again…

    Great post! The restaurants have been pinned!

    We plan on a visit to Lake Havasu possibly in May?!?! Or… In the fall when we return from Pennsylvania.

  5. It’s been years since we have been to Havasu, where we used to take the ski boat and enjoy the lake. Seems like it has grown quite a bit since our last visit. Great photos Ingrid.

    • It has grown a lot over the years and traffic on 95 can be a bear with the weekenders. But it’s still a fun place to visit and I know we’ll return.

  6. Before I even started reading your post I thought to myself that Havasu is just the place I could see you two getting a home base. I did not realize it was that far from Phoenix however. We are still bummed that we did not get to meet you two this year. It does seem like you met up with many of our friends however!

    • Yes, we’ve been meeting a lot of your friends and talking about you (just kidding). Yeah, bummed we couldn’t get together but the crud was nasty. I’m sure our paths will cross again. Havasu is not out of the running as a home base but need to consider a few things first 😉

    • Awe, thanks Beth. We try to find beauty in all the places we visit. Sometimes it’s a little tougher as in Nebraska 😆 but we still had a great time there.

  7. Awesome sunset photo! Gotta love AZ sunsets. Thanks for the recap. We’ll get thru LHC someday. We’re leaving Tucson a week from today. We’ve really enjoyed our 2 months here. Our longest stay anywhere so far. Spending a week near Scottsdale and then it’s back to CO for the summer. Safe travels! Will look forward to hearing about your future treks. We’ll connect one of these years!

  8. Sounds like you all had a great 3 months in Lake Havasu!! Sounds like a good place to put on our “to see” list.
    I think I’d fall in love with the view at Barley Bros Brewery!! Wow!!
    As usual, your pictures are wonderful!!

  9. I laughed at your restaurant/brewery recommendations … they were spot on with our thoughts when we last spent time in Havasu 🙂 Love that picture of the clouds over the golf course!

  10. We always do the ‘would we ever want to live here?’ mental exercise when we visit new places and I agree with your assessment of LHC. We liked it, but there were a couple things that would keep me from wanting to live there year round – the lack of vegetation being a big one. We’ll definitely visit again though, no doubt. It was great for a winter hangout. Funny – we had the same bought about Barley Brothers… nice views, but not our favorite spot. Anyway, glad to see you’re on the move again. Safe travels!

    • We really enjoyed LHC and know we’ll be back for a visit. Because we had had the flu earlier in our visit, we never did get around to hiking at Sara’s Park which bummed me out because there are some great hikes and even a small slot canyon. Oh well, we’re making up for it by taking in some amazing trails at Lake Powell.

  11. Great summary! Since we only spent a week in Havasu, we are looking forward to at least making it a regular spot as we travel. Thanks for summarizing, especially restaurants, cant wait to try them!

    • We find it helpful getting recommendations from other bloggers. Therefore, I thought I’d pass on our views. I think we too will make LHC a regular stopping point in our travels. Too fun to pass up!

  12. I’ve always enjoyed Havasu, but when we looked at real estate it was expensive. But, being near the lake and the river are certainly nice. Where are you headed for summer?

    • We’ll be back in Prescott this summer. Our son is getting married in August so we’ll want to hang around AZ. We noted some nice boondocking locations near LHC that we’ll try next time through.

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