I know, when you think about lighthouses, one would never associate a landlocked desert with lighthouses. However, there are more than twenty-five scaled-down functioning replicas along Lake Havasu’s shores with plans to build even more.
The construction of these lighthouses was originally intended for safety purposes, but have become as much of a landmark as the London Bridge.
The Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club, a non-profit group of independent people, wanted to make the lake safer for night boating and fishing. All lighthouses are built and maintained by the folks at the Lighthouse Club and meet the coast guard’s navigational regulations. So not only do they serve as a unique tourist attraction, they assist in safe water navigation.
All the lighthouses on the west side of Lake Havasu are replicas of famous lighthouses on the West Coast. On the east side of the lake are replicas from the East Coast, and the lighthouses around the island are all replicas of lighthouses from the Great Lakes.
Each lighthouse replica costs about $5,000 to build, which includes $1,000 or more just for the beacon. The majority of the labor is done by Lighthouse Club members and other volunteers, and many of the lighthouses are sponsored by families as memorials for their loved ones. Some of the lighthouses can easily be viewed from land while others can be seen only from the water.
One of my personal favorites is the Split Rock Lighthouse. When Al and I lived in the Chicago suburbs, every summer we would pack up our canoe and camping gear and head to northern Minnesota. The stretch of road along the north shores of Lake Superior between Duluth and Grand Marais is a beautiful and scenic drive … a drive I always enjoyed.
Both sides of the road feature interesting sights. On the north side of the road, we see waterfalls. The iron ore rich land turns the cascading water into an interesting copper color which rapidly flows over huge rocks and drains into Lake Superior.
Glancing to the south side of the road is Lake Superior; the largest of the Great Lakes. A rocky cliff shoreline serves as a reminder that these waters can be dangerous. You won’t find many beaches along Lake Superiors north shore but you will find lighthouses.
During our many travels through this part of Minnesota, a stop or two to capture a photograph of the Split Rock Lighthouse was always on the agenda.
Somewhere in my storage unit back in Colorado are all my vacation photos from those Minnesota vacations.
I had a great time watching the sunset over Lake Havasu. As I stood next to the Split Rock Lighthouse replica, I couldn’t help but reminisce. Ah yes …. fond memories indeed. Wherever does the time go?
Lake Havasu City is a great destination for a get away year round. Just remember, this is the desert and temperatures in the summer do soar, but fall, winter, and spring are an RVer’s dream. For info on a lighthouse tour, click here.
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After our visit with the wild Burros, we continued our journey. Between the towns of Parker and Lake Havasu City, highway 95 in Arizona parallels the Colorado River skirting between red rock cliffs, resorts, and shoreline. I find this stretch of road particularly scenic.
While enjoying a lovely scenic drive, the four of us developed quite a thirst and appetite. We had a destination in mind to satisfy our needs and the Pirate’s Den proved to be the perfect spot. Ya-hoo…it’s happy hour between 3:00 and 6:00; drinks are $3 and taco’s are $1.25 each…..and talk about a fun atmosphere.
Yep, good food, good drink, great company………I could get used to this place!
We spend a couple of hours sitting under a yellow umbrella indulging in some tasty tacos and cool margaritas. Hum, we wondered if staying at the adjacent Pirate’s Den RV Resort might be in our future?
After some pondering and discussion, it became clear…… having the Pirate’s Den bar steps from our RV door may not be in our best interest. The title ‘bar fly’ comes to mind. Hum, would that really be so bad? Ah, days swinging in a hammock, followed by slurping drinks while lounging under yellow umbrellas amongst blue skies and sparkling water….. 😕
The following day, our last day in the area, was spent walking and picnicking along the shores of Lake Havasu. We packed a picnic lunch and headed off to Rotary Park located in the heart of Lake Havasu City.
Al and I spent a couple of hours strolling the paved walkway that meanders along Lake Havasu. We walked to the famous London Bridge and beyond taking in the sights. This is really a beautiful park dotted with playgrounds, picnic tables, a huge skate park, sandy shores, marinas, and a wide concrete sidewalk for all to enjoy.
Shortly after strolling under London Bridge the sidewalk ended but we continued to the little lighthouse in the distance. The lighthouse sits within Lake Havasu State Park boundaries. Al and I walked further into the State Park checking out the campsites. The campsites looked nice with a few even backing up to the water.
During our visit, they were completing various updates; adding water and sewer hook-ups to some of the campsites. Full hook-ups at a State Park? Location and scenery to boot? We’ll need to add this to our list of potential spots to call home during a future visit!
This State Park is not only located at the shores of Lake Havasu but is conveniently located within city limits and thus is a short distance to nearby stores, restaurant’s, and bars. Yep, I’d say Lake Havasu State Park is worthy of a visit. But unless you’re in your twenties, you may want to shy away from this area during Spring Break. Lake Havasu is now one of the top places in the country for Breakers to party.
Another popular time, not so much for the twenty something’s, but more for their parents, is President’s Day Weekend in February. Reservations for this three-day weekend are a must. Lake Havasu City puts on a huge and popular fireworks display in Sara Park. There are live concerts, a hot rod show, and much more happenings throughout the town. It actually gets quite crowded. A couple of years ago, we just so happened to visit Lake Havasu during this popular time. And although fun, it did get very congested.
In our opinion, no trip to Lake Havasu City would be complete without a visit to Rotary Park, as well as a walk over and under the famous London Bridge.
We loved our five-day visit to Lake Havasu, Arizona. It was also great visiting with friends. Although we may not have the opportunity to revisit Lake Havasu this year, we hope to make it a lengthy pit stop some time in 2014.
Al and I have wanted to visit Lake Havasu for quite sometime. We also wanted to check out Quartzsite, AZ. With no firm plans or commitments, we depart Desert Edge’s RV and head to Interstate 10, westward bound.
We stop in Quartzsite for gas and I hop into the Rig, make us a couple of sandwiches, take Bear for a short walk, and after eating check the place out. Quartzsite is an interesting, eclectic sort of place. The RV parks are jam packed this time of year. So we decide to head north on Hwy 95 toward Havasu and make several notes about the Quartzsite area for next winters excursion.
Lake Havasu City is loaded with RV Parks and just outside of town are numerous spots to boondock. It is a playground mecca for adults. There are endless places for ATV/Four Wheeling. All sorts of water activities are available from boating, jet skiing, sailing, paddling, etc. If you don’t have your own toys, there are dozens of places to rent the toy of choice.
We want to camp as close to the water as possible and pick Crazy Horse Campground to spend a few nights. Fortunately for us, the campground is all booked up and we are sent to their overflow lot.
When I say we were fortunate the campground was booked, I sincerely mean fortunate. The RV’s in the campground are packed in like Sardines. Hardly enough elbow room between units…..not my cup of tea! The overflow lot overlooks the lake and there’s plenty of room for everyone. The ATV trails provide excellent hiking for Bear and me, that is, until all the ATVer’s show up.
Saturday some young kids have fun tooling around on their four-wheelers. They drive slow and responsibly and we’re not bothered by their activities. It’s nice to see kids being kids and playing out in the dirt instead of sitting in front of a computer/TV screen.
Although I would not recommend Crazy Horse Campground, I would recommend staying in their overflow lot. The Campground is old, the staff and guests were less than friendly, but the location is awesome. We were able to walk to the famous London Bridge and stores.
The RV Park is on an island/peninsula and we need to cross the London Bridge for access. The shoreline along the island and mainland is a lovely park setting with walking trails, a dog park, marina, beaches, and picnic areas. Lake Havasu City was developed by Robert McCulloch in 1963 on the eastern shore of Lake Havasu. He later purchased the London Bridge, which was dismantled and shipped to Lake Havasu City. It was completed in 1971 and connects the peninsula to the mainland.
Al and I take advantage of the beautiful, sunny weather and walk the London Bridge and shoreline.
Later back at the campsite, we are buzzed by what I call flying lawn mowers. There are about half a dozen buzzing around and Al is totally infatuated. I believe the proper term is powered gliders and Al is ready to return to the skies. Yeah right, I don’t think so! Although Al does not
miss his commercial aviation days, he does occasionally miss those daring Navy missions and flying on and off an aircraft carrier. Aah, to be young again!
I leave Al to his thoughts and have him build me a campfire while I prepare dinner.