Explore the fascinating region of Lake Havasu
Cross London Bridge or visit a rum distillery; take a river tour or see a wildlife refuge
London Bridge Historic Walking Tour
How did a structure that once spanned the Thames River in London, England, come to its unlikely home in Lake Havasu, Arizona? Find out on a historical walking tour of the state’s second biggest tourist attraction, the world-famous London Bridge.
The old London Bridge of nursery-rhyme fame was built between 1176 and 1209, and underwent frequent repairs until it was replaced in 1831. By 1967, it was apparent that even the rebuilt structure would not be able to withstand 20th-century traffic, and the Common Council of the City of London began to look for potential buyers. Lake Havasu City founder and entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch placed the winning bid of $2,460,000 in 1968. The bridge was disassembled and each block was numbered, then shipped overseas and trucked to Arizona. Following reconstruction of the bridge, Lake Havasu rededicated it in a ceremony in 1971.
To share more of the history behind the bridge, the Lake Havasu City Visitors Center conducts a 45-minute walking tour around, under and over the bridge. The tour is popular with couples and the boating crowd.
Sunset Charter & Tour Company
The lake and river tour experiences offered by the Sunset Charter & Tour Company provide visitors to Lake Havasu with a unique opportunity to dive into the history of the London Bridge and more.
Piloted by the knowledgeable Captain Kenny, who has “explored every rock and crevice” of the Colorado River Valley, the tours highlight the London Bridge and channel as well as the history and natural beauty of the valley.
The sunset experience tour is one of the most popular excursions, during which passengers are able to enjoy the Arizona sunset aboard Serenity Now, a premier 30-foot custom open-air pontoon boat with theatre-style seating. Visitors seeking a full-day trip can choose to board Serenity Now for the Topock Gorge Experience through the Colorado River Wildlife Refuge to what has been referred to as the mini Grand Canyon of the Lower Colorado River. Shorter one- and two-hour tours are also offered aboard Kon Tiki, a 30-foot covered pontoon boat with bench seating. All tours are fully narrated.
Wild West town
The town of Oatman is an authentic western ghost town and mining camp where you can stroll along wooden sidewalks and witness re-enactments of a Wild West shootout by gunslingers dressed in period costume.
Throughout the first half of the 1900s, Oatman and its companion town, Goldroad, were the largest producers of gold in Arizona. But in 1952, Route 66—the main route from the Midwest to California—bypassed this stretch of mountains and Oatman and Goldroad became ghost towns.
Today, wild descendants of burros brought to the town by the miners and turned loose when they were no longer needed still wander the streets. And though the gold rush is over, the town has become a lively tourist destination, with gift stores and craft shops, old-time photo shops, several places to eat and drink—including the Olive Oatman Restaurant and Ice Cream Saloon—and the historic Oatman Hotel, where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent their wedding night in 1939. There are twice daily Wild West shootouts performed by the Oatman Ghost Rider Gunfighters.
Desert Diamond Distillery factory tour
A real diamond in the desert, the Desert Diamond Distillery in Kingman offers a 45-minute guided tour of all the equipment and machinery needed to process molasses into various forms of rum. On the tour, visitors can view the working distillery at every stage of the flow of the product—from distillation to finishing, bottling, labelling and storage. The tour includes a visit to the barrel aging room and a tasting of unique rum and vodka. Once known to be a favourite place of the Rat Pack, the family-owned and -operated distillery is one of few in the country that remains open to the public. It is about a 70-mile drive from Lake Havasu. While in Kingman, be sure to stop at the Hackberry General Store, a store, museum and visitors centre warmly referred to as the “motherlode of mother road memorabilia.”
Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge
The Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge is a Mojave Desert ecosystem where visitors can view a blend of desert, marsh and desert riparian habitat as well as the diverse array of birds, mammals and reptiles that call the unique environment home. The 6,105-acre refuge also lays claim to one of the last stands of natural cottonwood-willow forests along the Lower Colorado River and was recognized as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society in 2011.
Start at the visitors centre, where there are interactive displays with information on the native vegetation and wildlife of the area, and explore the refuge’s informative quarter-mile-long nature trail. Visitors can even bring along their canoe or kayak to explore the shoreline and beautiful scenery at their own pace. Some fishing is allowed.
The refuge is located a short drive south of Lake Havasu City. Follow Arizona Highway 95 south about 23 miles between mileposts 160 and 161.