There is a lot to do and see in Lake Havasu, but if you find yourself wanting to get out of town, there are many places where you can go to see the sights and have some fun! Below are just a few places to go.
In the heart of the Desert Southwest, Laughlin is only 90 miles South east of Las Vegas, just a few hours from Southern California and short drive from Lake Havasu City.
Laughlin’s current location was established in the 1940’s. The settlement consisted of a motel and bar that catered to gold and silver miners who dotted the map, and to the many construction workers who built Davis Dam.
Today, there are 11 hotel/casinos in Laughlin providing over 10,000 rooms, 125,000 SqFt of meeting space, 60 restaurants, 2 museums, a 34 lane bowling center and a variety of boutiques, spas and salons. More than 14,000 casino workers cross the Colorado River by shuttle boat or the Laughlin Bridge daily from Bullhead City and Fort Mohave.
Laughlin now attracts nearly 5 million visitors a year who like to gamble, enjoy water sports on the Colorado River and attend many high-profile special events hosted by the community.
The resort destination boasts a multitude of unspoiled attractions, abundant golf, spas and year round near perfect weather. – Maps & Directions
Lake Mead Recreation Area
Lake Mead National Recreation Area offers a wealth of things to do and places to go all year long. It’s huge lakes cater to boaters, swimmers, sunbathers and fishermen while its desert rewards hikers, wildlife photographers, off-roaders and roadside sightseers. Three of Americas four desert ecosystems; the Mohave, the Great Basin, and the Sonoran Deserts, meet in Lake Mead. As a result, this seemingly barren area contains a surprising variety of plants and animals, some of which may be found nowhere else on the planet. – Maps & Directions
A complete lakeside resort with marina, sandy beach are where you can picnic and BBQ. Campground spots with and without RV hookups are also available. There is also a motel, boat storage yard, boat repair shop, store, restaurant, and lounge. – Maps & Directions
A once booming late 19th Century gold mine, the ruins are located near the Katherine Landing area along a ridge running east of the turn-off to the Telephone Cove area. The Katherine Mine is only one of the many such mines dotting the area. – Maps & Directions
Situated on the craggy rocks of the Black Mountains at an elevation of 3,000 ft. is the living ghost town of Oatman. This former mining town, 26 miles from Kingman, on Historic Route 66 is as untamed and original as it was in its heyday in mid to late 1800’s. Oatman was once the last stop on Route 66 before entering the dreaded Mojave Desert.
The town and its 300 or so residents include artists, writers and musicians along with a colony of wild burros (descendants of old miners burros) who roam the streets during the day, seeking handouts, then disappearing into their desert home at night.
Oatman’s Main Street on Route 66 has been featured in several movies over the years. It’s three saloons, with their wooden floors and outside walkways are as they were in the 1800’s.
Remnants of mining shafts, tailings and old equipment are scattered among the hillsides. Gifts and artistic items are for sale in shops lining main street. Actors stage gun fights during the weekends for tourists. Oatman celebrates Gold Camp Days on Labor Day weekend. – Maps & Directions
The Mojave Desert
The transition from the hot Sonoran Desert to the cooler and higher Great Basin is called the Mojave Desert. This arid region of Southeastern California and portions of Nevada, Arizona and Utah, occupies more than 25,000 Sq miles.
The Mojave consists of mountain and basin topography. Sand and gravel basin brain to central salt flats from which borax, potash and salt are extracted, Silver, tungsten, gold, and iron are mined in the Mojave.
This deserts climate is characterized by extreme variation in daily temperature and an annual precipitation of less than 5 inches of rain a year on average. Almost all of the moisture arrives in winter. Freezing can occur in winter, while summers are hot, dry and windy.
Although desert climate can be harsh, they are soft-ended by the beauty of spring vegetation. Wildflowers, various flowering cacti and the unusual Joshua Tree blossoms make the desert come alive at this time of year. A spring hike through the desert will arouse all your senses.
Buckskin Mountains and the Desert Bar
The “Nellie E Saloon”, also know as the Desert Bar, is situated in the Buckskin Mountains in Parker AZ. People come from all over to visit this most unusual attraction located in the middle of nowhere. Stock vehicles will find this dirt trail quite challenging. Several rocky sections require careful tire placement and navigation… and the help of a good spotter.
The name “Nellie E” originates from the old mining claim. They used to mine copper then take it to the smelter and get gold. This unique solar powered saloon has windows that are old glass refrigerator doors. the bar is brass, and the ceiling is made of stamped tin. Across from the saloon is an outside bar, cooking area and stage for live music.
There is also a covered foot bridge that leads to the Church. The church is made of solid steel and the walls and ceiling are made of the same stamped tin used inside the bar and the roof is made or copper. The church is a unique place for weddings and a great photo spot. There are no services held in the church and all religions are welcome.
The “Nellie E Saloon” is located 5 miles off the Cienega Springs Rd exit on Hwy-95, approximately 5 miles north of Parker, AZ. Its open only from high noon until sunset, Labor Day weekend through Memorial Day weekend. – Maps & Directions
Quartzsite was established in 1867 on the sire of Old Fort Tyson. 20 miles east of the Colorado River on I-10, it has been a rock-hound paradise since the 1960’s. Today well over one million people visit each year, mostly in RV’s during January and February. About 2,000 vendors or rocks, gems, minerals, fossils, etc. form one of the worlds largest flea markets.
The Kofa Mountains are south off US 95. Historic and scenic areas include Crystal Hill, Tyson Tanks, Tyson Wells Museum and the Hi Jolly Monument. South is the Kofa Mountains is Palm Canyon, home of Arizona’s only native palms, reached by a very steep climb. Farther south is Castle Dome Peak at an elevation of 3,793 ft. – Maps & Directions
Parker Dam is located on the Colorado River, approximately 16 miles north of Parker, Arizona and 155 miles downstream from Hover Dam, in a short section of gorge cut through low-lying hills. It is the deepest dam in the world with a structural height of 320 ft with only about 85 ft visible, and provides water storage and power production. The reservoir formed by the dam, Lake Havasu, stores water for municipal and industrial use by southern California and by the Central Arizona Project. – Maps & Directions
Historic Route 66
Running from Chicago to LA, more than two thousand miles all the way, was the boasting lyrics to the famous song “Get Your Kicks on Route 66”. Kingman is at the heart of the longest stretch of this famed highway still in existence and intact.
The foundation for both the community of Kingman and the “highway” was laid hundreds of years ago.
Native Americans who lived in the surrounding deserts and mountains, originally forged the path that was to become Route 66 as a trade route to the Pacific.
In the mid 1800’s, the path became a trail (under the guidance of a military surveyor) that would eventually carry a nation westward. The “National Old Trail Highway” was the result and with continued improvement, it was renamed “Route 66” in 1926. With the unprecedented prosperity of the postwar years, Route 66 became one long neon avenue from Chicago to LA. Through the years, the highway has had many names; “The Main Street of America”, “The Wire Road”, “The Will Rogers Highway”, and “The Mother Road” to name a few. Songs and television shows immortalized it and Kingman was at the heart of it all. By the 1950’s, with the increase in traffic cane the :National Interstate Highway System”. One of the new interstates was to be I-40, which would parallel Route 66 in many places and cover it in others. So ended a way of life for many of the communities along Route 66.
in 1987, the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona was formed promoting interest in the historic highway, thus increasing tourism along the Arizona portion of the old route in communities such as Williams, Seligman, Hackberry, Valle Vista, Topock, Golden Shores and Oatman.
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