Lake Havasu Spring Break
Copper Canyon Is The Top Party Spot
Boats gather and people party at Copper Canyon on Lake Havasu.
When it comes to partying on the water and being a Spring Break party palace, one location in the Western United States has a head-shaking, smile-making reputation.
It's Lake Havasu, Arizona.
Located on the California/Arizona border on the Colorado River, it's an oasis in the desert. This party legend has been a destination for decades to party people in California, Nevada, Arizona and other neighboring states.
Spring Break is at its peak in mid-March. But Havasu rocks at other times, too. Memorial Day is particularly frenzied, filled mainly with post-college crazies who still manage to play hard. There are house boats with kegs, boaters, jet skiers and of course bikinis and martinis.
People head to the coves to tie up and party together, sometimes in masses so massive that one can walk from boat to boat without ever touching the water. In fact, even seeing the water can be difficult. With cliff walls and coves, it presents stunning natural scenery.
And then there's the people, of course, creating another kind of pleasing feast for the eyes.
Lake Havasu is all about the water; the town itself is just that, a town. It's called Lake Havasu City or, for locals, the Arizona Riviera. It's small, a bit dusty – hey, it's in a desert – and mostly rustic.
It's also a quirky place. The actual London Bridge is here, having been brought brick by brick in the '60s from its original home. It's the centerpiece of the town and river.
And while Havasu is definitely a party place, it has its other moments, too. In its more tame existence, it hosts RVers and has some basic golf courses for non-water activity. Havasu is also the prime playground for personal watercraft – most of the top pros live here because there are plenty of places to practice and it sports year-round water weather. The World Finals are held here each October.
The Daytime Party
Wild on the water, this is Lake Havasu at its best.
It all starts in what is known as The Channel, a launching area and gathering spot in the heart of town. This is where the engines begin to rev in anticipation of what's coming later. And we're not referring to the boats. From the Channel, a thunderous roar echoes off the canyon walls and boats start heading to other spots on the river.
The objective is Copper Canyon, a prime gathering location where Havasu really earned its party reputation. Four miles south of the London Bridge, it's the prime tie-up area; when Spring Break is in full swing, its the crazy scene of all those boats tied up together with no water in sight.
An alterate spot, which is a bit less wild, is the Sand Bar. Located 15 miles from the London Bridge it's an actual sand bar, which enables people to wade from boat to boat.
Be responsible while behind the wheel.
At the end of the afternoon boats gather at the London Bridge to talk about what they saw – or did – earlier in the day.
Another hot spot, thought it's away from town, is the Nautical Inn Resort. For many, this is the place to stay for Spring Break – or any Havasu visit. It's right on the water so going from the room to the boat is a daily duty. After a day on the lake, boats tie up here and people party in the resort's bar, the Naked Turtle.
People tie it on when they tie up in the coves of Havasu.
It's part of a floating water park and watercraft are available for rent. The Nautical Inn is also home base for the annual Jet Ski World Finals each October.
While Havasu definitely springs up to party for Spring Break, it's worth noting that the local authorities are quite aware of the horseplay that happens on the water. They are quite diligent in dealing with reckless boaters or captains who are even slightly buzzed. So keep the skipper sober.
Nightlife & Bars
Dancing the night away, Havasu Spring Break style.
In Havasu, the party doesn't end when the boats go on break. For those still standing after the daytime, there are some kingpin places to really go crazy.
Spring Breakers flock to the casual Kokomo. It's a four-level indoor/outdoor bar and club with a sweaty dance floors, a pool, 21 bar stations, and plenty of debauchery. This is THE place to get really crazy for Spring Break. Or just about anytime in Havasu.
Since it's always a good idea to eat at some point during the night, a good call is to start at the "loungey" Martini Bay then slide down to Kokomo. Located within the London Bridge Resort, its patio overlooks the bridge and Bridgewater Channel, an ideal place to enjoy dinner from its Mediterranean-inspired menu A more casual option is the London Bridge Brewery in the Lake Havasu City Mall.
The London Bridge isn't falling down in Havasu but she is on the dance floor.
Kokomo is not the only dance club in town. The Red Room is a swanky club. It's a little walk from the main London Bridge area, located on Queen's Way across from McDonald's. But it's hardly a McDonald's kind of place.
Also a short walk away from the bridge is an area with a few locals' bars, such as the Mad Dog Bar & Grill.
Drink 'em if you got 'em is 1 a.m. While that may seem early, after a day on the lake, sunset cocktails then the evening madness, it's probably just as well they close at that time.
Lake Havasu Visitor's Guide – General Information
Lake Havasu City is located on US Route 95, just north of Parker Dam and 10 miles from the California border. Interstate 40 is just north of town.
It's located 150 miles south of Las Vegas, 200 miles from Phoenix and is about a 5-hour drive from L.A.
Most of the "action" – meaning the restaurants, bars and water activity – are around the London Bridge. Be here and it's a walk to pretty much anywhere (except the Nautical Inn).
Accommodations vary from right on the water to more economical locations a short stay away. The London Bridge Resort is right on the water and, as the name implies, is at the London Bridge. Those looking for more Spring Break-type of rates prefer the Island Inn or Havasu Inn,Windsor Inn, Ramada Inn, Super 8,, Holiday Inn and Travelodge Havasu.
Lake Havasu has a local city transportation service for $3. The service runs Monday - Friday from 6 a.m.- 6 p.m., Monday thru Friday and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on weekends. The number is (520) 453-7600.