Lake Havasu City, Arizona: Our review of popular city that is the new home of the London Bridge!


London Bridge, Lake Havasu, AZ

Growing up, I had heard of Lake Havasu City in Arizona, from watching MTV (Music Television) and various travel related shows that featured the city.  It was, and still is, a popular spring break destination for hormone-rich youngsters out to let loose for few days.

The thought of visiting the city never crossed my mind, as I didn’t think I would visit the city that was way out on the west coast, away from all the usual touristy places like Grand Canyon National Park, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, etc.  I honestly didn’t think we would go out of our way to visit the city unless we were close enough to it to visit it.  

When my wife and I were visiting the nearby Laughlin in southern Nevada, I knew the time was right to finally visit Lake Havasu City as it would only be about 60 miles away.  On the second day of our stay in Laughlin, we decided to do a day trip to the city to check it out!

We left our hotel (Avi Resort) in Laughlin, took the Needles Highway going south, until we saw the familiar I-40 going east.  We drove about 25 minutes then took the exit for Lake Havasu City via AZ-95 going south.

The drive into the city would take another 30 minutes or so, thanks to increasing traffic heading towards the city.  We fueled up our car, then headed to our first destination in the city for lunch, Papa Leone’s Pizza, overlooking the London Bridge.  

The London Bridge which had been in London, England, was sold to Robert P. McCulloch in 1967, who relocated it to Lake Havasu City.  The London Bridge is the city’s calling card and it brings in over 1 million visitors to the city.   It is without a doubt, the most famous landmark in the city, and you can’t miss it on your trip there.

We parked at the free public parking lot near Papa Leone’s Pizza, then walked into the pizzeria.  I had read reviews on the pizzeria and one of the must things to do was to request the patio seating, which we did.

The views were magnificent with the London Bridge right in front of us and up close, almost close enough to touch it.  The views of waterfront bars/restaurants, upscale condos, and water sports vendors set the mood of the place.  We loved the distant mountains providing a beautiful backdrop for a nice photo!

View from Papa Leone’s Pizza, Lake Havasu, AZ

Walkway to Papa Leone’s Pizza

We were the first customers of the day, and we sat down on the patio, then ordered a large vegetarian pizza with Caesar salad.  Pizza came out fast and we gulped the food down while enjoying the fantastic views!

Patio seating, Papa Leone’s Pizza

Our vegetarian pizza!

Because we were visiting on a Saturday, the place was fairly busy.  The water sports vendors and river cruises were all doing brisk business.  We loved the vibe of the place, laid back in the month of January but with enough things going on to keep people busy.

We finished the whole pie with Caesar salad, then headed out towards the bridge to walk across it.  The bridge, up close, was well maintained.  We did see some chipped stones here and there, but overall, it was still pristine after all these years of service.  It felt pretty amazing to be walking the actual London Bridge!

View from the London Bridge 

Walking the bridge!

View from across the river

We walked across the bridge, across the famous Colorado River (it’s amazing how long that river is), being mindful of natural and man made beauty surrounding us.  The place was definitely scenic!

We walked back to be on the same side we were just on, as it looked busier with visible walkways.  After crossing over to the side Papa Leone’s Pizza was on, we descended the stairs to get down to the marina/waterfront area.

We got on the Shoreline Trail heading northwest, then stopped to check out an old school telephone booth that wouldn’t be out of place if it sat right in downtown London, circa 1980’s.  That was pretty cool!  We hadn’t seen a telephone booth since the cell phones came out in droves.  It brought us back to the time before cell phones and the 80’s!

Underneath the London Bridge 

Old school telephone booth!

Dragon, the symbol of City of London

We meandered merrily around the marina, looking at various bars/restaurants and shops.  We couldn’t help but see even more cruise ships, big and small, docked and waiting for passengers.  The walkway was incredibly clean and well maintained.  We saw plenty of visitors and locals, enjoying a nice stroll on a Saturday afternoon.

One of those locals we ran into were dog owners and we had to stop by to chat.  We talked for some time about our love of dogs, our cross country trip, and about them living near Lake Havasu.  We really enjoy little memorable moments like these during our trips…

After saying goodbye, we continued on the Shoreline Trail heading towards northwest.  We saw a casino shuttle boat with people lining up to get on, and we saw families mosey on their own pace, sightseeing.  

It was an idyllic scene that put a smile to my face.  What’s better than a leisurely walk with loved ones, enjoying each other’s company, while surrounded by beautiful mountains, rivers, and a beautiful man made London Bridge

After walking another 2 minutes or so, we noticed the trail ended.  We saw a family continue on, bypassing the chain linked fence, but we decided against it for ourselves.  Maybe they were residents who lived in one of those condos.  Who knows, but why take a chance and trespass???

We headed the other way to see the southeastern part of the city along Shoreline Trail.  We passed the bridge yet again, then saw the scenery open up nicely with parks located on either side of the river.  

As we walked along the trail, we felt raindrops coming down, at first imperceptibly, but then noticeably.  We decided to head back to our car before we really got drenched.  Our instinct proved correct, as heavier rain hit us as soon as we got into our car.  Perfect timing!

We took the same route to get back to our hotel in Laughlin, Nevada.  We knew we wanted to catch a movie at the hotel, so we hurried back.  We planned to see Avatar 2 in the late afternoon.  While buying tickets, we noticed the show time was at 3:30 p.m., but we noticed my cell phone had different time than my wife’s cell phone. 

We got confused after traveling to Arizona where they do not use the Daylight Savings Time, but Nevada does.  We had to ask a fellow movie goer for the time, and he explained it was 2:30 local (Nevada) time.  He commented he gets confused himself when traveling to Arizona and back.

It was definitely confusing but it’s also one of those interesting experiences you only get when you travel.  We’re all for it!  What would life be if every day was exactly the same, with no changes at all?  I’d call  that a Groundhog Day, where every day repeats infinitely…Safe, but boring…Definitely not for me!

By the way, we really enjoyed the movie, and at $8.50 per ticket, it was a bargain these days…

In conclusion:

Lake Havasu City is more than just a popular spring break destination.  During the winter months, it was a laid back type of a place with people from all walks of life enjoying themselves along the Colorado River.

A water sports fans’ dream, the city has so much to offer: the beautiful Colorado River, hikes nearby, the bustling restaurant/bar scene, and the famous London Bridge.  We only had a brief visit there, but we certainly enjoyed ourselves.

Papa Leone’s Pizza was awesome with incredible views, the London Bridge was great to walk on, and the nice Shoreline Trail was a fun experience.  We highly recommend the city if you’re planning a visit to the great American Southwest!

Thank you for reading and keep up with us on our continuing journey across the American West!


Wandering Money Pig 

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