60 miles S of Bullhead City; 150 miles S of Las Vegas, NV; 200 miles NW of Phoenix
"London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down." Well, not anymore it isn't. There once was a time when the London Bridge really was falling down, but that was before Robert McCulloch, founder of Lake Havasu City, hit upon the brilliant idea of buying the bridge and having it shipped to his undertouristed little planned community in the Arizona desert. That was almost 40 years ago, and today the London Bridge is still standing and still attracting tourists by the millions. An unlikely place for a bit of British heritage, true, but the London Bridge has turned Lake Havasu City into one of Arizona's most popular tourist destinations.
Lake Havasu was formed in 1938 by the building of the Parker Dam, but it wasn't until 1963 that McCulloch founded the town of Lake Havasu City. In the town's early years, not too many people were keen on spending time in this remote corner of the desert, where summer temperatures are often more than 110°F (43°C). Despite its name, Lake Havasu City at the time was little more than an expanse of desert with a few mobile homes on it. It was then that McCulloch began looking for ways to attract more people to his little "city" on the lake. His solution proved to be a stroke of genius.
Today, Lake Havasu City attracts an odd mix of visitors. In winter, the town is filled with retirees, and you'll rarely see anyone under the age of 60. On weekends, during the summer, and over spring break, however, Lake Havasu City is popular with Arizona college students. In fact, the city has become something of a Fort Lauderdale or Cancún in the desert, and many businesses now cater primarily to young partyers. Expect a lot of noise if you're here on a weekend or a holiday. Summers bring out the water-ski and personal-watercraft crowds.