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." There once was a time when the London Bridge really was falling down, the victim of age and deterioration. But that was before power-tool mogul Robert McCulloch, founder of Lake Havasu City, hit upon the brilliant idea of buying the bridge (not the long-demolished medieval version, but a granite bridge build in the 1820s) and having it shipped to his planned community in the Arizona desert. That was half a century ago, and today London Bridge is still standing and still attracting tourists by the millions. An unlikely place for a bit of British heritage, true, but London Bridge has turned Lake Havasu City into one of Arizona's most popular tourist destinations, complete with uniformed beefeaters and Olde English theme attractions.
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 and California college students. and many businesses and resorts 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.