Lake Havasu City, Ariz., makes a great weekend getaway this time of year. During February, you’ll get to choose from an abundance of outdoor activities, including some of the city’s most popular annual events. And you’ll enjoy temperatures a little warmer than in Las Vegas — pleasant for wintertime.
Most of Lake Havasu City lies at an elevation of about more than 700 feet, and the lake surface level is only 450 feet, so expect February’s average daily high temperatures to be at least in the high 60s to low 70s, ideal for outdoor activities.
On Feb. 7 and 8, the 30th annual Winterfest takes place. More than 200 vendors with 400 booths are set to offer art, crafts and jewelry, some demonstrating on the spot how they create such beautiful things. There will also be plenty of children’s activities and a wide variety of entertainment, food and even a beer garden. Visit havasuchamber.com or call 928-855-4115
Feb. 12-15 brings the popular Western Winter Blast Pyrotechnics Show at SARA Park. Fireworks begin every night at 5 p.m. The organized segments begin at 7:30 p.m. daily with the largest show on Saturday. Visit westernpyro.org or call 928-453-3444.
Almost simultaneously, Feb. 13-15 brings the Lake Havasu City Rockabilly Reunion. Located at Lake Havasu State Park on the edge of the lake, this is a themed car show and music festival all in one. Visit lakehavasurockabillyreunion.com or call 928-846-0335.
Feb. 26-28 offers the Lake Havasu Music, Brews and BBQ Championship, the second-largest barbecue championship west of the Mississippi. Besides some of the best barbecue imaginable, you will have access to live music, craft booths and a joint show of cars, motorcycles and boats. Microbrews are featured, as well as a Family and Kids Fun Zone. The venue is Lake Havasu State Park. Visit musicbrewsbbq.com or call 928-208-2375.
For more adventurous souls, on Feb. 21 there is set to be a Mountain Bike Association of Arizona Race. The race welcomes hard-core mountain bikers who will tackle the 10-mile loop of the Watershed Trail at SARA Park. This tough trail is half-fire road and half-single track, with 1,000 feet of elevation change. Visit mbaa.net or call 480-442-4229.
Even discounting special events, there’s plenty to do around Lake Havasu City. Obviously, one shouldn’t miss London Bridge, the town’s most famous attraction. As you may already know, this is the actual London Bridge celebrated in song, story, children’s games and history lessons. Built in 1831, it was bought by Lake Havasu City’s founder, Robert P. McCulloch, and dismantled in 1967. The bridge’s pieces were shipped to America via the Panama Canal and then transported by truck from Long Beach, Calif. It was reconstructed and reopened in 1971. The Lake Havasu City Visitor Center offers a 90-minute walking tour of the bridge. Visit golakehavasu.com or call 928-855-5655.
Directly north of the bridge, in Bridgewater Channel, you will find the 65-foot-long Tecopa Ferry. This is the most reasonable way to get out and see the lake. The ferry takes approximately 17 minutes and takes you across the lake to the Havasu Landing Resort and Casino in Needles, Calif. Operated by the Chemehuevi, the casino is a destination for those who want to gamble, enjoy good food and maybe stay a while to enjoy the lake view.
When I do this trip, I return on the next ferry, just minutes later. It is a great way to get out on the lake. The ferry ride itself is a heck of a deal, at $2 round trip, and it runs constantly throughout the day and into the later evening hours. A schedule can be found at havasulanding.com.
Other outdoor activities include a multitude of hiking trails in the area. Depending on how much time you have and the level of exercise you are seeking, choices range from trails that are easy, less than 1 mile, to difficult full-day hikes of 10 miles or more. For a basic list of hikes, go to golakehavasu.com.
For more information on Lake Havasu, upcoming events, lodging, hiking trails or camping, contact Lake Havasu Area Chamber of Commerce by visiting havasuchamber.com or calling 928-855-4115, or the Lake Havasu City Convention and Visitor Bureau at golakehavasu.com or 928-453-3444.
From Las Vegas take U.S. 95 south through Searchlight to California, about 103 miles, exit onto I-40 going east, crossing the Colorado River into Arizona. Drive about 32 miles. Take the AZ-95 south for about 20 miles to Lake Havasu City.
Deborah Wall is the author of “Great Hikes, A Cerca Country Guide” and “Base Camp Las Vegas: Hiking the Southwestern States,” published by Stephens Press. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.