Adventures in Lake Havasu: London Bridges, Lighthouses, Donkeys and Sidewinders

There’s a secret I want to share with you. But you can’t tell ANYONE. Ok, you can tell everyone.

There are lighthouses in the desert of Arizona. Who knew? Well, anyone that’s ever spent time in Lake Havasu sure does.

These lighthouses were built with the purpose of protecting the Lake Havasu boaters on all the turns and curves through the man-made lake. But rather than just putting up boring lighted beacons, the citizens of Lake Havasu decided to get creative by modeling all the lighthouses after REAL lighthouses on the coasts of the United States.

If you’d like to read more about the history of these lighthouses, check out my article in RV Destinations Magazine and then plan a winter trip, because the summer is too dang hot) to Lake Havasu.

We took our trip to Lake Havasu last November and the weather was beautiful. 

While there are several RV campgrounds and resorts in Lake Havasu, we loved staying at the Lake Havasu State Park right on the water. The scenery was beautiful, the spaces were large and the amenities were just right. 

London Bridge is Falling Down

There are always festivals going on in Lake Havasu, something for everyone. And be sure to stop by the London Bridge while you are there. Yes, the one from the song…

London Bridge was THE bridge from London that was, in fact, falling down. This brick bridge was called the “New London Bridge” to identify it compared to the others throughout the centuries. It stood over the River Thames from 1831 to 1967. However, the bridge was sinking about an inch every eight years so it had to be replaced.

Someone had the brilliant idea to sell the bridge rather than just tear it down. But there were multiple bids and it was sold for $2.46 million on April 18th, 1968. The winning bidder, Robert McCulloch was an American entrepreneur and shipped, brick by brick, across the pond.

McCulloch, who owned over 3300 acres of land near Lake Havasu, felt the bridge would be a great tourist attraction and bring in prospective real estate buyers for his land holdings. He wasn’t wrong. This iconic bridge has brought in considerable tourism to this desert oasis.

This photo is from a boat trip we took back in 2010 in July (NOT recommended).

Fun fact, London Bridge was not reconstructed over water. Rather, it was rebuilt on dry land and the land under it was then dug out to create a man-made channel and small island.

Oatman: Donkeys & Sidewinders

Since one of my Arizona bucket list trips was to the small town of Oatman, AZ, this gave us a perfect opportunity. Oatman is only about an hour away. 

If you aren’t familiar, Oatman is an old mining town turned tourist “trap”. It’s most famous for the donkeys that were left behind after mining left the area. These donkeys have taken over and now roam the main street through town.

There are definitely the typical kitschy souvenir shops and a couple of “attractions” but the donkeys are the main appeal. So much so that the Oatman Hotel and Restaurant has made Donkey Ear chips as part of their main menu. Don’t worry, they aren’t real donkey ears, just their version of a potato chip using REALLY LARGE POTATOES.

The other appeal of Oatman is the very scenic section of Route 66 from Oatman to Kingman called Sidewinder. This was part of the original Route 66 before the much safer, wider and faster I-40 came through.

It’s an 8 mile stretch of road with 191 curves! It was designed for much smaller vehicles of the past. While you can certainly drive it with current cars and trucks, it’s HIGHLY rated for motorcycle riders. 

Little did we know, many people are too afraid to do it solo and Jeff drove it two up (with a passenger, me). It was a blast!