Lake Havasu boat in campsite at Pilot Rock

Lake Havasu

Welcome to Lake Havasu, a sparkling jewel in the hot desert straddling southern California and western Arizona. I know what you might be thinking…Lake Havasu? Isn’t that just a party spot for spring breakers? Nope. It’s really a paradise for outdoor recreation lovers. You can hike, bike, kayak, paddle board, parasail, water ski, jet ski, wakeboard, ride a hot air balloon, golf, disc golf, and do just about any activity that involves land, water, or air.

There are several spectacular hiking trails near Lake Havasu. Swimming, boating, fishing, and sightseeing are all popular too. Lake Havasu City is chock full of events throughout the year, and there never seems to be a dull moment in this city by the lake.

Luckily, there are some good places to camp on nearby BLM land and Arizona State Trust Land. You’d be crazy to camp here in summer, due to the heat (but then again, you are near water!). In winter, spring, or fall the camping weather is usually perfect.

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Where in The World?

SARA Park RV Camping

This RV camping area is directly across the road from SARA Park, at the southeast end of Lake Havasu City, Arizona. It is on Arizona State Trust Land and a permit is required to camp here. You can obtain a permit online by visiting the Arizona State Land Department website. It’s not much, $15 for an individual or $20 for a family, and the permit is good for 1 year.

SARA stands for Special Activities and Recreation Area and this park features several good hiking trails, a model RC airplane runway and helicopter landing pad, baseball diamonds, The Havasu Speedway race car track, a BMX track, dog park, rollerblade (in-line skating) hockey rink, and a shooting range. That said, it’s not the place to camp if you’re seeking peace and quiet. However, if you want easy access to the south end of town and the activities at SARA Park, you can’t do better than camp here.

Camping Elevation: 1,088 feet

GPS Coordinates: N 34 27.037’ W 114 14.633’

Directions to Camping Area: In Lake Havasu City, Arizona take Highway 95 south heading to the very south end of town. Turn left (north) just after the “Welcome to Lake Havasu City” sign – which is almost directly across from the south entrance to SARA Park, on the right. This primitive road leads to several good campsites.

SARA Park Camping Area Map

Standard Wash RV Camping

The Standard Wash camping area is on BLM land and makes a convenient base camp for exploring Lake Havasu and the Colorado River. No permit is required to camp here.

Camping Elevation: 1,035 feet

GPS Coordinates: N 34 24.152’ W 114 10.518’

Location: This camping area is about 5 miles southeast of Lake Havasu City, off Highway 95, and roughly 1 mile southeast of Standard Wash. There are several more good RV campsites to the northwest closer to Standard Wash, and also to the southeast. These campsites are along primitive BLM roads that branch from Highway 95. The going can be rough on some of these roads and high ground clearance is recommended.

Standard Wash Camping Area Map

Lake Havasu RV Camping Journal

SARA Park

March 27, 2012

This campsite is just plain convenient. It’s the closest boondocking camping area to a town that I’ve seen. I can even see the town houses because I’m camped just a short distance from them. Bashas’ Grocery Store is only 2 miles away. Not surprisingly, this is the noisiest boondocking campsite I’ve found. I’m very close to the highway, which can be quite busy much of the time.

Weather: During my stay in late March, it’s been mostly sunny with highs in the 70s, and lately a few days in the low to mid 80s. Within the past week nighttime temps have only been down into the high 50s to low 60s. No rain, except for that which fell with the late winter storm about a week ago. This storm brought rain on a couple days and it was much cooler with highs in the 50s. This is a windy spot for camping. I had several days with 20+ mph winds. There were only a couple times when it appeared to be dead calm. There’s more wind up here at this slightly higher elevation, than in town.

Wildlife: Small lizards, and very large ones recently while hiking – chuckwallas I believe. There’s also many gambel’s quail, a few roadrunners, hummingbirds, ducks on the lake, squirrels, many rabbits, a couple beehives, and several more varieties of birds.

Insects: No problems at camp. I can open roof vents (with no screens on them) with no problem. I saw maybe 2 flies. I got stung by something while hiking – I had a stinger in my chin that I didn’t even notice at first, from a bee or wasp perhaps. It swelled up some and left a red bump that’s pretty much disappeared now.

Cell Signal: Excellent Verizon cell phone service here. Verizon mobile broadband internet is working very good, after a call to tech support. I had to change some settings in the VZ Access Manager software to get the internet working. I’ve been using the external antenna and it’s very fast here.

RV Campsite Rating: 6 out of 10. It’s a convenient place to camp that’s very close to town and close to several great hikes from SARA Park. However, there’s no peace and quiet to be found here and it’s too close to the highway. It’s fine for short stays.

Standard Wash

February 14, 2012

This is a good spot to camp for a few days with convenient access to Lake Havasu City. There are also some fun hikes here. I did the Three Dunes Hike today with my dad, which involved hiking a wash through a small canyon down to Lake Havasu. We left at 9:30 am and arrived back at the camper around 12:30 pm, so it took about 3 hours out and back.

The campsite is pretty close to Hwy 95 and traffic is visible and audible. There are several other small roads branching off Hwy 95 between here and Lake Havasu City, and several are popular for RV camping. It’s difficult to get far from the highway, which is unfortunate, as most of the roads quickly become too treacherous for big RVs, and especially for those with 2WD, like myself.

Weather: It’s mid February and the weather has been mostly nice with temps in the 60s and low 70s. There is more wind here than at my last campsite west of Parker. It’s a few degrees warmer at night due to the higher elevation, but not quite as warm during the day. It has gotten colder the last couple of days with clouds, more wind, and a few sprinkles. A high of 59 is forecast for today, but the sun did come out in the afternoon which warmed things up. Unfortunately it hasn’t yet been dead calm here, so no luck flying my micro RC helicopter (which cannot handle even the slightest breeze).

Cell Signal: My Verizon cell phone signal is good. Verizon mobile broadband internet does work, though it’s not as fast as it was at my last campsite west of Parker.

RV Campsite Rating: 6 out of 10. There’s good hiking, good access to the city, but it’s too windy and too close to the highway. It’s best for en route camping of a few days.

Lake Havasu Video Slideshow

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