Lake Havasu City vacation rental

Lake Havasu City, Arizona is a town built on tourism. As such, it has its share of the basic hotel chains, along with a handful of resorts and boutique hotels. When I visited, we stayed at a vacation rental we found through VRBO.com. The price was right, the high speed internet was fast and reliable, and pets were allowed. Plus, the owner of the home was easy to work with and on top of every detail. For example, while we were there, the air conditioner failed and she had a workman out to the house as soon as we let her know about it. It was fixed before we got back from our morning walk.

The place itself was clean and perfectly acceptable for our needs. It has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. We had five adults staying there, so there was plenty of room for everyone to stretch out. We all fit well around the dining table and in the sitting areas, and there were plenty of little nooks to go hide out in if somebody needed the space.

Working on vacation
Hubby was able to set up shop in the front room and work while we were there.
Pets allowed at vacation rental in Lake Havasu City
Pets are allowed! Our guy got comfortable right away in his little bed next to Hubby’s work station.
Vacation rental kitchen in Lake Havasu City
The kitchen needs a good overhaul–the interior of the cabinets is a little scary–but it served our purposes just fine.
Vacation rental pool in Lake Havasu
There is a huge diving pool in the backyard. None of us used it while we were there, but it would be great for families and larger groups.
Vacation rental back patio grill and shade.
The back patio was a favorite spot throughout the day for those who wanted to relax with a book. It also is fully equipped with a massive grill and chiminea.
Vacation rental Lake Havasu City back patio
The back patio was such a hit with us that it deserves two photos.
Lake Havasu City vacation rental perfectly located
Finally, the house is perfectly located–just minutes from the lake and anything you’d want to do in town. If there were more sidewalks around for safe walking, we would be there all the time!

Overall, I give the place three stars out of five. I would give it more, but even though the owner seems to have updated it with new windows and laminated wood flooring in a couple of the bedrooms, it really needs more updating in the kitchen and bathrooms. There was also a musty smell, but it was mostly hidden by the surprisingly loud automatic fragrance sprays. While I’m glad something was there to cover up the mustiness, the sprayers “sneezed” loudly whenever anyone walked in front of them. I never got used to it and jumped nearly every time it sprayed.

If that’s my biggest complaint, then there’s not much to complain about. Cleanliness is number one in my book and this place was clean. I would recommend it to anyone going to Lake Havasu City, especially people with kids who want to use a pool and/or grill out.

Have you visited Lake Havasu City? If so, where did you stay? Post your favorites in the Comments Section below.

Lake Havasu City converts desert dust to tourist gold

Upon first arriving in Lake Havasu City, it seemed like any other dusty desert town in Arizona, in need of a good hose-down and a fresh coat of paint. The town was incorporated in the early 70s and it looked like it hadn’t been touched since.

But first impressions are often wrong and this one definitely was. Just below that dusty surface is a whole treasure of experiences to be had.

For starters, there’s the London Bridge. You read that correctly. Lake Havasu City is the proud owner of the original London Bridge. It was brought brick by brick from London to Lake Havasu by Robert P. McCulloch, a chainsaw magnate and the town’s founder, to act as a draw for tourism–and it worked! There are boat tours, walking tours, and Segway tours, all based around the bridge as a focal point.

London Bridge in Lake Havasu Arizona
The London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

We were there to walk the 5K in the annual London Bridge Half-Marathon and 5K. The race trail took us over the bridge twice and we got to see other parts of town as well.

London Bridge Half Marathon and 5K
Team Dryja ready to walk the London Bridge 5K!

The lake is what really brings people to the area, though. It is a big boating community, so you can bring your own, rent one, or take a tour on one. We were told by several locals that Lake Havasu is the second-most visited place in Arizona, thanks to the lake. The Grand Canyon is the first, of course. But for the lake, the bridge probably wouldn’t be there either. It is a reservoir lake, made up of water from the Colorado River which is contained by the Parker Dam.

Since the water is why people visit the area, most of the activities revolve around it, but boating isn’t the only way to experience it. There are hot air balloon rides, helicopter rides, and ultralight aircraft tours. Hikers can explore the surrounding hills. Gamblers can check out the casinos. Campers can roll out their tents and sleeping bags in one of the campsites dotting the lake. If you like lighthouses, take a tour that points out the many replicas of North American lighthouses around the lake. There’s lots to do.

Lake Havasu lighthouses
Lake Havasu is dotted by replicas of lighthouses that can be found in their original forms in other parts of the world.

Did you know that this town of just over 50,000 people is also home to three pretty spectacular breweries? One of our favorite things to do while in Lake Havasu City was the brewery tour we took through Arizona Brewery Tours. Mike Moreno, Regional Salesman for Northern Arizona at College Street Brewerhouse and Pub was our tour guide. He made us feel like VIPs as we rolled from brewery to brewery in our private SUV. Mudshark, Barley Brothers, and College Street all made us feel like honored guests as the owners and brewmasters shared their stories, served tastings of their current offerings, and showed us where the magic happens.

Beer tastings at Mudshark Brewery
Just six of the 14 tastings Scott Stocking at Mudshark served.
Scott Stocking with tour group at Mudshark Brewery
Scott Stocking with our little tour group at Mudshark Brewery.
Tour group with brewmaster of Barley Brothers.
The tour group with Keith, Barley Brother’s brewmaster. We think he looked like George Carlin.
Colby Hansen, head brewer at College Street Brewery with tour group
The tour would be incomplete without a bearded brewmaster and Colby Hansen at College Street Brewery fit the bill to a tee!
Table of beer tastings at College Street Brewery.
Our table of tastings at College Street! We were the talk of the restaurant.
Mike Moreno gave a tour of Lake Havasu City breweries.
The tour would not have been as enjoyable if our guide had been anyone other than Mike Moreno. Thanks, Mike!

Let this be a lesson. Don’t let the “vintage” look of a place fool you, especially this place. Lake Havasu City is a first-class charmer. Whether you’re there for the gorgeous lake, the London Bridge Half Marathon and 5K, the busy brewery scene, or any of the other activities around town, this is a place worth visiting more than once.

Lake Havasu sunset surprise

Lake Havasu is known for its lake–a reservoir of the Colorado River. It is also known as a Spring break party town with boats so jammed into the lake that you can walk from one to the other without a life jacket. Who knew, though, that it could boast a peaceful and enchanting sunset cruise as well?

Last weekend, my husband, parents, and mother-in-law took one of the most memorable cruises any of us have been on, thanks to Captain Kenny Samp at the Sunset Charter & Tour Company.

sunset cruisers on a boat
We arrived for our three-hour cruise and Captain Kenny immediately made us feel welcome with comfy chairs and bottled water.
Sunset cruise wildlife
On the cruise, we saw rams, owls, herons, and lots of other wildlife.
Rock formations at Lake Havasu.
We also saw interesting rock formations and learned about what made them so unique.
Lake Havasu lighthouses
Lake Havasu is dotted by replicas of lighthouses that can be found in their original forms in other parts of the world.
London Bridge in Lake Havasu Arizona
Of course, a lake adventure in Lake Havasu is incomplete without the London Bridge.
Sunset on Lake Havasu
But the reason we were on the lake to begin with was to experience the sunset. Weren’t we in for a treat!

Every person on the boat agreed–our three hour cruise melted into one of the most peaceful, satisfying experiences we could remember. Captain Kenny’s sunset tour left us feeling like we had been in a sweet dream filled with rippling water, beautiful vistas, and enchanting stars.

To see more photos of our sunset cruise, watch the slideshow below.

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Quick trip to the London Bridge

I have just arrived in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. This is my first time visiting the city in the desert where the original London Bridge resides across a man made lake. Hubby and I will be walking across it on Saturday for the London Bridge 5K. I have to admit, it seems a bit odd to have a lake in the desert, much less the London Bridge, but it makes for some good tourism to a place no one would otherwise visit.

More to come!

The Botany of Brews, and the witches and warlocks who make them

October is known worldwide for being all about beer. I’m not a big chugger, so I celebrate by taking brewery tours and botany classes.

The Great Experimenters

October is the month of beer festivals. Inspired by the season, my Beer Experimenter husband, Mike, has declared October the Month of Beer. Although I’m no beer aficionado  I am an experimenter, so I have been tagging along to learn with him.

Learning about the botany of beer (and much more)

Our first stop on this frothy tour was a class at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix called Brewing and Botany. It was taught by award-winning home brewer, Danny Foley. This class helped our knowledge of beer to expand from novice to true hobbyist. We learned the underpinnings for the variety of beers–why stouts have a coffee-like flavor, why IPAs are so bitter (it all has to do with the sweetness or roast of malts and the bitterness of citrusy hops). We learned a bit about the history of beer and how the different varieties got their starts (different…

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Traveling dog

We have returned from our first road trip with King Lukas and I am happy to report he did great! In fact, since we’ve been home, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard him humming this Johnny Cash tune.

Perhaps he hasn’t been everywhere, but the first trip out was such a success that we see no reason why he can’t join us on other adventures.

The drive from Phoenix to San Diego was six hours. Lukas slept about five of those, if not more. I was thankful we thought to put his doggie bed in the car with us before latching him into the seat with his seatbelt extender. He stayed there for most of the ride.

Mr. Lukas slept a good part of the way to San Diego.

Minutes after we got to our vacation rental, Lukas felt right at home. He was a little uncertain at first–very excited to race down the street to take care of business and to walk out some of the kinks in his elbows and knees from sitting for so long–but soon we were inside, relaxing together on the couch.

We made it!

Once we got settled in, we started a tradition that would carry us through the rest of the week–a walk down to the park that sits along the shore. We did this first thing in the morning and right after dinner every night. Not a bad way to start and end each day! Lukas, of course, loved it!

A walk by the beach at sunset after dinner.
A gorgeous sunset in La Jolla.
Lukas could care less about the sunset. He was excited by all the new smells!
I, on the other hand, kept falling behind in our walk because I kept taking pictures.
We did the same route in the mornings. And, yes, I got behind then too. It’s just too beautiful not to stop and enjoy!
One more for the road.

Although Lukas enjoyed our road trip together, he does seem a little more content to be at home. We’d like to think, though, that he enjoys being wherever we are. It’s sure hard to see that face and think otherwise.

Love bug.

Have dog, will travel: 10 items to pack when traveling with Rover

Our first road trip with the new furry family member is scheduled for next week! We’re headed back to San Diego, which is about six hours from Phoenix by car. This will be a way to see if Pup can handle longer trips next summer.

So far, he seems amenable to riding in the car.

Doggie is fastened and ready to go!

It’s been a while since we’ve traveled with a four-legged friend, and it took some time to compile a packing list. I figured I can’t be the only one trying to remember everything a dog needs when he travels, so I am sharing my list of 10 items to pack when traveling with your dog:

1. Seatbelt clip

One end of this seatbelt clicks into a regular seatbelt lock. The other end clips into the ring on Fido’s harness. It gives him some freedom of movement in the car, but not enough that he goes flying off the seat should you need to hit the brakes quickly.

Nylon car Safe-T-Belt clips into standard car seatbelt locks and onto your dog’s harness.

2. Microchip

This little rice-sized microchip carries your contact information should your pet become lost. Almost all vets, shelters, and pounds in the United States have a microchip scanner, so if a good samaritan takes your pet to one of these locations, or if the city pound picks her up, all they have to do is scan her back to find out how to contact you.

The microchip is injected in between your dog’s shoulder blades at a vet’s office. The cost varies per veterinarian, but it averages about $45 per pet. Home Again charges an annual fee of $18 to maintain membership, but having the peace of mind is worth it.

In the video below, Betty White provides some helpful information about microchipping your pet.

3. Leash and Harness

This is probably obvious, but it’s an important one for keeping Trixie safe whenever she is outside of the car, hotel, or vacation rental. Even well-trained dogs that normally walk off-leash can become overstimulated by new surroundings, so it’s a good idea to leash them up when traveling. Our particular dog is hard of hearing, so he can never go outside of a fenced yard without a leash.

A harness is a good option for most dogs because it doesn’t press against the trachea and cause them to choke.

4. Poopy bags

As a citizen of the world that lives with other citizens of the world, it only makes sense to carry poopy bags wherever you take your dog. No one likes looking at or potentially stepping in dog waste. Plus, because it is used by flies and other small creatures as a place to raise a family, as it breaks down and gets absorbed into puddles, ponds, and lakes, it can be a source of giardia, a nasty parasite that can take its toll on human and canine stomachs, should it be ingested during swim breaks or lapped up by a thirsty pup.

Our favorite doggie bags are the BioBags Dog Waste Bags. They decompose rapidly in the landfill. At the very least, we all have access to plastic bags from the grocery store. Those can also be used to clean up after your dog.

BioBags for Pet Waste.

5. Water bottle with built-in bowl

The Water Rover is a convenient way to carry water for your pooch when you’re out and about. The lid has a built-in bowl. When you pop the stopper and lean the bottle over, water pours into the bowl for your dog. When you’re ready to get back on the road, just tilt the bottle upright to let the water wash back into the bottle. Press the stopper back in place and you’re ready to go! It is also dishwasher safe!

Water Rover water bottle comes in a variety of sizes and colors.

6. Kibble + Treats

Pack up an airtight container of kibble to last the trip so you don’t have to race around to find a pet food store and your dog doesn’t have to get used to a new brand of kibble, should his brand be unavailable. It’s a good idea to throw in a measured scoop as well so, even if you’re overeating on vacation, Max can keep his sporty canine physique.

Favorite treats, especially those made by local barkeries, are helpful for those times when he needs extra motivation to get back in the car, or just as an additional treat while you enjoy your own lunch on the road.

Our favorite barkeries are Furbabies and Happy Tails. Furbabies Delectable Delights are available through their online store or in select Whole Foods. Happy Tails also has an online store, or if you’re local to Phoenix, they are at the Gilbert Farmers Market every Saturday morning.

7. Paper towels + beach towel or blanket

Paper towels come in handy to clean up muddy paws, drippy jaws, and anything else that needs mopping up.

According to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a traveler should never leave home without a towel and that goes double for traveling with your dog. It can be used as a blanket. It can be folded and used as a bed or pillow. And, of course, it can be used to towel off a dog that has just come from romping in the lake, ocean, or pool.

8. Favorite toys

Having familiar things around, especially favorite toys, may cut down on a dog’s anxiety while traveling. It will also give him something to chew on, squeak, and destroy when he becomes restless from sitting in the car too long.

Playing with a familiar toy can ease anxiety for a dog.

9. Crate and/or Doggie bed

Whether your dog’s favorite spot is inside her crate or curled up in her special bed, don’t forget to bring it along on trips. It will help all of you rest easier during the trip and cut down on stress-related issues that might arise from your dog’s nervousness at being in a new place.

10. Scheduled stops along the way

Of course, you’ll need to include some stops along the way for potty breaks and to stretch the legs.

Look out world! Here we come!

Can you think of anything I’ve forgotten? How do you travel with your pooch?