Arizona

8 Best Lake Havasu Camping Spots for Water-Filled Adventure

by Brittany Varano
Updated July 26, 2022

best camping at lake havasu
Photo: Laurens Hoddenbagh

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There’s no better way to experience the unique landscape of America’s Southwest than with a Lake Havasu camping trip.

Lake Havasu is an outdoor hub where you can hike, boat, swim, and escape to the desert. This large lake is actually a reservoir formed by the passing Colorado River along the California and Arizona state border. Sprawling public lands and private campgrounds dot this stretch of waterway, providing a perfect home base to explore the Sonoran Desert and Lake Havasu.

And what’s even better is that the vibrant streets of Lake Havasu City lie conveniently nearby. It’s here in the city bounds that you can witness the original London Bridge and treat yourself to top restaurants and shops. All you need is the perfect camping spot to make the most of your Lake Havasu adventure.

Thankfully, finding the right campsite on and around Lake Havasu is easy with this comprehensive list.

1. Lake Havasu State Park

lake havasu state park camping
Photo: Cheri Alguire

Why you should camp here: A modern beachfront campground near downtown Lake Havasu City.

  • Location: Lake Havasu City
  • Reservations: Yes
  • Campsite type: Cabins, tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: Yes (50 AMP)

Located just two miles from the famous London Bridge, Lake Havasu State Park is an excellent place to camp for those who wish to make the most of the lake and the city. The park offers plenty to do, and campers enjoy access to the beautiful Mohave Sunset Trail and the Arroyo-Camino Interpretive Garden. Not to mention, there are three public boat ramps for those visiting with a boat.

The park is open year-round and offers a nice variety where it’s possible to book beachfront sites or cabin rentals. These prime sites are few in number and fill up quickly, so advanced reservations are recommended. Campground features include shower and bathroom facilities, potable water, and a dump station. Plus, all sites are outfitted with a shade ramada, picnic table, and a fire ring.

Related Read: 9 Awesome Weekend Road Trips from Tucson, Arizona

2. River Island State Park

River Island State Park Camping
Photo: Flickr

Why you should camp here: Small and simple campsites that offer a quiet escape on the Colorado River.

  • Location: Parker
  • Reservations: Yes
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: Yes (20 AMP, 30 AMP, 50 AMP)

For a more off-the-beaten-path experience near Lake Havasu, look to the idyllic River Island State Park campground. You’ll find this small park about 30 minutes south of the city. It’s nestled on a grassy stretch of river shoreline surrounded by mountains. Take your pick from any of the 37 available campsites, where a handful of beachfront and size options satisfy a number of camping needs.

Each campsite features a fire ring, grate, a picnic table, and access to a community ramada and boat launch. Beachgoers will be happy to lounge on the sandy beach within the park, and anglers can cast their lines with the right fishing license. A quick quarter-mile hike from the park lies the River Island Market. This convenient one-stop shop sells food, gas, clothing, and more, providing for all your camping needs.

3. Cattail Cove State Park

Cattail Cove State Park camping
Photo: Cheri Alguire

Why you should camp here: A state-managed campground away from the main tourist area.

  • Location: Lake Havasu City
  • Reservations: Yes
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: Yes (30 AMP and 50 AMP)

Cattail Cove State Park is another excellent place to camp near Lake Havasu City. This beautiful state park is known for its white sandy shores and fantastic fishing and boating on the water. Scenic hiking trails pass through and around the region’s mountains providing panoramic views of the Colorado River.

All drive-in sites are equipped with electricity and water and the basics, such as a picnic table and firepit. An unofficial campsite dubbed Three Dunes lies within the park, where campers can boat in and take advantage of first-come, first-serve spots. Cattail Cove State Park is about a 20-minute drive south of Lake Havasu City.

Related Read: 7 Stellar Campervan Rental Companies in Southern California

4. Three Dunes Campground

 

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Why you should camp here: A primitive and remote campground with boat-in only sites surrounded by idyllic dunes.

  • Location: Lake Havasu City
  • Reservations: No
  • Campsite type: Tents, boats
  • RV hookups: No

As mentioned above, the Three Dunes Campground is found inside the Cattail Cove State Park. It features 32 boat-in-only campsites that’ll make you feel like you’re away from civilization. This area in the state park is a popular place for families and friends to park their boats and have some fun in the sun. When dusk falls, many decide to sleep over in their boats or set up tents in the available campsites.

The grounds are primitive, meaning that facilities include pit toilets, and trash must be taken out with you. Each campsite features a fire pit and a picnic table, coupled with stunning views of endless sand dunes — hence the name! When you’ve had your fill of the water, hiking the 6.5-mile Three Dunes Trail is another excellent way to spend a day.

5. Crazy Horse Campground

 

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Why you should camp here: A spacious campground with modern amenities like a hot tub and a swimming pool.

  • Location: Lake Havasu City
  • Reservations: Yes
  • Campsite type: Cabins, tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: Yes (20 AMP, 30 AMP, 50 AMP)

The Crazy Horse Campground is a family-friendly camping resort that boasts luxurious amenities along the shores of Lake Havasu. The campground is tucked away on an island and has its own stretch of private coast that includes Havasu Cove. From the resort grounds, it’s possible to walk to the London Bridge, which lies just across the channel.

Other incredible amenities include a lively rec hall that often hosts live music and events, a laundromat, and a well-stocked general store. All campsites are equipped with electricity and water, and most have sewer hookups too. The resort staff is also there to ensure you make the most of your trip by offering restaurant, jet ski, RV, and boat rental recommendations.

6. Lake Havasu Shoreline Sites

 

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Why you should camp here: A unique way to experience the natural beauty of Lake Havasu and the Colorado River by boat.

  • Location: Lake Havasu City
  • Reservations: No
  • Campsite type: Tents, boats
  • RV hookups: No

For even more boating fun, Arizona’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) takes care of over 70 Lake Havasu Shoreline Sites that are scattered along a 20-mile stretch of coast. These spots are nestled away from the busier drive-in campsites. They offer the unique opportunity to sleep in Lake Havasu’s well-preserved wilderness.

Although they’re more secluded, each campsite is outfitted with a table and grill, and most areas have access to trash disposal and restrooms. Two noteworthy boat camping spots include Steamboat Cove and Friendly Island, which are home to peacefully secluded stretches of beach. The Lake Havasu Tourism Bureau has created this helpful lakeshore campsite map highlighting the area’s other boat-in camping spots.

7. BLM Land Dispersed Camping

Why you should camp here: Free dispersed camping on public land in remote areas of the Lake Havasu region.

  • Location: Lake Havasu City
  • Reservations: No
  • Campsite type: Tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: No

Dispersed camping, or boondocking, is another popular way to camp around Lake Havasu on the miles and miles of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Some of the most popular dispersed camping spots include Craggy Wash, Havasu Road, Standard Wash, and Lone Tree. Each public camping area has a 14-day limit and is free to all.

There are no designated sites, instead, you check in with the camp host and drive until you find your ideal spot. There are also no hookups or trash receptacles, but many who come with an RV pay to access dump stations and freshwater within the nearby state parks. Boondocking outside of a designated campground is popular around Lake Havasu, so driving further away from the entrance is a great way to escape the crowds.

8. Havasu Landing Campground

 

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Why you should camp here: A resort and casino with camping on the California side of Lake Havasu.

  • Location: Havasu Lake, CA
  • Reservations: Yes
  • Campsite type: Cabins, tents, RVs
  • RV hookups: Yes (30 AMP and 50 AMP)

Modern amenities and entertainment is what awaits you at the Havasu Landing Campground. The campground is actually part of a larger resort and casino within the Chemehuevi Reservation on the California side of Lake Havasu. A 17-minute ferry to Lake Havasu City leaves every hour for campers who wish to visit the Arizona side.

At the resort, you’ll find features that prioritize conveniences, such as free WiFi, dry storage, and a laundromat. However, in classic Lake Havasu camping fashion, the grounds also have a dump station, a boat launch, and a beach. All camping styles are welcome, and much of the campground is suitable for big rigs.

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Seen in: Arizona, Arizona Camping, California, Camping, Camping in California, Southwest, West

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