Wet & Wild, Wild West!
Posted by Jody on June 20, 2012
Heading south on AZ 95 from Lake Havasu City, it’s an easy hop between three gorgeous Arizona State Parks. All three have lovely beaches; one rests on the shores of Lake Havasu, and two are nestled along the banks of the Colorado River. Each one has amazing scenery and access to cool waters along the sandy riverside.
Cattail Cove State Park is a quiet, out of the way campers’ sanctuary. Although Cattail Cove feels more like a river beach than a lakeside respite, it is located on Lake Havasu (north of Parker Dam), fifteen miles south of Lake Havasu City. There is a very nice swimming beach available and at the time of our visit, the park ranger told us that a new load of fine beach sand was being brought in within the week. Hiking, boating and Sea-Dooing are all quite popular at Cattail Cove. The surrounding area is also very well known for its rock hounding.
River Island State Park is about 11 miles down the road from Cattail Cove. There is plenty of welcoming shade at River Island and a narrow, sandy river beach. Visitors to this beach can boat, swim, hike, and camp, but in the 100+ degree temps of a mid-June day, the most exertion Alaina and I saw was folks resting on the beach under a shade canopy with their feet dipped in the cool river water. Having a small watercraft parked nearby seems a must for really stylish lounging! I’m beginning to wonder – does everyone on the river own a jet ski?
Just one more very short hop down the road from River Island State Park, Alaina and I came across Buckskin Mountain State Park. It’s only a little more than a mile between them! Buckskin Mountain is the larger of the two (practically) side-by-side recreation areas, with similar activities and plenty of day use potential. The large campground, multiple cabana sites, and playground make this state park very family and group friendly. There’s even a camp store and restaurant on site. But, of course, our main goal was scoping out the beach! Buckskin Mountain has a lovely little swimming beach. And, once again, the river bank was was lined with shade-seeking feet soakers! Seriously, I’m guessing they were just conserving energy for their next turn on the Sea-Doo.
If you plan to visit any of these beaches, don’t forget to pack your binoculars. Out here in the Wet & Wild,Wild West we have some pretty interesting beachside critters. All three of these Arizona State Parks offer the perfect setting for wildlife viewing. Bobcats, ringtail cats, coyote, gray fox, racoons, rabbits and an occasional bighorn sheep can be spotted in the area. You might even spot snakes (Red Racers and King Snakes) and desert iguanas. Birds of the area include egrets, turkey vultures, great horned owls and red-tailed hawks. The Colorado River is also a flyway for migratory birds, making this a very popular area for bird watching.
There we have it. We’ve just added three more beautiful, Colorado River beaches to our Colorado River Beach Week collection. Happy travels!
“A river seems a magic thing. A magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself.”
~ Laura Gilpin, American Photographer