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Posts Tagged ‘Colorado River beach’

Travel Theme: Mountains

Posted by Jody on February 16, 2013

Let’s face it. Some people are mountain people. Other folks prefer the desert.

Then there are those of us who would rather spend our days at the beach.

But what if you could have the best of all of these worlds? What if you simply didn’t have to choose?

Willow Beach, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Willow Beach, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Wild and wonderful Willow Beach really does have it all!  Mother Nature’s delectable buffet, Willow Beach has beautiful mountains, hot and sunny desert, and welcoming beaches! Less than an hour south of Las Vegas, Nevada, this amazing recreation area is a relaxing respite from the lights, action, and crowds of Sin City.

Located on the east banks of the Colorado River within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and surrounded by stately mountains, this Arizona oasis is the perfect place to stretch out and relax with a good book or to launch your paddle adventure.  Take a dip in the cool, fresh water or stake your claim for a day of fishing right here, smack-dab in the middle of  the sun-drenched Black Canyon region of the Mojave Desert.

And that, my friends, is how we fit one of our favorite beach escapes into

this week’s “Travel Theme: Mountains!”

~~~~~~

Helpful links: I Hit the Jackpot at Willow Beach

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Have a great day at the beach!

Posted in Beaches of North America, Inland Shores | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Travel Theme: Couples

Posted by Jody on October 23, 2012

Willow Beach, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Arizona

“If I had a day that I could give you
I’d give to you a day just like today.”

~Sunshine on My Shoulders, Lyrics by John Denver

This week’s Travel Theme is “couples.”

For more on Willow Beach, Arizona: “I hit the jackpot at Willow Beach!

Posted in Inland Shores, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Arrr (Naked) Pirate Tour of the Southwest

Posted by alainaflute on July 20, 2012

Avast ye, matey! We’ve discovered pirates in the desert southwest…or at least their hideaway.

Pirate Cove on the Colorado River, San Bernadino County, California

Where there are pirates, there is water. Where there’s water, there’s a beach! On our Colorado River beach hopping trip, my mother (Jody) and I came across a curious resort off of Route 66 in Moabi Regional Park, San Bernardino County, California. Pirate Cove Resort is a quirky, kitschy sort of desert oasis, and we just had to check it out. This sunny spot has the ambiance of a spring break trip, with the Pirate Code, “Keep your feet in the sand and a drink in your hand.” With an award-winning restaurant, marina, pirate-themed beach bar, boat rentals, off road trails, general store and gift shop, cabins, RV resort, and plenty of places to put your feet in the water, this might be just your vacation style. Arrr. Pull off the road for a break from driving, or stay a while. As far as the “naked” theme goes, their beach bar was renamed from The Naked Turtle to The Naked Pirate, and, as they say, it’s a “sunny spot for shady people.” We didn’t do too much on our visit, but we did drop into the general store to pick up some naked turtle pirate postcards.

Pirate Cove, San Bernadino County, California

Not long after we arrived in Lake Havasu City, we discovered another (unrelated) Naked Turtle (aka Turtle Beach Bar) at the Nautical Beachfront Resort. This hotel on the lake was quiet in the middle of the week. People were set up on the hotel’s beach, taking up their piece of sand with boats, towels, shade, etc. Though not pirate themed, this sandy spot might be more like your cup of tea… or bottle of rum. We hopped into the gift shop for some more funny postcards (with a similar naked turtle pirate on them).

Nautical Beachfront Resort boat-in beach. Lake Havasu, Arizona

Nautical Beachfront Resort beach, Lake Havasu, Arizona.

Nautical Beachfront Resort, Lake Havasu, Arizona

The last piratey destination on our trip is still a work in progress. Pirate’s Den RV Resort and Marina, part of La Paz County Park, didn’t have any postcards (yet) in their small general store. This sunny spot is soon to feature a beach, restaurant, Thirsty Pirate Bar, boat and trailer rentals, and waterfront RV sites.

Now you know a bit more about the pirates of the desert southwest. Before you go, I suggest you brush up on your “pirate” on the Talk Like a Pirate Day official British headquarters. Yo ho ho!

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is to inform, not to recommend! We didn’t eat or stay at any of these hotels/resorts. Arg! Don’t ye be sending no nasty e-mails! In any case, the beaches are public, so you don’t have to stay to play! And, if you were wondering what a naked turtle is, it’s a turtle who’s taken his shell off to cool down and take a break from the stuffy life of the everyday shell.

Posted in Beaches of North America, Friday Finds, Inland Shores | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

I hit the jackpot at Willow Beach!

Posted by Jody on June 29, 2012

I’ve made the 585 mile driving trip between Albuquerque, New Mexico and Las Vegas, Nevada many times a year – for 22 years now.  So, there’s no telling how many times I’ve passed the nondescript sign to Willow Beach on US Hwy 93,  less than 50 miles south of the famous Las Vegas Strip. I’m talking hundreds!

Why hadn’t we ever stopped at Willow Beach? Well, for a long time there was major road construction on the Hoover Dam fly-over (it seemed like decades).  Over the years, our in-car deliberations included, but were not limited to: “It’s way too hot to head off onto some remote desert byway.” “We’re almost there. Let’s just get where we’re going.”  “Do we really want to take a detour, especially when we don’t know how many miles it is down the road?”  “It’s probably just some little kayak launch site on the river.” “Are we there yet?”

Road to Willow Beach

On this last trip through, though, I decided I would actually schedule a stop at Willow Beach to see for myself what was out there in the middle of the Mojave Desert, down the dry, dusty, desolate road.

Let me tell you, I hit the jackpot way before I hit the casinos!

View from the shaded picnic tables at the park overlook.

I was absolutely blown away by what I found. Located in the Black Canyon region of the Colorado River, just 11 miles downstream from Hoover Dam, Willow Beach is an amazingly gorgeous and colorful oasis. It really does have to be seen to be believed! It turns out that the National Park Service (Lake Mead National Recreation Area) recently completed a $20 million redevelopment of the Willow Beach area. It shows. Willow Beach has a marina, fishing pier, riverfront trail, plenty of covered picnic tables, multiple comfort stations (restrooms), a cafe, and a convenience store. And, indeed, it does have a kayak launch site.

Willow Beach Marina

The little beaches of this oasis welcome visitors into the placid, crystal clear water of the Colorado. Yes, the Colorado River does flow south through Willow Beach, but the water is calmer (with less current) near its banks. With the air temperature soaring into the triple digits, plenty of folks were splashing and playing in the river, even though the water at Willow Beach remains about 54°F year round. There are no roped off or designated swimming areas, nor are there lifeguards, in this section of the National Recreation Area, so caution is well advised.

Looking towards the fishing pier. Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery is in the background.

By the way, Willow Beach, with it’s million dollar views,  is maybe 3 miles off the highway. It’s totally worth the detour.  I felt like a winner before I even stepped foot in Sin City!

~~~

Posted in Beaches of North America, Friday Finds, Inland Shores | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Bonus Beach: Jack Smith Memorial Park, Needles, California

Posted by alainaflute on June 22, 2012

This way to the beach!

We conclude Colorado River Beach Week with our most surprising find!

Mom (Jody) and I had no idea there was a beach in Needles, California, but we didn’t have to – we just asked a friendly local! After leaving Big Bend of the Colorado, we continued on NV 163 East towards Needles, California through some very desolate territory. We pulled off the road to get a Blizzard at the Dairy Queen at the I-40 junction, and what a great idea that was! We were probably like something out of the Twilight Zone for the nice lady (Allison) behind the counter because our first two questions were to confirm that, one, we were in California and, two, in the town of Needles. Then we asked if there was a beach nearby because, hey, it was worth a shot. Allison told us that there was a great one just down the road, giving us very easy directions (and the M&M Blizzard we had ordered).

Jack Smith Memorial Park, Needles, California

It was a very easy detour. We followed the signs and came across the Jack Smith Memorial Park, right at the end of a golf course. Eureka!

Lagoon beach and boat launch

Heading out on Sea-Doos

This cool hot spot has a playground, a small beach lagoon, two little beaches right on the river, a boat ramp, picnic area shade, and restrooms. Families were escaping the 107 degree heat by splashing around the lagoon, hopping on their Sea-Doos, fishing off the pier, or sitting at a shaded picnic table. The sand and sun were hot, but the water was refreshingly cool.

River Beach, Jack Smith Memorial Park, Needles, California

It’s free to use the park (beaches, playground, etc), but there is a fee if you are launching a boat.

Don’t miss Jack Smith Memorial Park next time you’re in Needles! You’ll be glad you made the trip.

Along the Colorado River, Jack Smith Memorial Park, Needles, California

Have a great day, and if you can, beat the heat at a Colorado River beach!

Posted in Beaches of North America, Friday Finds, Inland Shores | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Wet & Wild, Wild West!

Posted by Jody on June 20, 2012

On the way to Cattail Cove State Park, Arizona (Photo: Alaina Diehl)

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.

Beach at Cattail Cove State Park, Arizona (Photo: Alaina Diehl)

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, Arizona

Beach at River Island State Park, Arizona

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?

Beach at River Island State Park, Arizona

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.

Buckskin Mountain State Park, Arizona (Photo: Alaina Diehl

Buckskin Mountain State Park, Arizona (Photo: Alaina Diehl)

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

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding, Beaches of North America, Inland Shores | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Experience the Beaches of Arizona’s West Coast: Lake Havasu City

Posted by Jody on June 19, 2012

No kidding!  Lake Havasu is known as Arizona’s West Coast. The lake is actually a large reservoir formed by the placement of Parker Dam on the Colorado River. On the border between California and Arizona, Lake Havasu City rests on the lake’s eastern shore.

London Bridge, Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Lake Havasu City has many wonderful beaches, beginning with Lake Havasu State Park, which has a great location on the lake. It’s a fee area, just right for campers and boaters, but we decided to focus on the two biggest fee-free beaches today.  Both are very lovely and conveniently accessible from tourist central. It’s not easy to choose between London Bridge Beach and Rotary Park, but lucky for us, it is easy enough to visit both in one day! These two sandy beaches rest on the shores of Thompson Bay, and they’re right across the cool, calm, sparkling clean water from each other.

London Bridge Beach, Lake Havasu City, Arizona

London Bridge Beach is located just over the transplanted iconic London Bridge, on McCulloch Blvd. Swimmers, sunbathers, paddle boarders and people watchers all enjoy this beautiful sandy beach and park.  The views are amazing, and folks here are as friendly as they come.

London Bridge Beach on Beautiful Lake Havasu, Arizona

London Bridge Beach has play areas for the kiddies and plenty of shade for family picnics. A large grassy area to run and play and a fenced dog park for the furry members of the family are all available right here. Paved walkways along the waterfront give locals and tourists, alike, the opportunity to meander along the Bridgewater Channel and enjoy the welcome shade of the trees. Boaters, canoeists, kayakers, Sea-Doo enthusiasts and standup paddle boarders all come and go from the man-made waterway.

London Bridge Beach

If you drive back across London Bridge and park in one of the large (free) lots, you can walk to Rotary Park, the biggest public lakefront park and beach that Lake Havasu City has to offer.  This 40-acre gem has lots of amenities for the entire family. There are shaded playgrounds, picnic tables, beach volleyball courts and a lovely treed walking path. At the far south end, there’s even a skate park and a specified area for radio-controlled float model airplanes and boats. Kayaks can be launched from alongside the designated swim area. In fact, quite a few kayakers were already returning the morning we were there.

Rotary Park, Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Rotary Park, Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Clean restrooms are plentiful at the beaches on both sides of Thompson Bay.  It’s important to note, though, that no beaches in Lake Havasu City have life guards.  For safety’s sake, you’ll want to read and pay attention to all posted signs.

Rotary Park looking across to London Bridge Beach

Walkway along the Bridgewater Channel

Even if  you are driving through the hot, dusty, arid desert of the American Southwest, you can still enjoy a wonderful day at the beach. ~I know we did!

How cool is that?

~~~~

Posted in Beaches of North America, Inland Shores, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Big Bend of the Colorado, Nevada

Posted by alainaflute on June 18, 2012

Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area

Absolutely gorgeous, the Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area is a true desert oasis. Just 5 miles south of Laughlin, Nevada on the Needles Highway, this quiet river beach spot boasts clean water, shaded picnic tables, a boat launch, camping, and miles of hiking.

Big Bend of the Colorado beach on a 100+ degree Tuesday.

Mom (Jody) and I drove up before lunchtime, and the sun was already intense. Families were on the beach and in the shade ramadas, enjoying the day. We moved quickly over the scorching-hot sand to get our feet into the cool water and walked a little way along the shore to pick up small shells and get pictures of the mallards. There were no roped-off swimming enclaves, so children taking a dip in the water were equipped with life-jackets. Aside from picnicking and cooling off, people were going up and down the river on their Sea-Doos (the only thing creating “waves” on the shore). The waters are calm enough for walking in the shallow banks along the river.

Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area, Nevada

Highlights of this unlikely desert beach destination are the beautiful colors and views, lots of shaded picnic areas, and plenty of spots for families to enjoy the cool lapping of the Colorado River.

Cool, clean water welcomes you to the beaches at Big Bend of the Colorado.

This area has a colorful array of wildlife. Although we only saw mallards on the river, we spotted some big horn sheep and raccoon tracks leading to and from the water on the sand.

Shaded Ramadas

What you might want to bring: some type of beach shoes to get you from the hot sand to the river, hand sanitizer, plenty of water, a camera, and the summer trifecta of hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. If you are into boating, kayaking, or Sea-Dooing, know the rules before you go. According to the Nevada State Parks website: “Boating and fishing on the Colorado River is regulated by Nevada, Arizona, and California. visitors are responsible for knowing the regulations and license requirements or each of the states.”

There is a fee to use this recreation area, but it is worth every penny if you plan to spend the day here.

Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area, Nevada

Until next time – oh, yeah, you’ll be back!

Posted in Beaches of North America, Inland Shores, Monday Miscellaneous | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Colorado River Beach Week

Posted by alainaflute on June 18, 2012

Welcome to Colorado River Beach Week at Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches! Mom (aka Jody) and I hopped along the Colorado River en route from Las Vegas, Nevada to Phoenix, Arizona last week and found plenty of beaches to share with you! From beaches right on the river to those along manmade reservoirs, we checked out state and local parks as well as kitschy private resorts on our river beach quest. It’s surprising that some of the hottest places in Nevada, Arizona, and California could have such cool beaches! Sit back and enjoy the hot sun and cool waters of Colorado River Beach Week.

Colorado River Watershed (Wikimedia Commons/Karl Musser) I circled our general route where Nevada, Arizona, and California touch.

Posted in Beaches of North America, Inland Shores, Today's Special | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Desert Surprise! Bullhead City Community Park (Arizona)

Posted by Jody on December 30, 2011

A beach might not be something one would expect to find while driving through The Grand Canyon State.  However, if you are a beach lover tooling along in the Arizona desert (or, for that matter, the far-south Nevada desert) and passing near Bullhead City, Arizona, you may want to take a detour into town.  Bullhead City has wonderful riverside community parks with beach access! Located in the northwestern corner of Arizona, Bullhead City is situated along the eastern shoreline of  the Colorado River. Across the river lies Laughlin, Nevada.

Looking Downriver, Bullhead City Community Park, Arizona (©Jody Diehl)

Bullhead City Community Park can be found along the Colorado River, on the west side of Highway 95 on the northern end of Bullhead City. We recently visited Bullhead City Community Park on a chilly, overcast November day.  It was very easy to imagine this pleasant little beach park as the perfect place for an afternoon break  on a sunny, 110° summer day, but it was also the perfect place to stop for a winter afternoon picnic.

For some people, Bullhead City, Arizona or Laughlin, Nevada might be a destination, but even if you’re headed between “here and there” and happen to be passing through, Bullhead City Community Park‘s beach is a fun diversion. Don’t forget to pack your swim suit!

Looking Upriver, Bullhead City Community Park, Arizona (©Jody Diehl)

Posted in Beaches of North America, Friday Finds, Inland Shores | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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