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River Island State Park, Parker, AZ

Louise Speaks:  Our last state park on our three park trip, is River Island State Park.  This park is actually almost connected to Buckskin State Park (see last years post).  This park was formed as an overflow campground for the popular Buckskin Park.  The park is closer to the city life of Parker, but seems isolated as it is surrounded by beautiful mountains on all sides.  No internet or phone service here so very peaceful for sure.

 

River Island State Park is ideal for tent campers as well and can provide a scenic respite, a desert escape, or a fun-filled water adventure.  The park has only 37 campsites, but does have a group ramada, a sandy beach, a cove, and a boat launch area. The park has a trail for hiking and access to off-highway vehicle back country roads.  There is also a huge dog park and plenty of grassy areas for lawn games.  There are 8 beach front campsites on a grassy area right on the Colorado River.  I’m guessing these are the tent sites although there were no campers during our stay.  The River Island Market, located 1/4 mile outside the park, offers groceries, food deli, gas, clothing boutique and storage.  In the summer, the park unit is most popular for boating, fishing, jet skiing, swimming, and camping amidst a backdrop of beautiful mountains and that 100 degree temperatures I was talking about.  In the winter, visitors appreciate the mild climate and enjoy camping and fishing.  The Blue Water Casino is just a few miles away in the town of Parker.

River Island State Park gets a B+ rating.  Not as good as Buckskin or Cattail, but a great State Park for both day use and camping.

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Lake Havasu State Park, Lake Havasu City, AZ

Louise Speaks;  After two days at Cattail Cove State Park, is was up Hwy 95 just 20 miles to Lake Havasu State Park.  This is a smaller park with less shade trees but it does have a beautiful sandy beach and even a pet beach.  The campsites are huge and far apart unlike some other parks.  The grounds are very clean with colored rock around each campsite.  The bathrooms and showers are older than most parks but I think they are going to be remodeled soon.  This is also close to where a new state park is being built.  The new park will have more campsites and will have cabins for those that don’t have an RV but want to camp on the river.  It says the new park will be open this spring, but only the ground seems to be cleared off with no building in site.  Not sure that a spring opening is possible…but if it’s opened this year we will come back and camp to complete our mission of camping and visiting all state parks in Arizona.

Lake Havasu State Park with it’s scenic shoreline is an ideal place to enjoy beautiful beaches, nature trails, boat ramps, and convenient campsites. This spot is truly a watersport haven and is located near the famous London Bridge of Lake Havasu City. (see separate post for London Bridge). The park offers three boat ramps, 47 campsites, a special events area not available on holiday weekends, a picnic area, and a sandy beach area. The Mohave Sunset Trail which is only 1.75 miles winds its way through the lowland desert and along the shoreline.  The Arroyo-Camino Interpretive Garden showcases the diverse life that exists within the park and this area of the desert.  Birds, lizards, and desert cottontails are common sights.  So as you can see there is lots to do here.  This campground is right in town so almost walking distance to restaurants and local bars.  The London Bridge attractions offers ferry rides across the river to the California side to the nearby casino.  Here you can also rent pontoon boats, jet skis, and motor boats to do your own site seeing along the river.  You can also take a boat cruise to Topoc Arizona and Laughlin Nevada.  The lake actually covers the shore lines of three states, Arizona, Nevada and California.

I would rate Lake Havasu State Park a B.  It is a great campground with large sites…perfect for large group gatherings.  But with no or little shade it just makes it too hot.  Now we are here in February and the temperatures are in the high 70s which is perfect, but come summer when it’s over 100 degrees, having no shade would be brutal.


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Cattail Cove State Park, Lake Havasu, AZ

  Louise Speaks:  Continuing with visiting all the State Parks in Arizona, we are visiting 3 on this trip.  As you know we started a mission last year to visit all the state parks in Arizona.  If the park offered camping, you had to camp overnight at the park for it to count.  This trip would have completed our list…EXCEPT…it appears that the State of Arizona is adding 3 new parks to their list in 2018 and two of them are to include camping.  If they keep adding parks, we may never complete this mission.  I’m thinking, this is it.  Whatever is open in 2018 is the end of our journey.  Any new additions will be bonus parks, but not on our “must see” list.

Cattail Cove State Park, is our first stop.  Located on Hwy. 95 it is just north of River Island State Park and just south of Lake Havasu State Park.  The park has a sandy beach, a boat ramp, and 61 campsites.  A fairly large park concidering there are 4 parks within 25 miles.  Cattail Cove offers a broad spectrum of activities for all to enjoy.  In addition to the regular campground there are also 32 boat-in campsites along the lake shoreline within the park.  So whether you’re interested in swimming, fishing or just lounging and relaxing, Cattail Cove State Park offers you and  a chance to get away and enjoy tranquility along Lake Havasu.  The 2,000-acre park first opened in 1970.

Lake Havasu itself was formed when the Colorado River was dammed near Parker.  The 45-mile long lake creates a haven for all kinds of water sports.  Here you can fish for large mouth and striped bass, channel and flat head catfish, bluegill and crappie.  You can also boat on the blue waters, sail into quiet coves, or water ski or jet ski out on the open lake.  The lake is wide in some areas and in others it is just the width of the river.

There are many things to do along the river.  Since this is a popular destination fro Spring Break and Snowbirds, the area is full of restaurants and bars galore.  Shopping and a Casino also offer ways to pass the time.  All and all camping along the river is the perfect place to be.  Since this is an unusual warm winter, even though it is February, temperatures are in the 70s.  Just doesn’t get any better than this.  However, come summer, you will find temperatures over 100 degrees…that’s why we are here in February.

Cattail Cove gets an A rating.  The location, less than 200 miles from home, the water, the things to do and the tranquillity of the water makes the perfect camping location.