Escape to Arizona
Explore Arizona's many marvels, from natural wonders and otherworldly desert landscapes to glistening lakes and reservoirs.
There’s no end to the adventures that can be found in Arizona, especially in the state’s “West Coast,” which has everything from natural wonders and otherworldly desert landscapes to glistening lakes and reservoirs for water sports and boating fun. Historic Route 66 meanders through timeless outposts of the Old West, and the California-Arizona border towns enchant as excellent winter retreats. Welcome to Arizona’s West Coast. For more Arizona adventures, go to visitarizona.com.
National & State Parks on Arizona’s West Coast
The “West Coast” has its fair share of picturesque parks, where you’ll discover beguiling landscapes and recreation galore.
Set along the Colorado River, just 25 miles south of Lake Havasu, Buckskin Mountain State Park calls for camping, boating, fishing, and hiking, where meandering trails reveal stunning views of the Parker Dam (the world’s deepest), mountain vistas, natural arches, and wildlife.
The 2,000-acre Cattail Cove State Park is an ideal spot for swimming or lounging on the white sand beaches edging Lake Havasu. Sail to quiet coves or hook a striped bass from your boat.
Farther north, Lake Havasu State Park is a blue water oasis in the desert and a year-round boaters’ paradise, featuring beautiful beaches, campgrounds, hiking trails, and the famous London Bridge. Stroll through the desert vegetation along the Mohave Sunset Trail or explore the local wildlife in Arroyo-Camino Interpretive Garden.
For the ultimate adventure, set out for Lake Mead National Recreation Area, spread across 1.5 million acres of mountains, canyons, valleys, and two vast lakes—Lake Mead and Lake Mohave. Take a scenic drive or boat cruise to explore the contrasting landscapes, from the stark desert’s giant monolithic rock formations to the sapphire-blue waters.
The Colorado River flows into Lake Mead at the Temple Bar Marina, creating a mecca for water sports enthusiasts to wakeboard, Jet Ski, canoe, kayak, tube, water-ski, and wake surf.
- Raft on the Colorado River
- Soar over the canyon in a helicopter
- Hike to Guano Point for a picnic
- Horseback ride along the canyon rim
- Enjoy cowboy cookouts, wagon rides, and cabin sleepovers at Hualapai Ranch
Get Your Kicks on Route 66
A leisurely road trip can be the perfect antidote to life’s daily stressors, and historic Route 66 offers up all the right ingredients: open space, alluring landscapes, and off-the-beaten-path towns to explore along the way.
Kingman, often the launching spot for Route 66 adventures, is filled with treasures like the Powerhouse Route 66 Museum, the Mohave Museum of History and Arts, wineries and a distillery, classic car events, nostalgic diners, and more.
Wild burros roam the streets of the former gold mining town of Oatman, where you’ll find staged shootouts, kitschy shops, and raucous saloons.
Peach Springs sits near the world famous Grand Canyon Caverns, where you can spelunk underground or spend the night in the Cave Room, 220 feet below the surface.
This town, the capital of the Hualapai Reservation and home to a historic American Indian village, is also the gateway to Grand Canyon West, where you’ll find the tribe’s spectacular Grand Canyon Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped glass bridge suspended 4,000 feet above the river, offering soul-stirring views of this natural wonder.
Snowbirds flock to this little gem along the California-Arizona border during winter. Collectors and artisans converge for the annual Pow Wow Gem and Mineral Show each January. Quartzsite also hosts its famous ongoing swap meets with everything from fossils, geodes, and gems to antiques, crafts, and carvings. Adventurous spirits can also take an ATV through the desert or hike to local petroglyphs.
Another key part of Arizona’s West Coast and one of the all-time greatest destinations for Spring Break, Lake Havasu is an epic playground for boating, beaches, water sports, fishing, off-roading, golf, and more. A top spot for cruising, Lake Havasu sports 60 miles of lake and river waterways. Families love vacationing on houseboats or checking into the lakeside lodging, affordable resorts, campgrounds, and RV parks.
Year-round events include balloon and music festivals, Jet Ski championships, boat races, and mind-blowing pyrotechnic shows. Other dazzling sights include 24 small-scale lighthouses, the actual London Bridge, and breathtaking desert landscapes.
72nd Annual Yuma Jaycees’ Silver Spur Rodeo
Experience Yuma’s Wild West roots with bullfighting, roping, barrel men clowns, and a festive parade.
Boogie, Brews & Blues Festival
Enjoy cold brews and soaking up the sun on the beaches of the Colorado River while listening to live blues.
Midnight at the Oasis
This four-day event features classic cars from 1972 and earlier, live music, and vendors.
Selected by weather.com as one of the “15 Best Winter Escapes” for its mild and dry, sunny winters, Yuma is an easy 170-mile drive from San Diego and offers a series of uniquely Yuman experiences.
Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground, one of the largest military facilities in the world; cruise from eatery to eatery on a progressive dining tour with Savor Yuma; enjoy a Field to Feast agricultural tour and farm-fresh lunch; or uncover Yuma’s fascinating history and lore on a Discovery tour with trips to the Castle Dome Mines Museum, the Cloud Museum, and more.
Yuma is also home to beautiful parks, nature reserves, wetlands, and wildlife refuges. Explorers can hit the beach, kayak or go tubing on the river, ride ATVs, bike, or birdwatch. Not to mention the great shopping, casinos, golf, and dining.
Talking Stick Resort
Scottsdale’s Sensational Retreat
Whether you’re planning a guys’ getaway or a romantic rendezvous, Talking Stick Resort is a perfect desert destination with fun at every turn. The 496-room resort is home to 10 entertainment lounges, a themed sports bar, a martini and cigar bar, and a chic 14th-floor cocktail lounge. Gamblers love the massive casino with its 700 multidenominational slot machines and a wide array of table games. Golfers have access to two championship golf courses at the world-renowned Talking Stick Golf Club, managed by Troon Golf.
Golfers Take Note:The nationally celebrated Waste Management Phoenix Open takes place January 30–February 5.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with an afternoon at the resort’s rejuvenating spa. Their Love is in the Air special for the month of February means discounted delights like Be Mine Pretty Pedi, the Scrub Me Tender body polish, the Radiance Facial, and more (Sunday–Thursday). Special Valentine’s Day menus can be found at each of the property’s six restaurants—look for 360-degree floor-to-ceiling views, romantic sunsets, and fine dining at Orange Sky, an international buffet at the Wandering Horse, or a seafood bar at Ocean Trail. Then cap the evening with a live comedy act or big-name musical performance.