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Southwestern Arizona, far away from the Grand Canyon or the bustling streets of Phoenix, is an authentic out-of-the-way tourist destination. It’s the desert at its best – unpopulated and wild, with just enough civilization to keep you stocked with the essentials. If this sounds like the kind of RV camping you’re interested in, then you’re going to love Blue Water RV Park. Blue Water sits on the state’s western border, across the Colorado River from California, and steps away from the Blue Water Casino.
The park offers full hookups including 50-amp electrical capacity. There are also bathrooms, showers, and laundry facilities if you need to wash your clothes while camping with an RV rental. Aside from those amenities though, Blue Water RV Park doesn’t offer too much, as the town of Parker is close by.
Unless you’re driving off-road vehicles out in the sand dunes, the desert requires a little more creativity and planning to enjoy outdoor recreation. An exception to this is the wonderful Lake Havasu, which is only a 40-minute drive with your RV rental and well worth the trip when you book an RV in La Paz County, Arizona. Close to a million people visit this oasis in the desert every year, primarily for boating and fishing; largemouth, smallmouth, and bass are all popular catches there. If you don’t have your own boat, there are several rental facilities in Lake Havasu City.
A little over an hour's drive from Parker, Joshua Tree National Park makes for a great day trip when you rent a camper near Blue Water RV Park. The park’s otherworldly landscapes of jagged rock formations and twisted trees have been popular with photographers for decades, and its dark skies make it a favorite among stargazers from the Los Angeles area. However, one of the simplest pleasures in Joshua Tree is simply taking a hike, of which there are around a dozen marked trails. Just be sure to bring plenty of water and avoid the summer heat.
If those options sound a bit too distant, there are also a few places to enjoy the outdoors in Parker. If you care to hit the links, there’s a beautiful 18-hole golf course on the northeastern end of town. There’s also the option of spending the day at La Paz County Park, a few miles from Parker on Highway 95. It sits on the banks of the Colorado River, so it’s a good fishing spot, but there’s essentially no shade. On weekends, there’s often a flea market where you can shop for some pretty unique products.
The closest town to the RV campground is Parker, Arizona – a fairly small and quiet community. It does have a good selection of restaurants including your standard American cuisine, some excellent Mexican food, and a couple of places that are good for families with kids. Parker also has a couple of grocery stores and a few service stations if you need to stock up on supplies or empty the tanks on your rental RV. Most of the attractions and stores can be on Highway 95, which becomes Parker’s Main Street as it passes through town. Aside from Lake Havasu though, the main attraction in Parker is definitely the Blue Water Casino and Resort. The gaming floor has excellent views of the Colorado River, and the casino has an excellent restaurant.
When motorhome camping in western Arizona, check out the Colorado Indian Tribes Museum for a historical perspective on the area. It’s rather small but has some excellent beadwork and baskets on display, and the staff can give you a rundown on their different uses in traditional Native American life. There’s also the Swansea Ghost Town, just outside of Parker. The town was once a mining camp, and the worker’s cabins and the foundations of some of the larger buildings are still standing. Signage is somewhat limited, so you’ll have to read about it elsewhere, but it’s still a wonderful place to experience some history that’s at risk of being forgotten.
For a short excursion, head out on Highway 95 and up to the Parker Dam, which impounds Lake Havasu. A few informative signs give a history of the dam and discuss its merits as an engineering project, but most visitors just come to drive across it and take in the beautiful scenery around the dam. A more interesting and perhaps impressive engineering feat is located upstream at Lake Havasu City. Back in the 1960s, London was replacing one of its bridges over the River Thames. The old one was purchased and shipped piece by piece to an entrepreneur living in Lake Havasu, who had the 1830’s-era bridge reconstructed over the Colorado River. You can’t blame him for wanting to save a piece of history, though, right?