Spring, summer, fall or winter, Crazy Horse Campground in Lake Havasu City, Arizona is a little corner of paradise. It is at the heart of a vast vacation wonderland, an almost magic place full of surprises.
A quick Google search leaves little doubt that Lake Havasu City is a vacation destination. From KTLA, “The 4 diamond aesthetic rating alone is worth the trip.” “Lake Havasu City listed in Expedia’s top destination spots in 2020.”
The city’s visionary tourism office has events planned for almost every weekend of the year. And their website boldly proclaims – “400 miles of stunning coastline-300 days of sunshine-60 miles of navigable waterways.” This, however, is but the tip of the proverbial ice berg.
Historic Kingman, Arizona is just thirty miles away. On the third Saturday afternoon of each month, April through October, the historic business district with wine bars, microbreweries, art galleries and eclectic restaurants is transformed with Chillin’ on Beale.
This fun filled, old fashioned event celebrates the American love affair with automobiles and music. Unofficially proclaimed to be an event for anything on wheels, the vehicles on display are surprisingly diverse. Tuner cars, hot rods, antiques, motorcycles, classics, military vehicles, trucks, and wild custom cars line Beale Street block after block.
Do you enjoy backroad adventures that provide the illusion of wilderness adventures? Opportunities for such odysseys abound near Lake Havasu City.
A scenic seventy mile drive, some on an occasionally graded dirt roads, takes you to the ghost town of Swansea. With ruins and abandoned buildings preserved in an arrested state of decay by the Bureau of Land Management, this ghost town framed by majestic desert landscapes is a tangible link to Arizona history.
Intermittent mining in the area commenced in 1862. But the boom came in 1904 when the Arizona & California Railroad began constructing a line from Wickenburg to Parker. Sensing an opportunity Newton Evans and Thomas Jefferson Carrigan began developing the Swansea site.
By the end of 1908, a processing facility and a 3.5 mile water pipeline from the Bill Williams River as well as hoists for numerous mine shafts were under construction. The following year the population in Swansea had soared to 500 people, and in 1910 the Arizona & Swansea railroad began operation from Bouse.
As with most mining towns there was an ebb and flow. The mines shutdown in 1911, and reopened in 1912. The American Smelting and Refining Company bought the mines in 1914 and again Swansea boomed. There was even a small Ford agency, a small hotel, a newspaper and a movie theater. Then in 1937 the mines closed for the last time, and the town quickly faded.
It is easy to make the trip to Swansea and be back at your home away from home at Crazy Horse Campgrounds in time for dinner. This is but one of a wide array of diverse and fascinating day trips that make this a little corner of paradise.
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America