Lake Havasu Lighthouses: Safety Structures With Swagger

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By far, the most recognizable sight around 20,400-acre Lake Havasu is the London Bridge, moved piece-by-piece from England to this unlikely location in 1971. But Lake Havasu is also the location of 27 workable lighthouses that bring character to the shoreline along with navigational aid to boaters.

In fact, Lake Havasu has more lighthouses than any other lake located entirely in the United States. Considering that the first lighthouse was not built until 2000, how did this lake in the middle of the Mojave Desert become a lighthouse hotspot over the last decade?

Sunset at one of Lake Havasu's famed lighthouses
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A little about Lake Havasu

Today, Lake Havasu City is a popular destination that hosts sailing regattas, speedboat racing events, and boat shows throughout the year.

Lake Havasu stretches out about 45 miles along the meandering Colorado River that forms the border between Arizona and California. Parker Dam, the genesis of Lake Havasu, was built by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation between 1934 and 1938. The water stored in the lake delivers drinking water, hydropower, and irrigation water to meet the demands of the Lower Colorado River Basin.

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Why are there so many lighthouses on Lake Havasu?

East Quoddy Lighthouse. MCCAIG via canva

But Lake Havasu is also a recreational gem for boaters, jet skiers, and sailing enthusiasts. Because too many boaters were getting lost or beached at night without navigation lights on such a large lake, the Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club began in the late 1990s to place navigation markers around the lake in a unique way: on top of smaller, replica lighthouses that pay homage to famous lighthouses around the United States.

All but one of Lake Havasu’s 27 lighthouses is a smaller replica of well-known lighthouses. The first lighthouse, erected in 2000 at the Lake Havasu Marina, is not a replica but served as the inspiration for subsequent lighthouses.

Replicas on the east side of the channel are smaller versions of East Coast lighthouses. Those on the west side of the channel are replicas of West Coast lighthouses, and structures around the island are replicas from the Great Lakes.

Woman enjoying view of Lake Tahoe from atop a rock
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The best way to see Lake Havasu lLighthouses

Lake Havasu’s lighthouses contain rotating amber lights, Coast Guard approved, that serve as channel markers. The lights operate by solar-powered batteries. A plaque on each lighthouse provides the history of the original structure.

Some of the lighthouses are accessible by land, and others can be seen only by water. The Robert Manning Light, Alpena Lighthouse, West Quoddy Lighthouse, and East Quoddy Lighthouse are some of the replicas that are accessible without a boat.

But, the best way to experience Lake Havasu and its desert landscape is by boat. Boat rentals are available to explore the Arizona and California shorelines for all 20 of these Lake Havasu sentinels. Get your camera ready for this photographic adventure. Download a map here.

Here’s a short video that explains the genesis of the lighthouses of Lake Havasu.

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How many of these Lake Havasu lighthouse replicas do you recognize?

Algoma Lighthouse, Wisconsin
Alpena Lighthouse, Michigan
Angel’s Gate Lighthouse, California
Barnegat Lighthouse, New Jersey
Berwick Lighthouse, Louisiana
Buffalo Main Lighthouse, New York
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, North Carolina
Cape Henry Lighthouse, Virginia
Chicago Harbor / Navy Pier Lighthouse, Illinois
Currituck Beach Lighthouse, North Carolina
East Quoddy Lighthouse, New Brunswick, Canada
Fire Island Lighthouse, New York
Grays Harbor Lighthouse, Washington
Mount Desert Rock Lighthouse, Maine
Permaquid Point Lighthouse, New Jersey
Pigeon Point Lighthouse, California
Point Gratoit Lighthouse, New York
Portland Head Lighthouse, Maine
Robert H. Manning Lighthouse, Michigan
Sandy Hook Lighthouse, New Jersey
Split Rock Lighthouse, Minnesota
Table Bluff Lighthouse, California
Umpqua River Lighthouse, Oregon
Vermilion Lighthouse, Ohio
West Quoddy Lighthouse, Maine
Wind Point Lighthouse, Wisconsin
White Shoal Lighthouse, Michigan

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