Entertainment and Events
Current movies play on the four screens of BlueWater CRIT Theaters (928/669-9222) at the BlueWater Resort & Casino.
Annual events include off-road-vehicle races: Parker 250 in January and Parker 425 in February. March is a busy month with Bluegrass on the River, a Water Ski Race, and La Paz County Fair.
BlueWater Resort & Casino sponsors summer regattas. There's a Great Western Tube Float in June; fireworks on July 4th; Indian Day Celebration in September; Parker Rodeo and Parade in mid-October; Christmas Lighted Boat Parade in late November/early December; and All Indian Rodeo in December.
Cool off in Parker's public swimming pool (1317 Ninth St., 928/669-5678). Play golf at the 18-hole Emerald Canyon Golf Course (eight miles north of Parker, 928-667-3366) across the road from La Paz County Park or at Havasu Spring's nine-hole course (16 miles north of Parker, 928-667-3361).
Marinas along the Parker Strip rent boats. Anglers head for the river below Headgate Rock Dam for largemouth and smallmouth bass, striped bass, catfish, crappie, and bluegill. Boaters and water-skiers keep some anglers from Lake Moovalya, but the fish are there. You need reservation fishing permits for lower Lake Moovalya and the Colorado River downstream. Tubers enjoy leisurely trips downriver; a popular ride is the seven-mile, three-hour float from Parker to Big River Park on the California side.
Accommodations in Parker
The motels in town offer convenient places to stay for the night, but they aren't as atmospheric as resorts out along the river. All but Motel 6 have a pool. Rates may go above the following categories on weekends, especially if there's a holiday or special event.
Under $50: From the traffic light at the bend in AZ 95 in the center of town, head southeast toward Quartzsite for the Kofa Inn (1700 California Ave., 928/669-2101) or northwest toward the Colorado River bridge for El Rancho Parker Motel (709 California Ave., 928/669-2231) and Motel 6 (604 California Ave., 928/669-2133). Head southwest one block from the junction for Budget Inn Motel (912 Agency Rd., 928/669-2566).
$50-100: Best Western Parker Inn (1012 Geronimo Ave., 928/669-6060 or 877/297-6667) is two blocks northeast of the bend in AZ 95.
For a bit of Las Vegas glitz, drive 1.4 miles northwest on Riverside Drive (AZ 95) from downtown Parker, then turn left to the huge BlueWater Resort & Casino (11300 Resort Dr., 928/669-7000 or 888/243-3360, www.bluewaterfun.com). The complex overlooks the Colorado River and features luxury accommodations, restaurants, three indoor pools with a waterslide, waterfalls, fitness center, movie theater, arcade games, mini golf, and a marina. Rooms cost only $39 d on weekdays, but jump on weekends to $125 d in summer and $79 in winter; suites go for $99-299 depending on day and season. Expect clouds of cigarette smoke in the central gambling area.
Accommodations on the Parker Strip
Both the Arizona and California shores have resorts, RV parks, campgrounds, day-use areas, restaurants, and marinas. You'll also enjoy good views of the river and rugged mountains. Parker Dam Road in California and AZ 95/Business 95 make a 32-mile scenic loop with the bridge at Parker and the road atop Parker Dam to connect the ends. For the Arizona side, head north 4.4 miles on AZ 95 from downtown Parker, then turn in on Riverside Dr., signed as "Business AZ 95." If coming from the north, turn in on the business route near Buckskin Mountain State Park, four miles south of the Parker Dam turnoff.
At the south end of the Parker Strip, five miles north of town, Arizona Shores Resort Motel (9388 Riverside Dr., 928/667-2685, $135 d in summer and $65 d in winter) has all kitchenettes and a water-skiing school. Rooms at the small J.T.'s on the Keys Motel (8982 Riverside Dr., 928/667-4336, $83 d weekdays and $99 d Fri.-Sat. in summer and $45-70 d winter) overlook a courtyard.
Branson's Resort (7.5 miles north of Parker at 7804 Riverside Dr. and Golf Course Dr., 928/667-3346) offers rooms with kitchenettes for $79 d ($91 d Fri.-Sat.) in summer, $55 d in winter. House trailers run $165-450 depending on size and day. Facilities include a boat ramp, docks, and a tiny store.
Castle Rock Shores (off AZ 95, 12 miles north of town between the two state parks, 928/667-2344 or 800/701-1277) rents park models (manufactured houses) for $70-110 depending on size and day; in winter the units are rented by the month. There's a little 10-hole golf course and a marina.
About two miles south of Parker Dam at Holiday Harbor, Harbour Inn (4749 Riverside Dr./AZ 95, 928/667-2931, $55 d weekdays and $75 Fri.-Sat. in summer and $49 d the rest of the year) offers large motel rooms with kitchenettes.
In Parker: Lazy D Mobile Park (1800 15th St., 928/669-8797, $19 w/hookups) offers RV sites with showers in the southwest part of town. Wheel-er In Resort (760/665-8487, $20-27.50 tent or RV sites w/hookups) is on the California shore about the same distance from downtown—follow the highway across the Colorado River bridge, then turn left. Guests have use of the showers, boat ramp, dock, putting green, and store. BlueWater Marine RV Park (928/669-2433, $23.50 RV w/hookups) sits in a little valley near the Colorado just north of the casino with showers and winter activities.
On the Parker Strip: Branson's Resort (7.5 miles north of Parker at 7804 Riverside Dr., 928/667-3346) provides RV sites w/hookups ($21 winter, $32 summer), a boat ramp, docks, and store. Red Rock Resort (6400 Riverside Dr., 928/667-3116) has waterfront sites for tents ($20 summer, $15 winter) and RVs w/hookups ($40 summer, $25 winter) with showers, a boat ramp, beach, game room, and a summertime cafe. At Pierpoint Landing, Fox's RV Park & Tavern (6350 Riverside Dr., 928/667-3444) has RV sites for $30 w/hookups. Amenities include the oldest floating restaurant/bar on the river, showers, and a rec. room. Castle Rock Shores (off AZ 95, 12 miles north of town between the two state parks, 928/667-2344 or 800/701-1277) offers sites for tents and RVs at $12.50-20 depending on location and day, plus a small golf course, marina, and store.
On the California Shore: The Parker Chamber of Commerce can tell you about the several resorts on the California shore, most of which also offer RV sites. The Bureau of Land Management's Lake Havasu Field Office (928/505-1200) oversees two campgrounds along the California side of the river, along with several day-use areas and two off-highway-vehicle areas. Empire Landing, eight miles from Parker, offers a beach, picnicking, and camping. Other BLM recreation sites on the California side of the river include Rock House Boating Facility (boat launch and day-use area just south of Empire Landing), Crossroads ($4 camping or day-use on the river one mile south of Empire Landing, no water), Bullfrog ($3 day-use beach and picnic area two miles north of Empire Landing), and Quail Hollow (day-use picnic and wildlife interpretive area, four miles north of Empire Landing and just north of Big Bend Resort).
Sopranos Sports Bar & Grill (621 W. Riverside Dr., 928/669-2403, daily for lunch and dinner) prepares Italian cuisine along with American and some Mexican items. Ruperto's Mexican Food (800 W. Riverside Dr., 928/669-8420, daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) is a little cafe with a drive-through and long hours.
China Garden (1000 S. Hopi Ave. and Riverside Dr., 928/669-2660, daily for lunch and dinner) has popular Chinese items.
BlueWater Resort & Casino (11300 Resort Dr., 928/669-7000 or 888/243-3360) offers the River Willow for fine dining nightly, the Feast with buffets (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and a 24-hour menu, and the River's Edge Cantina with drinks and light meals.
Parker Strip Grill (10230 Harbor Dr., 928/667-4054, daily for lunch and dinner) is a '50s diner near the junction of AZ 95 and the south end of the Parker Strip. Patty Clearman's Steak House & Bistro (9218 Lower Moovalya Estate Dr., 928/667-3732, Wed.-Fri. for lunch and Wed.-Sun. for dinner) serves up steak, seafood, ribs, and chicken near the south end of the strip. Roadrunner (7000 Riverside Dr., 928/667-4252) features the largest floating restaurant/bar on the river; it's open daily for breakfast (except winter weekdays), lunch, and dinner. Fox's RV Park & Tavern (6350 Riverside Dr., 928/667-3444) has the oldest floating restaurant/bar on the river; call for seasonal hours.
Information and Services
The friendly staff at Parker Chamber of Commerce (1217 California Ave., Parker, AZ 85344, 928/669-2174, www.parkerareatourism.com) will help you find what you're looking for. The office is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. (also 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat. from Oct. to March). The public library (1001 Navajo Ave., 928/669-2622) is south of the AZ 95 bend off Agency Road.
The main post office (15th St.; 928/669-8179) is on the corner with California Avenue. Parker Community Hospital (1200 Mohave Rd., 928/669-9201) is on the south side of town.
Colorado River Buggy Expeditions (928/669-6171 or 916-0838, www.buggytours.com) runs out to Swansea Ghost Town and other scenic destinations in open-sided vehicles from October to May. River Parasail (928/667-4837, www.riverparasail.com) winches riders out as far as 600 feet from a boat on the Colorado.
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