Lake Havasu Balloon Festival on A Boat
Wow, what a beautiful weekend it was for the annual balloon fest in Lake Havasu. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and the balloons got to do 2 ascension each day! This event is going to turn into an international place to be in January.
We took the boat out both Saturday and Sunday early in the morning to catch the balloons on their ascension. Both days were as good as it gets for ballooning conditions. The kids were loving the vibrant colors and fun shapes of the balloons, like the butterfly and the old lady in the shoe balloon. Seeing the balloons from the lake was simply something that is unforgettable. Why you ask? Well have you ever had 50 plus hot air balloons less than 50 feet away dipping in to a lake and the pilots having conversations with you as the casually float by? Neither have we! It was magical and delightful.
Day 1 of Havasu Balloon Fest
We got the kids up and left the house at 7am. Hit the grocery store for supplies and we were off. We got to London Bridge Beach Park and hopped on the boat around 7:30. We loaded up on the pontoon boat and we were in the middle of Thompson Bay by 8am in perfect time to watch the balloons lift off. I got the camera ready and the magic unfolded as one by one the beautiful behemoths left the grounds of the Nautical Inn golf course. After about an hour and a half of watching the balloons dance around in the sky and slowing descend and dipping their baskets into the lake and then reascending we decided to head south on the lake.
First stop of our day long excursion was Copper Canyon. Known for it’s huge boat parties and wild times. We luckily missed because the spring breakers and party animals since they don’t arrive until March, making it perfect for the family. Only one other boat in the amazingly red rock canyon and water smooth as silk. We headed back to the very back of the canyon where there is a cute little beach. We pulled up and let the kids run around for 45 minutes while we just took in the incredible sunny weather and blue skies.
We then got the kids back on the boat and headed further down the lake. The south end of Lake Havasu is the most awe inspiring part of the lake in my opinion. It’s raw beauty, red rock and orange rock mountain sides is something to take in and get some great photos. travelling for about 40 minutes we got to an area known as Steamboat Cove. Typically a very crowded cove but since it was January we had it all to our selves. The cove is deep and has great facilities for picnics and camping. Also a great pit stop for using the rest room. We beached at the end of the cove and let the kids run around and swim. While it was January and the water still very cold that did not stop the little ones from jumping in and turning their lips purple. We asked if they were cold and they gave us a shivering “no”. That’s kids for you, I think I remember doing the same, nothing is going to stop you from having fun at 6 and 5 years old.
We packed up and called it a day and headed back towards the city. That night we hired a baby sitter and we hit downtown Lake Havasu for some cocktails and food. We stopped at Mad Dog’s Bar and Grill and sat on the patio for a few hours and enjoyed some great tacos and burgers. One thing I love about Lake Havasu is how affordable it is. Tacos were a buck and the beer $1.75. You simply can’t go wrong. After Mad Dog’s we moseyed on down to the new country western bar in town called The Flying X Saloon. This place was a mad house! Packed to the gills and some awesome country music blaring through the speakers. The Flying X has some great decor and the prices are just as reasonable as Mad Dog’s. People were line dancing and smiles all around. We ended up staying here until 2am!
Day 2 Of Havasu Balloon Fest
Luckily for my wife and I, we did not drink too much at The Flying X so we were able to get up at 7am and make it just in time for the balloons am ascent. The lake was as smooth as glass and the weather a little brisk but nothing a light hoody couldn’t handle. Again it was simply a perfect day and the sun was out with a few little clouds here and there. The balloons lifted off with out a hitch, this time we counted a total of 60 in the air at one time! We sat and listened to the radio and watched the balloons for a few hours with pure relaxation.
Time to hit the festival grounds. We docked at the Turtle Beach Bar and walked up to the festival grounds at the Nautical Inn Resort. Of course with the kids the first thing we did was the carnival. After about an hour and a hundred dollars later we were getting hungry. One of my favorite parts of the Havasu Balloon Fest is the food. The selection is huge and what type of food you decide to eat will take a while because there is every ethnicity. I always head to the BBQ stands to check out the ribs and pork skewers. After some tasty BBQ it’s a giant plate of Greek salad with a side of lamb with Greek yogurt. Don’t judge me, but, we also ate Thai food and polished it all off with mini doughnuts and a beer. Over all my life was complete.
We have been coming to this thing for 4 years and this year was by far the best. I hope this thing continues to grow and grow. It sure has the potential to be something truly great. Lake Havasu is such a special town, summer or winter there is always something fun to do. But, of course, the lake is the best.
If you have not been to the Havasu Balloon Fest it is worth the trip. Be sure to book your rooms well in advance and make the time to explore this fantastic event and community.