For years, the knock on Lake Havasu boating—and boating on most of the Colorado River-fed lakes for that matter—was a simple one: There’s no place to go. From Lake Havasu City, Ariz., you can run down the river to Copper Canyon. You can run up the river to “the sandbar.” But if you’re looking for a lunch destination, one where you can tie up, eat and drink, and then—assuming the person behind the wheel is a designated driver—get back on the water, you’re out of luck.
At least you were until Pirate Cove Resort in Needles, Calif., opened a little more than a year ago. A dredged, deep-water, no-wake-zone channel opened up spectacular Topok Gorge to sportboats, and that’s when Pirate Cove Resort, just north of the gorge, launched and became an immediate hit with the Colorado River go-fast boat crowd. (Accessibly by famed Route 66, Pirate Cove also attracts a colorful motorcycle scene.)
The facility includes long docks, private cabins for rent, its own palapa-festooned beach, and a restaurant with a full bar. But what takes Pirate Cove to the next level is the access channel off the Colorado River that leads into it.
Each side of the channel boasts a wide, white-sand beach. As such, it offers the perfect setup for boat owners to beach their rides “nose-in” and set up camp for the day. The channel is wide enough so that people can swim in it without having to venture into the main traffic area, another big plus.
In addition to offering its rental cabins, Pirate Cove has added recreational vehicles sites—rentable of course—with complete hook-ups to the property. By the time the work is finished, the resort will be able to accommodate up to 300 RVs.
“Good food, great scenery of all kinds, a 250-slip marina, and manicured white-sand beaches make this place a winner,” wrote Bob Brown, the most seasoned journalist on the Colorado River scene, in the summer issue of Sportboat magazine.
But for those who need more exhilaration than beaches and scenery, Pirate Cove added interactive, amusement-park-like features in early June. The resort partnered with GoZip LLC and Experiential Resources, Inc., to create several zip lines, including one that covers more than 1,500 feet and reaches speeds up to 55 mph. They’ve also teamed up to create an 80-foot freefall experience called Plank Walk Powerfan Freefall and a giant 80-foot “Bosun Swing.”
Those activities, naturally, cost money. But the best one, simply nosing your boat onto the beach and chilling out with friends and family, is free. And it's all within a short idle of a cool restaurant, bar and marina, a legitimate “place to go” for Lake Havasu boaters.
- Matt Trulio