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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Sun-Soaked Lake Havasu City is a Popular Water Vacation Destination and Home to the Original London Bridge

Lake Havasu City (population 57,000) sits along the Arizona - California border and is on the eastern shore of 45-mile long Lake Havasu, a large, shimmering reservoir that was created by the Parker Dam construction in the 1930s. Originally a planned community for Army Air Corps personnel during World War II, Lake Havasu City was purchased by chainsaw industry mogul Robert McCulloch in 1963.

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Since those early days, the city has evolved into a popular tourist and vacation destination, attracting nearly one million visitors per year (including some college Spring Break revelers). Retirees, many from California, have discovered the city, too. The population increases by about 15% each winter as "snowbirds" flock to the area. During this high season, Lake Havasu City can take on somewhat of a party atmosphere with boats lined up and down the water. During the rest of the year, the city is fairly quiet.

Fifty-three pecent of locals are age 45 or better. Politics lean very much to the right, and the crime rate is below the national average. The city has some racial diversity and has grown by 2% during the last decade.

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The cost of living is 11% above the national average, and the median home price is $450,000, reflecting a 32% increase since just a year ago. Much of the available real estate is lakefront or has a water view.

With a pretty desert landscape and mountains nearby, Lake Havasu City is often hailed as one of North America's preeminent water sports hubs. Lake Havasu is perfect for jet skiing, wind surfing, wakeboarding, sailing and fishing (particularly for bass and sometimes the elusive white sturgeon). Fishing charters and boat rentals are always available.

For a drier, more rustic excursion, Lake Havasu State Park boasts a full tapestry of beautiful scenery from Windsor Beach to Cattail Cove with rolling hills in between. Hiking, camping, and fishing are among the main activities enjoyed in this historic state park.

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Lake Havasu City also has a bit of fame as the home of the original London Bridge, which Robert McCulloch purchased from the city of London, England in 1967 when the bridge could no longer support that city's increasing automobile traffic. McCulloch hoped that the 1831 bridge, which he had transported brick by brick from England to Arizona, would draw new home buyers and tourists to his remote city in the desert. His publicity stunt worked. Today, London Bridge is Arizona's second most popular tourist attraction (the Grand Canyon remains number one).

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The city boasts some upscale restaurants, and The Shops has national retailers, including JCPenney, Walmart and Dillard's. Five golf courses have a Lake Havasu City address.

The Mojave County Senior Center has a variety of programs and activities for people age 60+, including congregate meals and meals delivered to the homebound.

Havasu Mobility offers curb-to-curb service to people age 60+ who need transportation to work, medical offices, the grocery store and other destinations. The fare is $3.00 per ride. There is also a shuttle specifically for veterans.

Havasu Regional Medical Center is accredited by the Joint Commission. Medicare patients are accepted.

Lake Havasu City is hot, hot, hot in the summer (really April through October), with temperatures reaching into the 120s some days. Winters are mild and beautiful, with temperatures in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. The area receives just three inches of rain per year, but flash floods can occur. On the comfort index, a combination of humidity and temperature, the city comes in above the national average. The sun shines 300+ days of the year.

It is worth noting that Lake Havasu's level never varies by more than five feet because it is a balancing reservoir, with water from Lake Mead and Lake Powell released into it as needed to meet demand. Lake Mead and Lake Powell are, however, fed by the Colorado River, which is slowly drying up (the river's flow is expected to decrease by 5 to 20 percent in the next 40 years). Once Lake Mead's water level drops below 1,025 feet, Lake Havasu and Lake Havasu City could start to receive less water and mandatory water restrictions could begin. Lake Mead's current water level is 1,066 feet.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes | Is Arizona Tax-Friendly at Retirement? Yes

Great water recreation, sunny skies, dry air, beautiful winters and a pretty natural landscape are reasons to consider Lake Havasu City for retirement. The possibility of future water restrictions is, though, something to keep in mind.

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Arizona:

The Grand Canyon State was originally part of New Mexico. After the land was ceded to the U.S. in 1848, it became a separate territory. It did not enter the union until February 14, 1912. Copper was discovered in the area in 1848, and metals mining continues to be an important part of the economy. Cattle and tourism are two of the states other vital industries.

Although Arizona can be one of the hottest states in the union, air conditioning continues to bring more and more people to the urban areas. The Colorado Plateau spreads through Arizona from the north and is interspersed with remnants of the Rocky Mountains. The land flattens into desert near Phoenix. The Colorado River forms the state's western borders and snakes through the Grand Canyon.

Arizona is home to places with names like Nothing, a ghost town in western Arizona, and the Horspitality Resort.

The state is stubborn when it comes to time. It observes Mountain Standard Time on a year round basis.

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