Head to Havasu, take a pontoon tour

May 2013 Feature

Did you know there are 20 working replica lighthouses on Lake Havasu in Arizona? Do you know the story of how Robert McCulloch purchased the London Bridge and even after transportation and construction costs, still figured out a way to come out ahead in the deal? Have you ever seen the back of Copper Canyon from a pontoon boat with stadium seating?

Well, if you answered no to any of these questions there is one man who can help.

Captain Kenny Samp is in his third year of owning and operating the Sunset Charter & Tour Company. He built his unique pontoon tour boat from the ground up to help give visitors to the area a different perspective of what Lake Havasu has to offer. 

Powered by a Mercury Verado 275hp, Samp put a lot of thought into constructing a boat that includes a vinyl wrapped interior and exterior and feels it's the only way to get the most out of your vacation when you come to this popular Arizona lake.

Forward of the captain's helm station are six over-stuffed bucket helm chairs that fully rotate 360 degrees. Depending on the season, the pontoon is equipped with blankets or a full bimini top to shade you from the sun.
There is also a personal storage area as well as a restroom for your convenience. And yes, the cruise is cocktail-friendly, of course, so you can enjoy your trip and leave the driving to the captain. 

Tours are limited to six people as part of the one-on-one experience and the list of available tours is nothing short of impressive. At Sunset Charter & Tour Company, they know Lake Havasu and all that it has to offer from the London Bridge to what some say are the most beautiful Arizona sunsets known to man.  Besides the Sunrise and Sunset Experience tours, the Once Around cruise is arguably the most popular for those wanting to sample the beauty of Lake Havasu. And you can even customize your tour too if you have something specific in mind that you'd like to see or do.

We keep our tours to a maximum of six people so we can take the time to tell the unique stories of Lake Havasu and everyone gets to enjoy a one-on-one experience with the captain," says Samp. "This area is well-known for its scenic beauty and abundant wildlife and having lived here for over two decades I've explored every rock and crevice and have seen a sunset or two." 

The name of the pontoon is Serenity Now and the details on this craft are amazing, right down to the etched logo on the speaker covers. When Samp isn't sharing his wealth of knowledge of the area, telling local tales and stories or providing the history, he has music softly playing in the background to set the tone for the specific area or location. At keys times during the tour you'll hear serenity-like music playing, like when you happen to be slowly cruising towards the back of Copper Canyon on an early morning when no one else is around. The music selection is the perfect choice to capture the beauty and awe of the surroundings.

Touring the different lighthouses can be a lot of fun too, as well as educational. In 2000, the Lighthouse Club was formed to raise money to replace the basic lights along the shorelines. Currently there are 20 lighthouses with four under construction and a dozen in the planning stage. These 1/3 scaled replicas that are around 15 feet tall, represent famous historical American lighthouses. Those on the Arizona or east side are all east coast lighthouses, while those on the California side or west side are all modeled after west coast lighthouses. The Great Lakes navigational aids are placed around Parker Dam.

Most tours typically begin and end near the base of Lake Havasu City's most famous landmark, the London Bridge. McCulloch had exterior granite blocks from the original bridge numbered and transported to America, in order to construct the present bridge in Lake Havasu City, a planned community he established in 1964 on the shore of Lake Havasu. The bridge was completed in 1971 along with a canal, and links an island in the lake with the main part of Lake Havasu City. Unlike the limited view from shore, the pontoon cruise allows you to see this massive bridge from all angles as well as take close-up photos of it.

Even if you've been to Lake Havasu several times, you're sure to learn something new about the area on one of these popular tours. It's fun, entertaining and you owe it to yourself to truly experience the area through the eyes of Captain Samp.

For more information visit http://www.sunsethavasuboattours.com/or call 928-716-8687.

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