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Living on the Edge

Region: Arizona's West Coast

Discover the wetter side of Arizona, where the wild Colorado River and plenty of lakes make for endless fun on and near the water.

On this trip, dispel the myth that the desert is a dry place. The Colorado River is Arizona's border on the west. The river has made agriculture and water recreation major attractions for the cities "on the edge" of the river and this itinerary will stimulate your mind, your palate and your adventurous side.

Day One: See Arizona's Agricultural Side

Three hours southeast of Phoenix, your trip begins in Yuma, the winter vegetable capital of the United States. Yuma produces 95 percent of the nation's winter lettuce. Take an agricultural tour led by an expert from the agricultural program at Arizona Western College.

If an agricultural tour isn't your thing, try jumping on the Yuma Valley Railway for a history tour along the banks of the Colorado River. Trains run on Saturdays and Sundays from October to May.

Enjoy an evening at Britain Farms Chuck Wagon supper club, where you'll take in live entertainment along with an old-town gun fight. Overnight in Yuma.

Day Two: Go Golfing in Yuma

Golf Digest Magazine has rated Yuma as the eleventh best city in the United States for golf, so challenge yourself in the morning on one the area's 13 diverse courses.

Next, take a guided tour of Imperial Date Gardens with its passionate owners – and you must try the date shakes. Mm-mm-good! Or tour the Peanut Patch and taste fresh peanuts, peanut brittle and peanut fudge. Work off those sweets this evening with an after-dark canoe trip down the Colorado River, where you can search for nocturnal animals. Overnight in Yuma.

Day Three: Water Ski the Parker Strip

Drive north on Highway 95 to Fisher's Landing at Martinez Lake (:30) and ride the Yuma River Tours' jet boat through the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Stop to see an old miner's cabin, Native American petroglyphs and river wildlife. Lunch is included.

Afterward, continue north toward Parker (1:45). Water ski or jet ski the Parker Strip, a 16-mile section of river above Headgate Dam; rentals are widely available.

If you're feeling lucky this evening, visit Blue Water Resort and Casino. Overnight in Parker.

Day Four: See the London Bridge at Lake Havasu

Tour the Colorado River Indian Tribal Museum for a look at the Native American history of the river. Then drive north to Lake Havasu City, home of the London Bridge (:45).

Have a relaxing lunch at a lakeside restaurant with a view of the bridge. Afterward, grab your sunscreen and get in the water, where you'll get a great perspective of the London Bridge – and many photo opportunities.

You can rent just about any type of watercraft imaginable – pontoon boats, wave runners, ski boats or kayaks, to name a few. Parasail or take an air chair lesson. Any way you get around, keep your eyes open for all the replicas of lighthouses from around the United States.

For dinner, relax and have a meal at a restaurant with a view of the lake. Overnight in Lake Havasu.

Day Five: Go Offroad – and up High

After a good night's sleep, get up with the birds and take in their view of the lake and surrounding desert in a hot-air balloon. Or golf on a course with a view at Lake Havasu City's championship and executive courses.

In the afternoon, take an off-road trip in a six-wheel-drive Pinzgauer. See stunning desert views, the Mojave Mountains and historic sites. Overnight in Lake Havasu.

Note: Estimated travel time is indicated in parentheses.

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