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Parker, Arizona


Parker, Arizona, is a small town located in La Paz County in the western part of the state. Positioned along the Colorado River, it is approximately 155 miles west of Phoenix and serves as the county seat of La Paz County. The town has a population of around 3,100 residents, according to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data. The area is known for its beautiful desert landscapes, outdoor recreational opportunities, and close proximity to the Colorado River.

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Attractions and Points of Interest

In addition to its outdoor recreational opportunities, Parker offers a number of attractions and points of interest for residents and visitors to enjoy. Some of these include:

– Parker Dam: Completed in 1938, Parker Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam located on the Colorado River. The dam’s primary purpose is to generate hydroelectric power and store water for irrigation. Visitors can take guided tours of the dam, which provide insight into its history and engineering.
– Colorado River Indian Reservation: Established in 1865, the reservation is home to the Chemehuevi, Mohave, Hopi, and Navajo tribes. Visitors can learn about the history and culture of these tribes at the reservation’s cultural center or by attending tribal events and festivals.
– Poston Memorial Monument: This historical monument honors the Japanese Americans who were interned at the Poston War Relocation Center during World War II. The site serves as a reminder of the injustices faced by these individuals and offers an opportunity for reflection and education.


Parker experiences a desert climate with hot summers, mild winters, and very little precipitation. Summer temperatures often exceed 100°F (38°C), while winter temperatures tend to be in the 60s°F (16-21°C) during the day and can drop into the 40s°F (4-9°C) at night. The town receives an average of around 4 inches (102 mm) of rainfall per year, most of which occurs during the summer months.

Community Involvement

Parker’s residents take pride in their community and actively participate in various events and initiatives aimed at improving the town’s quality of life. Some of these efforts include volunteer work with local schools, parks, and community organizations, as well as participation in town-sponsored events such as community cleanups and beautification projects.

Sports and Recreation

While Parker does not have any major sports teams, the town’s residents enjoy a variety of recreational activities thanks to its proximity to the Colorado River and surrounding natural areas. Popular activities in the area include boating, fishing, jet skiing, swimming, hiking, and camping. Local parks and recreational facilities offer additional options for sports and leisure activities, such as playgrounds, sports fields, and picnic areas.

With its small-town charm, beautiful natural surroundings, and wide range of recreational opportunities, Parker, Arizona, is an appealing destination for both residents and visitors. The town’s commitment to preserving its history and fostering a strong sense of community make it a welcoming place to call home.

Dining and Nightlife

Parker offers a variety of dining options, ranging from casual eateries to more upscale restaurants. The town’s dining scene includes a mix of local establishments and nationally recognized chains, with options to suit a variety of tastes and budgets. Some popular local restaurants include:

– Blue Water Grill: Located within the BlueWater Resort & Casino, this restaurant offers a diverse menu featuring a variety of American and international dishes, as well as a buffet option.
– Fox’s Floating Bar & Grill: This unique floating restaurant on the Colorado River offers a relaxed atmosphere and a menu featuring classic American fare, such as burgers, sandwiches, and seafood.
– Stroke’s Bar & Grill: A popular spot for locals and visitors alike, this sports bar and grill offers a variety of menu options, including wings, burgers, and pizza, as well as a selection of beers and cocktails.

In addition to its dining options, Parker also offers a few nightlife venues for those looking to enjoy an evening out. The BlueWater Resort & Casino is a popular destination for entertainment, featuring live music, comedy shows, and special events, as well as gaming options for those feeling lucky.

Local Festivals and Events

Parker hosts several annual events and festivals that showcase the town’s unique character and sense of community. Some of the most popular events in Parker include:

– Parker Tube Float: This annual summertime event invites participants to float down the Colorado River on inner tubes, enjoying the scenic beauty of the area while socializing with fellow floaters. The event typically includes live music and food vendors along the riverbanks.
– Parker 425: Held each February, this off-road desert racing event is part of the Best in the Desert Racing Association’s series and attracts participants and spectators from across the country.
– Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) Fair and Rodeo: This annual event, held at the Colorado River Indian Reservation, features a traditional rodeo, fair, and cultural activities, providing attendees with an opportunity to learn about and celebrate the traditions of the local Native American tribes.

Outdoor Activities

Parker’s unique location along the Colorado River and its surrounding desert landscape offers a wealth of outdoor activities for residents and visitors to enjoy. Some popular outdoor activities in the Parker area include:

– Horseback riding: Several local stables and ranches offer guided trail rides through the beautiful desert terrain, providing visitors with a unique way to explore the area’s natural beauty.
– Off-road adventures: The Parker area offers numerous trails and open spaces for off-road enthusiasts to enjoy, whether on ATVs, dirt bikes, or 4×4 vehicles. The nearby Parker 425 racecourse is a popular destination for off-roading.
– Golf: The Emerald Canyon Golf Course is a challenging 18-hole course that offers stunning views of the Colorado River and the surrounding mountains. The course is open to the public and features a pro shop, driving range, and practice facilities.
– Fishing and boating: The Colorado River provides ample opportunities for fishing and boating enthusiasts. Anglers can target species such as bass, catfish, and trout, while boaters can enjoy the river’s calm waters and scenic shoreline.

Parker, Arizona’s unique combination of natural beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, and a welcoming small-town atmosphere make it an ideal destination for those seeking a relaxed, yet active lifestyle. With its rich history, diverse economy, and strong sense of community, Parker truly offers something for everyone.

Notable Residents

Parker, Arizona, has been home to several notable residents throughout its history. Some of these individuals include:

– Ernest McFarland: McFarland, a former U.S. Senator, Governor of Arizona, and Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, was born in Parker in 1894. He played a crucial role in the passage of the GI Bill, which provided educational and financial support to World War II veterans.
– Rod Lewis: A well-known off-road racing driver and entrepreneur, Lewis was born and raised in Parker. He has been a prominent figure in the off-road racing community and has won numerous championships and awards in the sport.

Government Structure and Services

Parker operates under a council-manager form of government, with a mayor, six council members, and a town manager responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the town. Elected officials serve four-year terms, with elections held every two years. The town’s government is responsible for providing essential services to residents, including public safety, water and sewer services, and maintenance of parks and public spaces.

Town of Parker official website

Clubs and Organizations

Parker is home to a variety of clubs and organizations that cater to a wide range of interests and hobbies. These groups provide opportunities for residents to connect with others who share similar passions, participate in community events, and engage in volunteer work. Some of the clubs and organizations in Parker include:

– Parker Rotary Club: Part of the international Rotary organization, the Parker Rotary Club is dedicated to community service, professional development, and fostering goodwill among its members. The group participates in various local and international projects, such as youth development programs, disaster relief efforts, and community improvement initiatives.
– Parker Area Chamber of Commerce: The Chamber of Commerce supports local businesses and promotes economic development in the Parker area. The organization hosts networking events, provides resources for businesses, and sponsors community events and programs.
– Parker Area Historical Society: This group is dedicated to preserving and promoting the rich history of Parker and the surrounding area. The Historical Society operates a local museum, hosts educational programs, and organizes events that celebrate the town’s heritage.

Public Art and Cultural Attractions

Parker celebrates its history and culture through a variety of public art installations and cultural attractions. Some examples include:

– Murals: Several colorful murals can be found throughout the town, showcasing the work of local artists and reflecting the community’s unique character and history.
– Parker Dam Intake Towers: The two art deco-style intake towers at Parker Dam are a striking example of public art and architecture. The towers feature intricate carvings and decorative elements that celebrate the dam’s importance to the region.

Transportation and Accessibility

As mentioned earlier, Parker is accessible by various modes of transportation, including U.S. Route 95 and the Arizona & California Railroad. The town is also served by the La Paz County Public Transportation System, which offers paratransit services for seniors and individuals with disabilities. This service provides door-to-door transportation within Parker and to select destinations in neighboring communities.

Sustainability and Environmental Initiatives

Parker is committed to environmental stewardship and has implemented several initiatives to promote sustainability within the community. Some of these efforts include:

Recycling program: The town operates a curbside recycling program for residents, which accepts a variety of materials, including paper, cardboard, and certain types of plastic.
Water conservation: The town encourages water conservation through public education campaigns and by offering resources and incentives for residents to reduce their water usage.
Renewable energy: Parker is exploring opportunities to incorporate renewable energy sources, such as solar power, into its municipal operations and infrastructure.

Parker, Arizona, boasts a rich history, vibrant community spirit, and a wealth of recreational and cultural opportunities. With its commitment to sustainability, strong government services, and an array of clubs and organizations, Parker is a welcoming and thriving place to call home.

Ranching and Farming

Parker, Arizona, is located in an agriculturally rich region, with ranching and farming playing a significant role in the local economy and culture. The area surrounding Parker is home to several cattle ranches, as well as farms producing a variety of crops, including alfalfa, cotton, and various fruits and vegetables. Some agricultural activities in the Parker area include:

Cattle ranching: Local ranches raise cattle for both beef and dairy production. These ranches contribute to the local economy and provide employment opportunities for residents. They also play a role in preserving the region’s ranching heritage and maintaining the area’s open spaces.
Crop farming: The fertile soil and access to water from the Colorado River make the Parker area well-suited for crop farming. Local farms grow a variety of crops, from hay and alfalfa to vegetables and fruits, such as melons and citrus fruits. These farms provide fresh produce for the local community and contribute to the overall economic vitality of the region.

Education and Workforce Development

Parker’s educational opportunities play a crucial role in supporting the local economy and preparing its residents for the workforce. The town is served by the Parker Unified School District, which operates several public schools, including elementary, middle, and high schools. Additionally, Parker is home to the Arizona Western College La Paz Campus, a community college offering a variety of associate degrees and certificate programs in fields such as business, education, and health sciences.

The town and its educational institutions collaborate with local businesses and organizations to provide workforce development programs and resources. These initiatives aim to help residents develop the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the local job market, as well as to support the growth and success of local businesses.

Senior Services and Retirement Living

Parker offers a variety of services and amenities to support its senior residents and retirees. The Parker Senior Center provides a range of programs and services for older adults, including recreational activities, health and wellness programs, and social events. The center also offers resources and assistance with accessing various services, such as transportation and healthcare.

In addition to the Senior Center, Parker is home to several retirement communities and assisted living facilities. These communities offer a range of housing options, amenities, and services designed to meet the needs and preferences of their senior residents, including independent living, assisted living, and memory care options.

Youth Programs and Activities

Parker is committed to supporting the well-being and development of its younger residents. The town offers a variety of programs and activities for children and teens, including recreational sports leagues, after-school programs, and summer camps. The Parker Parks and Recreation Department oversees many of these programs, as well as maintaining the town’s parks and recreational facilities.

The local schools and community organizations also play an essential role in providing opportunities for young people to learn, grow, and develop their skills and interests. These groups offer a range of academic, athletic, and arts programs, as well as mentorship and leadership opportunities.

Parker, Arizona, is a diverse and vibrant community that offers a wealth of opportunities and amenities for residents of all ages and backgrounds. From its rich history and outdoor recreational opportunities to its strong education system and thriving economy, Parker is an attractive and welcoming place to live, work, and play.