Do you love the great outdoors? Arizona is a great place for camping. Whether you’re toting a tent or driving an RV, you’ll find hundreds of campsites all over the state, many of them bordering national parks. To help you plan your next outdoor excursion, we created this list of our top ten best Arizona camping grounds. Some accept reservations, while others are first-come, first-serve. Check each park’s website for reservation information as well as amenities and weather so you arrive well-prepared and ready to enjoy your getaway. Then it’s time to hit the road!
Sedona attracts over 4 million tourists every year. With the world-famous Red Rocks, as well as other scenic attractions, it’s easy to see why. Recognized as one of four campgrounds in Oak Creek Canyon, Manzanita is a camper’s paradise. Bring the family for swimming, cliff jumping, hiking, and fly fishing. Reservations are recommended during the peak season (late spring to mid-September) because this popular campsite fills up fast!
For lakeside camping, check out Woods Canyon Lake near the town of Heber in north central Arizona. Bring your boat (electric motors only) and go trout fishing, or take a hike at the Mogollon Rim. Pronounced “muggy-own” by locals, Mogollon Rim is a 200-mile cliff that serves as the geographical dividing line between the cool high country of the north and the hot, dry desert of the south.
For a more secluded getaway head to Toroweap Point, a remote site that’s well worth the dirt-road drive. Located on the North Rim, you get breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon from sheer cliffs 3,000 feet above the Colorado River. Make sure you stock up on camping supplies before you go, especially water, since there are very few amenities. Don’t forget the camera!
One of the most popular camping grounds just outside of Phoenix is the Lost Dutchman State Park, named after a fabled lost gold mine. Located at the base of the beautiful Superstition Mountains, this park is a great spot for hiking on one of the many trails through the surrounding Tonto National Forest. They also have designated bike trails for the avid mountain biker. Be sure you visit some of the nearby attractions such as the Superstition Mountain Lost Dutchman Museum, Goldfield Ghost Town, and Tortilla Flat.
Located at the base of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains, Catalina State Park in Tucson is a great camping spot. Feel free to bring your horses — the park has an equestrian center with a staging area and plenty of parking for the trailer. There’s a lot to do at Catalina State Park, including hiking trails (with varying levels of difficulty), bird watching, and mountain biking. Be sure to visit Biosphere 2 or Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, both of which are nearby. No need to stock up to visit this campsite — there’s a large shopping area right across the street from the park entrance, and downtown Tucson is only minutes away.
Looking for a place to get away from it all, that’s close enough that you don’t get too far away from it all? This relatively unknown campground just north of Phoenix has over 21,000 acres of desert, surrounded by mountains. It’s a great place to take the whole family! There are horse, hiking, and bike trails throughout. Enjoy the breathtaking sunsets, take the kids to the playground, or look for the Milky Way while listening to coyotes howl in the distance. This park has all the amenities you want for a fun vacation.
For a unique camping adventure, check out the campground at Alamo State Park. Temperatures are similar to Phoenix, so the best time to visit is October-April. This is a great place to bring the fourwheeler, fishing gear, boat, and water tubes. The lake is beautiful and isn’t usually very crowded. Go for a visit and find out why this park is called an “oasis in the desert”!
Another great campground in Grand Canyon National Park, Mather campground is located on the South Rim of the canyon. Though it’s a very popular (and often full) campsite, the sites are large and very well maintained. You may even get to see the resident elk up close. Not to mention all of the best lookouts and hiking areas are very close by, allowing you to make the most of your stay! Make a reservation ahead of time and bring warm blankets and jackets since it can get pretty chilly at night.
For a spectacular view of the San Francisco Peaks, visit Lockett Meadow near Flagstaff. These four peaks are the highest individual peaks in Arizona and were formed millions of years ago by a (now) extinct volcano. Take a hike through the wilderness of Coconino National Forest and you may get to see porcupine, elk, or even black bears. Staying at Lockett Meadow is a real mountain camping experience.
Ready to camp in high elevation? Winn campground in the White Mountains is an awesome choice. At over 9,000 feet elevation, this is your opportunity to do some fly fishing for apache trout (available during late spring)! Winn is one of the few places in the world you can fish for this species of trout. West Fork of the Little Colorado River is just a short walk away where you can view pristine water, rolling meadows, and wildflowers. This is the ideal place to go for a hunt — there’s a variety of wildlife! You can also visit the nearby town of Greer for a taste of local culture.
Now that you have our top ten list of the best Arizona camping grounds, which one are you going to visit first? With so many beautiful parks in this state, a relaxing getaway is just a short drive away.
Before you go, be sure to stop by your nearest Shoppers Supply location. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will help you choose the right camping gear and supplies for any campground you’re venturing to.