Camping In Arizona: 13 Favourite Campgrounds In 2023
When thinking of an outdoor retreat, camping is one activity that comes to your mind immediately. From RV camping to modern luxurious camping tents, the camping lifestyle is something we all love. In this article, I will share our favorite places for camping in Arizona.
Camping in Arizona could quickly turn out to be your best camping experience ever. Known for its diverse landscapes, Arizona has every destination you wish to camp at. Forests, deserts, lakes, streams, and the wild wilderness that Arizona encapsulates make it a must-visit for camping.
After a long hike or even pulling off the road, you can find jaw-dropping sights here. There are red-rock deserts and lush woods here, waterfalls and arid basins, and a lot of it is suitable for all seasons. In addition, Arizona campgrounds are well-kept and conveniently located for visitors who wish to explore most of the state’s natural attractions.
Best Places for Camping in Arizona
Get your camping gear ready because we have gathered a list of the most beautiful campgrounds in Arizona that you won’t resist visiting:
The Grand Canyon, North And South Rim
Camping at the Grand Canyon is a fantastic option to avoid the daily throng and have this incredible natural wonder almost entirely to yourself. The shuttle bus stops at the campground, and a short ride will take you to the attractions on the canyon rim, which are only a mile away.
Developed campgrounds are located around the rim on the south and north sides of the canyon. The South Rim, available all year, is the largest camping area. The north side has a higher elevation and is only open from May 15 to October 31. The Kaibab National Forest has free scattered camping immediately south of the entrance if you can’t find a spot here. Nothing compares to the sensation of witnessing the sunrise or sunset over the Grand Canyon before the day-trippers arrive or depart.
Mather Campground on the South Rim provides excellent access to several of the park’s most iconic sights and hiking paths. There are 327 campsites at the campground, scattered over a pine forest. There’s a picnic table, a fire ring, and enough room for three tents at each site. Throughout the campground, flush toilets and potable water are accessible. From March 1 to November 1, campsites may be reserved up to six months in advance online. After that, it’s first-come, first-served outside of these hours.
Gilbert Ray Campground, Tucson
Another great campground in Arizona is Tucson Mountain Park, known as the Gilbert Ray Campground. The best part about camping is that it gives a wilderness experience 15 minutes away from Tucson’s main attraction points.
The campsite is adjacent to the western portion of the Saguaro National Park, the Old Tucson Movie Studios, and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and close to Tucson. This campsite includes 130 well-spaced sites with power and water, set among saguaros and prickly pear cactus. These campsites are calm and picturesque destinations, with views westward across the plains and eastward towards the mountain range that shelters Tucson.
Excellent hiking is right outside your door with the gorgeous Valley View Overlook path just minutes away. Campsites can be reserved ahead of time, which I would suggest during the peak season, from December to April.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a hidden gem near the Mexican border in Arizona’s Deep South. Organ Pipe National Monument also has one of Arizona’s top treks. It’s simple to keep oneself entertained at this park. This campground is the spot to go if you want to get away and camp in the desert beneath a star-filled sky.
The 208 campsites are separated into one for RVs and another for tents without generators. This campground, which is quiet save for birdsong, has an end-of-the-world air about it, but it provides a reasonable degree of comfort, with showers and flush toilets. Surrounded by the green desert and mountainous views, the campsites are found with few people except for weekends as it is far from the city.
Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, located just north of Page on the banks of Lake Powell, offers one of Arizona’s most distinctive camping experiences. Lake Powell, located inside the recreation area, is the second-biggest artificial lake in the United States and is widely regarded as one of the world’s best boating destinations.
The campground is quite spacious, and the flat land makes it easier to find the perfect spot to pitch your tent or park your RV. Sleep under the starry sky along the picturesque Lake Powell beach and wake up to views of the sandstone towers that flank the lake. At the Lake Powell Campground, you will have access to everything you need for camping, including a camp store, restaurants, and rental businesses. You may anticipate bringing in and out your food, water, garbage, and gear while on the lake. The recreation area is free to visit any time of the year!
Chiricahua National Monument, Bonita Canyon Campground
Chiricahua National Monument, in southern Arizona, not far from the Mexican border, preserves a sky island, a small mountain range that stands out from the rest. The Bonita Canyon Campground is located at a lower elevation than much of the monument. However, it is still well over 5,000 feet above sea level, which means the temperatures are milder, especially at night than in the surrounding desert.
The Chiricahua Mountains are recognized for their spectacular panorama of massive granite pinnacles. The park is well-forested, and the campers are separated by a sufficient distance, providing nature and seclusion. The environment is dotted with pine trees, and the vistas are breathtaking.
Camping here is a genuine joy, especially in the hotter months of the year, from spring through October. Most visitors come for the hiking paths, which run up and down the slope, passing past stone structures. Some of the nearby peaks may be seen through the woods. All sites can be reserved up to six months in advance on a rolling basis.
Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon
The Oak Creek Canyon should be on your list when hiking in Arizona. It is one of Sedona’s attractions, and it also has three excellent campsites. In addition, slide Rock State Park and some of Sedona’s top hikes are only a short drive away.
Cave Springs Campground is a little over 20 minutes north of Sedona, allowing you to easily experience the best of gorgeous Oak Creek Canyon without having to deal with Sedona’s traffic. This campsite includes 89 sites and is nestled in a spacious valley with substantial deciduous trees towering overhead, away from bustling Highway 89A.
Manzanita Campground is the most convenient option. Because Manzanita only has 18 locations, finding one might be difficult. The sites are grassy and well-spaced, with views of the sheer canyon walls from the ones on the western border. The sound of Oak Creek flowing by is enjoyed by those on the eastern border. These campgrounds can be reserved up to six months in advance on a rolling date basis.
Catalina State Park, Campground A or B
Campground A and B is the spot to camp if you want to camp in a more urban area near a city, with conveniences like showers and yet appreciate nature. In addition, large sites with asphalt parking pads in a wide-open space on a level terrain are available in Catalina State Park, just outside Tucson.
The campsites include 20-30-50 amp connections. A table, fire ring, and grate are also provided at each campground. You may choose between powered and non-powered sites, or you can stay in one of four group camping loops if you’re traveling with a group. The use campsites are ideal RV destinations, and the length of RVs is unrestricted.
The views of the mountains, which reach up to 3,000 feet, are breathtaking, and the wildlife is shockingly abundant. You can see various birds fluttering by and landing in the trees from your camp chair. Unusual plant life such as mesquite trees, desert willow, prickly pear, and various cacti are also common plant species. You can camp for full 14 days at Catalina State Park.
Under Canvas Grand Canyon, Campground
The next campground on our list is the perfect match for those who want to combine an incredible camping experience with comfort: The Grand Canyon allows you to enjoy nature while resting in contemporary tents with all of the conveniences of home. It is nestled on 160 acres of juniper and pion woodland just outside Arizona’s immensely picturesque Grand Canyon National Park.
Under Canvas, Grand Canyon provides everything you’ll need for a campout, including organic bath products and s’mores supplies. In addition, the campsites offer a choice of premium accommodations, including suites with king-size beds and safari-style tents with wood-burning stoves. Its quiet position is ideal for stargazing at night, and you’ll be well-rested after resting in a luxurious bed.
In summers, the campground can be overcrowded plus the hot weather doesn’t let you enjoy much. Thus, the best time to visit the Under Canvas glamping site is October. The pleasant weather and less crowded place are more convenient to have a perfect time spent outdoors.
Lake Havasu State Park
While beaches are probably not the first thing that comes to mind when camping in Arizona, they are exactly what you can anticipate if you choose to camp near Lake Havasu.
The Lake Havasu State Park campground features campsites nestled among tiny trees just in front of a magnificent stretch of soft sand beach. There are 47 tent and RV sites with 50 amp power connections and potable water in the campground. The views over the lake’s beautiful blue waters to the lonely hills in the distance are breathtaking.
This park may get extremely busy with an intense boating scene during the high season. Hence when visiting Lake Havasu, make sure to bring your boat and watersports equipment for a day on the water (you can also rent it). Keep your hiking boots, too, as you will find a fine trail with attractive views. The state park isn’t a peaceful nature retreat; it’s for folks who want to have a good time and don’t enjoy meeting new people.
Spillway Campground Near Payson
Spillway Campground, located on the banks of Wood’s Lake, is modest, charming, and quaint by camping standards. The campsite is located at 7,500 feet on the Mogollon Rim in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, a popular destination for outdoor leisure.
Tall Ponderosa Pines and other smaller trees give shade and seclusion between the well-spaced plots. Unfortunately, Spillway Campground only offers 25 sites and sells out quickly. If you can’t get in here, there are adjacent campgrounds such as Aspen and Rim.
If you enjoy fishing, this is a great site to visit in the summer because the lake is stocked with trout. Swimming, canoeing, and small boats are possible in the cold, clean, and deep waters. Most campsites are within walking distance of the lake; however, a handful is a lakefront. This location is chilly or even frigid, depending on the time of year due to the elevation. The campground is best to visit during Late April.
Prescott, Lynx Campground
Lynx Campground, located on Lynx Lake about 10 minutes outside of Prescott, allows you to camp among giant ponderosa pines, enjoy the lake’s recreational options, and return to town for any supplies you may have forgotten.
The campsite includes seven loops with 35 sites, and it fills up quickly during the late spring and summer months when the weather is ideal for camping in Prescott. The campsite is located at 5,600 feet, so the days are sunny and pleasant without being oppressively hot, and the nights are wonderfully chilly. Near the North Shore Day-Use Area, the Lynx Lake Shop and Marina has a restaurant, a store, boat rentals, firewood, fishing, and camping supplies.
Campground road and site spurs are paved with asphalt, pleasing venture and stay. There is much wildlife in the region, excellent fishing, and various hiking and mountain bike paths nearby. The campground is open from April to October, depending on suitable weather conditions.
Flagstaff, Bonito Campground
With all of the volcanic landscape, camping at the Bonito Campground near Flagstaff may make you feel like you’re in Hawaii rather than Arizona. However, it is an excellent area to stay for a while if you want to soak up some fresh air, a warm climate, and the vibes of a shaded pine forest.
On a first-come, first-served basis, the campsite has 44 spots available. Because the camp is located at 6,900 feet, it is cold in the summer and snow-covered in the winter. Near the North Shore Day-Use Area, the Lynx Lake Shop and Marina has a restaurant, a store, boat rentals, firewood, fishing, and camping supplies.
This location is part of the Lynx Lake Recreation Area, which features a pretty tiny lake that attracts hikers, birders, anglers, photographers, and other nature enthusiasts. A short drive away are strange and fascinating rock formations, lava tubes, and gigantic cinder cones. Hiking across lonely volcanic lava flows, discovering ancient Indian communities at Wupatki, or learning about Flagstaff’s recent history via Route 66 are all options.
Usery Mountain Regional Park
Usery Mountain Regional Park is handy if you want to camp close to the greater Phoenix area. The campground is set among saguaro cactus; behind are the Goldfield Mountains.
The campground has 73 sites and group camps, all well-spaced, with water and electrical hookups, fire pits, and picnic tables. This park has a fantastic range of leisure opportunities. The archery range, exercise equipment, picnic area, comfort stations with flush toilets, and showers with hot water are what campers love about the campsites.
The park’s principal features are a nature center and 27 miles of well-maintained trails, the bulk of which span flattish terrain. Sites can be reserved up to six months in advance.
Camping in Arizona: What You Need To Know
Arizona plays a significant role in the region’s attraction. At times, the canyons, arches, mountains, and land formations appear from another planet. Camping is the best way to explore these sites and have a lifetime experience.
These are a few things you need to consider when camping in Arizona:
- In all of its severity, the Arizona heat can make outdoor activities much more difficult. So prepare yourself with lots of water and sunscreen, hydrate ahead of time, and be mindful that a trek you’d like in a warm temperature may become challenging in a harsh climate.
- Temperatures might fluctuate from cold nights to scorching afternoons, so dress in layers. Even though there is a lot of sun throughout the day, the overnight temperatures may be rather tricky.
- Prepare to pack out whatever you pack in, even used toilet paper, to safeguard the environment. Make sure you follow the Leave No Trace principles.
- Always keep a safe distance from wildlife and never approach, feed, or follow it. There should be no food in the tent unless it is firmly sealed and stored out of reach.
- Avoid “washed” terrain, where the water level rises fast.
Now that you have found your favorite camping destination, you are all set to have a fun trip and release all the stress in the beauty of all-natural attractions. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.