THE BEST CAMPING IN ARIZONA: Top 13 Arizona Campgrounds


While in Arizona, every camper is sure to have lots and lots of fun. From the hiking and biking trails down to paddling in the lakes. Everywhere in Arizona is clean, so the campers can enjoy the beautiful nature in the state. There are a lot of beautiful campgrounds, and the Grand Canyon, which is a mile carved by the Colorado River, is best known in Arizona. In addition, to have the best camping in Arizona, you have to go from having a warm night out to sitting around the campfire. Read on to know, the best camping in Arizona.

#1. The Grand Canyon 

the best camping in arizona
Image Source: Unsplash

The Grand Canyon is one of the best camping spots in Arizona. Camping in the Grand Canyon is another great way to avoid all the noise around the campground. There are so many things to enjoy and look out for when you are camping in the Grand Canyon, including watching the sunrise and the sunset. You are sure of the serene and calm environment at the Grand Canyon, especially if you love to enjoy your own time alone.  On the other hand, when you go along the rim on the south and north sides of the Grand Canyon, you will find developed campgrounds. Note that, one of the largest and most popular camping grounds that are accessible all year is the South Rim.

while camping on the north side is higher and is only accessible around May and October. When you stay at Mather Campground on the South Rim, you will have easy access to some of the park’s most well-known attractions and hiking trails. The 327 campsites are dispersed around a pine forest at the campground. Each campsite contains a fire ring, a picnic table, and room for three tents.  In addition, this is a great site to camp because the shuttle bus stops at the campground and travels only a mile to the canyon rim attractions.


#2. Gilbert Ray Campsite

Despite being only 15 minutes from Tucson’s top attractions, Gilbert Ray Campground in Tucson Mountain Park is another wonderful campground that gives you the feeling of being in the wilderness. This campsite includes 130 evenly spaced sites with electricity and water that are surrounded by saguaros and prickly pear cacti. The campground is hidden from any roads and is peaceful and beautiful, with views to the east of the mountain range that covers Tucson and to the west of the plains.

The camping area is close to Tucson, as are the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the Old Tucson Movie Studios, and the western portion of the Saguaro National Park. This location is good for hiking, with the breathtaking Valley View overlook route only a short distance away. Furthermore, to avoid disappointment or delay when planning to go camping, you can book in advance starting from December down to April.

#3. White Horse Lake Campground

The Whitehorse Lake Campground is a calm and peaceful camping spot in Arizona. It is in the Kaikab National Forest and is close to Sycamore Canyon.  The campground’s more than 90 sites do not all have RV connections, but have a dump station there. Although, the campground’s map will show you which sites are closest to the water. Campsites are evenly spaced out on the north and west sides of the lake. The lake is open to boating and fishing, but swimming is prohibited. From May 6 through September 30, the campground is open, and about half of the sites can be reserved in advance.

In addition, setting up near White Horse Lake has only one drawback getting there. If your car can’t handle the washboard forest roads, it might be a long ride in and out. In other words, Dogtown Lake Campground and Kaibab Lake Campground are closer to Williams and easier to get to. But both have similar vibes, but Dogtown Lake’s sites aren’t as close to the water, and Kaibab Lake’s located just a few miles north of downtown Williams, so it doesn’t feel as removed as White Horse Lake.

Read Also: BEST TIME TO VISIT ARIZONA: Ultimate Guide

#4. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Image Source: Fresh off the Grid

You will best find the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in the southern part of Arizona. Organ pipe cactus is usually one of the rear gems. The best camping in Arizona is at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Here, is where you will enjoy camping under the stars in the desert. You will find organ pipe Cactus, mountains, and saguaros in the green desert, which gives the state a natural beauty. The area around the campground is a lovely desert with mountains in the distance. The campground rarely, ever, fills up, especially on the weekends, because of its distant position.

The 208 sites are split up into an area for RVs and a different area for tents without generators. This campground, which is otherwise quiet save for the sound of birds, has an end-of-the-world vibe but nevertheless provides a respectable level of luxury.  Head about 20 minutes down the road from the entrance to Ajo, the town closest to the monument. As well check out either the Sonoran Desert Inn or the more affordable and recently renovated La Siesta Motel if you arrive late on the first night or need lodging near the park for some other reason.

#5. Lost Duckman State Camp Park

Image Source: Arizona State Parks

Near the Superstition Mountains in central Phoenix, roughly 40 miles from Phoenix, is where you’ll find Lost Dutchman, State Park. After spending the night at one of these reputable campgrounds, you can pack your hiking or biking gear and hit the trail. After spending the night at these well-established campsites, pack your hiking or biking equipment and hit the trail. To visit the park, you must pay a $ 7-day use fee ($15/night if you are camping). The campground provides 134 campsites, 68 of which have water and electricity hookups, as well as picnic tables, grills, and fire pits. Two shower structures, many restrooms, a dishwashing station, and a gift shop are among the numerous camping amenities. This campground welcomes dogs and makes a fantastic starting point for exploring the Superstition Mountains. Although the campsites are roomy and not too close to one another. 

#6. Patagonia Lake State Camp Park

Image Source: Visit Arizona

On State Route 82, 7 miles south of Patagonia, Arizona, is where you’ll find Patagonia Lake State Park, which is situated around 70 miles southeast of Tucson. With the rising Santa Rita Mountains providing the ideal backdrop, the trip to Patagonia Lake State Park from the north is very beautiful. The road winds through rolling hills and rural areas. Patagonia Lake has a length of 2.5 kilometers and an area of 250 acres.

It is a well-liked location for several leisure pursuits, including water skiing, bird watching, and camping. While in the park, you can camp, canoe, or kayak, and also walk along the shoreline of the park. Despite the park’s limited number of official trails, you can stroll along the shore in both directions for about a half mile before coming to an end at a barbed wire fence. 

#7. Pinegrove Campground

Image Source: The Dyrt

Another great camping area in Arizona is Pine Grove. Pine Grove, which is surrounded by lakes, pine trees, and wide meadows, is about an hour’s drive from Sedona, Arizona. A hidden treasure is Pine Grove Campground in Flagstaff, Arizona. The close lakes of Upper and Lower Lake Mary, Ashurst, Marshall, and Kinnikinick can offer a variety of recreational opportunities. Likewise, the campsites are spotless and include all the rich amenities that base campers need. such as coin-operated showers, tables, fire rings, grills, drinking water, and toilets with handicap accessibility and flush toilets. There is a nice amount of room and a trail for hiking as well.

In addition, this campground has peaceful scenery. Sedona is located in a pine forest and features a meadow that is ideal for meditation or just getting lost in the trees, grass, and sky. A small amphitheater is located just outside the campground. It’s a fantastic location to visit at night to take in the millions of stars that will be visible above you. You can arrive in Sedona’s gorgeous surroundings after a quick hour-long trip. There are numerous hikes in Sedona that will keep you and your family occupied all day. This campground is a fantastic fallback if Sedona Campground is full. Make a camping reservation here


#8. Lake Havasu State Park

Image Source: Lake Havasu City

Lake Havasu is one of the best camping spots in Arizona. If you choose to camp in Lake Havasu, you can expect to find beaches, even if this is probably not what you picture when you think of camping in Arizona. Well, under the front of a lovely stretch of soft sand beach, the campground at Lake Havasu State Park offers campsites tucked away under the shade of a few tiny trees. Mostly, the views over the lake’s gorgeous blue waters and the far, lonely hills are breathtaking.

This park can get fairly crowded during the height of the boating season. As well as, this is a place for those seeking excitement and enjoyment, not a peaceful nature retreat. Each campsite has 50-amp electricity and water, allowing you to run your RV’s air conditioner.

#9. Spillway Campground, Payson

the best camping in arizona
Image Source: AZ Camp Guide

The campground is located in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, which is well-known for its outdoor leisure opportunities, at a height of 7,500 feet on the Mogollon Rim. Spillway Campground is a modest, beautiful campground located on the beaches of Wood’s Lake. Given that the lake is full of trout, this is the perfect location to go fishing in the summer. Swimming, canoeing, and small boats all thrive in the cool, clean, and deep waters. Although a few are lakefront, the majority of campsites are just a short stroll from the lake.

Between the evenly spaced sites, tall Ponderosa pines and other smaller trees offer solitude and shade. Spillway Campground only has 25 sites, and they sell out quickly. Significantly, Aspen and Rim are nearby in case you want to visit there. Late spring is when campgrounds up here open. This region happens to be cool or even cold depending on the season because of the height. You can also check out the campgrounds in the area of Payson if you’re looking for something a little more affordable yet still close by.

#10. Prescott Lynx Campground

Image Source: Beyond The Tent

You can camp under the towering ponderosa pines at Lynx Campground on Lynx Lake. There are also, numerous hiking and mountain bike paths nearby, as well as excellent fishing and birding in the area. The park staff keeps the sites pristinely clean, private, and far apart. Due to the campground’s elevation of 5,600 feet, the location is calm, and cool nights and sunny, warm days alternate throughout the year. The campground has 35 sites on seven loops.

The area is quiet, and since the campground is set at 5,600 feet, the days are sunny and warm without being overly hot, and the nights are refreshingly cool. Meanwhile, the best time of year for camping in Prescott is usually spring and summer. 

#11. Camp at Marshal Lake

Image Source: AZ Camp Guide

Marshall Lake in Flagstaff, Arizona, is the ideal campground for you if you’re seeking roomy campsites, woodland hiking trails, and quiet surroundings. Well, Marshall Lake is just on Forest Highway 3 (Lake Mary Road), approximately 9 miles south of Flagstaff. Great campsites are available at Marshall Lake, close to the water. Also, there are many local trails you can use to get some exercise. After a few miles of travel on Forest Road 128 to the east, turn left (east) onto an unpaved road that will take you to Marshall Lake. A high-clearance vehicle is not necessary; simply follow the sign. For the following few miles, a number of underdeveloped, free campsites will be scattered throughout the forest.

Each of these campsites has a fire pit, lots of pine trees to offer shade from the sun or rain, and enough privacy from your neighbors that you can’t go wrong with any of them. An Arizona Trail trailhead and Marshall Lake are just down the road. You can go hiking or trail running along this portion of the Arizona Trail. For breathtaking vistas of the Cococino Forest, hike or run the 5.6 miles to Fisher Point. Alternatively, continue on a bit farther and explore some small, off-trail caves. Despite being small and marshy, Marshall Lake often has enough water for the Arizona Game and Fish Department to fill it with trout.

#12. Lockett Meadow Campground

The campground at Lockett Meadow is the closest to the San Francisco Peaks. There are only 17 sites in this little, undeveloped campground, but you won’t need much to take in the view. Aspens turn a beautiful green with fresh leaves in the summer, according to Kelly Vaughn, senior editor of Arizona Highways. “That foliage changes from green to a stunning gold in the fall.” Each campsite has a fire ring and a picnic table, but you must first verify the Coconino National Forest’s fire regulations before lighting a fire. After you’ve made camp, head to the southwest corner of the campsite to access the Inner Basin Trail. 

#13. Catalina State Camp Park, Arizona

the best camping in arizona
Image Source: Visit Arizona

There are so many things to look out for when you are in Arizona, especially if you are in Catalina state camp. This is the spot to camp if you want to have facilities like showers while enjoying nature in a setting that is quite urban and close to a metropolis. Outside of Tucson, in Catalina State Park’s Campground A or Campground B, you can find spacious sites with paved parking pads in a flat, open environment.

Additionally, amazing mountain views and unexpected amounts of wildlife can be found here. From your camp chair, you will observe a variety of birds flying by and landing in the woods. There are undoubtedly prairie dogs in this area, and you will also encounter bobcats and white-tailed deer, among other animals. Coyotes and owls yipping and hooting can be heard at night.

What Are the Best Camping Areas in Arizona?

Below is the list of the best camping in Arizona:

  • The grand canyon
  • Gilbert Ray campground
  • White horse lake campground
  • Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
  • Patagonia Lake State Camp Park
  • Lake Havasu state park
  • Pinegrove campground
  • Spillway Campground, Payson
  • Prescott Lynx Campground
  • Camp at marshal lake
  • Lockett Meadow Campground
  • Catalina State camp

What Is the Best Time of the Year to Camp in Arizona?

The best time to camp in Arizona is during summer and autumn

Is Boondocking Legal in Arizona?

Yes, just like any other place, boondocking is legal in Arizona. In fact, most BLM allows camping for up to days. 

Where Can I Camp in Arizona in the Summer?

The following campground parks are good for camping during the summer

  • Grand Canyon
  • Lost Duckman State Park
  • Lake Havasu
  • Mather Campground
  • Kartchner State Park

Is It Legal to Sleep in Your Car in Arizona?

All Arizona rest areas are open to tourists who want to spend the night in their cars. The name “Safety Rest Area” is used by ADOT because one of a rest area’s main objectives is to improve safety.

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