Arizona is one of the most beautiful states that the US has to offer, whether it is the world-famous Grand Canyon, the petrified forest national park, or the meteor crater, there are plenty of awe-inspiring sights for you to see.
But in all honesty, there are plenty of incredible locations off the beaten track and if you have a sense of adventure, we would strongly recommend packing up all your gear and going traveling around the rivers, forests, and mountains of this state.
But where are the best spots to go camping in Arizona? What sights can you expect to see at these sights?
What are the best secret trails and scenic rivers? Well, we’ve done a lot of the hiking so that you don’t have to, with our list of the best 20 camping spots in Arizona.
1. Edge Of The World, Sedona
If you want to go to a secluded location with nothing but you, the pine trees, and the quiet chirping of birds in the background, then we would certainly recommend that you take a trip to the Edge Of The World, Sedona.
This area is very remote and you will need some sort of vehicle to get to where you want to go, as it is located around 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Flagstaff.
Make sure that you go during the dry season, as this requires you to navigate over treacherous roads, which can genuinely be quite death-defying.
But once you get to this location, you can expect stunning views of the rolling Oak Creek Canyon, especially when the sun is setting, and the skies turn that unmistakable shade of pink.
This inimitable location has both desert and lush pine trees, covering the whole span of nature.
2. Alstrom Point, Lake Powell
This is another campsite that comes with a particularly treacherous journey, and you will have to be sure that you are a seasoned hiker (or you have a 4-wheel drive car) before you attempt this steep and sometimes impassable trek.
However, once you get to the summit, you can be sure that you won’t regret it. If the weather is nice enough, you can set up a camp bed and relax on the edge of the cliff under the stars.
A lot of people are unaware of this point, so you will most likely be left in complete solitude.
The most majestic of these views is Lake Powell, which is ridged around the edges with rounded peaks that are made from red sandstone.
From Alstrom Point, you can watch the boats scuttle across the water in total silence. There are also tours, including an 8-hour sunset tour and a 24-hour camping tour.
3. White Pockets, Vermilion Cliffs
This is another place that is far and away from the madding crowds, great for anyone who wants to camp in complete isolation. Just looking around this landscape, you’ll think that you’ve landed on the surface of Mars.
These rock formations are unlike anything you will ever have seen before.
Again, because this is off the beaten track, it is quite hard to get to and you will probably need a durable road vehicle to get there. You’ll also need to be careful when you are traversing the dry and brittle rocks, as these will so easily break off.
This operates on a first-come, first-serve basis, but most of the year it is very sparsely populated, so you won’t have to worry about overcrowding.
Only during the summer might you see more visitors than usual, but sometimes it might be nice to have a bit of company in this wilderness.
4. Mount Bigelow, Mount Lemmon
Situated an hour or so away from the nearest city, this is one of Tucson’s best-kept secrets. This has plenty of campsites, all of which you won’t have to make a reservation for beforehand.
If you want to camp here when the crowds are low, then we would suggest that you go on a weekday during the off-season (during or after the Fall).
This comes with trees that seem to brush against the sky and the whole area is surrounded by lush vegetation.
If you like wandering through wide open spaces to spot rare birds and other forest animals, then this is the perfect location.
Because this campsite is more accessible than some of the others that we have on this list, then it might be busy.
Unfortunately, there is no way of checking ahead, so you might have to just ensure that you are traveling during a time when you know it won’t be thronging with people.
This will usually be during the winter months on a weekday.
5. Bonita Canyon Campground, Chiricahua National Monument
At this next campsite, you can rock up and pitch a tent or you can book online in advance.
This is the first campsite on our list that is not out in the wilderness and comes with all the basic amenities including a toilet, shower facilities, a fire pit, picnic tables, and tent pads.
Here you’ll be able to see the upward rock formations that are known as hoodoos. These structures you won’t be able to glimpse in many other places in the world.
There are also plenty of real pine trees and lush surroundings that bring all the best parts of nature to the comfort of a campsite.
This campsite wouldn’t be considered a luxury one, but if you prefer the rougher side of camping out, then Bonita might be the place for you. There are stunning views and some of the clearest mountain air that you will ever breathe in.
6. Havasupai Garden Campground, Grand Canyon National Park
This is another fantastic hiking and camping destination, with a 20-mile walk that will really test your mental and physical willpower.
This is a basic campsite that comes with amenities like a bathroom, running water, and tables where you can eat your food.
We would not describe this as a difficult hike, as most of the terrain is quite flat and smooth with only a few slopes that you might have to scale.
You will need to make reservations to stay here, as it is a very popular location, especially during the vacation season.
You’ll have to make sure that you are completely prepared for your camping journey and have all the essentials for when you get out to Havasupai Gardens.
With blue skies and clear weather, you won’t ever want to leave this rocky paradise.
7. Rent A Tent, Monument Valley
This is another place that is a halfway house between the wilds of the great outdoors and the comfort and luxury of a functioning campsite.
From this campsite, you can see fantastic views of the hoodoos and other red sandstone rock formations that characterize this state.
Monument Valley is known for having spectacular views, which is why so many people visit there every year.
This area is also rich in Native American history, so make sure that you get down to the visitor’s center to see the rich culture of this place.
8. Petrified Forest National Wilderness Area
If you want to feel utterly alone in one of the most barren areas of America, then this is the place where you’ll want to set your GPS. This has no amenities and not even a place to charge your phone.
You’ll have to make sure that you are adequately prepared before you visit this incredible petrified forest.
This is a wide-open space of wilderness, which is fantastic if you want to avoid the crowds. You can set up your tent where you like, there is plenty of room, even if you are camping with a large party.
Stroll around and take some photos of the amazing rock formations.
9. Brookchar Campground, Big Lake Recreation Area
If you enjoy watching the sun sinking slowly into still waters, casting its warm orange light over everything, then this Big Lake area is the perfect place for you to pitch a tent.
This has some basic amenities like a toilet, but aside from that it will just be you and the great outdoors.
This is a very serene spot, and you can be sure there won’t be that many people around you. You can bring your fishing gear and catch your breakfast for the next morning.
This is also an old Apache hunting ground.
10. Catalina State Park, Oro Valley
If you are a fan of taking your RV camping, then Catalina State Park will be able to cater to all your needs. This is a very spacious park, with stunning views of the Saint Catalina Mountains or the Romero Pools.
This park will provide you with RV hookups, so you can easily power all your onboard electricity devices, whether it is a kettle, a shower, or your toilet.
However, you can also use the park’s on-site amenities too. You will have to book your reservations online before you make the trip.
11. North Rim Campground, Grand Canyon National Park
This is another campsite with a full range of amenities, from a campfire to toilets and showers.
If you want to bring your RV and your family into the wilderness to witness views of the canyons or the dense wilderness, then you should try North Rim Campground.
If you go during the summer, then you can expect it to be quite lively with families. However, if you want to avoid the rush, then go off-season, where the weather is slightly cooler and the camp slightly emptier.
This campsite is in the middle of a national forest, so there’ll be plenty of flora and fauna to behold.
12. Cattail Cove State Park, Lake Havasu
If you want to experience the great outdoors but you also want the comfort of knowing there is civilization nearby, then try the Cattail Cove State Park.
This is located around 20 minutes away from Havasu City, so if you fancy a night away from the bush at a fancy restaurant, this is always an option.
This park is on the edge of Lake Havasu, a little distance away from the busier campsites, which is great if you want a little bit of peace and quiet relaxing by the lake.
You can also place a booking for your boat if you want to bring that along with you.
13. Lost Dutchman State Park, Superstition Mountains
You might be wondering if this location lives up to its mysterious and alluring name.
Well, we think so! This campsite has an awe-inspiring view of the Superstition Mountains, which scrolls across the skyline in a jagged wave-style pattern.
You can bring your whole family here in the RV, as it has all the power points and resources that you’ll require.
The same goes if you prefer to camp. This park has tent pads, firepits, showers and stoves for you to grill your food on.
14. Kehl Springs Campground, Mogollon Rim
This is a very basic campsite that is perfect for anyone who likes a no-frills camping experience. It has a few amenities, but apart from that, it’s just greener than green meadows and gigantic ponderosa pine trees.
If you like to go spotting for birds, bees and other beasts of the field, then Kehl Springs Campground is simply a must.
There are no reservations, so you’ll have to get down there as early as you can if you want to secure yourself a space.
15. Reef Townsite Campground, Hereford
This is an old mining town that has been repurposed as a campsite, which is amazing if the site of old log cabins really puts a chill up your spine. This site comes with abandoned water towers and the ruins of old houses.
Reef Townsite also has plenty of trails that you can use for hiking and biking.
16. Upper & Lower Twilight Group Campground, Mount Graham
If you want a campsite where you can take the kids and allow them to run around in safety, then this campground is a super spot. You can even bring dogs here and not have to worry about any hazards.
This has Mount Graham and the Coronado National Forest nearby, both of which have amazing hiking trails.
17. Lower Log of North Fork Campground, Whiteriver
This campsite is next to Bull Creek, so if you want to take your fishing rod and try and capture some of their famous Rainbow Trout, then you can.
This is a very remote spot that can be tricky to get to when it has been raining, but once you get here, you won’t be disappointed by the serenity.
18. Willow Campground, Waddell
If you want a luxury campsite in the middle of the desert ground with views of the soaring White Tank Mountains and prickly pear cacti, then head down to Willow Campground.
This has plenty of space for a tent or a camper van. It even comes with a dishwashing station, so you can keep your gear civil and orderly.
19. Patagonia Lake Campground, Patagonia Lake State Park
This lush and green land is simply breathtaking, with plenty of natural water sources nearby where the children can play, and you can go for a relaxing dip yourself.
This is a busy campsite, so you will need to book in advance. There are plenty of amazing hiking trails in the area too.
20. Diamond Rock Campground
Finally, we have an amazing campsite that utilizes Adirondack shelters that were constructed during the Civil War.
This has a stream nearby, with access to fresh water where you and your kids can bathe without having to worry about hazards.
When you are looking for a decent camping ground anywhere, there are a few things you’ll need to consider:
What Amenities Does It Have?
This all depends on how much you want to rough it. Some campsites have basics like a shower and restrooms, while other sites have firepits, stoves and RV power points.
How Accessible Is It?
Some of the more remote camping spots are very hard to get to. Make sure that you scout out the location beforehand.
Arizona is a fantastic part of the country and comes with unique natural phenomena that you won’t see anywhere else (for the best caves to explore in Arizona, check here). We hope that our list of campsites has given you plenty of inspiration.
Frequently Asked Questions
During the summer months the weather will be nicer, but you might be competing with other campers who are making the most of their vacation time. However, the summer heat can get unbearable in the mountains.
There are plenty of places that will allow you to camp for free. However, if you are going to a more established campsite, you should call ahead to check availability and prices.
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