Best Camping Spots in Arizona
There’s so much to see and do in the state of Arizona. From wild west historic sites to world-known wonder the Grand Canyon, this state has a lot to offer to campers. The spectacular rock formations and cactus-dotted deserts make Arizona a great camping destination, with so many of the spectacular views we camp to enjoy. Some of the best state parks in the region are in Arizona, as well as the most famous national park in the world.
With amazing options for desert camping, prime spots to pitch your tent lakeside, and everything in between, Arizona has the perfect camping experience for everyone. There are destinations for mountain biking, and trails for horseback riding. Campgrounds all over the state offer prime campsites to tent campers and RVers. If you decide on a camping trip to the Arizona desert, just pack up your best camping cooler, and pick a destination off this list. We’ve compiled the best camping spots in Arizona into one place for you, so you’re guaranteed a quality camping experience.
Located right near the Grand Canyon, Lee’s Ferry Campground is a great spot for hikers and history fans. Some beautiful historical sites are situated in the area, but the main attraction is direct access to the Colorado River. It’s actually the only place within Glen Canyon where driving right up to the river is possible. Campers who enjoy angling should definitely check this one out, it’s perfect for spending the day fly-fishing and then returning to the campground for a night under the stars.
Other options for recreation at Lee’s Ferry include climbing the red-orange cliff rocks and exploring the historical buildings around the area. Many visitors use this campground to begin their trip into the Grand Canyon, it’s the perfect spot to begin your multi-day hike. A hiking trip through the Grand Canyon would be an amazing first backpacking trip, if you’re interested, read our article filled with tons of tips for beginners. The campground at Lee’s Ferry offers both tent and RV sites, and flush toilets are on site. A dispersed camping area is accessible by boat, and here there are vault toilets only.
This RV only site is amazingly located, right on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. The campsites all sit in a shaded pine grove in the beautiful Kaibab National Forest, close to Jacob Lake. The area has plenty of scenic hiking and nature trails, including those for horseback riding. You could even take a tour of the area, or hop on a shuttle bus down to the Grand Canyon.
Kaibab Camper Village is the only campground on the north rim that offers full hookups to RVers and can accommodate even 40 foot big rigs. Toilets, fire rings, picnic tables, and showers are available onsite, as well as laundry and a camp store. This is one of the best-equipped RV campgrounds we’ve seen, and the amazing views so close by makes this one of the best camping spots in Arizona.
Located in the Coconino National Forest and just a short drive from Slide Rock State Park is Cave Springs Campground, just nearby Sedona. Miles of hiking trails accessible from the campground offer spectacular views of the Grand Canyon. Nearby, Oak Creek offers great fishing for trout, as well as a lovely spot to cool off in the summer with a swim. The scenic surroundings make this campground one of Coconino National Forest’s most popular spots.
The campsites are located in a shady strand of ponderosa pines in the upper reaches of the canyon, where there are spaces for tents and RVs. Many sites are actually on the banks of Oak Creek, a wonderful place to pitch your tent and unzip in the morning to the sound of the bubbling stream. There are no electric hookups, but potable water, campfire rings, and a general store are all available in the vicinity.
For those looking for an authentic mountain camping experience, we recommend Lockett Meadow near Flagstaff. It’s primitive camping only, but the unparalleled views of untouched natural areas make roughing it worth it. Sights of the San Fransisco Peaks are just waiting to be enjoyed, and campers can enjoy miles of wilderness trails which wind the cool aspen trees. Located in the Coconino National Forest, this campground offers stunning lake and mountain views, in an area home to an extinct volcano.
The facilities as Lockett Meadow include vault toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings. There’s no drinking water so you’ll have to pack it in, and the sites are for tent campers only. The undamaged nature of this area and the scenic views that visitors can enjoy making it one of the best camping spots in Arizona, certainly for those searching for a quiet, back-to-nature getaway.
Just by a ponderosa pine forest outside of the Woods Canyon Recreation Area, Mogollon campground offers some of the best views in Arizona. It’s one of the closest camping areas to the Mogollon Rim, where campers can enjoy incredible views of the canyon. A short drive away, the Woods Canyon Lake offers additional recreation in the form of trout fishing and more scenic hiking trails.
Tent campers and RVs are welcome at Mogollon Rim campground, where drinking water and toilets are available. Each campsite has a fire ring and picnic table, perfect for chilling out in the evening after a busy day of hiking and fishing. Boat and kayak rentals are available a short drive away for some fun on the lake.
Lost Dutchman State Park is one of Arizona’s most popular, as it offers both spectacular views and rich history. Named after a goldmine that may or may not exist, Lost Dutchman is only 40 miles from Phoenix. The Superstition Mountains are told to hold lost gold, and history enthusiasts come to wander the miles of hiking trails in search of some loot. The park is filled with beauty as well as mystery, as views from the many trails are spectacular.
Mountain bikers can enjoy four miles of single-track lay along the bottom of Superstition Mountain, and photo opportunities surround every visitor. This spot is a great place for a few peaceful evenings of camping, where there’s provision for tents and RVs. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire ring, and some have hookups for RVers.
As one of the only locations in Arizona to offer beachfront camping, we had to include the beautiful Lake Havasu State Park. The white sand beaches of Lake Havasu offer a peaceful and scenic spot to camp, with panoramic views of the lake and mountains beyond. A popular bird-watching destination, visitors to Lake Havasu might see Anna’s Hummingbird or a Great Horned Owl.
The campground offers showers and restrooms, and each campsite has an electric hookup. Tent and RV sites all have potable water, as well as picnic tables and fire rings. The park has three boat launch ramps, so boat campers, this is a great destination for you.
8. Saguaro Lake
Named after the Saguaro cactus, this lakeside camping experience is one of the best Arizona has to offer. Located in the Tonto National Forest, Saguaro Lake offers great recreation and even better views. The shores of the lake are studded with majestic Saguaro cactus, with stunning mountain views beyond. In the lake, great boating is accompanied by superior fishing. There are large bass, carp, bluegill, and more, al swimming in the lake.
If you want a camping experience that comes along with a fishing trip, then Saguaro Lake is the destination for you. Anglers should read up on our bass fishing tips before they set off, then enjoy a few days of peaceful fishing on the lake, surrounded by breathtaking panoramic natural views. Several campgrounds are located in close vicinity to the lake, we recommend Bagley Flat which is known for its boat-only access camping.
Catalina State Park sits at the base of the phenomenal Santa Catalina Mountains, where it serves as a haven for desert plants and wildlife. The state park is also home to nearly 5000 saguaros; intimidating, tree-like cactuses. The landscape consists of rocky canyons, rolling foothills, and scenic streams, a perfect destination for a camping trip.
Miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding wind throughout the park and into the Colorado National Forest. These naturally beautiful trails attract many campers who stay overnight in the area while enjoying the surroundings during the day. The campground offers picnic tables, an equestrian center, and accessible restrooms and shower facilities. The beautiful mountain backdrop, desert wildflowers, and ample wildlife viewing make this park one of the most scenic and best camping spots in Arizona.
Located on the 55-acre Lynx Lake, this campground is situated in a pleasant grove of ponderosa pine. During spring and summer, wildflowers bloom in the area creating a beautiful natural backdrop, and the forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Sightings can include deer, osprey, fox, and even mountain lions. This area is not only a great spot for wildlife watching, but it’s also home to several trail systems for hikers and nature fans.
Only seven miles southeast of Prescott, this Arizona campground has a lot to offer. Each campsite is equipped with a fire ring, picnic table, and room for tents or a tent pad. Vault toilets and flush toilets are available for use, as well as potable water. There are no RV hookups at this campground.
11. Aspen Campground
There are lots of campgrounds in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, and one we’d recommend is the Aspen Campground. The adjacent Woods Canyon Lake offers excellent recreation, you can rent boats and fishing equipment and try some angling on your camping trip. This scenic hideaway sits in a dense pine and aspen area, with calm and scenic lake waters nearby.
Aspen Campground is truly one of the best camping spots in Arizona, where the spacious campsites are available in both meadows and wooded areas. There are no showers at this campground, but by the lake, there’s a marina with groceries, boat rentals, and firewood for sale. Fire pits, picnic tables, potable water, and toilets are all available for use at this beautiful campground. If you want to visit the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, you should consider Aspen as an option.
For a peaceful and more untouched camping destination, Patagonia Lake makes a great option. This off-the-beaten-track lake is serene and beautiful, the perfect place to see some wildlife. Whitetail deer and great blue herons can be spotted in the area. There’s also great fishing in the 265-acre manmade lake, where you can catch trout, bass, bluegill, catfish, and more.
The campground at Patagonia Lake State Park offers sites for tent campers and RVs, with each campsite coming equipped with picnic tables and fire grills. There are also 12 secluded campsites accessible only by boat, which you can rent at the marina. Taking a boat ride to a practically private campsite in gorgeous southeastern Arizona promises an unforgettable camping experience.
Bordering on Oak Creek Canyon, this small Arizona campground is very popular. The stunning red rock surroundings and swimming holes attract lots of visitors, meaning the campground can get busy during peak seasons. More swimming holes are a short hike away in Slide Rock State Park, and miles of trails also lead to other sites in the area. The crystal clear water is perfect for cooling off on a hot day, and the lush forest is great for exploring.
The campground is tent-only, with each campsite equipped with a picnic table and campfire ring. Coin-operated showers can be accessed at a different location, but the short walk is worth the much-improved location at Manzanita Campground.
Close to town, this RV park still retains a natural and secluded feeling. The surroundings are made up of sycamore and cottonwood trees, and Oak Creek Canyon is but a short distance away. Recreational activities include hiking and fishing, but the main attraction is the gorgeous cactus-spotted desert surroundings.
Full hookups are available for campers, as well as picnic tables, and digital TV and Wi-Fi. The sites are shaded by trees and the campground overall is peaceful and tidy.
This popular campground has limited spaces, as the beautiful location has been damaged by a number of factors so preservation efforts are in effect. This gorgeous part of the Grand Canyon National Park is not accessible by roads, so campers need to come prepared for a strenuous desert hike. The Havasupai Indian Reservation still attracts thousands of visitors a year because of the breathtaking Havasu waterfalls. The Havasu Creek flows directly through the campground, and limestone cliffs tower above the canyon, creating amazing surroundings.
Permits can be acquired for those wishing to do the excellent hike to the waterfall, a popular multi-day trek with backcountry camping. Tent campers will have access to composting toilets, picnic tables, and drinking water. There are no further amenities, and it’s worth noting that campfires are not permitted. This is a great camping destination for those seeking beautiful surroundings and natural experience.
Camping in Arizona is a wonderful way to experience what the state has to offer. From the towering red rock formations at Grand Canyon National Park to the peaceful green oasis of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, there’s a campground or state park in Arizona which holds your ideal camping experience.
Try fishing and boating at Lake Havasu State Park, where birdwatching is also popular. Saguaro Lake is also a great destination for anglers, in the Tonto National Forest where mountain views are accompanied by cacti all around.
Lockett Meadow offers phenomenal primitive mountain camping, campers can enjoy unparalleled views of the San Fransisco Peaks. Here the Arizona wilderness is peaceful and undamaged, and the hikes are some of the best. Camp at the foot of an extinct volcano at Lockett Meadow for an unforgettable experience.
Patagonia State Park is another excellent choice for campers seeking seclusion, where you can rent a boat to access dispersed campsites on the water. If the crowds don’t bother you, check out Manzanita Campground near Oak Creek, where the swimming holes are popular in the summer.
No matter the type of camping you prefer, be it tent or RV, primitive or luxury, one of the campgrounds or parks on our list holds the ideal Arizona camping experience. All of the best sights, the most beautiful views, and the most interesting attractions have been compiled here, these are the best camping spots in Arizona.
Bonus tip: Check out this video of the stunning Havasu Falls!