Arizona is one of the most picturesque states in the country. There is so much to see and do from wild west historic sites to natural wonders like the Grand Canyon. The rugged terrain, cactus-dotted desert views and spectacular rock formations make this state a camper’s dream. The state is also home to some of the most well-known state and national parks in the region.
Whether you want to pull your rig up lakeside or pitch a tent off-the-beaten-path this list will help you find the best camping in Arizona.
So pack up your tent, collect your backpacking gear and dust off the RV. Arizona here we come.
10 Best Places for Lake Camping in Arizona
Ready to cool down from that hot Arizona sun? What better way than to camp lakeside and enjoy the best water activities this state has to offer. With a multitude of both small and large lakes, you can find the right setting for your next camping vacation.
You cannot say you’ve hit the best camping in Arizona without visiting Lake Mead!
Visit the Hoover Dam or hike miles of beautiful trails through canyons and valleys. The activities and sites at Lake Mead National Recreation Area are abounding.
The campgrounds offer single or group sites with access to restrooms, picnic tables, grills, running water and the most sought after amenity in Arizona, shade. They also have RV sites with full hookups.
Jacob Lake National Recreation Area Is located in the North Kaibab National Forest near Jacob Lake, AZ, the gateway to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The area offers plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails as well as horseback riding and chuck wagon rides. There is no fishing at Jacob Lake. Sites have access to grills, picnic shelters, restrooms, fire rings and water.
Located in the Tonto National Forest, Apache Lake offers endless outdoor recreation options including boating, fishing, hiking and water skiing. Lakeside camping for both tents and RVs is available at the Burnt Corral Campground. The campground offers picnic tables, restrooms, water hydrants and a boat dock, however, there are no electric hookups.
For the ultimate Arizona lake camping experience, try the Saguaro Lake, surrounded by it’s namesake cactus. Boat access camping is available at some of the campgrounds on the lake like Bagley Flat, which also offers grills, tables and plenty of shade.
Canyon Lake is a dessert oasis that offers a range of activities from swimming at the beach to enjoying water sports like kayaking. The campground offers access to tent campers, RVs and boats and includes picnic tables, grills and fire rings at each site. Pets are also welcome.
Enjoy boating, hiking, swimming and fishing at this off-the-beaten-path campground that is kept cool by a grove of pines. They accommodate both tent campers and RVs. There are concrete pads, fire rings and picnic tables as well as common restrooms and showers.
Nestled in a grove of ponderosa pine, the Lynx Lake Campground is a great place to enjoy boating, camping, hiking and wildlife viewing. Each site comes with a picnic table and steel fire ring. There are no RV sites or hookups at this campground but you can bring your pets.
This off-the-beaten-path lake is a serene place for wildlife viewing and exploring the water by boat. The campground offers sites with picnic tables, fire grills, parking for 2 vehicles and most sites are able to accommodate any size RV. The park also offers 12 secluded campsites that are only accessible by boat and have portable restrooms. You can even rent a boat at the neighboring marina.
Read more about Patagonia Lake State Park on Beyond The Tent.
Go hiking, swimming, fishing or boating at this beautiful lake situated just off the Colorado River. The campground offers both tent and RV sites with restrooms, showers, picnic tables and grills. Try out the nearby hiking areas or put in at one of the boat ramps where they have direct access to the river.
Beachfront campsites are available at this beautiful Arizona state park. The campgrounds offer showers and restrooms and each site has a 50 amp hookup, picnic table, shade armada and fire ring at most sites. Don’t forget to check out the main attraction in Lake Havasu City, the historic London Bridge.
10 Best Places for Free Camping in Arizona
Free campsites don’t have all the bells and whistles that camping resorts have but they come with their own benefits. You’ll enjoy wide-open, starry night skies, quiet wilderness solitude and the opportunity to experience sites that few others will ever get to see.
Want to learn more about free camping? Check out our guide on Free Camping in the US.
Airplane flat campground is located within Tonto National Forest and offers some of the best camping in Arizona. It is a dispersed camping area in a stand of Ponderosa pines with access to Canyon Creek. There are vault toilets available but no other amenities.
Alderwood Campground is a great place to stay off-the-beaten-path with the family as it boasts swimming holes and plenty of shade. There are vault toilets but there is not water or other amenities available. This site is on Haigler Creek so make sure to bring your fishing gear.
Blue Crossing Campground is part of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in the Blue River Valley. You’ll find beautiful trails through the Blue Range Primitive Area (https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/asnf/recarea/?recid=75388) and plenty of opportunities to view local wildlife. Two of the sites offer Adirondack shelters and there are toilets and picnic tables available.
The camping area at Whitewater draw is perfect for RV wilderness camping. It has very close access to hiking trails through the wildlife area where the main attraction is the abundance of bird species, and especially the Sandhill Cranes. Pit toilets and picnic tables are available but be prepared to bring your own water.
Located in the Coronado National Forest, Herb Martyr is a dispersed campground that offers loads access to hiking trails, great views of local waterfalls and close by Cave Creek Canyon. Toilets are available but campers should bring water. The campsites are a short walk from the parking area.
Near Sedona, Arizona, in the Coconino National Forest, the Loy Butte Road camping area has some of the most beautiful views of all the free campgrounds in the area. There are no amenities at the site so be ready to truly rough it.
The Granville campground, located in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, just off the Coronado Trail, is a very well maintained site with drinking water, toilets, picnic tables, grills and trash cans. The area is shaded by cypress, aspens and oak trees.
Another shady site, Lower Juan Miller Campground is another small camping area in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. Picnic tables, grills, and trash cans are available, as well as toilets.
Part of the Tonto National Forest, the Pinal and Upper Pinal campgrounds are excellent sites for anyone looking for great hiking trails. Access to multiple trails can found in the area. You’ll also find plenty of shade from the pine and fir tree stands. Toilets are available but plan to bring your own water.
Box Wash Campground, near Wickenburg, AZ is a great base camp to visit a variety of parks in the region. Though the site is not as secluded as some, it offers plenty of space for large RV rigs, access to hiking trails and is an easy drive to town. While it may be one of the busier campgrounds the desert views are still spectacular.
10 Best Places for Tent Camping in Arizona
There is no better way to enjoy the expanse of the Arizona night sky than in a tent. It is the least expensive and most rugged way of exploring all this beautiful state has to offer. Stay at one of the region’s premier campgrounds or try something a little more rugged. Either way, you are sure to enjoy your Arizona tent camping experience.
If you want to learn more about tent camping, check out some of our favorite guides:
Located in the Superstition Mountains and home to a gold mining legend from the 1800‘s, Lost Dutchman State Park is filled with mystery and beauty and is another of the absolute best places to go camping in Arizona.
With a number of scenic hiking trails available it is a great place to camp out for an evening or even a few days. The trails connect directly with the large campground that offers sites for both tents and RVs. Each site is equipped with a picnic table, grill and fire pit.
Located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, the Havasupai Campground is one of the most popular campgrounds in the area and for good reason. The beautiful scenery, hiking trails and of course the waterfalls are a beautiful addition to the Grand Canyon area.
Plan to reserve your campsite at the beginning of the year as they book up fast. Hikes to the falls require a permit and can take between 1-3 days of backcountry camping round trip.
The Aspen Campground, part of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, offers both wooded and meadow sites. It is located adjacent to the Woods Canyon Lake where you can rent boats and fishing gear. You’ll see plenty of local wildlife so be sure to keep your food and belongings packed. The campground offers fire pits, picnic tables, water, and toilets. You can make reservations but there are also quite a few first come first serve sites.
The Mogollon Campground is naturally shaded by a ponderosa pine forest just outside of the Woods Canyon Recreation area. It is one of the closest camping areas to the Mogollon Rim which offers incredible views of the canyon and is also a short drive to Woods Canyon Lake. The campground is perfect for tenters as well as RVs and offers drinking water, trash pick up, toilets, grills, fire rings and picnic tables at each site.
If you don’t have the gear you need for a fun tent camping weekend, check out Outdoor’s Geek where you can rent camping gear at a fraction of the cost of buying.
Cave Springs Campground is located in the Coconino National Forest and is only a short drive to the swimming holes at Slide Rock State Park and nearby Sedona. There are plenty of beautiful views of the canyon from a variety of hiking trails and easy access to Oak Creek for fishing, wading, and swimming.
The View Campground offers just what it claims, one of the best views of one of the most iconic and historic sites in the country. Both RV and tent sites are available as well as a small camp store, restrooms, shower facilities. Take the guided four-wheeled drive tour of Monument Valley while you are there and be ready for one of the best views of the night sky you’ll ever see.
Located in the Coronado National Forest, the Hospital Flat Campground boasts fields of wildflowers and beautiful desert views. The campground offers tent camping only and the fee for the sites is on $10 per night.
Also located in the Coronado National Forest is the Riggs Flat Campground that is nearby the Riggs Flat lake, a perfect scenic spot for a quiet day of fishing. RVs are welcome at this campground as long as they are 22 feet or less. There are vault toilets but there is no available drinking water so make sure to bring your own.
Right near the Grand Canyon and home to some beautiful historic sites, Lee’s Ferry Campground is a perfect camping spot for hikers and history buffs alike. But the main attraction to this camping area is its direct access to the Colorado River. The campground offers both RV and tent sites in the main area with flush toilets and a waste station. If you’re feeling adventurous you can take your boat to the dispersed camping areas on the river. These sites offer vault toilets but no water or trash collection.
Bordering Oak Creek, the small Manzanita Campground is treasured for its beautiful scenery, fishing, and swimming holes. It can get very busy during the peak season. There are plenty of hiking trails nearby and the must-see Slide Rock State Park, popular for its swimming holes. The sites offer fire rings, grills, picnic tables, drink water, pit toilets and there are coin-operated showers just up the road.
If you want to enjoy some luxurious glamping in Arizona, make sure to checkout Moonlight Memories Campground. They offer luxurious campgrounds along with loads of activities such as hiking, mining tours, off-roading and more. Book Your Stay Here.
10 Best Places for RV Camping in Arizona
With a state as large as Arizona the best way to see all of the sites is in the comfort of your camper or RV. Whether you want the luxury of a resort or the rustic appeal of a national recreation area, you’ll find the perfect home away from home on this list.
Meteor Crater is the most well-preserved impact site on Earth and is nearly 1 mile across. Stay at the Meteor Crater RV Park to explore this natural wonder as well as other sites in northern Arizona.
Island RV Resort is a perfect desert escape located right on Lake Havasu across from the historic Lond Bridge. It offers beaches, boat docks and launches, heated pools and a nearby golf course. They offer plenty of options for all size rigs and both mountain and lake view sites.
The Butterfield RV Resort is a great base camp for exploring the region’s popular sites such as Tombstone, the Kartchner Caverns, and Tucson. They offer amenities including a pool and spa and an on-site observatory.
Located on the north rim of the Grand Canyon this RV site offers full hookups and can accommodate even the 40 foot big rigs. The sites are all shaded in a pine grove in the Kaibab National Forest and close to Jacob lake. There are ample hiking and nature trails and even horseback riding available. The sites offer electric, water, sewer, toilets, fire rings, tables, showers, laundry, and a camp store. Grab one of the shuttles to the Grand Canyon for a day trip.
Rancho Sedona is located close to town but still maintains a secluded feeling. The sites are shaded b sycamore and cottonwood trees and it is right next to Oak Creek. There are plenty of recreational activities in the area like hiking and fishing and it’s a short drive to all the restaurants, spas and local shops and galleries. The sites are equipped with electric, water, sewer, tables, WiFi and cement patios.
Catalina State Park offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking and wildlife viewing. Stay at their RV sites that offer water, electric, tables, grills, flush restrooms and hot shower. There are also dump stations available and there is no length limit on rigs.
Home to the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead is a family vacation spot that offers activities like fishing, boating, and hiking. Stay at the Template Bar Marina RV Park that offers, full hookups with a household current option, restrooms, showers, camp store, coin laundry and a dump station. This campground does not take reservations, so sites are on a first come first serve basis.
Tour the caves, visit local hiking trails and take a trip to Tombstone all while staying at the Kartchner Caverns State Park. The sites include electric hookups with a range of power options, water, table, trash receptacles, restrooms, and showers.
Located just off the shore of Lake Powell, the Wahweap Marina offers a load of activities from boating and fishing to exploring the local resort town. The full hook-up sites over electric, water, and septic and can accommodate up to 70-foot rigs.
You’ll never be bored at the Tombstone Territories RV Resort as they offer tons of hiking, riding, ATV and biking trails, a rec room, pools and exercise facilities, and beautiful views of the Arizona scenery.
Camping Arizona is an amazing way to explore the whole state or just a small region this desert setting has to offer. If you’re car camping, RVing or backpacking, exploring a national park or the Hoover Dam, these are without a doubt the best places to go camping in Arizona.
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Did we miss one of the your favorite spots for the best camping in Arizona? Let us know in the comments below!