Camping in the hot but beautiful state of Arizona is an adventure if boiling temperatures and barren lands don’t bother you. If they do, you probably want campsites that offer more than just desert landscapes. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place to find out about those!
Arizona has plenty of lakes to camp near if you desire lush scenery or a way to cool down. Check out our list of the best Arizona lake camping spots for suggestions on your ideal lakefront campsite!
Northern Arizona Lake Camping
1. Wahweap RV Park
At Wahweap Marina on the southwest end of Lake Powell is the Wahweap RV Park of the Glen Canyon Recreation Area. It’s open year-round, but if you want total seclusion, come to this Arizona lake camping spot in the winter. Pets are also welcome but need to be on a leash.
Lake Powell has a swimming beach and a wide variety of powerboats and recreational watercraft. You can learn how to do certain water activities like wakeboarding, water skiing, kayaking, and ski tubing. Don’t forget to check out the nearby restaurants and boat tours!
Wahweap RV Park offers full-hookup, tent-only, and dry campsites and will accommodate 25–45-foot-long RVs. Houseboat camping is also available for group campers. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, fire rings and grills, laundry, showers, potable water, and a dump station.
2. Kaibab Lake Campground
In the Kaibab National Forest is none other than the Kaibab Lake Campground. It’s loaded with forest attractions that include wildflowers, grassy shores, overlooks, dams, and hiking trails. At night, if the sky is clear, this Arizona lake camping spot is perfect for stargazing.
There are individual, double, and group sites for tent and RV campers. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring, and some of them allow trailers up to 40 feet long. Nearby are restrooms, trash bins, a group picnic area, and water faucets.
Swimming may not be an option at Kaibab Lake, but it’s a popular spot for fishing, boating, and picnicking. The fishing pier is an accessible fishing spot, and if you need bait, you can purchase it at the onsite store.
Best of all, Kaibab Lake is not only pet-friendly but also an hour away from the Grand Canyon!
3. Dogtown Lake Campground
Another Arizona lakeshore campground in the Kaibab National Forest is the Dogtown Lake Campground. A fun fact about this place is that it used to have many prairie dog towns near the lake. Though there aren’t as many prairie dogs as before, campers can still see a few of them here.
Just like at Kaibab Lake, swimming in Dogtown Lake is prohibited. But campers may go canoeing or kayaking and fishing for crappies, rainbow or brown trout, bluegill, and largemouth bass. There’s also a hiking trail near the lake that leads to a scenic overlook.
Between late spring and early fall is when it’s best to camp here. There are 54 sites for group, tent, and dry camping, with amenities such as laundry, vault toilets, potable water, and firewood. Be sure to bring your furry friend along!
Western Arizona Lake Camping
4. Alamo Lake State Park
Alamo Lake State Park is settled in the Bill William River Valley, surrounded by a mountainous landscape. The sites at this Arizona lake camping area are divided into letters, indicating RV, tent, or dry camping. Certain lettered sites offer amazing lakeside views!
Some sites offer full hookups and dump stations, and the other sites have the usual fire ring and picnic table. Vault and chemical toilets are spread out on the campground. There are also four camping cabins with heating and air-conditioning that you can book.
If you like fishing for largemouth basses and crappies, Alamo Lake is considered the best fishery for them! And unlike the previous two Arizona lakeshore campgrounds, Alamo Lake allows for swimming but warns of no designated beach. Hence, campers should swim near the shore.
5. Lake Havasu State Park
Lake Havasu State Park is another year-round location for Arizona lake camping. It has standard and beachfront campsites that have 50-amp electrical hookups, with most sites accommodating both RVs and tents. Individual sites have potable water and shaded ramadas.
Lake Havasu boasts the best catch rates of striped, large-, and smallmouth basses. Other catches include bluegill, redear sunfish, and channel and flathead catfish. For water recreational purposes, campers can go jet skiing, wakeboarding, paddleboarding, and scuba diving.
Swimming is allowed along the shoreline, but pay attention to varying water temperatures and swim wisely, as there is no lifeguard. Bring water shoes and a mat with your towels to avoid the rocky conditions in and out of the water.
Central Arizona Lake Camping
6. Lynx Lake Campground
The Lynx Lake Campground has a recreation area that’s considered one of Central Arizona’s most popular recreation spots. It’s great for hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, horseback riding, gold panning, and other activities.
Lynx Lake is part of the Prescott National Forest, so leave no trace at this Arizona lakeshore campground. It’s settled in a forest of ponderosa pine trees and is great for boating, sailing, and fishing. Trout is the main catch, but other fish you’ll see are catfish, crappies, and largemouth basses.
Each of the 35 campsites holds five people, but ten will suffice if the group is a single large family. The sites hold two vehicles and a 22–35-foot trailer, and potable water and toilets are available from April to October.
7. Desert Tortoise Campground
If you seek a popular water sports destination, the Desert Tortoise Campground of Lake Pleasant Regional Park is your spot! At Lake Pleasant, you can scuba dive, jet or water ski, sail, windsurf, and more, in addition to fishing and swimming.
When you’re not out on the lake, take advantage of other activities at this Arizona lake camping area. You can hike the park’s three trails, visit the nature center, or go on moonlit scorpion hunts.
This year-round, pet-friendly, and ADA-accessible campground has developed and semi-developed campsites with amenities suiting RV, tent, and dry campers. Most of the sites boast beautiful views, and each of them has a fire pit and a covered ramada.
Boat-in camping is also an option for those who want an early start in the water!
Eastern Arizona Lake Camping
8. Fool Hollow Recreation Area
In the White Mountain region is the Fool Hollow Recreation Area. It’s a diverse fishery, so campers may catch a variety of fish during their stay. In the summer, canoes and kayaks are available for rent.
When going swimming, you’re in for a rocky shoreline, so wear water shoes and place a mat under your towel. With no designated swimming beach, you’ll need to stay close to shore. Outside of the water, don’t miss the view of a herd of elk feeding by the lakeside!
The 29 tent-only sites have concrete pads, fire rings, picnic tables, restrooms, and showers. RVs and trailers of up to 40 feet long are accepted and have 82 hookup sites to choose from. Three of these RV sites are near a steep cliff, so enjoy breathtaking views with caution!
9. Rainbow Campground
The largest Arizona lakeshore campground in the Big Lake Recreation Area is the scenic Rainbow Campground. Because of its pet-friendly policy, amenities, and short distance toward the lake, this campground is a family favorite.
The 165 campsites are surrounded by various trees, providing shade and beautiful forested scenery for tent and dry campers. Amenities like potable water, fire rings, grills, showers, and restrooms are available. For RVs up to 32 feet long, though, there are no electric hookups.
In the lake, there are trout, rainbow, cutthroat, brook, and Apache fish to catch. Campers may also participate in land activities like hiking, horseback riding, nature viewing, and mountain biking.
Understand that Rainbow Campground’s common visitors are skunks and bears, so follow safety practices while camping. And if you’re planning on camping here between July and August, watch the weather, as rain is heavy throughout these months.
Southern Arizona Lake Camping
10. Patagonia Lake State Park
Patagonia Lake State Park is definitely an oasis, as it’s settled in the desert and lined by vegetation. It has 105 campsites, with each holding two vehicles. There are even boat-in campsites, for which campers would need to rent boats at the Patagonia Marina to access the sites.
Cabin campers have a choice of seven 2–3-room ADA-accessible cabins with electricity, heating, and air-conditioning. The cabins sleep up to six campers, and some of them sleep up to two pets. Better yet, they give you beautiful views of Patagonia Lake!
Fishing season for rainbow trout starts in November, right when the camping season ends. Campers can swim anywhere where there’s no boat ramp, but caution is required. Not only is the water wild, but there is also no lifeguard.
Boat rentals are available at the park’s marina. Please note that personal watercraft and jet skis aren’t allowed at this Arizona lakeshore campground. Water skiing, however, is an exception.
11. Lakeview Campground
On a hill overlooking Parker Canyon Lake is the year-round Lakeview Campground. There are 65 ADA-accessible sites that are spread out among the oaks and junipers. The campground accommodates 36-foot-long RVs and has potable water, vault toilets, and trash service.
The lake and boat ramp are a short walk and drive away from this Arizona lakeshore campground. Campers may fish from the pier, an ADA-accessible platform, or a boat rental. The latter option is available at the Parker Canyon Lake and Marina.
The bald eagles and ospreys make bird watching an extraordinary experience here. You’ll also see other wildlife like white-tailed or mule deer, waterfowl, and coatimundis (relatives of raccoons). Note that black bears are common residents, so practice safety while camping.
Desert the Heat for Arizona Lake Camping!
Don’t let the desert heat get you down as you camp in the Grand Canyon State. With your choice of Arizona’s lakeshore campgrounds, you’re guaranteed a more scenic and refreshing camping trip. Which one will you choose?
Check out our post about Arizona’s best camping spots for more ideas on where to go camping in Arizona! To best deal with the hot and arid climate, refer to our desert camping tips before you head out.
- About the Author
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Sarah Keck is a long-time resident of the Midwest and loves its warm and cool atmosphere. She takes any walking or hiking opportunity with open arms and likes to learn and write about the best trails.
Sarah’s first camping experience was her church’s teens’ and twenties’ summer conference years ago. Her favorite activities were exploring the campground and sitting by the fire, listening to the wildlife.
As time went on, Sarah looked forward to camping and other vacation opportunities. Writing for Beyond the Tent has opened her eyes and mind to the country’s many beautiful destinations.