Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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Best Camping In Arizona Near Water

The Grand Canyon Free & Paid Campgrounds

Saddle Mountain BLM Dispersed Camping Near Tonopah AZ

One of Arizonas most iconic natural wonders is The Grand Canyon, a 277-mile long, 18-mile wide canyon that surpasses all beauty and wonder. Camping at the Canyon avoids daily crowds and gives you firsthand access to the amazing views that surround you.

There is nothing in this world quite as enjoyable as waking up to the amazing Grand Canyon sunrise or falling asleep before the sunset.

Youll find numerous free and paid campgrounds along the south and north rims of the canyon, although the north rim closed from November 1- May 14 of each year.

The South rim is more developed than the north rim and offers year-round access. Each campground offers its own set of benefits and amenities.

Need More Camping Ideas

Check out Camping Near Water in Arizona: 58 Beautiful Places to Camp Near Lakes, Rivers, & Creeks, our in-depth ebook covering the best near-water camping in the Grand Canyon State.

The 155-page guide includes:

  • helpful maps and GPS coordinates
  • beautiful photography
  • comprehensive info on campsite amenities
  • tips on the best times and seasons to visit

How To Find Even More Free Camping In Arizona

Not satisfied with the free campsites on my list?

Luckily, the state has literally hundreds of others, most located on public lands. Heres how to find other dispersed campsites in Arizona:

  • Online Maps Satellite view on Google Maps is a great way to find potential dispersed camping spots. Use Gaia GPS or FreeRoam.app to turn on boundary lines for public land like BLM land and national forests.
  • MVUM Maps Pick up paper USFS and BLM motor vehicle use maps in ranger stations to identify roads with potential dispersed camping opportunities.

Another option for free camping in Arizona is blacktop boondocking in a store parking lot such as Walmart or Cracker Barrel.

Arizona is also home to countless casinos, many of which offer free casino boondocking in their parking lots. An example is Twin Arrows Casino Resort near Flagstaff.

Yet another option one that I personally only use in a pinch is stealth camping. I only stealth camp when I cant find anywhere else to stay, although many other campers use this method on a regular or even nightly basis.

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Lake Havasu Campground Lake Havasu State Park

One for the beach-lovers. Lake Havasu State Park offers the chance to have beach days right in the middle of the desert. Situated in Mohave County, time runs slow around here and main duties revolve around chilling out.

Youll get to roam around Lake Havasus areas and its beautiful trails, or take a boat out to explore the lake.Its a year-round spot thats best experienced with a stay at Lake Havasu Campground.

The campground is situated pretty much on the lakes shore and the 47 plots are a nice mix of primitive and more developed areas. Whether youre looking for a rougher stay or a bit more camping luxury, its a safe bet here. Stargazing here is also primo.

Amenities: Campfires allowed, Toilet available, Pets allowed, Potable water available, Showers available, Picnic table available

Campsite fee: From $35 per campsite per night.

Cave Spring Campground Coconino National Forest

11 Best Places to Go Camping Near Water in Arizona in 2020 ...

The 1.8 million-acre Coconino National Forest is a great place to base yourself to explore the surrounding scenery of North Arizona. From here, you can check the spectacular red rock formations, which is just one of many great things to do in Sedona.

The area is surprisingly diverse and boasts ten different wilderness areas, including the summit of the San Francisco Peaks.

One of the best campsites in Arizona, and definitely the most popular in Coconino, Cave Spring is the place to be. Cut through by Oak Creek, which lazily makes its way through the site, its dotted with giant Ponderosas and has views of Sedonas charming rugged cliffs.

Youll be perfectly situated for hikes around West Fork Canyon and Slide Rock, to name just a couple of great spots.

Pro tip: Come in autumn for a blaze of fall foliage.

Amenities: Campfires allowed, Toilet available, Showers available, Picnic table available

Campsite fee: From $22 per campsite per night.

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Long Term Visitor Area Camping Near Quartzsite

Thinking of spending the entire winter in Quartzsite? Check out the super affordable Long Term Visitor Areas, called LTVAs. In these areas, youll be able to set up camp and settle in without having to worry about moving every 14 days. Youll also get some services that you wont find in the free camping areas around Quartzite, including bathrooms, water fillups, and dump stations.

La Posa Long Term Visitor Area has four separate units, all of which will be open in the winter of 2020-2021: La Posa North, La Posa Tyson Wash, La Posa West, and La Posa South. For $180, youll have a spot from September 15 April 15. Campendium users prefer La Posa South LTVA because it is the only area in Quartzsite with water and a dump station. These areas get plenty of campers who return every year, so expect a pleasant community atmosphere and plenty of social events.

Boulder Beach Group Campsites

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Boulder Beach Group Campground is located just minutes from Las Vegas along the Boulder Basin of Lake Mead. Itâs open year-round and features large paved sites that can accommodate tents or large RVs, along with tables, fire pits and/or grills. Restrooms and water spigots are located throughout th…

  • Tonto National Forest

    Near Roosevelt, Arizona

    Burnt Corral Campground and Recreation Area is about 5.8 miles south of Roosevelt Dam along the Apache Trail along the shoreline of Apache Lake. It is nestled amongst the saguaros, mesquites, and palo verdes, and offers opportunities to boat, swim, fish, relax, hike, …

  • Kingman Field Office

    Near Wikieup, Arizona

    The Burro Creek Campground is situated along the 57 mile Burro Creek in a transition zone between the upper reaches of the scenic Sonoran Desert and lower reaches of the scenic Mojave Desert. The campground offers visitors a variety of scenery including saguaro-studded cliffs al…

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    Discover Camping In Arizona

  • USDA Forest Service

    Near Springerville, Arizona

    Its called God’s Country . . . lakes and mountains. The Mogollon Rim made famous by Zane Grey. The White Mountains made green by ponderosa pine, gentled by cold waters flowing to the valleys below and far beyond. It is a physically challenging and rewarding recreational landscape. A place of spir…

  • USDA Forest Service

    Near Flagstaff, Arizona

    The Digital Travel Map is a free resource for anyone headed out into the Coconino National Forest. Whether you’re driving, hiking, riding, or exploring, you will find this full color, GPS-enabled map a handy reference to have on your mobile device. The map show trails, recreation…

  • USDA Forest Service

    Near Tucson, Arizona

    Recreation activities on the Coronado National Forest are nearly as diverse as the people who come to visit. The most popular ones are hiking, camping, birding, horseback riding, picnicking, sightseeing, and visiting historic areas. Fishing and boating are available but limited in this arid land,…

  • National Park Service

    Near Grand Canyon, Arizona

    Located in Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park encompasses 277 miles of the Colorado River and adjacent uplands. The immense Grand Canyon is a mile deep, and up to 18 miles wide. Layered bands of colorful rock reveal millions of years of geologic history with unmatched vist…

  • Camping In Arizona: Coconino National Forest


    With landscapes that range from ponderosa pine forests and southwestern desert to the famous red rocks of Sedona and the alpine tundra, Coconino National Forest is definitely one of the most diverse camping grounds in Arizona. During a camping trip there, visitors will be able to explore streams, creeks, small lakes, mountains, canyons, and so much more. Other nearby areas of interest that campers may want to stop by include Bell Rock, Devils Bridge, and the Chapel of the Holy Cross please keep in mind that though photography is allowed on the campsite and surrounding areas, drones are not.

    Flagstaff, AZ 86001, Phone: 928-527-3600

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    Lake Mead National Recreation Area Temple Bar Marina Rv Park

    Home to the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead is a great Arizona vacation spot that offers activities like fishing, boating, and hiking.

    Stay at the Template Bar Marina RV Park. It offers full RV 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 available on a first come, first serve basis only.

    Dead Horse Ranch State Park 1 Hour 45

    Dead Horse Ranch is located on the banks of the Verde River and is renowned for its bird watching, hiking, and fishing. Stocked with trout and catfish, along with native largemouth bass, crappie, and bluegill this destination has some of the best fishing AZ has to offer. Camping at Dead Horse also gives you the chance to explore ancient history. Tuzigoot National Monument, an ancient pueblo from around 1000 AD, and Montezuma Castle National Monument, a cliff dwelling built by the Sinagua people around the same time, are both accessible from the park. After exploring the ancient history and experiencing some of the best fishing, cool off with a kayak or canoe trip river on the river before heading back to camp

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    Free Camping In Arizona Spots Youll Love

    If youre looking for free camping in Arizona youve picked the right state. There are SO many spots to go boondocking in the Grand Canyon State. With that said, a lot of those free campsites are pretty lame!

    Fear not camper were sharing only the best today.

    Each featured campsite will include specific location info, amenities and nearby activities. Additionally, well rank each site with a unique Camping in Arizona Vibes score to give you a general overview.

    Lets dive in!

    How To Find The Best

    11 Best Places to Go Camping Near Water in Arizona

    The best camping in Arizona isnt found at a designated campground, OHV area, or the KOA, but we will also talk about those for campings sake. I always suggest people stay away from the designated campgrounds and avoid the high-traffic dispersed camping areas. These areas are typically overrun with visitors, and unless you book your visit in advance, its hard to get a space to camp, let alone a little privacy. The best camping in Arizona is down the road less traveled, and trust me we have many.

    The most pleasing dispersed camping in Arizona will provide at least one thing, solitude. To indulge in a real wilderness experience, you must submerge yourself in lonesomeness, silence, and pure isolation. You must get away from others and find your slice of paradise where you and nature can sing in harmony.

    When it comes to picking a campsite in Arizona, its best to travel far away from the pavement. Of course, this is not feasible for everyone, but many forest roads can be toured by passenger cars, RVs, and motorcycles in dry conditions. My favorite campsites are abandoned cabins, a ranch, or a mountain spring. I love camping on mountain-tops with a view or surrounded by massive canyon walls. A natural arch or cave will also due.

    Also Check: Best Places To Go Camping In Colorado

    Campgrounds On The Beach In Arizona

    What are the best beaches in Arizona?

    If you enjoyed this list of beachfront camping in Arizona, here are a few more beaches you can visit within the state. In Lake Havasu City, a popular beach is the London Bridge Beach. Named for its proximity to the beautiful London Bridge of Lake Havasu, this beach is great for a day trip. The amenities at this sandy spot include multiple playgrounds, swimming areas, sand volleyball courts, a dog park, and so much more. Another great beach destination is Redwall Cavern. Not quite as accessible as these other beaches, but so worth getting to. Youll need to take a raft with a guide to get to this hidden alcove in the Grand Canyon.

    Which state parks should I visit in Arizona?

    If youre looking for some truly scenic camping in Arizona, take a look at some of the many state parks that offer exactly that. The Red Rock State Park is an easy must-do if youre visiting the state. The gorgeous, vivid colored landscape surrounding Sedona, Arizona is best experienced within this park. The trails there are especially stunning, so bring your hiking boots. Not far from there is Slide Rock State Park, another popular destination and for good reason. Cool off by taking a trip down this natural rock water slide and enjoy the scenery of the area.

    What are the best campgrounds in Arizona?


    Why Youll Love Grand Canyon Railway Rv Park

    One of the things that make this RV park stand out is the railway- you can take a historic train from Williams to the Grand Canyon tiol Park, elimiting the stress of driving your rig through the Grand Canyon roads. While youre exploring the Grand Canyon or other sights in the area, you can know that your pets are being given the best care available at the pet resort. The park itself is designed to give guests the most comfortable and relaxing experience possible. Each RV site comes with high definition digital tv, wifi, and access to the indoor pool and hot tub and shower facilities located in the hotel.

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    Chiricahua National Monument Bonita Canyon Campground

    In southern Arizona, not far from the border with Mexico, Chiricahua National Monument protects a sky island, a small mountain range set apart from other mountains.

    The Chiricahuas are known for their dramatic landscape of huge rock pinnacles. Pine trees dot the landscape, and the views are spectacular. Most people come here for the hiking trails, which wind their way up and down the mountainside, through stone towers.

    Camping here is a real treat, particularly during the hotter months from spring until fall. The elevation at the Bonita Canyon Campground, which is at a lower elevation than much of the monument, is still well over 5,000 feet, meaning the temperatures are cooler, particularly at night, than the surrounding desert below.

    The campground itself is well forested, and campgrounds are spaced a good distance from each other, offering nature and privacy. Through the trees, you can see some of the surrounding peaks. All sites are reservable up to six months in advance on a rolling basis.

    Set on the shores of Wood’s Lake, Spillway Campground is small, cozy, and quaint, by camping standards. The campground is up high on the Mogollon Rim, at 7,500 feet in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, an area that is known for outdoor recreational activities.

    Fort Apache Indian Reservation

    Vanlife in Arizona | Best Free Camping in Arizona

    Fort Apache Indian Reservation is a dream for those who love to go dispersed/primitive camping. The reservation sits among the White Mountains of Arizona and has some of the lushest and thickest forests you will find in all Arizona. There are many lakes, creeks, mountains, and natural wonders that make this such a great place to camp.

    Dispersed camping is allowed on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation with a permit. Once you obtain your permit you are allowed to camp wherever you want on the reservations, with a few exceptions. There are many trails and secluded areas that will allow you to find private and quiet places to camp. This is a great place for campers who want to go camping in the mountains amongst the pine and aspen forests.

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    Rancho Sedona Rv Park

    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.

    Campgrounds A And B Catalina State Park

    Not everyone wants to vacation in the middle of nowhere, and if youre going to camp in a well-equipped site conveniently located close to a city, the campgrounds at Catalina State Park near Tucson might be just what youre looking for.

    Both campgrounds in Catalina State Park offer expansive sites with paved parking areas in a spacious, flat area. The tent and RV sites have modern conveniences, including showers and toilets.

    Despite its semi-urban location, there are some incredible mountain views to be enjoyed and wildlife to see, including prairie dogs, white-tailed deer, and even bobcats. There are many different species of birds to look out for too, and at night the air is filled with the hooting of owls and the yipping of coyotes.

    Also Check: Dispersed Camping Near Bend Oregon

    White Tank Mountain Regional Park

    White Tank Mountain Regional Park is also a great choice to find your campsite near Phoenix. It is fanned out over almost 30,000 sections of land on the eastern edges of Phoenix. The setting up camp comprises 40 locales of shifting sizes, each with water and electrical help, an outdoor table, and a grill fire ring. This park is far from the city, and services like supermarkets are scant, so ensure you are prepared.

    Tents and RVs utilize similar locales, and the greatest RV length to be accepted here is 45 feet. Climbing, trekking, and equestrian path are situated all through the recreation area, alongside a rough track.

    Showers, a flush toilet, and a dump station are accessible. Note the Luke Airforce Base is found close by, which is why you may hear and experience flying airplanes most of the time. One surprising component of the recreation area is the advanced public library set right external the doors, which is joined with the White Tank Mountain Regional Park Nature Center.

    This was a guide about best dispersed camping near Phoenix, Arizona. We have found great spots for your campsites where you can get useful facilities as well as camping spots to rest throughout the day and enjoy nature. For more, see our FAQ.

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