You’re ready to jump into an epic Arizona camping or RV trip, but how do you know which Arizona campsite to choose? There are so many aspects to choosing a campground, including location, functionality, budget, and needs, so we’ve made it a bit easier for you and are sharing the four epic campgrounds we stayed at during our 10-day Arizona RV trip.
During our Cruise America RV trip, we stayed at four different Arizona campgrounds – two Arizona regional parks, one national park, and one private park. We knew before booking campsites that we wanted hookup sites with at least electricity and water – sewer wasn’t necessary as long as there was access nearby. All the sites we stayed at included hookups and restrooms. The only site that had wi-fi was the KOA, at the Grand Canyon, there was no phone service at all. Here’s a breakdown of the campsites we stayed at:
The first Arizona campground we stayed at during our Arizona RV tour was at Lake Pleasant Regional Park – and it quickly became one of our favorites. Lake Pleasant is located just northwest of Phoenix, and as you can see, we had a lake view from the back of our campsite – accompanied by some seriously awesome sunrises.
Because Yaron still had work in Phoenix the first couple of days, this site was the perfect balance of out in nature yet close enough to drive back to the city.
There are a variety of Arizona campgrounds to choose from within the park, depending on what your camping needs are. We chose a site inside the Desert Tortoise Campground, which had both water and electricity hookups with a dump site nearby. There are also trails for hiking, and the lake for swimming, boating, paddleboarding, and more.
And yes, I’m a sucker for cacti-filled desert sites. Overall, a big thumbs up for our time there.
Tip: Lake Pleasant is a very popular campground, so if you want a good site, make sure you book in advance.
The second Arizona campground on our AZ RV trip was at Flagstaff KOA Holiday. First impressions are everything, and from the moment we first entered the campsite, we were immediately impressed. From the on-site decked-out holiday decorations to the personal service we received throughout our stay, we left with nothing but good things to say.
Here are a few perks of staying at the Flagstaff KOA:
𝗧𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 is 𝗮 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗼𝗻 𝘄𝗵𝘆 𝗞𝗢𝗔 𝗰𝗮𝗺𝗽𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘀𝗼 𝗽𝗼𝗽𝘂𝗹𝗮𝗿 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗳𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗹𝗶𝗲𝘀 – 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝘁𝗼𝘂𝗰𝗵𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗳𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗰. We loved our stay at KOA!
To Book: Koa.com
Tip: Check the website for special online deals and discounts. They also have a rewards program for anyone who camps regularly. We received 10% off for our stay with the Cruise America rental.
A visit to the Grand Canyon is one of those bucket list moments – so we decided to stay right in the national park for our third campground. There are a variety of options for anyone who wants to spend some quality time taking it all in. Here are some options of where to stay inside the Grand Canyon, South Rim:
There are basically three campground options to choose from inside the South Rim.
𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗹𝗲𝗿 𝗩𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗥𝗩 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗸: This is where we stayed and the only option that includes full hookups. Close to the store, Yavapai Lodge, and bus station, we loved the convenience that it offered. The sites were also nice, but beware – there’s NO wifi or service at all at the campground. It was the most expensive of all the campgrounds we stayed at – $120 for 2 nights. But the overall experience of staying right at the Grand Canyon was worth it.
𝗠𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗖𝗮𝗺𝗽𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱: Mather caters more to tent campers or RVs who don’t require water/electricity. There are restrooms, picnic tables, and campfire grates on-site as well as a free dump station. It’s located in the same area as Trailer Village and Yavapai Lodge.
𝗗𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘁 𝗩𝗶𝗲𝘄 𝗖𝗮𝗺𝗽𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱: If you don’t mind staying a bit further out at the East Entrance, this might be a good option for you. Again, these sites are geared for tents or small RVs that don’t require hookups.
There are a variety of lodges to choose from, the most popular being Yavapai Lodge which has a restaurant, cafe, tavern, and gift shop – AND wi-fi. Since it’s right next to Trailer Village, we ended up spending some time there.
What we loved about staying right in the park was the convenience factor. Each place has quick and easy access to the FREE bus system that takes you around the park to all the lookout points. We were also near hiking paths, the on-site grocery store, the visitors center, bank, and post office (for all you postcard senders).
AND, we got to see some wildlife right outside our window!
To Book: VisitGrandCanyon.com
Tip: These sites book out very fast! As soon as you know your dates, make sure you book a site.
The fourth and last Arizona campground we stayed at was back down near Phoenix. Usery Moutain is another Maricopa regional park, so we knew what we getting coming into it.
As with Lake Pleasant, there are a variety of campgrounds to choose from. We stayed inside the Buckhorn Campground, a developed site with electricity and water hookups. Our site was quite large with gorgeous views of the nearby desert mountains.
Usery Mountain is located right on the outskirts of the Tonto National Forest and has many desert trails inside the park. It’s also a quick drive to Canyon Lake, Tortilla Flat, and Goldfield Ghost Town – all great destinations in the area.
To Book: maricopacountyparks.net
Tip: There are many types of cacti all over the sites, so if you’re camping with young children, make sure they’re aware of the pickers. My daughter had an incident with a cactus, and it burned her pretty bad.
One thing you need to keep in mind when choosing campgrounds is the driving factor. Our trip included a fair bit of driving, which takes time and adds an extra gas expense. But being able to hit the open road and stay in some incredible places was definitely worth it for our family.
**Total Campground Costs: $376.50 (average of $41/day)
So, what did the overall RV trip look like? After picking up our RV from the Cruise America headquarters in Mesa, Arizona, our first stop was at Lake Pleasant. From there, we head up to Flagstaff then the Grand Canyon. And after our stay in the north, we headed back down to Usery Mountain.
Finding and booking a campsite can be stressful, especially if you’re doing it last-minute. There are many apps that can help ease the process. I used The Dyrt and Campendium to find all four of our campsites.
It was extremely helpful to see past campers’ reviews, site accommodations, and locations. I highly suggest using either app to help you plan your RV or camping trip.
Have a question about any of the campground sites we stated at? Ask away! Leave your question in the comment section below and sign up to get more tips and recommendations for your travel adventures!