From the outer deserts of Phoenix to the pine-laden forests of Prescott, Arizona’s campgrounds have something for every camper, young or old, big or small. All it takes is some planning, a well-stocked Honda Ridgeline or Odyssey, and an aching for adventure.
If you’re prepping to enjoy Arizona’s great outdoors, swing for the fences with one of these excellent campgrounds. Here are a few of the best places to camp in the Phoenix Valley area.
Best Campgrounds with Water
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on Lake Powell
Spanning from Arizona’s Lake Powell area (Lees Ferry) through southern Utah, this 1.25-million-acre national park offers gorgeous panoramic views, geological relics, and miles upon miles of water.
Between Glen Canyon Dam and Lees Ferry, you’ll have several places to rest your weary head for the weekend. Set up shop at one of Lees Ferry Campground’s 51 designated campsites, for instance, or pitch your tent along Lake Powell’s shoreline if you want easy access to the whitecaps. The latter option comes without a camping fee – you’ll have to pay a negligible amount to enter the area.
Lake Havasu State Park
On the west side of Arizona, right along the border of Nevada, sits Lake Havasu. Home to white, sandy beaches and desert palms, Havasu is a popular camping destination from January to January. Most of the year, this is a quiet campground in Arizona, but during peak boating season, things can get lively – prepare in advance.
If you decide to camp at Lake Powell or Lake Havasu in Arizona, be sure to have your boat or water toys in tow. A 2021 Honda Ridgeline makes the job easier; it can haul up to 5,000 pounds* with ease, so your Boston Whaler, Chaparral, or MasterCraft can come along for the ride. No boat? Plop a canoe or kayak on top of Ridgeline’s roof rails, and you’ll be setting sail before you can say, “Hey, let’s set sail.”
Best Campground with Hiking Trails
The Lost Dutchman
Just outside of Phoenix sits the Lost Dutchman, a 320-acre state park with more hiking trails than you can swing a stick at. No matter your experience level, you can easily lace up your boots and explore Superstition Mountain and the Sonoran Desert.
For amateur hikers, take a stab at the park’s Native Plant Trail. It runs a quarter-mile on a paved trail, and guests can take pictures of natural desert plants that grow along the path.
Novices can also enjoy Jacob’s Crosscut Trail at the base of Superstition. Spanning less than a mile, Jacob’s Crosscut crosses paths with more difficult hiking trails in Phoenix (see below).
Treasure Loop is a moderately difficult hiking trail for advanced hikers. To the end and back, this trail runs 2.4 miles with an elevation change of over 500 feet.
Prospector’s View Trail is another fairly difficult option. At just 0.7 miles, it’s shorter than Treasure Loop yet equally as imposing to a set of heels. The views of the canyons and historic gold-mining areas are spectacular.
The Lost Dutchman features 138 campsites for RVs and tents with no restrictions on RV size. Dogs are also welcome, so bring along your hiking buddy for a camping weekend in Phoenix.
Best Campground for Couples
Oak Creek Canyon Area
We’ve got three words for camping couples: Oak Creek Canyon. This area provides campers with stunning views of paradise, both from the comfort of a staked-down tent and on the scenic drive to the campsite. In fact, driving along the banks of Oak Creek is often considered one of the most picturesque routes in the country.
Weather is ideal from April to October, and best of all, temperatures are cooler in Oak Creek Canyon as campgrounds sit ~1,000 feet higher than Sedona proper.
Depending on your campground – there are four official Coconino National Forest Recreation locations and several off the beaten pass – you may be able to reserve a site in advance, though some properties are a first-come, first-serve deal, and you may be stuck with a tent-only, primitive site.
If you absolutely despise sleeping on the ground – you’re better than desert salamanders, after all – ask your Arizona Honda dealer to order and install a tent accessory for your vehicle. OEM Honda tents are available for several larger Honda models, including the Pilot, Odyssey, Ridgeline, and new Passport SUV. Accessorize your heart out, camper!
Best Campgrounds for Families with Kids
Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area
Fool Hollow Lake is an essential destination for any family’s summer camping trip.
Not only is this Arizona campground one of the cleanest, but it’s also one of the most entertaining for kids. Several summer events are held each year, including their annual Summer Children’s Program. From May through September, Fool Hollow invites children-parent duos to be led on guided Saturday tours throughout the park. All tours are themed, too, with topics ranging from bears to bats and rats to trees.
Additionally, families can rent paddle boats, fish, swim, and enjoy a ranger-led nature walk through the most popular and wildlife-populated trails in the campground.
The Fool Hollow Recreation Area seems to always be full, so it’s a good idea to reserve a spot well in advance.
Best Campground for Horseback Riding
Groom Creek Horse Camp
Located in Prescott National Forest, Groom Creek Horse Camp is perfect for equestrian campers wanting a peaceful escape. The area features 30 campsites with 16’x16’ steel horse corrals and tethers for up to four horses, as well as miles of trails and gorgeous landscapes.
Several riding trails are located nearby, including the 2-mile-long Horse Camp Loop Trail 383 and the longer 5-mile Wolf Creek Loop Trail 384. Across from Horse Camp’s main entrance is another trail: Groom Creek Loop Trail 307, a 9-mile-long trail that’s great for advanced riders. (Trails are shared with mountain bikers and hikers, so take care.)
All camping sites are first-come, first-serve, so we recommend arriving early to secure the best spot. Most sites feature pull-through gravel driveways, ideal for the Ridgeline with a horse trailer hitched on.
Now that you’ve found your new favorite campground in Arizona, all that’s left is to pack that cooler with the essentials: marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers.
If you need a new vehicle for your upcoming camping extravaganza, we’re here to help. Contact your Valley Honda Dealers near Phoenix, Surprise, Tempe, or the surrounding area for a quote on a new or certified pre-owned Honda.
*Maximum towing capacity for AWD trims is 5,000 lbs. The maximum towing capacity for 2WD trims is 3,500 lbs. Towing requires accessory towing equipment. Please see your Honda dealer for details.