Camper's Guide to the Grounds of Arizona

Arizona boasts campgrounds for every taste, from luxury RV parks to primitive and dispersed camping options. Home to the Grand Canyon, Arizona boasts scenic views, glorious hiking trails, and plenty of forests full of wildlife for you to explore.

This guide to the best places to go camping in Arizona covers the best the state has to offer. You can plan a camping vacation that works with every budget.

Best Camping in Arizona

Havasupai Indian Reservation

Nestled in Havasu Canyon on the south side of the Colorado River is one of the most unique camping opportunities in Arizona. From crystal clear waters to desert backdrops and canyons, Havasupai Indian Reservation has some of the best tent camping in Arizona.

The best thing about camping here is the unique experience awaiting avid hikers. Adventurous folk can take the three-day hike from Hualapai Hilltop to Supai and Mooney Falls. All hikers and campers require reservations and should be respectful of the indigenous people living in Supai Village.

Visitors should be prepared for desert-like conditions during summer months when temperatures can exceed 100 degrees. It is recommended that hikers be well-hydrated and in good physical condition before starting the hike.

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Hours:

May through October 6 am to 6 pm November through April 9 am to 3 pm

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Fees:

$100 per person per weekday night $125 per person per weekend night Please note that this pricing includes all permits, fees, and taxes.

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Location:

PO Box 129 Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

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Contact:

Contact the campground customer service office at (928)-448-2180 or make a reservation online.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Dead Horse Ranch State Park is one of the best places to go in Arizona, especially if you want to camp. There are more than a dozen trails to explore, wildlife to watch, and plenty of fishing for anglers of all ages and experience levels. You can even explore shared trails in the area linked with other popular attractions, including Oak Creek Canyon.

Whether you need RV camping or tent sites, Dead Horse Ranch has you covered. They offer more than 100 campsites (including a few ADA accessible sites) for some of the best RV camping in Arizona. All campsites require reservations with a $5 non-refundable reservation fee.

Dead Horse Ranch offers some of the best family camping in Arizona with loads of activities for the kids, including a junior ranger program. You can also explore the ecological and cultural history of the park.

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Hours:

Open 8 am to 10 pm daily Visitor Center and Park Store Hours: 8 am to 4:30 pm daily Holiday hours for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve: 8 am to 2 pm The park is closed on Christmas Day

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Fees:

$30-$35 per night for sites with electric hook-ups $20 per night for non-electric sites Additional fee of $15 per night for extra vehicles

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Location:

675 Dead Horse Ranch Road Cottonwood, AZ 86326

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Contact:

Contact the reservation desk at 1-877-697-2757 or make your reservation online.

The Grand Canyon

It’s impossible to discuss the best camping in Arizona without mentioning the Grand Canyon. One of the most scenic places in the United States, the Grand Canyon has four developed campgrounds that permit vehicles. You can also backpack through the park and camp with a backcountry permit.

The North Rim is closer to Utah, often affected by early snowfall, and more secluded. Few travelers visit the North Rim, partially because the open season is shorter.

Across the Canyon, the South Rim is one of the best places to go camping in Arizona. Visitors have more access to transportation, and the terrain is easier to navigate.

You can stay at three campgrounds in Grand Canyon National Park, but the fourth is just outside the park in Grand Canyon Village. Mather Campground and North Rim Campground take reservations and book up fast. Desert View Campground is first-come, first-serve, and tends to fill up by noon every day.

Of note, the three in-park campgrounds do not have RV hook-ups. However, there are full hook-ups for RV campers at the Trailer Village on the South Rim. You can make reservations online for Trailer Village.

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Hours:

South Rim: Open all year, 24 hours per day North Rim: Open May 15th through October 15th

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Fees:

$6 to $50 per night depending on site size, amenities, and time of year

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Location:

PO Box 129 Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

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Contact:

To make reservations at Mather Campground or North Rim Campground, contact the National Recreation Reservation Service at 1-877-444-6777 or make a reservation online.

Patagonia Lake State Park

Fishing, boating, hiking, and the best lake camping in Arizona await you at Patagonia Lake State Park. More than 100 campsites surround Patagonia Lake where you can enjoy the desert breeze and scenic views.

Campsites include picnic tables, fire rings, and parking for two vehicles. Though the campsite lengths vary, they can fit any size RV with RV hook-ups available. Patagonia Lake observes quiet hours from 9 pm to 8 am to ensure a peaceful, relaxing getaway for campers.

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Hours:

November through March: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm April through October: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Thursday, 7 am to 10 pm Friday and Saturday, and 7 am to 6:30 pm on Sunday

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Fees:

$25 to $30 depending on the site Additional fees apply for extra vehicles

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Location:

400 Patagonia Lake Road Patagonia, AZ 85624

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Contact:

Contact Arizona State Parks Reservations Desk at 1-877-697-2757 or make a reservation online.

Best Dispersed Camping in Arizona

Sometimes you want to rough it a bit and put as much room between your campsite and other campers. Fortunately, some of the best dispersed camping in Arizona includes breathtaking views and hiking trails.

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests offer primitive and dispersed camping. Choose from five districts within the forest, each with unique trails and sites, including the famous Oak Creek Canyon. Though you can’t enjoy ocean views like when you’re camping in California, you can explore more than thirty lakes and miles of rivers and streams.

While there is plenty to do in the National Forest, campers wishing to enjoy the primitive and dispersed camping options should arrive prepared. When you choose to set up camp outside recreational areas, you need to purify any water you don’t bring. Make sure you check weather conditions because the area is prone to wildfires.

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Hours:

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Fees:

There is no charge for dispersed camping in Arizona’s Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. You don’t require permits or reservations.

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Location:

Supervisor’s Office in Springerville, AZ PO Box 640 30 S. Chiricahua Drive Springerville, AZ 85938

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Contact:

928-333-6280

Kaibab National Forest

Who said camping in Colorado is the only way to enjoy National Forests? Arizona has several gorgeous National Forests, including Kaibab National Forest, a superb choice for dispersed camping. Set north of the Grand Canyon, Kaibab National Forest includes sage, grasslands, and some lower elevation canyons.

Choose from three districts within the forest, as long as you stay more than a mile from established campgrounds and administrative sites. Each district of Kaibab National Forest permits dispersed camping with set guidelines and restrictions.

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Hours:

Monday through Friday 8 am to 4 pm

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Fees:

Dispersed camping at Kaibab National Forest is free. You don’t require a permit or reservation.

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Location:

Kaibab National Forest Supervisor’s Office 800 South 6th Street Williams, AZ 86946

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Contact:

928-635-8200

Tonto National Forest

Tonto National Forest, the 5th largest national forest in the nation, is a trendy site for dispersed camping in Arizona. The vast, scenic land allows you to camp near water, in the desert, or the mountains. You could choose a different site and terrain every night of your trip if you like.

Aside from the scenery, there’s plenty of wildlife to watch for and wildflowers to identify. You may even see fossils if you explore Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River during your stay.

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Hours:

Open 24 hours

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Fees:

Dispersed camping requires no fees, permits, or reservations.

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Location:

Supervisor’s Office 2324 E. McDowell Road Phoenix, Arizona, 85006

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Contact:

602-225-5200

Best Free Campgrounds in Arizona

If you’re looking to camp on a budget, it’s tough to beat a no-fee site. These campgrounds offer the best free camping in Arizona. Don’t expect an RV resort, but these campgrounds offer plenty of scenic appeal.

Pinal and Upper Pinal Campgrounds

Located in Tonto National Forest, Pinal and Upper Pinal Campgrounds offer sixteen free camping sites. Sites are first-come, first-serve, and include tables and fire pits. There’s no trash service, so you have to take everything with you, but they do have four vault toilets.

The Pinal and Upper Pinal Campgrounds offer some of the best family camping in Arizona because there is shade during the summer months and eight nearby trails to hike. Camping sites accommodate tents and vehicles under twenty feet.

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Hours:

Open 24 Hours

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Fees:

Free

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Location:

Supervisor’s Office 2324 E. McDowell Road Phoenix, Arizona, 85006

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Contact:

602-225-5200

Upper Blue Campground

If you’re searching for a rustic camping experience, look no further than the Upper Blue Campground in Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. You’ll find yourself surrounded by high bluffs as you set up along a stream in the Blue River Valley.

Three campsites accommodate tents or trailers and feature picnic tables and a vault toilet. Two sites have Adirondack-style shelters, and the campground is popular during hunting season. There’s no fee, and it’s first-come, first-serve.

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Hours:

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Fees:

Free

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Location:

Supervisor’s Office in Springerville, AZ PO Box 640 30 S. Chiricahua Drive Springerville, AZ 85938

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Contact:

928-333-6280

Childs Dispersed Camping Area

Located in Coconino National Forest, Childs Dispersed Camping Area offers no amenities, but plenty of activities nearby. Check out the remains of the old power plant, explore Fossil Creek, or venture to the ruins of Verde Hot Springs, a once-famous resort.

This high-traffic area sees a lot of campers year-round because of the unusual rock formations, impressive scenery and wildlife viewing, and expansive trails. The closest town is Camp Verde, about thirty miles away.

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Hours:

Supervisor’s Office Hours : Monday through Friday 8 am to 4 pm

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Fees:

Free

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Location:

1824 S. Thompson Street Flagstaff, AZ 86001

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Contact:

928-527-3600

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