Arizona is one of the most picturesque states in the country. There is so much to see and do from wild west historic sites to natural wonders like the Grand Canyon. The rugged terrain, cactus-dotted desert views and spectacular rock formations make this state a camper’s dream.
Ready to cool down from that hot Arizona sun? What better way than to camp lakeside and enjoy the best water activities this state has to offer. With a multitude of both small and large lakes, you can find the right setting for your next camping vacation. A boat enters a narrow channel on Lake Mead. Visit the Hoover Dam or hike miles of beautiful trails through canyons and valleys. The activities and sites at Lake Mead National Recreation Area are abounding. The campgrounds offer single or group sites with access to restrooms, picnic tables, grills, running water and the most sought-after amenity in Arizona, shade. They also have RV sites with full hookups.
Jacob Lake National Recreation Area Is located in the North Kaibab National Forest near Jacob Lake, AZ, the gateway to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The area offers plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails as well as horseback riding and chuck wagon rides. There is no fishing at Jacob Lake. Sites have access to grills, picnic shelters, restrooms, fire rings and water.
Apache Lake Located in the Tonto National Forest, Apache Lake offers endless outdoor recreation options including boating, fishing, hiking and water skiing. Lakeside camping for both tents and RVs is available at the Burnt Corral Campground. The campground offers picnic tables, restrooms, water hydrants and a boat dock, however, there are no electric hookups.
Saguaro Lake For the ultimate Arizona lake camping experience, try the Saguaro Lake, surrounded by it’s namesake cactus. Boat access camping is available at some of the campgrounds on the lake like Bagley Flat, which also offers grills, tables and plenty of shade.
Canyon Lake Canyon Lake is a dessert oasis that offers a range of activities from swimming at the beach to enjoying water sports like kayaking. The campground offers access to tent campers, RVs and boats and includes picnic tables, grills and fire rings at each site. Pets are also welcome.
Fool Hollow Lake Campground
Enjoy boating, hiking, swimming and fishing at this off-the-beaten-path campground that is kept cool by a grove of pines. They accommodate both tent campers and RVs. There are concrete pads, fire rings and picnic tables as well as common restrooms and showers.
Lynx Lake Campground Nestled in a grove of ponderosa pine, the Lynx Lake Campground is a great place to enjoy boating, camping, hiking and wildlife viewing. Each site comes with a picnic table and steel fire ring. There are no RV sites or hookups at this campground but you can bring your pets.
Patagonia Lake State Park This off-the-beaten-path lake is a serene place for wildlife viewing and exploring the water by boat. The campground offers sites with picnic tables, fire grills, parking for 2 vehicles and most sites are able to accommodate any size RV. The park also offers 12 secluded campsites that are only accessible by boat and have portable restrooms. You can even rent a boat at the neighboring marina.
Free campsites don’t have all the bells and whistles that camping resorts have but they come with their own benefits. You’ll enjoy wide-open, starry night skies, quiet wilderness solitude and the opportunity to experience sites that few others will ever get to see.
Airplane flat campground is located within Tonto National Forest. It is a dispersed camping area in a stand of Ponderosa pines with access to Canyon Creek. There are vault toilets available but no other amenities. Alderwood Campground is a great place to stay off-the-beaten-path with the family as it boasts swimming holes and plenty of shade. There are vault toilets but there is not water or other amenities available. This site is on Haigler Creek so make sure to bring your fishing gear.
Blue Crossing Campground is part of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in the Blue River Valley. You’ll find beautiful trails through the Blue Range Primitive Area (https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/asnf/recarea/?recid=75388) and plenty of opportunities to view local wildlife. Two of the sites offer Adirondack shelters and there are toilets and picnic tables available.
The camping area at Whitewater draw is perfect for RV wilderness camping. It has very close access to hiking trails through the wildlife area where the main attraction is the abundance of bird species, and especially the Sandhill Cranes. Pit toilets and picnic tables are available but be prepared to bring you own water. Located in the Coronado National Forest, Herb Martyr is a dispersed campground that offers loads access to hiking trails, great views of local waterfalls and close by Cave Creek Canyon. Toilets are available but campers should bring water. The campsites are a short walk from the parking area.
Near Sedona, Arizona, in the Coconino National Forest, the Loy Butte Road camping area has some of the most beautiful views of all the free campgrounds in the area. There are no amenities at the site so be ready to truly rough it.
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