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18 Best Camping Spots Near Phoenix

18 Best Camping Spots Near Phoenix

As outdoor enthusiasts, living in Phoenix has been a dream. Apart from the year-round sunny weather, there are so many nature activities that offer fun, relaxation, and good ol’ exercise.

Hiking is big in the Valley. There are many lakes around the metropolis, too, that you can go fishing, kayaking, or jet skiing.

And what’s a great activity to do after hiking and fishing? You guessed it – camping!

Whether you’re going with your family, friends, or a special someone, there are a ton of places to camp out in and around Phoenix. Keep reading as we take you through the best ones.

Best Places for Camping Near Phoenix

Camping in Phoenix is made possible by several regional parks and forests in and around the city. We’ve rounded up the best spots for you to set up camp, light a fire, and enjoy a night under a glimmering blanket of stars.

  1. Cave Creek Regional Park
  2. Estrella Mountain Regional Park
  3. Usery Mountain Regional Park
  4. Lost Dutchman Regional Park
  5. Lake Pleasant Regional Park
  6. Coon Bluff Campground
  7. White Tank Mountain Regional Park
  8. McDowell Mountain Regional Park
  9. Skyline Regional Park
  10.  Mesa / Apache Junction KOA Journey
  11.  SB Cove Shoreline
  12.  Desert Sands RV Park
  13.  Mogollon Campground
  14.  Burnt Corral Campground
  15.  Manzanita Campground
  16.  Dead Horse Ranch
  17.  Clear Creek Campground
  18. Pine Creek RV Park

Allow us to give you a narrative tour of each one.

1. Cave Creek Regional Park

Cave Creek Regional Park
Image Source: Vanquisher of Nails via


Address: E Olivine Ave, Cave Creek, AZ 85331

Contact Number: (623) 465-0431

Amenities: Electrical outlets, water hookups, picnic tables, fire pits, restrooms with hot showers, dump station

Camping Fees: $8 reservation fee; $22 for semi-developed sites; $32 for developed sites; $40 for shaded RV sites

Cave Creek Regional Park’s campground is a picturesque one with beautiful Saguaro cacti, Mesquite trees, and some cholla cacti in the background. 

In total, they have over 50 campsites equipped with electricity and water. You may also bring and hook up your own RV.

Note that campsites 1-38 are relatively larger with paved parking pads, while campsites 30-55 are smaller with gravel parking. Horse corrals are also available at sites 10 and 20. 

Each campsite is also provided with a table, a fire ring, and a grill. Though, we do suggest bringing your own water and portable chairs.

What’s great about this campsite is how well-maintained the amenities are, particularly the bathrooms with flush toilets and hot water showers. For registered campers, a dump station is also accessible nearby.

If you’d like to go around, there are many activities to do at the park including hiking and horseback riding. And don’t worry about cell service, it’s pretty good in this area.

Before you go, make sure to reserve your campsite through their website. As of writing, only the Family Campground is accessible.

2. Estrella Mountain Regional Park

Estrella Mountain Regional Park
Image Source: Jim Three via RV Life Campgrounds


Address: 6989 S 143rd Dr #6801, Goodyear, AZ 85338

Contact Number: (602) 506-2930

Amenities: Electrical outlets, water hookups, sewer hookups, picnic tables, barbecue pits, restrooms, ADA access

Camping Fees: Starts at $15

Estrella Mountain Regional Park is the first of its kind in the Maricopa County Park System. It was built in 1954 and is the place where the Gila and Agua Fria Rivers meet.

In true Phoenician fashion, the park is mostly desert with seasonal wetlands and riparian areas. The best part is that it offers a glorious view of the desert sunset.

The campsite is relatively small, with only 7 RV sites. However, each one is a developed site and is also equipped with electrical hookups, picnic tables, and barbecue pits.

The upside is that the place never gets noisy or rowdy. Even though each spot is right next to each other, there will hardly be crowds around to disrupt the peace and quiet.

As for the amenities, the bathrooms are well-maintained and clean, albeit small. We also think that kids will enjoy the nearby playground and bike trails.

If you’re looking for a quiet night of camping, we think this would be a solid choice.

3. Usery Mountain Regional Park

Usery Mountain Regional Park
Image Source: Campendium


Address: 6989 S 143rd Dr #6801, Goodyear, AZ 85338

Contact Number: (602) 506-2930

Amenities: Electrical outlets, water hookups, picnic tables, fire pits, restrooms with hot shower, dump station

Camping Fees: $8 reservation fee; $22 for semi-developed sites; $32 for developed sites; $45 reservation fee for RVs

Usery Mountain Regional Park is one of the go-to camping grounds of larger groups. It’s one of the few campsites around that operate individual sites, group sites, and RV sites.

Note, however, that there are no RV hookups available. And, there’s a 14-day stay limit at all campsites.

Similar to other Maricopa County campgrounds, this one has full-service bathrooms with working hot showers and flush toilets. A big plus is that they’re well-maintained and kept clean daily.

The hosts are usually around, so you can address any concerns or requests you have right then and there.

The place is also quiet and peaceful, as there’s ample space between each campsite. It’s spacious and definitely feels as though you have your own private area.

All you’ll hear are coyotes in the distance and the nearby gun range. Other than that, just nature sounds all the way.

Another upside in our book is that the grounds are close to town. Should you need to do a quick grocery run, it’s conveniently a few minutes away.

4. Lost Dutchman State Park

Lost Dutchman State Park
Image Source: Roads Less Traveled


Address: 6109 N Apache Trail, Apache Junction, AZ 85119

Contact Number: (480) 982-4485

Amenities: Electrical outlets, water hookups, picnic tables, fire pits, restrooms with hot shower, dog park, dump station

Camping Fees: $3.20 reservation fee; $15 per night

The campground in Lost Dutchman State Park is among our favorites for a few good reasons.

For starters, the sunsets are just lovely because it’s right at the foot of the Superstition Mountains. Surprisingly, cell reception is decent, too.

Second is that it’s not too close nor too far away from the city. There’s not a lot of light pollution so you get a clear view of the night skies, but there are nearby groceries at the Apache Junction if you need to do a quick run.

Another is that they have one of the best and most well-kept camp amenities around. The bathrooms are clean with working showers and toilets, and there’s even a dog park in the vicinity.

We suggest staying anywhere from sites 1-74, as those are usually the closest to the restrooms. Beyond that necessitates walking for at least half a mile.

All in all, there are 135 campsites with hookup sites on paved roads for tents or RVs. Each one has a picnic table, a fire pit, and an adjustable grill gate.

You’ll also notice a lot of warning signs about rattlesnakes and tarantulas. Thankfully, we haven’t run into any, but keep your eyes peeled.

The dump station is near the park exit, so we suggest just bringing your trash with you until check out. 

5. Lake Pleasant Regional Park

Lake Pleasant Regional Park
Image Source:


Address: 41835 N Castle Hot Springs Rd, Morristown, AZ 85342

Contact Number: (928) 501-1710

Amenities: Electrical outlets, water hookups, picnic tables, fire pits, restrooms with hot shower, boat parking

Camping Fees: Starts at $15

If shoreline or primitive camping is right up your alley, then we suggest taking a chance at Lake Pleasant Regional Park. It’s a popular spot for water sports, scuba diving, and boating as well.

They have 148 campsites for tent and RV camping. The developed sites have electricity, water, picnic tables, barbecue grills, and fire pits; while the semi-developed sites are tent sites with covered ramadas.

If pitching a tent or coming in big groups, it’s recommended to stay at the Desert Tortoise Campground. RVs are typically parked at the Roadrunner Campground.

Note that both sites have restroom and shower facilities.

If you want to try something different, boat-in camping may just be the thing. There are 30 parking spaces allotted for boats and reservations are required.

This is a great option for those who would love to fish and camp at the same time. Just note that you should check-in before 8PM in order to be accommodated.

6. Coon Bluff Campground

Coon Bluff Campground
Image Source: Denis LeBlanc via

Address: Coon Bluff Rd, Mesa, AZ 85215

Contact Number: (480) 610-3300

Amenities: Restrooms

Camping Fees: Free

While most campsites in the Phoenix metropolis are RV sites, Coon Bluff Campground offers an “authentic” camping experience. There are barely any amenities, but you get to enjoy nature at its finest.

The campground beautifully sits atop a bluff on the Salt River and is a primitive recreational site within the Tonto National Forest. Here, camping is free (you only need a Tonto National Pass) and it’s really mostly grass and trees out here.

Relatively smaller in area size, there are only 5 semi-developed sites that have concrete paths. The upside is that you may pitch a tent anywhere on the clearing – there aren’t even any site numbers!

What we love about camping here is that it’s close to most activities that the Salt River offers. There are a ton of watering and swimming holes nearby, as well as hiking and riding trails.

If you’re lucky, you might even come across a wild horse near the camping site. Be careful not to come too close to them and remember to respect the animals.

Unfortunately, overnight camping is only permitted from October to March. Day camping is allowed anytime of the year, though.

7. White Tank Mountain Regional Park

White Tank Mountain Regional Park
Image Source: RDS via Diesel Place


Address: 13073-20685 W Valley Vista Dr, Waddell, AZ 85355

Contact Number: (623) 935-2505

Amenities: Electrical outlets, water hookups, picnic tables, fire pits, restrooms with hot shower, ramadas, dishwashing station

Camping Fees: $8 reservation fee; $32 for developed sites; $40 for RV sites

For bigger groups, the campgrounds at White Tank Mountain Regional Park would be ideal. Apart from the 40 individual sites they have, they also have a Group Campground and a Youth Group Area.

The Group Campground has 2 ramadas, 8 picnic tables, 2 large barbecue grills, and there’s a nearby dump station. Note, however, that there are no RV hookups here.

Meanwhile, the Youth Group Area is often rented out by Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and similar youth groups. It has 12 campsites with up to 2 tents each, picnic tables, and a group fire ring.

If staying here, kids and teenagers under the age of 18 must be accompanied and supervised by an adult.

Most of their sites have relatively large parking areas, which we find super convenient for RVs. Developed areas come with water and electricity hookups, along with full-service bathrooms.

If you’re a smaller group or coming in pairs, the Willow Campground offers a quieter alternative. It’s a non-hookup campsite with only 11 tent spaces, restrooms with showers, and a dishwashing station.

8. McDowell Mountain Regional Park

McDowell Mountain Regional Park
Image Source: RVing with Rex


Address: Whitehead Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85262

Contact Number: (602) 506-2930

Amenities: Electrical outlets, water hookups, picnic tables, fire pits, restrooms with hot shower, dump station

Camping Fees: Starts at $30 per night

McDowell Mountain Regional Park offers guests 80 campsites that are all readily-equipped with water and electricity hookups. You may pitch your own tent or bring your trailers and RVs.

The campsite also has a working water station, decently-sized restrooms with flush toilets and single showers, and a nearby dump site. We also love that each one is spaced out so you get a lot of privacy.

There’s nothing truly unique about this campsite, lest for the thriving wildlife all around it. You’ll almost always hear coyotes howling in the distance, and we’ve encountered more than a few snakes and tarantulas.

If you’re squeamish around these, then this might not be the best place for you. But if you love the wilderness, we absolutely recommend experiencing camping here at least once!

Another reason to visit are the lot of biking and hiking trails just beside the camping area. Hiking is a common activity around here, too.

Plus, the camp hosts here are extremely accommodating and helpful. They make sure that guests are comfortable and that they have everything they’d possibly need during their stay.

Note, also, that the place occasionally experiences strong winds. It can be scary to the uninitiated, but it’s a common occurrence in the area so just be mindful not to leave things around that could get blown away.

9. Skyline Regional Park

Skyline Regional Park
Image Source: The Dyrt


Address: 2600 N Watson Rd, Buckeye, AZ 85396

Contact Number: (623) 349-6350

Amenities: Electrical outlets, picnic tables, fire pits, restrooms, dump station

Camping Fees: Starts at $20 per night

The campground at Skyline Regional Park, in our opinion, is a hidden gem. They don’t heavily advertise, which is why not a lot of people come here, nor does it get crowded.

The major pro here is the stunning view and landscape. Desert vistas, saguaro cacti, and a lot of wildflowers surround the campsites.

Plus, there are several hiking and biking trails around at varying levels of difficulty. We always appreciate it when there’s more to do in a campground than simply pitching a tent.

The major downside, though, is that there’s no water station. There are no hookups either, and TV and cell reception is a hit-or-miss.

While most people say that the site is overgrown, we actually think that the tall weeds add to its primitive charm.

And while the place is generally quiet most times, a lot of hikers busily seek rest beside the campground, especially around sundown. 

We also find the location convenient and easy to access. It’s located near a shopping center, which makes the place ideal to stay at after long trail runs or quick weekend getaways.

10. Mesa / Apache Junction KOA Journey

Mesa Apache Junction KOA Journey
Image Source: Pam Albert via


Address: 1540 S Tomahawk Rd, Apache Junction, AZ 85119

Contact Number: (480) 982-4015

Amenities: Electrical outlets, water hookups, outdoor kitchen, pavilion, hot tub, sauna, playground picnic tables, fire pits, restrooms with hot shower, dump station

Camping Fees: Starts at $40 per night

The KOA Journey Campgrounds at the Mesa and Apache Junction is another roadside campground that we love. First off, it’s conveniently located near major highways and is an easy stopover if you’re doing long drives.

Second is that they offer premium camping perks and amenities. They have a ton of pull-through RV sites with 50-amp services alongside well-lit tent pitching areas.

There’s also a pool, a picnic pavilion, propane fire pits, and did we mention that they have a hot tub and a sauna?

The place is a nice, quaint campground with quirky souvenirs and several outdoor kitchens. They’re pet-friendly, too, and you can freely allow your pooches to go do the zoomies around the spacious lot.

Also, the people who manage the place are incredibly nice and welcoming. In our experience, they make sure to keep you delighted and comfortable during your stay.

11. SB Cove Shoreline

SB Cove Shoreline
Image Source: The Dyrt

Address: Bartlett Dam N, Rio Verde, AZ 85263

Contact Number: (480) 595 3300

Amenities: Portable toilets

Camping Fees: Free

The SB Cove Shoreline is nestled along the gorgeous shores of Bartlett Reservoir inside the Tonto National Forest. It’s a favorite spot among many local campers because of the stunning vistas that surround the mountains and the charming moss-lined rocks.

This place is ideal for tent pitchers because there are no designated campsites. Where you’ll camp will depend on the water level that the reservoir allows daily.

We recommend checking the water level here prior to coming, so as not to waste your time if it’s not at a level you’d prefer.

During weekends or holidays, the place can get a little crowded with various types of campers. You might even come across those staking areas for their boats.

Because of this, the nights aren’t as quiet as some would like. We’ve experienced having people playing loud music and being rowdy even at wee hours.

Technically, it’s not the best spot for nature camping for above mentioned reasons. Still, if you come here on a weekday, it’s not as bad and is actually a nice place to relax. 

We will say that it’s not ideal for trailers or RVs, as there are visibly no amenities or electricity and water hookups. Also, only portable toilets are available on-site.

We suggest bringing your own shovel to help level your campers. And try to arrive early on busy days to get a prime spot on the water.

There are no camping fees, but you need a Tonto National Pass to enter the reservoir.

12. Desert Sands RV Park

Desert Sands RV Park
Image Source: Desert Sands RV Park


Address: 22036 N 27th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85027

Contact Number: (623) 869-8186

Amenities: Electric outlets, water hookups, full hookups, pool, picnic tables, barbecue area, restrooms with hot showers

Camping Fees: Starts at $50 per night

A camping experience closer to home – literally – would be Desert Sands RV Park. It’s located right here at Phoenix and is an easy choice for quick weekend getaways.

Here, you get to enjoy peace and quiet without straying too far from the city. The place offers a gorgeous view of the metro desert without blocking out the glimmering stars at night.

Some amenities include a spacious barbecue area, a large pool, and tons of picnic tables. They also allow full hookups and can accommodate big rigs.

They claim to have a “resort-like atmosphere”, and we have to agree. The place does have a nice, relaxing ambience without being boring.

It’s also near a lot of hiking and biking trails. Deers, javelinas, and even coyotes have occasionally been spotted from here.

13. Mogollon Campground

Mogollon Campground
Image Source: Candy Apple Sugar via


Address: Payson, AZ 85541

Amenities: Water station, vault toilets, picnic tables, campfire rings, dump station

Camping Fees: Starts at $18 per night

The Mogollon Campground is a scenic gateway to the Mogollon Rim. It’s not located directly inside the Woods Canyon Recreation area, but it is only 2-miles away from the lake.

This campsite is relatively smaller with only 26 spaces available. Note that half of those require advanced reservation, and we’d recommend doing so to avoid losing a walk-in slot.

Here, you may pitch tents or bring pop-up campers, small trailers, and even motorhomes. Every campsite already has a campfire ring, grills, and picnic tables.

They only have vault toilets, a water station, and a dump station. While the amenities are humble, we find them to be well-maintained and sufficient for short stays.

We will say that it’s a lot quieter here than any other campsite we’ve tried. It really feels like a nature retreat, being in a thick forest that has easy access to some hiking trails.

Don’t worry about fetching other necessities, though. There’s a nearby grocery store just 2-miles away.

14. Burnt Corral Campground

Burnt Corral Campground
Image Source: Hipcamp


Address: 3547 AZ-88, Roosevelt, AZ 85545

Contact: (602) 225-5395

Amenities: Water station, vault toilets, picnic tables, campfire rings, grills

Camping Fees: Starts at $20 per night

The Burnt Corral Campground is nestled along the distinct walls of Apache Lake. This means that not only can you camp, but you can try out several recreational water activities as well!

This place is one of the more accessible areas as it’s mostly paved road and all 82 campsites are developed. They mostly include fire rings, grills, picnic tables, water stations, and vault toilets.

While it’s a more urban kind of campground, what really makes it standout are the stunning mountain and canyon views. At certain hours of the day, the lake is also quite a sight to behold, especially during the golden hour.

A few times in a year, they also allow for dispersed lake shore camping in the northern and southern portion of the campsite. It’s best to call ahead and inquire if this is something you’re interested in.

Also, note that they don’t accept reservations. So if you want a prime spot near the water, then you better get here early!

15. Manzanita Campground

Manzanita Campground
Image Source: Manzanita Campground via


Address: 5900 N State Rte 89A, Sedona, AZ 86336

Contact: (928) 203-2900

Amenities: Water station, vault toilets, picnic tables, campfire rings

Camping Fees: Starts at $22 per night

Also among our favorite quaint and hidden sites is Manzanita Campground. It’s a relatively small, tent-only facility that usually gets full quickly.

The reason being that it offers scenic views and lovely nature sounds. It’s located on the creekside, so expect to hear the rush of the water amidst swaying trees – it’s truly relaxing and invigorating.

Because of that, a lot of campers come here to fish and swim, as well. The water is regularly stocked with trout, so you’re almost always sure to get a catch.

There are also several beautiful hiking trails nearby that add to the already charming quality of this place. And, colorful songbirds often flock the trees, which is quite a majestic sight.

So when we say that you better come here early, you really do need to come early if you want to get one of their 18 slots. You can try your luck by getting a reservation, but again, those are pretty fickle and difficult to secure.

The campsite is really small, which is why motorized trailers and RVs aren’t allowed. Access to the grounds is easy and paved, though, so don’t worry about having trouble entering it.

16. Dead Horse Ranch

Dead Horse Ranch
Image Source: Denis LeBlanc via Outdoor Project


Address: 675 Dead Horse Ranch Rd, Cottonwood, AZ 86326

Contact: (928) 634-5283

Amenities: Electric outlets, water hookups, ADA-accessible restrooms with hot showers, picnic tables, fire pits, barbecue pits, grill, dump station

Camping Fees: Starts at $20 per night

Dead Horse Ranch is an almost 2-hour drive from Phoenix’s city center, but we think it’s well worth the effort. 

First off, the ranch is actually a state park and there are tons of beautiful hiking trails around. And, you can see pre-Columbian Sinaguan sites, go on a train excursion along the Verde River, or enjoy a cowboy-themed dinner at the nearby casino.

You’ll be surprised how many people come here to experience the park and camp. The upside is, the place is so spacious that it never feels too crowded or rowdy.

Here, they offer over 100 large RV sites. Most of their pull-through sites can fit 40-feet motor homes and 65-feet trailer rigs.

Another great thing about this place is that the facilities are modern and well-maintained. The restrooms are ADA-accessible, hot and cold showers are available, and generators are allowed.

Note, however, that there are no sewer hookups. But like most campsites, there is a dump station within the vicinity.

You’ll also find a ton of firepits and barbecue pits with grills. While picnic tables are plenty, we find that the well-kept grounds are a much better place to set up and dine under the stars.

If you plan on staying longer, we suggest making a daytrip to Old Town Cottonwood, which is a mere 10-minute drive away. It’s quite interesting to see the historic landmarks and the quirky boutiques.

We’d also like to point out that the campground is often fully-booked come spring and fall. It’s generally recommended to plan ahead and book at least a month in advance.

17. Clear Creek Campground

Clear Creek Campground
Image Source: Rocky N. via


Address: 626, Forrest Grove Way, Camp Verde, AZ 86322

Contact: (928) 203-2900

Amenities: Electric outlets, water hookups, vault toilets, picnic area, fire pits, boat ramp, shooting range

Camping Fees: Starts at $15 per night

Clear Creek Campground is another creekside campsite located at Cumberland District, just off Zilpo National Forest Scenic Byway. It’s a charming area surrounded by towering cottonwoods with a quiet and peaceful ambience.

The campsite itself is on a grassy flat, which makes it ideal for tent pitching. RVs are allowed, too, and there’s a short gravel road that leads to the grounds for easy access.

Bird watching, fishing, and hiking are some of the activities you can do here. But if you’re up for something different, we suggest visiting the Clear Creek Iron Furnace which is a historic landmark that dates as far back as the early 1800s.

Apart from the usual amenities that campgrounds offer, the place also has its own designed picnic area. There’s a boat ramp, too, and a shooting range.

Horses aren’t allowed in the campsites, but small pets are very much welcome. Just make sure to keep dogs on a leash at all times.

Do note that there’s a 7-day stay limit. They’re usually the most busy from spring through fall, so we suggest calling ahead and making a reservation.

18. Pine Creek RV Park

Pine Creek RV Park
Image Source: Bob T. via


Address: 3584 AZ-87, Pine, AZ 85544

Contact: (928) 476-4595

Amenities: Electric outlets, water hookups, restrooms with hot showers, picnic tables

Camping Fees: Starts at $55 per night

During the summer, Pine Creek is known to be “20-degrees cooler” than Phoenix. This is why a lot of locals head out to the quaint town to escape from unrelenting heat, even for just a bit.

One of the best places to camp at when visiting is Pine Creek RV Park. It’s right at the city center and offers easy access to grocery stores, bars, and all the nearby state parks and national forests.

While it’s not exactly the best RV park, it is decent and provides comfortable facilities for its guests. The restrooms are clean with working hot showers, there are full hookups available, WiFi is fast, and the place itself is obviously well taken care of. 

Note that they are exclusively an RV and trailer park, so tent pitching and dispersed camping isn’t allowed.

What are the do and don’ts during camping?

Camping has a lot of do’s and don’ts, but we’d like to let you in on the more useful ones. These are some important things to keep in mind that most people often overlook.

1. Figure out what kind of camper you are.

First things first – decide what kind of camping trip you’d like to go on. Would you like to immerse in a quiet nature trip, do you prefer luxurious glamping, or would you rather drive and park an RV?

While these may seem obvious, a lot of first-time campers fail to take this into account, especially when other people are involved. Try not to be too swayed by the opinions of your companions and consider your preferences as well.

This way, you don’t end up resenting the trip. Compromise is always key, and there are a good variety of camping grounds that offer a lot of flexibility for every type of camper.

2. Do your research early.

Obviously, research is a key part in any trip, especially if it involves camping. We say this because not every campsite will always be available – there are some that get booked months in advance.

And when doing your research, look into other activities nearby that you can do. Trust us; you can get bored really fast if you’re not used to staying in one place for long periods of time.

It also goes without saying that you should consider the amenities and facilities offered. Not all restrooms have showers, not every campsite has water hookups, and there are only a few ones with good cell reception.

Pro tip: if you plan on camping in the summer, look for ones with shaded areas. You’ll thank us later when you get enough sleep without having to endure the Arizona morning sun.

3. If pitching your own tent, practice it at home.

We’ve seen enough first-time campers excitedly arrive at the campsite, only to be baffled at how complicated pitching some tents can be. Even though there are “easy” instructions, we always recommend practicing pitching it at home.

An added bonus for this is that you get a gauge of how spacious the inside of your tent is. This way, you can pack ample-sized sleeping mats and gear without the worry of leaving them exposed to outdoor weather.

4. Plan your meals ahead.

We know you’re probably excited to cook hotdogs and have some s’mores, but at some point, you’ll want a heavy, savory meal. 

A lot of seasoned campers prefer half-cooking meals, even going as far as pre-mixing eggs and saving them in a bottle. This saves them from the hassle of bringing and possibly cracking eggs on the way to the campsite.

For others, stews or pre-cooked meals that are easy to reheat are the way to go. Chili is actually a popular camping food, because it’s easy to store and reheat when needed.

5. Learn to make a good campfire.

You’ll be surprised at how many people don’t know how to build a good campfire. Call us old fashioned, but we think this is one of the major parts of a camping trip. 

Sure, you can bring an electric one or a portable stove, but where’s the fun in that?

Our key tips for making a good campfire begins with a lighter. Make sure to bring more than a few and avoid matches, because those are vulnerable to water.

Next is to buy good quality, dry firewood and kindling. It’s frustrating (and wasteful) to use firewood that’s waterlogged, so purchase this ahead of the trip and dry it out completely.

Pine needles and newspapers make great fire starters. Dry leaves are a good option, too, especially if you’re camping in a forest.

The proper order of setting up a campfire is fire starter, kindling, and firewood in a teepee formation. Once you have a fire steadily going, slowly add more logs to keep it from dying.

What do I need to know before camping in Phoenix, Arizona?

Camping in Arizona has more than a few spoken and unspoken rules. While most of these apply to camping in general, there are some that are specific to the state and its surrounding areas.

1. Make your first-aid kit Arizona-proof.

Apart from the usual bandages, gauze, and topical first-aid creams, make sure to include medicine for snake and bug bites. As you may have heard, rattlesnakes aren’t an uncommon site in the state.

It’s also recommended to bring tweezers in your kit, as this would come in handy in case of encounters with jumping cholla cacti.

2. Always bring enough water.

Even though a campground says that they have a water station, it’s best to bring your own as you never know when they’ll run out or encounter issues. Plus, not every campsite has potable water.

With the Arizona heat, hydration is key for any outdoor activities. A good rule of thumb would be to bring at least 2 gallons of water per person, per day.

3. Bring a camping tarp.

A lot of campers make the mistake of assuming that shady trees would be enough to shield the campsite from the sun. But in Arizona, this is usually insufficient.

Camping tarps give you added protection from the sun’s harsh rays. You want one that’s waterproof and weatherproof for long-term stays, but a lightweight polytarp one would suffice for quick trips.

4. Check your batteries.

This may be a general tip for any camping trip anywhere in the world, but we’d like to emphasize it. Most people just pack their flashlights, headlamps, and lanterns without even checking the battery – so please don’t make this mistake.

Rechargeable gadgets are great, especially if you’ll be staying someplace with electric outlets. 

5. Respect the great outdoors.

This one is obvious, but it still needs to be said. Just as you’d respect the people around you, respect the sanctity of nature and living creatures that inhabit it.

Whenever you go camping, pick up after yourself and leave nothing behind. And when you see candy wrappers or bottles on the trail, be a good sport and pick those up, too.

Avoid playing loud music, as some people prefer to listen to the sounds of the wild. Utilize existing fire rings and pits.

The general rule is to just be a decent human and take care of our forests, parks, and land.

What is the 2 2 2 rule for camping?

The 2 2 2 rule advises that you shouldn’t drive more than 200 miles per day, you should stop every 2 hours, and you should stay for at least 2 nights at each place.

The rule mostly applies to RV campers, but it’s a good rule to follow for anyone going on long rides towards their destination. 

Not only does this encourage rest on exhausting long drives, but it also helps keep the driver and passengers safe.

Do you need a permit to camp in Arizona?

Most campsites in Arizona do not need a permit for you to set up camp. As of writing, you only need permits if camping on State Trust Land or the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.

Now that we’ve given you an overview of the best camping spots near Phoenix, where would you like to go first? Sound off in the comments below!

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