Arizona landscapes are most likely what come to mind when thinking about the Southwest. Beautiful rock formations, high plateaus, narrow canyons, rich soil, and breathtaking horizons. It has some of the most beautiful geological displays and ecosystems in the US and is full of history. Arizona became the last of the contagious states on February 14, 1912. Because this also happens to be Valentine's Day, the state is also known as the "Valentine State". Additionally, astronomers at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff discovered the planet Pluto in 1930.
There are thousands of places to explore and camp in the state of Arizona. With over seven National Parks, Arizona is not a place for a brief visit. Because of its mild winters, many people visit Arizona all year round. It is also home to one of the seven natural wonders of the word - the Grand Canyon.
Top Arizona Attractions
Arizona Trail, Arizona - A national scenic trial, the Arizona Trail is a narrow band of earth stretching across Arizona from Mexico to Utah. The trails nearly 800 miles long stretch begins in Cochise County and its primary users are hikers, equestrians, mountain bicyclists, cross-country skiers, snowshoers, joggers and pack stock users.
- Hoover Dam - Hoover Dam is an engineering marvel of the 20th century. It stands 726 ft high and took four years to build and required 5,000 workers on the job around the clock. Hoover Dam supplies power to portions of California, Nevada and Arizona. Take a guided tour to truly appreciate this modern wonder. Allow 1 hour minimum.
Campgrounds and RV Parks near Hoover Dam.
- Havasu Canyon - Located just a mile and a half from the Havasupai Indian Village on the bottom of the majestic Grand Canyon, the turquoise-colored waters of Havasu Falls are accentuated by the sunburnt-colored rock face of the Canyon, making this as breathtaking as its waters are refreshing. The best way get here is by driving (4x4 is highly recommended) and then hiking 1.5 miles down to Supai. From here it's an easy walk to the falls. You can also take 3-day mule assisted tour in which the mules carry all your gear so you can hike comfortably down. This swimming hole is a perfect retreat for those looking for a relaxing and serene summer destination. Information about Camping and Tours near Supai.
- Lake Mead National Recreation Area - Created by the building of the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead is the second largest man-made reservoir lake in the United States. It extends over 110 miles into Nevada from the dam to the western edges of the Grand Canyon. It offers year-round boating, fishing, hiking, photography, picnicking and sightseeing.
Lake Mead Recreational Area Campgrounds in Arizona:
- Antelope Canyon Navajo Tribal Park - You've probably seen pictures of this swirling red sandstone canyon without realizing it in a photo gallery, as it is one of the most photographed places in Arizona. Antelope Canyon actually consists or two canyons, an Upper and Lower Canyon carved over thousands of years by wind and rain. You need a licensed guide to visit. Allow 1 hour minimum.
Campgrounds and RV Parks near Antelope Canyon.
- Grand Canyon National Park - One of the 7 natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is a deep gorge carved into the earth by the Colorado River for 6 billion years. It is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and over a mile deep. It offers breathtaking views, incredible hikes, waterfalls and mule and rivertrips.
Campgrounds and RV Parks near Grand Canyon National Park.
- Lowell Observatory - A research institution that studies astronomy, our solar system and its evolution. The Lowell Observatory has been the site of many important findings including the discovery of Pluto in 1930. Join one of their stargazing events to stare at the moon, Saturn and other stars or a guided tour of their telescope.
Campgrounds and RV Parks near Lowell Observatory.
- Montezuma Castle National Monument, Camp Verde - a historic five-story Native American dwelling carved out of an ancient limestone cliff. Begun during the twelfth century, Montezuma Castle took three centuries to complete. Learn about the Sinagua culture and how they lived.
Campgrounds and RV Parks near Montezuma Castle National Monument.
- Rafting trip on the Colorado River - The Colorado River is simply legendary. It is a river that every avid rafter should visit at least once in their lifetime. Once there, rafters will be treated not just to a thousand-mile course of challenging rapids but also to ever-changing dramatic scenery created by canyons and desert landscapes along the river's path. Parts of the river are gentle enough for beginner rafters to float or paddle through, while some parts are difficult enough to challenge even the most experienced of rafters. The most visited portion of the Colorado River is at the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona, where a 280-mile course runs through spectacular desert landscapes. The best time to visit the Colorado River is from May to September.
Campgrounds and RV Parks near Grand Canyon National Park.
- Red Rock Country - In the heart of Arizona lies the Red Rock Country with huge awe inspiring sandstone monuments with dramatic reds and oranges and deep breathtaking canyons. It's has everything from spiritual pursuits and spas in Sedona to hundreds of hiking, mountain biking and atv trails across the region. For more details on exploring Red Rock Country read Camping Road Trip through Red Rock Country that includes one, to four day itineraries on the best things to see and do.
Campgrounds and RV parks near Sedona.
- Walnut Canyon National Monument - From around 1100 to 1250 AD more than 300 pueblo dwellings were built in the canyon on different ledges under limestone cliffs providing excellent protection from the elements. They grew corn, beans and squash on the rim, gathered berries and walnuts and hunted deer and rabbits. Then around 1250 AD the canyon was abandoned, why is a mystery. There are two main trails; 1) Rim Trail that takes you along the canyon rim and through ponderosa forest. You'll see 2 canyon overlooks, plus a pithouse and pueblo set back from the canyon rim. 2) Island Trail descends 185 ft. over the course of half a mile and leads past 25 of the cliff dwelling rooms. Allow 1.5 hours minimum.
Campgrounds and RV parks near Walnut Canyon National Monument.
- Wupatki National Monument - Eruption of nearby Sunset Crater Volcano created fertile lands surrounding it. As a result Indians settled nearby. Wupatki National Monument contains 5 main pueblo sites dating from around 1100 to 1225 AD. At peak these pueblos were home to 2,000 Sinagua Indians. The largest, Wuptaki contains more than 100 rooms. A scenic loop road connects each pueblo that can be explored along self-guided trails. Allow 2 hours minimum.
Campgrounds and RV parks near Wupatki National Monument.
- Canyon De Chelly National Monument - Cliffs of sandstone tower hundreds of feet over broad canyon bottoms. In niches in the walls are Anasazi cliff dwellings and there are pictographs on many of the cliffs. Allow 3 hours minimum.
Canyon De Chelly National Monument Cottonwood Campground.
- Hopi Indian Reservation - Hopis are believed to have descended from the Anasazi and live in villages on a group of three plateaus dubbed mesas by early European explorers, linked by the US 264. First mesa contains a visitor's center and the villages of Wapi, Sichomovi and Hano. Get a guide to help your tour the villages. On the Second mesa visit the Hopi Cultural Center that recounts the turbulent history of the Hopi people and has an exhibit on the deities' central to their religion. You can also try traditional Hopi dishes. On the Third mesa check out the village of Old Oraibi that dates back to 1150 and is America's oldest continuously inhabited village. Allow 2 hours minimum. There no campgrounds in the Hopi Indian Reservation, the nearest is in Tuba City, 60 miles away.
- Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site - Oldest continuously operated trading post in the Navajo Nation founded in 1878 by John Lorenzo Hubbell. Members of the Navajo, Zuni, Hopi and other tribes sell and trade hand-woven rugs, jewelry, baskets and pottery. Guided tours of Hubbell's house and weaving demonstrations are available. Allow 1 hour minimum.
Campgrounds and RV Parks near Hubbell Trading Post National Historic site.
- Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park - You've probably seen this spellbinding scenery full of buttes, spires and pinnacles before in a Western movie. This 30,000 acre area is full of red sandstone monoliths created by wind and water erosion, that tower as much as 1,000 ft, and are simply stunning when framed by the blue sky. You can do a self-guided driving tour on dirt uneven roads or take a guided tour. Allow 3 hours minimum.
Campgrounds and RV Parks near Monument Valley.
- Navajo National Monument - Contains some of the largest and most intact cliff dwellings in the South West. Betatakin, a 13th century pueblo ruin requires a strenuous 5 mile round trip hike to reach and the tour is limited to 25 people a day on a first come first served basis. You can also see the ruin from the end of the 0.5 mile Sandal trail. 13th century Keet Seel ruins the larger and most intact of the two, is accessible by hiking a strenuous 17 miles round trip and the tour is limited to 20 people per day and must be booked in advance. This should only be done by experienced hikers. However, you can get a permit to camp at a primitive campground near to Keet Seel ruins to divide up the hike. Allow 3 hours minimum.
Campgrounds near Navajo National Monument.
- Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park - Arizona's largest and oldest botanical garden with over 3,000 species of desert plants from around the world. With two miles of trails you can see, towering trees, cacti, mountain cliffs, a streamside forest, panoramic vistas, many natural habitats with varied wildlife, a desert lake, a hidden canyon, specialty gardens and more. Allow 1 hour minimum.
Campgrounds and RV Parks near Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park.
- Casa Grande Ruins National Monument - A three story earthen "Great House" (Casa Grande) and the remains of a walled village are preserved at Casa Grande Ruins. Whether the Casa Grande was a gathering place for the Hohokam Desert People or simply a waypoint marker in an extensive system of canals and trading partners is but part of the mystique of the Ruins. Casa Grande was abandoned after 100 years around 1450 for reasons unknown. A self-guiding hiking trail leads through the ruins. Allow 1 hour minimum.
Campgrounds and RV Parks near Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.
- Heard Museum - this museum emphasizes the life ways of indigenous people of the southwest, and the museum collection and exhibitions cover living cultures and arts of contemporary Native peoples.
Phoenix Campgrounds and RV Parks.
- Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Payson - Stunning natural bridge with 183 ft. arch over a 400 ft. long tunnel cut by Pine Creek. You can stand on top of the bridge or hike down below to capture the true size and beauty of this geologic wonder. In addition, there is a swimming/wading area north of the bridge, in Pine Creek.
Campgrounds and RV Parks near Tonto Natural Bridge State Park.
- Meteor Crater - Located 45 miles east of Flagstaff, the crater is a 50,000 year old crash site formed when a 150 ft. meteorite hit the earth at around 26,000 mph. The crater is 550 feet deep, 2.4 miles in circumference and nearly 1 mile across. Scientists believe the impact of the meteorite was far stronger than the bombs dropped over Japan in WWII. The Discovery Center displays information on how craters are formed and on meteorites and asteroids. Guided tours of the rim are available. Allow 2 hours minimum.
Campgrounds and RV Parks near Meteor Crater.
- Petrified Forest National Park - A fascinating place to visit abundant with geographical history and home to petrified logs and some of the most impressive fossils ever found. Over 200 million years ago pine like trees from eroding riverbanks were carried away and buried in the wet swamplands of the area. The silica-rich waters slowly penetrated the logs tissue and replaced wood with silica until they virtually changed to stone. Iron oxide and other minerals crystallized the silica into rainbow colors. Millions of years of erosion created the mesas, buttes and badlands and exposed the logs. You can drive through the park and stop at several breathtaking viewpoints and hike trails to see the petrified wood up close. Check out the pueblo built from petrified wood and the petroglyphs. Allow 3 hours minimum.
Campgrounds and RV Parks near Petrified Forest National Park.
Arizona Must See Events
- National Festival of the West, Scottsdale - A celebration of all things Western, it is one of the largest events of its kind in the nation, attracting visitors from around the world. Western music, film and TV celebrities, cowboy poetry, a costume contest, action packed arena events, chuck wagon cooking competition, log home show and over 200 exhibitors selling unique Western merchandise, are complemented by plenty of fun and food.
Campgrounds and RV parks near Scottsdale.
- Navajo Nation Fair, Window Rock - One of the most famous Native American Festivals. Guests come from all over to attend the event in the Capital of the Navajo Nation to renew friendships and make new ones. Activities include Native American fine arts and crafts, Native food concessions, traditional Navajo song and dance, parade and live music.
Campgrounds and RV Parks near Window Rock.
- Salsa Fest, Safford - A salsa making competition open to professional and amateur salsa chefs. Festivities begin with the Salsa Glow - hot air balloons light up Downtown Safford on Friday evening and fly overhead early Saturday morning.
Campgrounds and RV Parks near Safford.
- Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival, Yuma - Festival attracts some of the most colorful and unique balloons from the West and Southwest. Staged over three days in November, with mass ascensions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings, the festival uses the Colorado River and the Sonoran Desert as its backdrop. The highlight is its Barney's Convenience Stores Desert Balloon Glow that takes place on Saturday night at Yuma's Desert Sun Baseball Stadium where tethered balloons fill the baseball field and with their burners firing at full blast, the balloons to glow brightly in the dark desert sky, The entire pageant is set to music.
Campgrounds and RV parks near Yuma.
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