Catalina State Park was beautiful in a very unique way. The campground sits at the base of the Catalina mountains and it made for gorgeous views. The landscape is pretty standard desert. There was a lot of plant life but not a lot of green. There are a ton of ants and other desert crawlies (just be prepared). Most of the spots are not well shaded so I don't think this is a very good summertime campground unless you are in an air conditioned camper of some sort. Some of the sites do have electric and water which is a nice perk. The campground is literally right on the edge of town. The road you take to get into the park is at a stop light intersection with a shopping plaza on the other side. Even with the close proximity tot he highway and town I didn't notice any unwanted noise.
The bathrooms were really well kept and had showers that even in the cold of November were putting out hot water. There are a ton of neat little hiking trails through the park (and quite a few geocaches). I could totally see this being a fun place to take pictures just because of the views. If you are looking for a large group event they had some facilities that could accommodate. My biggest dislike about this campground is they do not allow wood fires at all. It makes sense because EVERYTHING there is super dry but with the cool night temperatures (even when it was hot mid day) you couldn't warm up with a roaring fire. As a workaround you can use the fake logs in the BBQ pit (but they didn't seem to put off enough heat for us) and it looked pretty silly having 5 people standing around a BBQ pit trying to warm up!
May, 2019 we visited Saguaro National Park near Tucson AZ. We had planned to hike into the park at one of their few campgrounds but the office informed us that there was a controlled burn and recommended we not stay in the park and suggested Gilbert Ray as a good option. Gilbert Ray Campground is a great location for visiting the National Park. We arrived to find the office closed for the summer, so self serve option was available, at 10.00 per night for tent camping you can’t beat the price. The bathrooms were clean and as an added plus they have a dishwashing station. We stayed in the A loop. There are no showers and the campsite it all gravel making it next to impossible to put a tent stake in. The sites are fairly close together, for example, I could hear our neighbor unzip his tent. All sites have picnic tables. Cell service is good.
I stayed for a week in a pull-thru with full hookups. The park is all concrete and gated, which I appreciated in an urban setting. There's a grocery store across the street and only a 5 min drive to downtown Tucson.
This is by far the cleanest campground I’ve ever seen. The park rangers were very helpful. The bathrooms were spotless and the showers are huge and clean better then the ones I have at home. Everyone was very friendly and my 2 dogs loved it to stayed 5 days can’t wait to go back!
Good spot, easy access to Tucson area. The pinpoint and some reviews have it off snyner hill road, I'm not sure that area is legal to camp but I would not recommend it at all, a lot of trash dumped there and clearly used for target practice. The actual blm camping area is marked on Google maps as blm camp and in the triangle of San juaquin, old ajo hwy and ajo hwy. You will see cars/campers and signs with the camping rules noted, its clearly marked. Many low shrubs and trees so while sites are close they can feel separated. There is a gun range nearby that you can hear and pretty sure we also heard gun fire in that area off snyder hill road that I mentioned above.
Would stay here again, you may hear other campers (we had people playing music loudly but they stopped at 10pm) traffic noice isn't bad over night but there is a traffic light so you might was ear plugs and a sleep mask
Just a few miles up Harshaw Rd. (just outside of the adorable village of Patagonia), you will find a variety of free camping options with no services, just National Forest land available to both RVers and tent campers. There are streams running throughout the area, but the water simply isn’t drinkable even with filtering and leaves a sticky white mineral residue on everything it touches; thank goodness there is a reverse osmosis filling machine in the village of Patagonia, right in front of the bakery. The backroads in this area are great for hiking or mountain biking, you can choose from relatively flat to crazy steep with amazing views.
The village of Patagonia is colorful and fun, and has a nice market with a great produce selection for its size, a small bakery, a launderette, a gas station, and a few cleverly named restaurants. Also, be sure to check out the Paton Center for Hummingbirds (a birdwatcher’s paradise) -- it’s free! The locals are super friendly.
Note: You will see Border Patrol both hanging out in hidden spots and zooming down the roads through this area, appearing to be in hot pursuit. But we never saw a single “situation” that warranted their presence.
Stopping at this “campground” is a must if you love vintage campers! Since we have a vintage canned ham of our own, we didn’t stay the night, but the manager gave us an awesome, very detailed tour. Think of this as a hotel made up of vintage campers (from Airstreams to canned hams to Spartans), all decked out in the stylings of their individual eras. There is even a vintage boat and vintage bus that have been transformed into rooms. Each space is very clean and has a functional kitchen and bathroom, as well as an outdoor sitting area. A common shower house and bathroom is available to guests, and eventually they will have their 1950’s diner up and running (after some renovations). In addition, they have a handful of campsites with electric hook-ups where you can bring your own RV for $35 a night. If you are tent camping, this is not for you.
One of the coolest things about The Shady Dell is that it is just minutes away from the historic copper mining town of Bisbee, one of the most interesting, funky, eclectic, artsy, liberal, ramshackle places we’ve ever visited in the U.S. Download a map of the Bisbee 1000 Stair Climb Challenge and take off on your own tour of this old village or hire one of the locals to do it for you. This place is a trip – both back in time and forward in time, all at the same time.
Catalina State Park is just a bit outside of Tucson Arizona, and more importantly, Saguaro National Park. We used this State Park as a jumping-off point for our trip to Saguaro and it was a pretty good location for that.
Oro Valley is a modern area with tons of shopping and dining options right outside the park. This was very convenient for us to pick up McDonalds or grab something we forgot from the store.
The Park itself is stunning. Right up against the mountains, the views are gorgeous, especially at sunset. We were in campsite #A-23, which was AMAZING. Perfect for tent camping, the space is large and flat. You could easily fit several tents in this site.
We drove around campgrounds A and B and found the sites to be much more spaced out in A. Most of the sites were occupied by RVs, which made for a very quiet and non-stressful night!
Our site had electric hook ups and a water faucet. Also a BBQ grill and picnic table are provided. Wood fires are NOT permitted in the park.
Overall we LOVED this place. We will for sure return in the near future!
The Park also has a lot of amazing trails, including a very short hike to see Hohokam ruins which were so cool to see!! The kids loved this hike and the views were amazing.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - at Catalina State Park we had the opportunity to try out the Wenzel Camp Quilt (or 2!). These quilts are so great! Our old camp blanket had to be carefully folded in a particular way and then zipped up. These quilts come with stuff bags and you can just stuff the quilt in them when you are done! I now keep these in the car with me at all time, because you never know when you need a picnic blanket, or something to keep you warm!
For us, it is a no-brainer to just toss one or two of these in with your camping gear. Here in Arizona, the temperature drops fast once the sun goes down. Although it was over 100F during the day, it was still FREEZING cold in our tent at night. We were so grateful to have these quilts to snuggle up and keep us warm!
A LOVELY RV RESORT IN A LOVLEY SETTING. VERY FRIENDLY. CLEAN & AND P ET FRIENDLY. THE JAM SESSIONS THAT ARE HELD ON THURS IS THE COUNTRY JAM HOSTED BY A VERY SWEET MAN, CHUCK, & ON SUNDAY IS THE GOSPEL JAM HOSTED BY, DWIGHT, A VERY CHRISTIAN MAN. THE MUSIC BOTH NIGHTS ARE AWESOME…I cant think of a better place to spend the winter.
Various Oaks and Alligator Junipers abound at this cute little National Forest campground tucked in the Dragoon Mountains, another of Arizona’s beautiful “Islands in the Sky.” Named for the late Apache leader, Chief Cochise, this campground sits at the base of a few absolutely gorgeous hiking trails and rock climbing areas.
Each site has a good amount of space but oddly a small amount of space for tents and RV’s longer than 24 feet won’t fit in most of the sites. There is no privacy in between sites, but each site has good tree coverage (almost too much for our solar suitcase on an extension cord). Each site has a huge cement picnic table, fire ring, and grill and there are a couple composting toilets. There was no drinking water available at the campground (the website says there is water), but there is a creek you can pull water from for filtering, so come prepared.
Important note: If there is rain in the forecast, be aware that you may get stuck in this campground for a couple of days, as you have to cross numerous washes on the road to/from the campground. We were there for 3 days before it was safe to pull a small camper across the “death wash” that grew to 6 feet high and 20 feet wide during a 24-hour rain event!
Just northwest of Tucson is this beautiful county campground, located a few miles from Saguaro National Park and the awesome Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum (a must see). Hiking and mountain biking trails are all over the area, with the Brown Mountain hike being our favorite as it’s accessible from the campground and has great views all around.
Each site is equipped with electric hookups and there are water spigots throughout the campground, in addition to running water in the clean bathrooms (no showers though) and a nice dishwashing sink. The picnic tables ranged from normal-sized to very small and awkward, depending on the site. There is decent privacy in between most sites, as it is beautifully landscaped with native desert cacti, shrubs, and trees.
It’s important to note that this campground doesn’t take reservations, but if you show up by 8am and get in line, you will more than likely get a spot. You can continue to add nights to your stay before 10am each morning, for up to 7 days total. They also don’t take credit cards, so come prepared with cash or a check.
Staff is very friendly, good size sites, beautiful views, and bathrooms are clean. Cable and WI FI available. They had a luncheon for Valentines day and Fat Tuesday, We enjoyed our time and will return again.
Happy Valley campground's name can be decieving.. its actually at 6,000' of elevation, 4.6 miles up the Miller Creek trail in the Rincon mountains east of Tucson. It lies within the Saguaro National Park so a permit is required ($8 fee). Up to 6 people per permit. There is 3 spots at the camp. Each spot has a fire ring, bear box, and some good size stumps to sit on around the fire. There is a vaulted toilet at the site as well. Water can be scarce in the Rincons so plan accordingly!
Another 3.4 miles up the trail and you'll be at the summit of Rincon Peak (8,200'ish).
This place is huge! It is a KOA, but still very nice. It is a “resort” so it’s a little pricey, but we were just there for one night to visit Saguaro National Park. The sites are a little close together, but we were on the end, so we were not crowded. And, there was a grapefruit tree, with ripe fruit, next to our site. Orange and lemon trees were scattered around the park. There is a large dog play area that was nice for traveling canine companions. There is also a very good restaurant, BBQLIFE, right in the campground, that delivers!
This BLM property, right off the Ajo highway near Tucson, is extremely convenient for a short or extended stay. Anyone can stay up to 14 nights, free of charge. Greeted people here from all walks of life -- from those living out of the back of truck to brand new 45 foot motorhomes.
Like many high-impact BLM areas, the entrance roads are not well-maintained so some are quite rough. We arrived in the dark, which we do not recommend as it was difficult to see where the entrances were and how rough the roads were ahead of us. The parking/camping spaces are not designated, but heavy use has carved out lots of opportunities.
There are a few places to walk or ride throughout the property, which is actually quite small based on typical BLM property. However, the nearby areas of Saguaro National Park and Tucson Mountain Park, offer plenty of opportunities for both.
No facilities, no water or even a stream…so plan ahead!
We stayed here in early summer and were so comfortable in both an RV site and cabin. Wonderful. Staff great and the solar structures above most RV sites were great at keeping us cooler and happier! Best cabins we’ve seen in KOA Places. Nicest pool in a Koa. Super hot tubs and picklevall court. Wow. We’ll be back!
Give yourself time to explore and enjoy the surroundings.
To get to the campground you must first go through the Saguaro National Park and the drive is just as fun as it is beautiful.
I suggest viewing the aerial map of campsites before hand. I had selected about 9 different sites before arriving and that was good because I ended up at my #6 choice. Which was still a great site.
Very quite and peaceful. However, it's the desert so you should bring an air mattress or cot. Most sites have tables and are close to water and restrooms. The restrooms were very clean and upkeep. Heads up there are no showers at this campground.
I felt very safe there and actually left my campsite unattended for about 10-12 hours and not a thing was out of place.
Tents are $10 a night and RVs are $20. Tents can camp in any RV space but you can't the use power at the campsites (30 amp). You can charge small devices using the power outlets in the restrooms. Also Verizon cell/data service was great out here.
I can't wait to go back next year.
Secluded and very private. Large enough for your every need. Two nearest towns are 15-20 miles away. Sierra Vista has anything anyone would want and Tombstone is a tourist haven. Recommend this site to anyone that wishes to avoid large crowds and loves open skies and spaces.
At Rose Canyon Lake. Lots of spots. Though the campground was very nearly full, it was quiet. Has several loops separated by shallow ravines. Pit toilets. Very clean and well-cared-for. Friendly, helpful camp hosts.
If you camp for the pure love of nature, this place is for you. The drive alone is inspiring! There is a fee for camping which you should plan to leave in the box (yes, they do come around to check eventually). This campground fee is in addition to the fee you pay on the way up so carry cash. With so many views, trails, and photo ops, you couldn't ask for more. But if you do anyway, be sure to travel to the top of the mountain for some fudge in the gift shop and DO NOT miss the view of the creek. You may have to find a spot to park and walk about a half mile but it's just beautiful and it'd be sad for you to miss it since you're already up there. There is a lake within driving distance; you'll pass it on the way up. DO NOT feed the bears, please; for their safety (Seriously; they'll get euthanized).
Even when it's busy, it's not overwhelmingly so. Visit the beach, walk the bridge, rent a boat, or fish the lake during your camping trip. I love this place. Different ambiance than most AZ lakes. Plenty of RV parking or for tent campers preferring privacy, make sure to book a boat-in site. If you book early enough, you can snag site 38! It's technically a boat-in site but you can park in the parking lot and walk a short distance down the stairs to your own private little area. Of course, you'll have passersby looking for a great fishing spot or just walking the lake but otherwise this is your best bet for privacy without actually having a boat. Bathrooms and showers have always been clean during my trips. Convenient store always had necessities and ice cream cones to top it off. There is cell phone service but check your roaming! At times service providers will detect your in Mexico! I love this place.