5 of The Amazing Arizona Desert Camping Spots

Amazing Arizona Desert Camping Spots

Traveling provides perspective, and to truly value your presence on this earth; we recommend desert camping in Arizona. 

The vast landscape dotted with cactuses and imposing landforms will surely take your breath away. But the real magic takes place after sunset, transforming the desert. 

As you sit beside the campfire, roasting marshmallows, look at the sky to experience the awe-inspiring effect of the universe. You’ll find billions of stars putting on a show, and it is this view that makes Arizona special. 

So, to know the best Arizona desert camping locations, read our guide for all the information. 

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park (Camping Sunset to Sunrise)

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park 
Arizona Desert Camping

Situated at an altitude of 5,564 feet above sea level, the Monument Valley Tribal Park spans across Utah and Arizona, covering 91,696 acres. It has several sightseeing spots that you can check out.

Why You’ll Love It

It would be best to reach early, allowing you enough time to explore hunts mesa, teardrop arch, and mystery valley. There’s a lot to do here, starting with its 17-mile loop drive across the lower valley. One of the more popular activities is horseback riding, and I recommend it to anyone who has always wanted to experience this!

  • You can drive yourself around
  • Enjoy each of 27 viewpoints
  • Full of incredible history
  • The night sky will expand your mind
  • The most amazing sunset and sunrise

The Downsides

That said, the long-winding road is not an easy drive, and you need to have a suitable vehicle to navigate the terrain.

  • No cell service in some areas
  • Rough road

Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park Desert Camping Spots in Arizona

Petrified Forest National Park in the middle of the Arizona desert, is the perfect place for spending time with family. The park is unlike any other in the country. It’s true, the term “forest” is a misnomer because there are no live trees anywhere and only petrified wood pieces in much of it. It extends for 900 square kilometers and is home to colorful badlands and a variety of wildlife.

Why You’ll Love It 

You will be mesmerized by this landscape, considering that it has large quantities of petrified wood, which gives it the name.

People can bring their pets, engaging in numerous activities like backcountry hiking, walking short trails, or taking a guided tour. Moreover, there are new places to discover and several sights to see at regular intervals.

There are lots of things to see, the Painted Desert is a colorful canvas, petroglyphs tell their own story on cliffsides in many colors, and cooled lava flows make up beautiful mesas like Blue Mesa.

If you’re looking for a view that will take your breath away, make sure to stop at Pintado Point. Most people skip this one because it’s not as scenic or well-known but the views are amazing!

You must obtain a camping permit at either gate from 8 A.M. - 5 P.M.
  • Scenic drive made it easy to access
  • Read the interesting stories
  • Amazing bountiful displays of nature

The downsides

However, it’s not open 24×7, so you need to view the park timings before planning a trip.

  • Needs more toilets

Meteor Crater RV Park

Meteor Crater RV Park in AZ

The Meteor Crater RV Park has miles of open space, making it ideal for family trips. You can also make night reservations to enjoy the desert after sundown.

Why You’ll Love It 

As you exit the Interstate, this RV park falls on your right, meaning that it’s easy to locate. Once you arrive, your kids will love the various park attractions, from the Apollo 11 space capsule to the Meteor Crater. 

Not to mention that there are 71 RV sites, campsites, and even a basketball court for entertainment. 

  • 35 miles outside of Flagstaff
  • Had no reservation
  • Very clean and great full hook-ups
  • Two large dog parks

The Downsides 

RVs bigger than 60 feet x 30 feet aren’t allowed entry, so you need to choose an appropriate vehicle. 

  • Not large enough for a larger rig and tow vehicle

Tonto National Forest

Tonto National Forest for star gazing

From parched desert, millions of acres burned and black, lush forests and rivers, the Tonto National Forest is a good place to stop for travelers who are looking for day trips in the Phoenix/Tucson area. Covering 2.9 million acres, there’s enough room in Tonto National Park for people and wildlife to coexist. So, keep an eye out for black bears or the famous bald eagle.

Why You’ll Love It 

It’s the largest National Park in Arizona and the seventh-largest in the USA, welcoming thousands of tourists across the globe. Although it’s a rugged landscape, there are lots to see both in terms of flora and fauna. 

You can spend some time beside the lake beaches or hike through pine forests. 

  • Clean Campground and Bathrooms
  • Great view of the superstition mountains
  • Delicious hamburger 🍔
  • Horseback riding

The Downsides

It’s not the best place to have a quiet time due to large crowds arriving all year round.

Sonoran Desert RV Park

Sonoran Desert RV Park in AZ
Photo: Denise D

This RV car park is ideal for experiencing the glory of the Sonoran desert. So, choose any site to enjoy the night sky or relax by one of its heated pools. 

Why You’ll Love It 

Although it isn’t far from Phoenix, you won’t have a clue about the city life. We suggest that you arrive early and stay late for the full desert experience.

You can spend a romantic evening or organize a family picnic. But the highlight is watching the setting sun transform the landscape. 

Weather you are looking for one night to continue on to Rockt Point or a few days of desert relaxation, this is one of the best parks we stay in.

  • Very clean and well laid out
  • Friendly and helpful staff
  • Direct access to the desert trails
  • Very reasonably priced

The Downsides 

There are very few grassy patches in the area, and it’s mostly gravel, but that’s something you’ll have to adjust to in the desert. 

Conclusion 

Camping in the desert can be a fulfilling experience, given its ever-changing landscape and many sightseeing spots. 

For city dwellers, it’s a chance to reconnect with their souls and experience the vastness of the universe. Be it the night sky or the large expanse of rugged terrain; you’ll fall in love with Arizona’s deserts. 

So, set up a tent or park your RV to relax amidst the beauty of nature. 

Explore More:

Matt Scofield
Matt Scofield

Hi! I’m Matt, an adventure freak who lives and breathes the great outdoors. Spending time under the open sky always appealed to me, even as a kid. Perhaps that’s why I liked camping with my dad so much. The days spent hiking and the nights around the campfire are times I’ll cherish forever.

Leave a Comment