The 5 Best Places to Camp in Arizona this Summer

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: June 14, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/jenifoto
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Looking for somewhere cool to camp in the hot summer of Arizona? The average high in Arizona in July is 106°, that’s the average! But don’t let the heat scare you away from some amazing camping opportunities in Arizona. Whether you are coming to visit the Grand Canyon, Phoenix or the beaches of Lake Havasu, there are plenty of options for the best camping. Here are 5 of the best places to camp in Arizona this summer.

1. Mather Campground, Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon National Park in Winter
How would you like this view with your morning coffee? Mather Campground is in the Grand Canyon Village right on the South Rim.

Kobby Dagan/Shutterstock.com

Located at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, right in the Grand Canyon Village, the Mather Campground is a beautiful campsite steps from the Grand Canyon. Wake up, grab a cup of coffee and walk to the edge of the South Rim to watch the sunrise sparkle on the canyon walls. Look for bighorn sheep, elk and the fuzzy eared Abert’s squirrel.

The Campground is about a mile hike from the South rim, but you can also take one of the shuttles. There are 327 sites, including 55 Tent only sites. Each site has a campfire ring and picnic table and there are restrooms and water pumps throughout the campground. There are not electrical hookups. Near the entrance there is a Camper Service area that has hot showers, laundry and a dump station. Enjoy the vibe of staying at the Grand Canyon Village with a more reasonable cost by staying at the Mather Campground.

Mather Campground
LocationGrand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon Village
Nearest CityTusayan, AZ
RV Sites272 RV or Tent sites
Tent Sites55 Tent Only sites
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, hot showers, laundry, dump station, camp Store
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes (there are also 10-15 first-come, first serve sites)
What makes it one of the bestSleeping under the stars at the bottom of the Grand Canyon!
Animals That Molt - Elk
There are elk that live in the Grand Canyon Village area.

Ghost Bear/Shutterstock.com

2. Bright Angel Campground, Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon National Park - Rafting
One of the best places to camp in Arizona this summer is the Bright Angel Campground at the bottom of the Grand Canyon!

Jim Mallouk/Shutterstock.com

For the ultimate camping experience you can hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and near the beautiful Colorado River. This is not a casual afternoon walk, it is a rigorous hike and should only be attempted after careful consideration and planning. You must have a permit to hike to bottom of the Grand Canyon so apply early if you plan on going.

The spring and fall are more ideal times to hike the Grand Canyon due to the extreme heat of the Arizona summers, but with careful planning and plenty of water the hike is doable. If you want to break the trip up you can hike half-way down from the South Rim and stay at the Indian Garden Campground. If you are hiking from the North Rim, the Cottonwood Campground is half-way between the North Rim and Bright Angel Campground. There is also an option to ride mules down if you want the amazing experience of camping at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Bright Angel Campground
LocationGrand Canyon National Park, Bottom of the Grand Canyon
Nearest CityTusayan, AZ
RV Sites0
Tent Sites33 tent sites
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteNo
AmenitiesToilets, water, box for safe food storage
Pet FriendlyNo
ReservationsYes, Backcountry Permit is required
What makes it one of the bestSleeping under the stars at the bottom of the Grand Canyon!

3. Lake Havasu State Park, Lake Havasu City

Lake Havasu
If you want to be in the middle of all the action, then the Lake Havasu State Park Campground is for you.

Pamela Au/Shutterstock.com

If you’d like to cool off during the hot Arizona summer, then staying at the Lake Havasu State Park is a great option. Right on the shore of the cool blue Lake Havasu, you can enjoy swimming, fishing, kayaking and more! You can stay in one of the beachside sites and be steps from the lake. The park is walking distance to local restaurants, shops and entertainment so it is the best of both worlds!

Lake Havasu State Park
LocationOn the shores of Lake Havasu
Nearest CityLake Havasu City
RV sites54 total, RV or tent, all have 50 amp elec. and water
Tent sites54 total, RV or tent, all have 50amp elec. and water
Beachside sites (RV or Tent)9 sites are beachside
Beachside cabins13 cabins to rent
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, electric, water, near shops and the beach
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestBest place to cool off this summer!

4. Lost Dutchman State Park, Near Phoenix

mountain bike on sunny day in forest
If you want to camp near Phoenix but also try some exploring, the Lost Dutchman State Park is one of the best places to camp this summer.

iStock.com/LuckyBusiness

The Lost Dutchman State Park is located 40 miles east of Phoenix in the Sonoran desert. Don’t be deterred by the location which is at the base of the Superstition Mountains! If you are not superstitious you can enjoy the new mountain bike trail that opened in the State Park. The campground has 135 campsites total with half having 50/30/20 amp service and water. While you are exploring the trails around the park look for some of the local wildlife of mule deer, javelin, jackrabbits and maybe even a coyote.

Lost Dutchman State Park
LocationBase of the Superstition Mountains
Nearest City40 miles east of Phoenix
RV sites with electric68
Tent or RV sites, no hook-ups67
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, shower, laundry,
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestCamp in the Sonoran Desert and go mountain hiking in the same place!

5. Manzanita Campground, Sedona

Cathedral Rock Mountain Arizona
If you are visiting Sedona to go hiking at Cathedral Rock the Manzanita Campground is one of the closest sites.

iStock.com/twildlife

If you are looking for a small tent-only campsite in Sedona, then make your reservations for the Manzanita Campground in Sedona. This is really a get-back-to nature campground along the beautiful Oak Creek. There are only 19 campsites available so it keeps the crowds away. Take a day trip to many of the surrounding hiking trails in Sedona or out to Slide Rock State Park to cool off. There are also swimming holes right on Oak Creek. There are even a few of Creekside sites so you can fall asleep to the running water right outside your tent.

Manzanita Campground
LocationNear the Coconino National Forest
Nearest CitySedona, AZ
RV Sites0
Tent Sites19
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesPit toilets, picnic tables, fire pits, firewood, water spigot
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes, there are also 4 first-come-first-serve sites
What makes it one of the bestQuiet, private campground along an amazing creek!

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness and suggesting actions we can all do to help wildlife. As a former elementary school teacher I have a love for learning and teaching. My goal is to get kids fired-up about animals. Learning about the animals we share this earth with makes life better. When I am not writing I am living the good life with my husband and six kids (we are down to two that are still at home...and our giant labradoodle, Tango!).