RV camping can be a year-round treat with these beautiful winter destinations in Arizona. Enjoy the sunshine and mild temperatures for the perfect outdoor adventure any time of the year.
When Canada and the northern states head into the winter season, with its freezing temps and damp conditions, follow the birds (and the snowbirds) south for the winter. Our home state of Arizona is known for comfortably cool weather, vibrant deserts, and clear hiking trails in the winter, perfect for outdoor adventures. Here are four of the best winter RV camping destinations to explore in your RV rental.
Arizona Winter Weather Conditions
During the winter months in Arizona, the weather conditions and average temperatures offer a welcome respite from the scorching heat of the summer. From December to February, the state experiences mild and pleasant winters. In the southern regions, such as Phoenix and Tucson, temperatures generally range from 40 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the northern mountainous areas, like Flagstaff and Sedona, winter temperatures can drop significantly, with average lows ranging from 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit and highs reaching 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The clear skies and low humidity make Arizona's winter season an ideal time for outdoor activities and exploring its breathtaking landscapes, while visitors and residents alike can enjoy the charm of cooler temperatures in this southwestern gem.
4 Best Spots for Winter RV Camping in Arizona
Arizona offers RV travelers ample opportunities for fun RV camping. These four RV camping areas are stand-outs among the bunch.
Chiricahua National Monument
Known as “a wonderland of rocks,” Chiricahua features nearly 12,000 acres of scenic trails, bird watching, and historic tours. The park’s rhyolite rock formations tower hundreds of feet in the air. Campers can take in the sites by car or explore the 17 miles of trails on foot. If you’re interested in learning the history behind the national monument, take a park ranger-led tour of the Faraway Ranch House. On-site campsites are available for RVs up to 29 feet long. Bonita Canyon Campground has 25 sites, flush toilets, running water, picnic tables, and trash pickup. Please note there are no hookups or showers available. Standard non-electric sites are $20 per night.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
This thriving desert is located on the border of Mexico, roughly two hours south of Phoenix. While famous for its abundance of organ pipe cacti, the park is actually home to more than 30 species of cactus, as well as a flourishing wildlife population. Designated as an International Biosphere Reserve, conservationists and scientists are working to protect its precious ecosystem. RV camping is available at the Twin Peaks Campground — just a heads up that this is a hookups-free site. There are 174 sites for RVs and restrooms with running water, solar-heated showers, and a dump station. As a popular winter camping destination, you’ll want to book your campsite in advance to ensure a space is available.
A $25.00 entrance fee (valid for seven consecutive days) per vehicle is required in addition to all camping reservations.
Patagonia Lake State Park
Winter vacation at the beach with this winter camping destination in Arizona. Patagonia Lake State Park features a campground, a lakeside beach, and a full marina with boat rentals. This campground is also perfect for RV campers wanting full hookups and private picnic areas. In addition to spending their days on the water, travelers can also explore a variety of nearby day-trip attractions. Western movie buffs will enjoy a day spent in Tombstone; if you have a history enthusiast in your group, visit Fort Huachuca, which is located just a little more than an hour away from the campground.
There are 105 developed campsites with a picnic table, a fire ring, and a grill. All sites have 20/30 amp and 50 amp electric hookups as well. Camping fees start at $25 per night plus the park entrance fee of $15-$20 per vehicle (1-4 adults).
Lost Dutchman State Park
Located at the base of the Superstition Mountains, Lost Dutchman State Park is full of legend and mystery. Named after the Lost Dutchman Mine, a fabled gold mine nestled in the mountains, visitors come from afar to explore its folklore. The area’s mild temperatures during the day are perfect for hiking and the Treasure Loop Trail is one of the most popular. If visiting in late winter, you may even be treated to a view of the blooming wildflowers.
The Lost Dutchman Campground has 135 sites, 68 of which offer electric (20/30/50 amp) and water hookups. All sites have a picnic table, fire ring/grill, and the campground is pet-friendly. Prices start at $25 per night at this campground.
Activities To Do While Winter RV Camping in Arizona
Camping in Arizona during the winter offers a unique and enjoyable experience, with a variety of activities to make the most of the season. Here are some activities you can consider while camping in Arizona in winter:
Hiking: Explore the numerous hiking trails across Arizona's diverse landscapes. Whether it's the scenic desert trails like Camelback Mountain in Phoenix or the picturesque trails in the Coconino National Forest around Sedona, winter provides comfortable temperatures for hiking adventures.
Stargazing: Arizona boasts some of the darkest skies in the country, making it an excellent destination for stargazing. With clear winter nights and minimal light pollution, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the stars and constellations.
Wildlife Watching: Many wildlife species are more active during the cooler months. Keep an eye out for mule deer, javelinas, and various bird species that are often spotted around campsites and hiking trails.
Campfires: Gather around a cozy campfire with friends and family, sharing stories, singing songs, roasting marshmallows, and enjoying the serene ambiance of the winter nights.
Photography: Capture the stunning winter landscapes, unique rock formations, and colorful sunsets that Arizona is known for. The winter light can offer excellent opportunities for photography enthusiasts.
Visit Hot Springs: Arizona is home to several natural hot springs, which can be a delightful way to warm up on a chilly day. Some popular ones include the Verde Hot Springs and the hot springs near the Colorado River.
Birdwatching: Winter brings migratory birds to Arizona, providing birdwatchers with a chance to spot a wide variety of species. Bring your binoculars and observe the colorful array of feathered visitors.
Visit National Parks: Explore the diverse national parks in Arizona, such as the Grand Canyon, Saguaro National Park, and Petrified Forest National Park. Winter offers a quieter and less crowded experience compared to the peak tourist seasons.
Off-Roading: If you have a 4x4 vehicle, consider exploring the numerous off-road trails available in the desert regions of Arizona. Just make sure to adhere to responsible off-roading practices and obtain any necessary permits.
Horseback Riding: Many areas in Arizona offer horseback riding opportunities, allowing you to experience beautiful landscapes from a different perspective.
Remember to check weather conditions and be prepared for varying temperatures, especially in higher elevations. Dress in layers to stay comfortable during the daytime and colder nights. Always follow Leave No Trace principles to preserve the natural beauty of Arizona's wilderness while enjoying these activities during your winter camping trip.
Must-Haves for Winter RV Camping in Arizona
When embarking on an RV camping trip in Arizona during the winter, it's essential to be prepared for varying weather conditions and make sure you have the necessary supplies. Here are some must-haves for a comfortable and enjoyable winter RV camping experience in Arizona:
Warm Clothing: Even though Arizona winters are relatively mild, temperatures can drop significantly, especially during the night. Pack a variety of warm clothing, including insulated jackets, sweaters, gloves, and beanies.
Cold-Weather Sleeping Gear: Ensure you have appropriate sleeping bags rated for winter temperatures, as well as insulated sleeping pads or mattresses to keep you warm and comfortable during the night.
Propane: If your RV relies on propane for heating or cooking, bring extra propane canisters to ensure you have enough fuel throughout your trip.
Water and Water Heater: Insulate your RV's water tanks and lines to prevent freezing. Carry fresh water hoses and heat tapes to maintain a steady water supply. Additionally, ensure your water heater is functioning correctly to have hot water during your stay.
Solar Panels and Generator: Arizona typically enjoys ample sunshine during the winter, so solar panels can help keep your batteries charged. However, a backup generator can be useful on cloudy days or if you plan to camp in shaded areas.
First Aid Kit: Always have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand to handle any minor injuries or medical needs that may arise.
Emergency Supplies: Prepare an emergency kit containing essentials like flashlights, batteries, a multi-tool, extra blankets, and non-perishable food in case of unexpected situations.
Navigation Tools: While GPS and smartphones are helpful, it's wise to have physical maps and a compass in case of technology failures or poor reception in remote areas.
Entertainment: Pack books, board games, or other forms of entertainment for cozy evenings inside the RV.
Cooking Supplies: Ensure you have all the necessary cooking utensils, pots, pans, and ingredients to prepare warm meals during your trip.
By having these essential items and being well-prepared, you can have a safe and enjoyable winter RV camping experience in the beautiful state of Arizona.
This year, you can be walking in a winter wonderland that doesn’t include snow in the forecast. Instead, enjoy clear skies, sunshine, and beautiful temperatures with these winter camping destinations in Arizona. Get an RV rental from Cruise America to enjoy winter camping in Arizona. Happy trails!