Insider Secrets From A Local, Top Destinations For Arizona Camping!

One of the best parts about living in Arizona is the abundance of free camping locations!

Being a local who has been camping in Arizona for years, I love sharing our family’s personal favorite places to camp!

There is a climate for every season in this beautiful Grand Canyon state so it is NOT difficult to find awesome AZ camping spots.

In fact, there are so many cool Arizona camping destinations, it is hard to decide which ONE to choose! 

Insider Secrets From A Local Camping In Arizona by CampingForFoodies

Psst we’re compensated…see our disclosures.

Camping In Arizona: Insider Secrets From A Local

We have been in Arizona camping sites including county campgrounds, State Parks, recreation areas on State Trust Land, national recreation areas on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, National Parks and National Forests.

Each site is different and offers a unique camping experience. Here are our top destinations that make us LOVE camping in Arizona’s diverse landscapes!


Arizona Camping Top Destinations For Camping In Arizona by CampingForFoodies

Top Destinations For Arizona Camping

Think about this … the mean elevation of the state of Arizona is 4,100 feet above sea level … but the wide range of elevations is astonishing!

  • The highest elevation in Arizona: 12,637 feet above sea level (Humphreys Peak northwest of Flagstaff)
  • The lowest elevation in Arizona: 72 feet above sea level (Colorado River near San Luis)
  • The range of elevations in Arizona: 12,565 feet difference between high and low points

Who cares, you might ask?!?

People who want to go camping in Arizona all year round care!

I always say there is an elevation for every season in this camping-crazed state!

You can head for the snow of the mountains for awesome winter camping or head to the dirt of the desert … or anywhere in between. 


White Mountain Arizona Camping

The White Mountains are the perfect place to spend summers in Arizona. The area is filled with magnificent forests at an elevation that will keep you cool in the summer and playing in the snow in the winter.

There are short term camping destinations you’ll want to visit again as well as long-term hideaways.

And, you will find fantastic fishing in lakes across the Colorado Plateau with summit elevations towering over 11,000 feet above sea level.

Try a White Mountain Arizona camping experience in the High Country the next time you need a little R&R in the pines.

Camping In Arizona White Mountains by CampingForFoodies features a truck pulling a camper down a scenic road in the summer in Arizona with evergreen trees and mountains with ski slope runs under a bright blue sky in the background with text over the image that reads White Mountains Arizona Camping.

National Forest Camping Arizona

If you are new to boondocking in National Forests, don’t worry … it is easy!

Most of the land in Arizona is publicly owned and that means there is FREE (or small permit fee) camping just about every place you might want to go!

We’ve got a post to keep you legal when Camping In National Forests

The National Forests that are located in Arizona include:

  • Tonto National Forest (covering the areas around Payson, Superior etc.)
  • Coronado National Forest (covering the areas around Safford, Nogales etc.)
  • Prescott National Forest (covering the areas around Prescott, Chino Valley etc.)
  • Kaibab National Forest (covering the areas around Grand Canyon, Williams etc.)
  • Coconino National Forest (covering the areas around Flagstaff, Camp Verde etc.)
  • Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (covering the areas around Pinetop/Lakeside, Eagar etc.)

Free Camping In Arizona

Some of the best places to camp in Arizona won’t cost you a cent!

All of the free camping sites listed here are for fully self-contained boondocking so be prepared to handle your own power, water and waste requirements.

As with any type of unpaved road, the road status conditions to remote camping locations may vary drastically based on weather/use, closures and other variables … so check with the local agencies for current information.

Here are some of our favorite FREE camping sites in Arizona:

One of our favorite spots for Camping In Arizona is the Best Free RV And Tent Camping Sites Forest Road FR525 Near Sedona Arizona, CampingForFoodies Video a hot air balloon landed at our campsite visiting The Best Free RV And Tent Camping Sites Near Sedona Arizona On Forest Road FR525 with so many, hiking trails, nature and things to do with kids, cheap ideas to stay on budget while visiting beautiful places on AZ road trips!

Some of the most beautiful scenery in the world can be found camping in Arizona’s red rock country near Sedona.

The views from the dispersed camping spots within the Coconino National Forest are breathtaking!

On one of our visits we had a hot air balloon land at our campsite … check out our video!

See our Best Free RV And Tent Camping Sites Near Sedona Arizona Are On Forest Road FR525 post for more information.

  • Elevation: Approximately 5,440 feet above sea level
  • Best time of year to camp: Spring and Fall
  • Location in Arizona: Central/Northern
  • Price to camp: FREE
  • Lat/Longs: 34°53’07.4″N 111°54’32.9″W or 34.885385, -111.909130
  • Type of land: National Forest Service – Coconino
  • Website link: https://www.fs.usda.gov/coconino/
  • Accessibility: Slightly above average (4/5)
  • Cell Phone Coverage: Well above average (5/5)
  • Google map to get to this location
One of our favorite spots for Camping In Arizona is where A hot air balloon landed at our free camping site CampingForFoodies Video a hot air balloon landed at our campsite visiting The Best Free RV And Tent Camping Sites Near Sedona Arizona On Forest Road FR525 with so many, hiking trails, nature and things to do with kids, cheap ideas to stay on budget while visiting beautiful places on AZ road trips!

One of our favorite spots for Camping In Arizona is the BLM Arizona Camping Near Wickenburg AZ for free RV boondocking is perfect for January and the winter months of the year by CampingForFoodies

When we want to hang out around the saguaros of the desert, the Arizona camping location we choose is the BLM camping area near Wickenburg.

Be ready with your camera because the jaw-dropping sunsets are something you’ll want to remember forever!

See our BLM Arizona Camping Near Wickenburg AZ Boondocking VIDEO post for more information.

  • Elevation: Approximately 2,480 feet above sea level
  • Best time of year to camp: Winter
  • Location in Arizona: Central
  • Price to camp: FREE
  • Lat/Longs: 33°52’54.7″N 112°49’17.6″W or 33.881861, -112.821556
  • Type of land: BLM
  • Website link: https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/camping
  • Accessibility: Slightly above average (4/5)
  • Cell Phone Coverage: Well above average (5/5)
  • Google map to get to this location

One of our favorite spots for Camping In Arizona is the Mogollon Rim Camping Arizona by CampingForFoodies

When people think about rim camping in Arizona, they usually think about the Grand Canyon but that is not the only place in this beautiful state to set up camp and enjoy distant landscapes as far as the eye can see!

See our Arizona Mogollon Rim Camping post for more information.

  • Elevation: Approximately 7,520 feet above sea level
  • Best time of year to camp: Summer
  • Location in Arizona: Central/Northern
  • Price to camp: FREE
  • Lat/Longs: 34°27’19.4″N 111°23’47.6″W or 34.455391, -111.396564
  • Type of land: National Forest Service – Coconino
  • Website link: https://www.fs.usda.gov/coconino/
  • Accessibility: Average (3/5)
  • Cell Phone Coverage: Average (3/5)
  • Google map to get to this location

Free Camping Grand Canyon Area

Free Camping Near Grand Canyon Arizona by CampingForFoodies

The Grand Canyon is one of the most magnificent Wonders of the World and people come from all over the planet to see it!

How awesome is it that you can actually camp in that part of Arizona for FREE?!?!

You will find tons of dispersed camping areas around the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

They are spread out beginning south of Tusayan which is the little resort town near the south end of Grand Canyon National Park … and they continue all the way up to the spots that are accessed from within the National Park itself.

Much of the camping in this area is done near fire roads 307 and 310. The thing that makes these primitive dispersed campsites unique is the ample separation between the campsites.

While you are camping here, make sure you stop at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.

It is located about 12 miles northwest of this dispersed camping location. You’ll be able to plan your trip with the resources available at the Visitor’s Center.

Some of the most popular things to do include attending free ranger programs, watching the Park’s film, walking, hiking and biking around the Park.

You can also take the scenic drive along Desert View Drive (which also happens to be the road that leads to your free camping site).

This drive is the scenic portion of SR 64 that includes 25 miles with:

  • 6 viewpoints
  • 4 picnic areas
  • 5 unmarked pullouts
  • The Tusayan Museum
  • An Ancestral Puebloan ruin site

Here are some stats on this dispersed camping Grand Canyon location:

  • Elevation: Approximately 6,880 feet above sea level
  • Best time of year to camp: Summer
  • Location in Arizona: Northern
  • Price to camp: FREE
  • Lat/Longs: 35°57’44.4″N 111°57’51.8″W or 35.962340, -111.964392
  • Type of land: National Forest Service – Kaibab
  • Website link: https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/kaibab/recreation/camping-cabins
  • Accessibility: Slightly above average (4/5)
  • Cell Phone Coverage: Well above average (5/5)
  • Google map to get to this location

Free Arizona Camping Sites Near Page

Free Camping Near Page Arizona by CampingForFoodies

There are so many beautiful landscapes to see when you are boondocking near Page Arizona in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area!

This free Arizona camping spot is convenient to Page, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell.

In this area you are really close to the Utah border and your cell phone might jump back and forth between the time zones depending on which tower it is receiving its signal from.

The challenging thing about camping in this location is that you are actually on an “unnamed road” but it is easy to find and access once you get there … the area is located southwest of Highway 89 near Lone Rock Road. The “unnamed road” intersects with Highway 89 about .3 mile to the northwest of Lone Rock Road.

From this free camping site, you’ll want to visit Lake Powell where you can hang out at the beach, do a little swimming, rent boats or go on a boat tour that departs from the Wahweap Marina which is about 8 miles away

A little further away but totally worth the drive is Horseshoe Bend.

Photographers love taking pictures of this iconic landscape where the Colorado River has meandered through the rocks in the unique shape of a horseshoe.

It is about 15 miles to the southeast of this boondocking location. 

Another amazing natural wonder in the area is Antelope Canyon which CAN’T be viewed as a self-guided tour, you must use a guide and during the busy season it is not easy to get tickets so it is best to book in advance.

Here are some of the stats of this Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Dispersed Camping Area Located Southwest Of Highway 89 Near Lone Rock Road, Page, AZ

  • Elevation: Approximately 4,156 feet above sea level
  • Best time of year to camp: Winter, Spring, Fall
  • Location in Arizona: Northern
  • Price to camp: FREE
  • Lat/Longs: Lat/Longs: 36°59’44.7″N 111°35’43.8″W or 36.995754, -111.595511
  • Type of land: National Recreation Area – Glen Canyon
  • Website link: https://www.nps.gov/glca/index.htm
  • Accessibility: Well above average (5/5)
  • Cell Phone Coverage: Well below average (1/5)
  • Google map to get to this location

You might notice, we love boondocking! Free camping is in abundance in Arizona  … put that money back in your wallet!


One of my favorite resources for finding Arizona camping areas that are approved for dispersed camping is my Arizona Benchmark Road & Recreation Atlas.

It contains maps of public lands including backcountry roads, trailheads, campgrounds, RV parks, golf, boating and points of interest.

My map is tattered because I use it so much!

If we are driving past a pretty area that we have never camped at before (which is just about every single corner of Arizona), I make a note on the map to plan our next AZ camping road trip.

I recommend getting one of these because off grid camping in Arizona becomes much less intimidating with the information in this guide!

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Arizona Road & Recreation AtlasArizona Road & Recreation AtlasArizona Road & Recreation Atlas

 


If dispersed camping is something you are not familiar with, we’ve got you covered!

Our Boondocking: How And Where To Go Dispersed Camping post has great information and will help you to prepare for every single aspect of camping in the wilderness!

Boondocking How And Where To Go Dispersed Camping by CampingForFoodies

One of our favorite spots for Camping In Arizona is The Grand Canyon - There’s no better place to get edgy - Camping For Foodies

The Grand Canyon is a must-visit Arizona camping destination!

People come from all over the planet to see this magnificent Wonder of the World!

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is open all year but the North Rim is closed in the winter.

The North and South Rims are part of the National Park system so camping inside the park boundary requires a reservation.

See our Grand Canyon Camping: There’s No Better Place To Get Edgy post for more information.

  • Elevation: Approximately 8,000 feet above sea level
  • Best time of year to camp: Summer
  • Location in Arizona: Northern
  • Price to camp: Approximately $25/night + park entry fee


More Places To Go Camping In Arizona

Even though we have been to more Arizona camping destinations than I can count, we have not written blog posts for them YET but we are working on it.

More details will be coming soon but for now, here are a few links you can check out:

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area

Lost Dutchman State Park

Patagonia Lake State Park


Don’t ever let the lack of time get between you and an outdoor adventure!

Here is how to always be prepared for last minute camping that is not a horrible experience!

Last Minute Camping by CampingForFoodies

We love using the best camping apps to plan every aspect of our Arizona camping trips!

  • These are great for finding new campsites, and which route to take you there.
  • Find out where the fish are biting and identify a bird you have never seen before.
  • Navigate the best hikes and see the most unique attractions.
  • Track intimidating storms and give tips on administering first aid.
  • Yep, there is pretty much an app for every single aspect of camping!
The Best Camping Apps For RV And Tent Camping by CampingForFoodies is a photo of an iphone sitting on a wooden board with various camping app icons lit up on the screen.

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