Tired of sitting on your couch without any new plans?
With scorching heat and growing crowds, it’s vital to clear your head this summer with a weekend getaway that allows you to experience all the gorgeous outdoors Arizona has to offer.
Camping to the rescue! Grab your friends, pack up your tents and sleeping bags, fill your coolers with food and beer, and head out for a weekend immersed in awesome nature.
To make your next camping trip way easier, we’ve compiled five picturesque spots to escape to, all within a 2-hour drive of Phx!
Manzanita Campground – 2 Hour commute
Manzanita Campground is a year-round, tent-only site just North of Sedona. With spots parked along Oak Creek, you’ll find easy access to trout fishing, swimming, and excellent hiking on Oak Creek Canyon. Located less than a mile from Slide Rock State Park, camping at Manzanita also gives you the opportunity to shred on one of Arizona’s few natural water slides. Manzanita is just a few hundred feet off of highway US 89A, and the campsite is entirely accessible with parking, grilling, and showering options (for those in your group who can’t camp without running water).
#FrayLife Tip: Word has spread about the wonders of Manzanita Campground, be sure to book weekend spots in advance!
Dead Horse Ranch State Park – 1 Hour 45-minute commute
Dead Horse Ranch is located on the banks of the Verde River and is renowned for its bird watching, hiking, and fishing. Stocked with trout and catfish, along with native largemouth bass, crappie, and bluegill this destination has some of the best fishing AZ has to offer. Camping at Dead Horse also gives you the chance to explore ancient history. Tuzigoot National Monument, an ancient pueblo from around 1000 AD, and Montezuma Castle National Monument, a cliff dwelling built by the Sinagua people around the same time, are both accessible from the park. After exploring the ancient history and experiencing some of the best fishing, cool off with a kayak or canoe trip river on the river before heading back to camp
Clear Creek Campground – 1 Hour 30-minute commute
Located in Camp Verde, Clear Creek is a little known campground north of Phoenix. With room for tents and smaller RVs, Clear Creek’s beautiful cottonwood tree-lined riverbanks provide a shady escape from the dry Arizona heat. Clear Creek is your go-to spot when you’re looking for an authentic wilderness getaway, as you’ll find more songbirds, fish, and wildlife than fellow campers.
#FrayLife Tip: Make sure you pack your wallet, the $18/night fee is strictly enforced
Lost Dutchman State Park – 1 Hour commute
A one hour drive east of Phoenix will take you to Lost Dutchman State Park, one of the best campsites in the state. Lost Dutchman is known for its Goldfield Ghost Town, an abandoned town from the late 1890’s. Additionally, Lost Dutchman boats steamboat cruises, museums, and stagecoach rides. Wondering about camping? There are 134 campsites available for $7 a night, both tent and RV accommodation.
#FrayLife Tip: Show up on the weekend and witness a wild west live “gunfights” in Ghost Town.
Pine Creek RV Park – 1 Hour 45-minute commute
Advertised as “20 degrees cooler than Phoenix in the summer” Pine Creek offers excellent views of Creek Canyon and the Mogollon Rim. The latter extends 200 miles to the New Mexico border and is a part of the infamous Colorado Plateau. Not a big hiker? Pine Creek offers ATVing, Kayaking, fishing, and horseback riding. Open year round, the campsite is miles within shopping and restaurants. For under $30 a night, Pine Creek offers a relaxing atmosphere for those who want a break from the city life, but don’t want to go full Bear Grylls.
#FrayLife Tip: Unfortunately, Pine Creek offers exclusively RV and trailer camping, those who are looking to camp the old school way check out the other places on our list!
Have other camping spots in mind that we should add to our list? Let us know by tagging us in your social posts with #FrayLife!
Looking for more summer acitivity ideas? Cool off after you camp out at 4 of our favorite water spots in PHX.
View More Articles By Jake Derman