Explore Arizona: Where to stay in Payson with kids


Payson can most certainly be a day trip, but if you’re looking to extend your stay, here’s our favorite family stay within Payson city limits!

If you haven’t stayed in Payson with your family, book it now!! It’s the nearest “mountain town” to escape the Valley and offers outdoor adventures both for summer and winter seasons. Amy’s family annually booked a cabin trip every August, read more about the beauty of booking the same destination for family vacations here.

If you’re looking for an RV campground or a family-friendly resort stay, we’ve got our tried and true, kid-friendly stays for when you’re looking to cool off 30 degrees from sweltering summer temps, or hunt snow in the winter!



Family-friendly resort

We first spotted Kohl’s Ranch on Groupon and after seeing an on-property playground, immediately booked a two night stay to test it out ourselves.

There’s so much than just a playground (which, ironically was getting renovated during our stay, so it wasn’t even an attraction we used).

They offer rooms and cabins, and even the room suites come with a fully stocked kitchen for families to cook their own meals.

There’s an onsite restaurant (and saloon for parents) and so many on-property activities for kids that are included in your stay. There’s life-sized outdoor chess, a mini golf green, a creek (you can catch tadpoles in!) plus the standard activities like volleyball, a heated pool (and hot tub), basketball and pickle ball court.

The onsite restaurant is a bit pricey, but we planned only one meal there and cooked the rest in our rooms, so it felt a little more budget friendly that way.

RV campground

Oxbow RV Park is our favorite for two reasons:

  1. It borders the Tonto National Forest, making outdoor adventures like ATVing, hiking or just nature walks, easily accessible without driving
  2. It’s family owned and operated, and they’re super flexible with family travel logistics

They offer Ramada’s for family dining, plus picnic tables and bbqs at every space. They also have propane available on-site, which can be a life saver.

Also, if you’re going to Payson for a rodeo weekend, this campground is the closest one to the rodeo grounds.

Free camping

If you’re looking for a no cost camping spot, we really like the Fire Control Road, about halfway between Payson and Pine, practically across the street from the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park entrance. 

It’s 15+ miles with spaced out camping sites under pine trees; be warned, as you hit about mile four of the road, cell phone service drops completely. Last time we camped around mile marker nine and our phones were bricks the full time!

On the outskirts 

Bison Ranch is an adorable WorldMark property located in a very quiet corner of Heber, just under an hour away from Payson. Each room is it’s own cabin complete with large rooms, old West ambiance, a modern kitchen, and BBQ on the deck.

Whether you want to eat out or cook on property, it’s the perfect little getaway for kids.

There’s a pool and hot tub on site. It’s close to Fool Hollow Lake Recreation area which is great for all seasons. If you go in the winter, the kids will love the chance to play in the snow, and summer activities including hiking, kayaking, or fishing on Black Canyon or Woods Canyon lakes.


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