Top Camping Spots for Families in Arizona


Some families camp to pass down the memories they hold tight to from their childhoods.

Some camp because it’s the most affordable “vacation” option.

Others give camping a go to unplug and get kids into nature. 

There’s little else that compares to a weekend family getaway under the stars, but it can be a little daunting if you haven’t done it before, or if you’re new to the area and don’t have any go-to camping spots.

We’ve rounded up our favorite, no fail camping spots that are perfect for first time family campouts, or if you’re just looking for a spot to mix it up! 

If you’re new to camping, be prepared to learn what a hot shower can do to you after a day and a half of camping, and that sunshine and a little dirt are really all kids need to be happy. 


East Valley Moms 

PS:As time goes by our camping list have changed, the things we need and want to take with us has been narrowed down. It gets easier as kids get older (but the amount of food you make and take increases!)

Top 8 favorite camping spots in Arizona!

1. Spillway Campground: This campground is my families favorite camping spot. The sites are right by the lake and so water access is easy. The lake store is nearby where you can rent a small boat to use to explore the lake or go fishing with. There are plenty of places the kids can explore. Hiking trails are all around this campsite, you can go around the lake, away from the campsites towards the road or just to the nearby store. There are bike trails as well. A word of advice, please be sure to pack plenty of water and snack when going for a hike since you never know how far around the lake you might end up hiking to.

2. Fool Hollow Lake: This is our second favorite campsite so far in the valley. The park offers lake access which means hours of fun for the kids. We normally rent an inflatable paddle board to take with us which just means hours of fun for the kiddos. Please be sure to put a life jacket on the kids if you decide to do this. There is also a playground that the kids can play on and explore around at. During certain times of the year the park offers different programs such as guided hikes, Q&A’s about the lake, reptile visits and so much more. The camp hosts will usually meet you at the campground amphitheater. One of the best perk of this campsite are the hot showers available to you. Nothing feels better after a long day paddle boarding of fishing than a hot shower before dinner.

3. Canyon Lake: This is a winter camping spot. The weather here is like in the city so if it’s hot out it will be hot here.  It is a great place to start at if you have never been camping. It is closer to the east valley and there are plenty of lake to fish at, perhaps ride Dolly the Steamboat, or go on a hike around the lake. You may also kayak, paddle board, wake board, jet ski here. They have a restaurant close by and a shower you can use. This is not hardcore camping but it is a great start.

4. Usery mountain: Winter,  early spring & fall camping is what I recommend for Usery mountain. If you love hiking and going on nature walks this is a great place to go. There are tons of things to do inside the park itself. The have a few guided walks you can do along during the day and some at night. They have an archery range that you can use for $2 if you happen to own a bow and a few arrows. The hiking trails here are all around you and when the sunset and the stars come out is is nothing short of extra ordinary. So many twinkling lights so close to the city. mom hack: there’s a camping equipment rental company that’ll set-up your full campsite here, pitching the tent to the sleeping bags, so you don’t have to buy all the gear. Read more here about Campsite Outfitters.

5. Roosevelt Lake: Another lake side camping that offers boaters and anglers plenty to do. We like the Cholla campground because they have toilets and showers available to you. The forrest services stock the fish here as well so be sure to bring your fishing poles and worms to throw in between the hikes, paddle boarding or boat rides. This campground is nice if you own a boat since they do have a boat ramp here as well. Another plus, this campsite is open year round. 🙂

6. Christopher Creek: The two hour drive to this campsite is a lot easier than Spillway. On great days the creek that run by will have plenty of water where kiddos can splash and wade around at and explore. You might want to bring your fishing poles here as well just incase the water is high enough for fishing and if it is not, the cool weather and the land all around this campsite is great for hiking, digging and a discovering all sorts of tiny creatures.

7. Aspen Campground: Located nearby Woods Canyon Lake, this campgound is a great place is you like being close enough to the lake but would rather have more hiking and bike trails to enjoy. This too is close to the small store and the cool weather is perfect for hiking, biking or just playing. No showers here but there are toilets. There are plenty of wildlife her amongst them are the squirrels, birds, and this is where my kids saw their first mommy and baby elks.

8. Koa Campground in Flagstaff: This is campground is a what I would consider GLAMPING, so much so that they WIFI and have cabins available to rent during your stay. If you are new to camping and just want the kids to be immersed outdoors this might just be the perfect place to try get your feet wet. Located in Flagstaff this is perfect for summer camping, the weather is cool and there are plenty for the kids to do. The campground offers different activities through out season (movie nights, mini golf, ice scream social) so be sure to check them out before booking your campsite dates. Oh and P.S. besides the cabin, they also have teepees you can rent…So fun!


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