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RV Camping in Phoenix: Where to Stay and What to Do

Published on December 20th, 2023 by Chelsea Gonzales

On our way from Yuma, Arizona to Oklahoma City, my family made a quick stop in Phoenix. I can’t believe we didn’t visit this Southwest city sooner! I really wish we would have camped longer. We will absolutely be back to do some more RV camping in Phoenix.

Want to take your own RV trip to Phoenix? Going in the summertime is probably not a good idea due to the heat. But I definitely recommend paying the place a visit during the cooler parts of the year. Here are my top tips for where to stay and what to do.

Having family fun at the Desert Botanical Garden. (Image: Wonder Wherever We Wander)
Having family fun at the Desert Botanical Garden. (Image: Wonder Wherever We Wander)

What to Do in Phoenix

First, let’s talk a bit about what to do while camping in Phoenix. There are actually so many things to see and do that I felt overwhelmed choosing. Below is a list of our family’s top picks for roadschooling and having fun surrounded by the beautiful Superstition Mountains. Choose from this list and you really can’t go wrong. 

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Wander the Desert Botanical Garden

The main attraction we ended up visiting during our short time in Phoenix was the Desert Botanical Garden. This particular garden had been on my list of places to see for a while because it is such a unique garden. You see, the park focuses purely on desert plants, and man is it beautiful. 

The kids absolutely loved the butterfly house they had set up, and the rest of the pollinator garden was pretty great as well. The enormous number of succulents the park had on display was impressive and the gift shop in the park was one of the best we’ve come across. We couldn’t resist letting our son pick up a succulent plant to take home and care for.

To make a good thing even better, we happened to be visiting on a day when the garden was free. We had to reserve tickets in advance, but it sure was nice to save that money. Watch for the monthly free community day to be happening while you’re in town!

Check Out the Heard Museum

This is another that has been on my list for quite some time and we will make a point of seeing it the next time we’re in town. The Heard Mmuseum aims to be the world’s preeminent museum for the presentation of American Indian Art. 

They do a wonderful job of displaying a large number of Native American art pieces, and they offer interesting information to go along with the artwork. It’s an ideal place to get a solid understanding of the local tribes and their cultures. 

When we do go to this awesome place, I plan to go in with our NARM reciprocal museum membership in order to see the museum free-of-charge. 

Learn at the Musical Instrument Museum

Another wonderful living history learning experience in Phoenix is the Musical Instrument Museum. Obviously, this is a must-see for anyone with an interest in music, and honestly, it’s a good pick even for those who don’t know much at all about the musical arts.

The wonderful attraction features hands-on music exhibits, musical instruments from all over the world, and even a whole gallery of mechanical musical instruments. It’s the ideal place to learn all about music and the instruments that make the music we all enjoy. 

Eat at Organ Stop Pizza

The perfect addition to a day at the Musical Instrument Museum? Dinner at Organ Stop Pizza, where you can see the largest theater pipe organ ever made while dining on delicious (and totally affordable) pizza. 

The dining area in this restaurant seats up to 700 people. It is centered around the aforementioned pipe organ, which is played throughout the day along with a variety of other instruments that are tied to buttons on the organ. Songs played during your meal will include classics such as “Flight of the Bumblebee”, “The Circle of Life”, and “God Bless America”.

See why Usery Mountain Campground is so hard to get into.

Hike Camelback Mountain

If the weather is decent during your time in Phoenix and you happen to be a hiker, you should also make sure to hike Camelback Mountain. This mountain is one of the state’s most iconic landmarks and the peak of the mountain provides some seriously awesome views of the city. 

There are two main trails up Camelback Mountain; these are the Cholla Trail and the Echo Canyon Trail. Both are difficult hikes for sure, so be sure you are in shape and ready for a challenge when you hit the trail. 

Explore the South Mountain Park and Preserve

Want an incredible view of the city without the grueling hike? You can also drive to Dobbins Lookout at South Mountain Park and Preserve for a fantastic view that you won’t soon forget.

Besides Dobbins Lookout, this enormous park also features many hiking trails, some awesome rock art, and more. 

Where to Stay when RV Camping in Phoenix

Obviously, you will need a place to park the RV while you’re camping near Phoenix. Unfortunately, this can be a bit difficult to find if you happen to be traveling with kids, as most parks in the area are 55+ only. That said, we did find a handful of options for r RVing families staying in Phoenix with kids.

Usery Mountain Regional Park (Image: @Lot-A-Timers, RV LIFE Campgrounds)
Usery Mountain Regional Park (Image: @Lot-A-Timers, RV LIFE Campgrounds)

New River Road Dispersed Camping

New River Road Dispersed Camping is where we stayed. We paid $20 for an annual Arizona State Land Recreational Permit. This allows us to use the State Land Trust lands for a whole year and includes a total of 14 nights of dispersed camping. 

You don’t get amenities or restrooms, but this dispersed camping location is a nice enough recreation area. You’re parked in the desert and there is plenty of space for big rigs, despite the large number of campers parked with you. It’s one of your most pet-friendly RV camping options near Phoenix, too. We did hear some road noise, but not much, and it was worth it to be so close to the city.

Covered Wagon RV Park

If you prefer RV sites with hookups, Covered Wagon RV Park is a great pick. This campground features a surprising amount of shade for a park in Arizona. Full hookups are available, there is a heated pool available to guests, and on-site laundry facilities. There are no pull-through sites, but the location is right off the highway with easy access. We especially appreciate that children and pets are allowed to camp here.

Usery Mountain Regional Park

Lastly, we must mention Usery Mountain Regional Park. Unfortunately, we were unable to get into this campground; otherwise, this is where we would have stayed during our visit to Phoenix. The price is one of the lowest we found in the area and the sites include both power and water hookups. A dump station is available and there are showers with bathrooms. Enjoy miles of trails, picnic areas, and gorgeous sunsets all within minutes of Scottsdale.

Want More RV Parks and Campgrounds in Phoenix?

RV LIFE Campgrounds features nearly 80 places to stay in the Phoenix metro area, including Apache Junction and Lost Dutchman State Park. Many 55-and-over parks feature great amenities like clubhouse activities, billiards, a swimming pool, Fitness center, and even horseshoes, golf courses, and sometimes a dog run too.

This should be all the information you need to go RV camping in Phoenix. Now all you have to do is pack up the rig, hit the road, and get ready to make some amazing memories in this Southwest gem.

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