Arizona is a paradise for the outdoor adventure seeker, and the city of Mesa is in the heart of camping country. There are hundreds of reasonably priced and ideally located sites nearby. From primitive lakeside spots to cozy mountain cabins, here are the five best camping spots near the East Valley where your family can bond around the fire.
Usery Mountain Regional Park
Usery Mountain Regional Park is one of Mesa’s top camping destinations. Located just off North Ellsworth Road in the far eastern part of the city, this 3,648-acre park touts a campground with 73 spacious sites large enough to accommodate a 45-foot-long RV.
Park developers equipped each space with modern conveniences, like water and electric hookup, plus everything you need to cook out like a picnic table, barbecue grill, and fire ring. The park also has a dump station and a clean bathhouse with hot showers and flush toilets.
Spend the summer doing tons of family-friendly outdoor activities at Usery Mountain. Try your hand at archery or explore 29 miles of multi-use trails. The challenging 2.9-mile Wind Cave Trail is the park’s most popular hike. There’s also a nature center where you can learn more about the area’s history and native flora and fauna. Winter are spring are the busy season, so plan to make reservations.
Lake Pleasant Regional Park
There’s nowhere in Arizona quite like Lake Pleasant Regional Park. It’s one of the Valley of the Sun’s most scenic recreational areas. From the brilliant red sunsets to the braying of wild donkeys in the distance, it’s a world away from the bustling city lying just an hour south of this 10,000-acre waterway.
Lake Pleasant Regional Park has two public campgrounds: Desert Tortoise and Roadrunner. Together it offers a total of 148 RV and tent camping sites. Developed spots have full-service hookups, a covered picnic table, a barbecue grill, and a fire ring, plus there are onsite restroom and shower facilities.
You can also pitch a tent along the lake’s shoreline in one of many seasonal primitive sites that are available based on the water levels and on a first-come, first-served basis. You’ll find the main gate off North Castle Hot Springs Road in Morristown. Lake Pleasant is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream with regularly scheduled activities for children as young as two, like:
- Sunset and full moon hikes.
- Guided bird walks.
- Ranger meets and greets.
- Kayaking tours of the lake.
Arizona Mountain Inn and Cabins
Arizona Mountain Inn and Cabins is a terrific place to experience Arizona’s high country. It’s tucked away on 13 secluded acres, and you can rent one of 17 cozy cabins, each with a fireplace or wood-burning stove. Pick from a secluded one-bedroom A-frame for a romantic getaway for mom and dad or a sizeable Hogan-style log home that has room for a large family of up to 16 people.
Each cabin is exquisitely furnished and offers unique amenities, from a heated flagstone floor to a fully fenced yard for your dog. In addition, the second cabin is set up for families with small children, while the third is handicap accessible.
Mother Nature graced this spot on Lake Mary Road with many wonders. This pick offers a touch of glamping in Flagstaff’s crisp mountain air, ponderosa pines, and endless blue skies. The grounds are bordered on three sides by the Coconino National Forest and offer breathtaking views of the San Francisco peaks.
Eagle View RV Resort
Interest in RV camping has exploded in recent years, and Arizona is a prime destination for campers, from modest bumper pull pop-ups to luxurious Class A motorhomes. Eagle View RV Resort on North Fort McDowell Road in the East Valley’s ultimate destination for RVers.
In addition to prime weather conditions, Eagle View offers plenty of amenities you won’t find everywhere — just 20 minutes north of Mesa. It set the bar for premier RV resorts with 150 camping sites and plenty of amenities you won’t find everywhere, including:
- Heated pool and spa.
- Dog run.
- Fitness room.
The Grand Canyon
Our guide to camping near Mesa isn’t complete without mentioning the Grand Canyon National Park. Located less than four hours north of the city, this treasured park is the ultimate place to camp in Arizona. The park has two sections, the remote North Rim and the more frequently visited South Rim.
Most families choose to camp near the South Rim because it’s easy to access, and it’s close to cities like Flagstaff, where you can stock up on supplies. This area of the Canyon is also open year-round, so there are many places to set up base while you explore this natural wonder.
If your family plans to camp in a tent or an RV, there’s something for you on the South Rim, like Mather Campground. Located within Grand Canyon Village, the National Park Service manages this large campground with 327 spaces. Desert View Campground is on the less developed east side of the park and offers 49 peaceful tent sport and small RV parking spaces. This campground can only accept travel trailers up to 30 feet long, and spots are first-come, first-served.
If you want to avoid busy campgrounds and crowded trails, head to the Grand Canyon’s secluded North Rim. This part of the park is closed seasonally during the winter. However, you’ll experience the more wild side of the area. For another off-the-beaten-path experience, check out one of Arizona’s many dispersed camping areas outside this park. One of the best things about staying on thousands of acres of National Forest surrounding the park is that it’s free.
That was fun! Crème de la Crème of Mesa, Arizona, provided you with this list of the area’s best campgrounds. Did you like our picks? Did we miss your family’s favorite spot to sleep under the stars? Let us know; we’ll add it to our guide and share your experience with other Arizona families.