Fool Hollow Lake (Credit: Jill Richards)

Arizona Campgrounds Kids Will Love

By: Teresa K. Traverse

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July 4, 2019

One of the best ways to experience Arizona's natural beauty? By sleeping under the stars at one of the state's many family-friendly campgrounds.

About the author

Teresa K. Traverse

Teresa K. Traverse

Teresa Traverse is a writer, editor, traveler and dog mom to two long-haired Chihuahuas: Autumn and Rocket. Find her online at teresaktraverse.com.

You and the kids can hike, bike, swim, fish, play and spot wildlife—all just a short drive from the city. Here are five Arizona campgrounds especially suited for families:

Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area

Show Low

This campground's meticulously maintained sites are perched above or near Fool Hollow Lake, which is surrounded by pine trees at a cool-in-July elevation of 6,300 feet. Activities for kids abound. Fool Hollow offers a Summer Children's Program on Saturdays in July and August. The program's topic changes each weekend, but children can learn about bears, trees, rats, bats and more. Families can also enjoy fishing, swimming, boating or searching for wildlife on U.S. Forest Service ranger-led nature walks. Insider's tip: Fool Hollow is a popular spot, so book your campsite months in advance or plan a weekday visit.

Pine Grove Campground

Flagstaff

Located in the lush Coconino National Forest in northern Arizona, Pine Grove Campground brims with family fun. You can fish or boat on one of several nearby alpine lakes: Upper and Lower Lake Mary, Ashurst Lake, Marshall Lake or Kinnikinick Lake. Young anglers can reel in trout, bass and channel catfish. Hiking and biking trails are also nearby. See if you can spot bald eagles, ospreys, elk and mule deer—all of these animals call the area home. If you forget supplies or want to dine out one night, Flagstaff is just 20 miles away.

Jackpot Ranch

Camp Verde

A group of family and friends play in the lake near the teepees and trees and Jackpot Ranch.Credit: Jackpot Ranch

This private, 72-acre ranch features views of the Verde Valley and tons of family-friendly activities. Kids will love climbing a tree house and captaining paddleboats on the ranch's pond. There's also a playground and petting zoo, plus pool tables, foosball and ping-pong in the game room. Looking to cool off? Take a dip in the pond and, if the water is high enough, head down the water slide. At night, roast marshmallows for s'mores around a large fire pit before going to bed in a teepee that sleeps up to six.

Cave Springs Campground

Sedona


Sedona's Cave Springs Campground is one of Coconino National Forest's most popular campgrounds. And it's easy to see why. Framed by the red rocks of Sedona and enveloped by the dense forests of Oak Creek Canyon, the setting is stunning. The campground is expansive—ideal for large families or multiple groups camping together. Plus, it's a 10-minute drive to Slide Rock State Park, where kids can sail down natural rock formations to cool off in Oak Creek. Cave Springs also has a general store where you can stock up on any forgotten supplies.

Kartchner Caverns State Park

Benson


Southern Arizona's Kartchner Caverns State Park has undeniable appeal for families. What kid—old or young—wouldn't want to explore underground caverns? To give guests a fully immersive experience, the park offers an on-site campground with both tent sites and cabins. Children can visit the Discovery Center to learn more about the caverns and the wildlife that live in the area. Not only can you take pictures of the Giant Shasta Ground Sloth (the remains of this six- to seven-foot creature were found in the cave), but little ones aged 6 to 12 years old can also become Junior Rangers.

 

If You Go

Cave Springs Campground
AZ-89A, Sedona
Reservations: (877) 444-6777
Information: (928) 527-3600
A small portion of campsites is available for reservation.

Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area
1500 N Fool Hollow Lake, Show Low
(928) 537-3680
Reservations are required.

Jackpot Ranch
2025 Reservation Loop Road, Camp Verde
(928) 300-5490
Reservations are required.

Kartchner Caverns State Park
2980 S AZ-90, Benson
(520) 586-4100
Reservations are recommended. Walk-ins are allowed.

Pine Grove Campground
19356 Lake Mary Road, Flagstaff
Reservations: (877) 444-6777
Information: (928) 527-3600

 

Camping for Beginners

Want to try camping, but not sure where to start? Every autumn from September through November, Arizona State Parks offers Family Campout, an ideal (and safe) way for camping newbies to learn the ropes. These guide-led weekend campoutsmdash;held at various state parks across the statemdash;teach the basics from how to set up a tent to outdoor cooking tips. Click the link above to see upcoming dates.

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