Arizona State Parks

Arizona state parks can be wonderful places to play, and since the bulk of them offer some kind of lodging option or options, they can also be wonderful places to stay. For anyone who likes the outdoors, the Arizona state parks campgrounds can be especially enticing, and worry not if you're without a tent, as some feature cabins and yurts. For those who might not know, a yurt is essentially a basic tepee-like structure that is very affordable. Most of the state park cabins are also reasonably priced. Whether you stay overnight at one of the Arizona state parks or you opt instead to simply visit during the day, there will be plenty of fun things to do, with general sightseeing being one of the most rewarding pursuits. Arizona boasts some of the most dramatic landscapes in the country, and the state parks serve to protect a good portion of the mesmerizing terrain.

For those who are planning on traveling through the southern part of Arizona, Catalina State Park can make a great addition to the itinerary. Found north of Tucson at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains, this state park offers an experience that is similar to that of the nearby Saguaro National Park. Thousands of towering Saguaro cacti populate the desert at Catalina State Park in Arizona, and the park's 5,500 acres are also characterized by canyons, foothills, and streams. If you're looking for Arizona state parks campgrounds, this park has some interesting camping options. There are 120 sites to choose from at the general campground, and 95 of these sites offer water and electric hookups. Flush toilets, hot showers, and RV dump stations figure among the campground amenities. Also found at Catalina State Park are two group camping areas that can accommodate 20 people at a minimum and 200 people at a maximum. As for some of the activities that can be enjoyed at the park, they include hiking and mountain biking. Birding is also a top pursuit, as more than 150 different bird species have been known to reside here.

Heading north of Phoenix and into the northern part of the state, those who are interested in spending some time at the Arizona state parks might want to make it a point to stop in the Sedona area. Not far from Sedona in the stunningly beautiful Oak Creek Canyon, you'll find Slide Rock State Park, where one of the more rewarding things to do is slide down the natural water chutes. Formerly an apple farm, this park near Sedona is now a prime place to beat the heat, not to mention take in the breathtaking red rock scenery that helps to make Sedona such a prized destination. When Slide Rock State Park visitors aren't sliding down the natural water chutes, they can take to one of the park's three hiking trails, all of which are less than a mile long. When it's hot out, most visitors pass on the hiking and head straight for the half-mile creek to splash around and zip down the 80-foot sandstone water slide. Trout fishing is another thing that can be enjoyed at the park, just as long as you steer clear of the swimmers.

The Sedona area is understandably popular with tourists, not to mention Arizona residents, and when traveling through this picturesque land, another state park that you might add to the agenda is Dead Horse Ranch State Park. Found at 3,300 feet above sea level, this park near the town of Jerome has relatively mild temperatures, and should it get uncomfortably warm during a visit, swimming in the cool Verde River is always an option. Mountain biking trails are found in good number at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, and some of the best hiking trails wind their way along the riverbanks. In addition to swimming, mountain biking, and hiking, visitors to this 423-acre park can also go fishing or canoeing, and once the sun starts to set, you don't have to leave if you don't want to.

Arizona state parks campgrounds offer more lodging options. A great option for camping is Dead Horse Ranch S.P. with a 100-site campground that can accommodate RVs and tents, as well as a 23-site group campground. You can also find eight log cabins at Dead Ranch State Park, all of which are relatively simple one-room abodes that feature electricity, a single full-size bed, a bunk bed, a table with chairs, a dresser, a ceiling fan, a barbecue grill, and a picnic table.

There are more than 30 Arizona state parks that visitors can consider visiting, and while most are parks like these, others come in the form of historic parks. Such is the case with the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, for example. In addition to preserving the 1882 Cochise County Courthouse, this historic park serves as a museum that offers insight into the fascinating Old West history of Tombstone.

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