From colossal mountains and red hued canyons to alpine forests and river basins, Arizona really has it all— and then some! Not only is Arizona a mecca for out of this world hikes and camping destinations, but its cities are chock full of amazing Southwestern character. Perhaps none more so than its capital, Phoenix.
As we at RVnGO continue our travel series, Phoenix is another perfectly positioned candidate for some of the best road trips in America. Surrounded by national forests, its proximity to some of America’s best RV destinations makes it an ideal hub for day trips or as a jumping off point for longer road trips.
We’ve put together an itinerary for five possible RV trips from Phoenix, all within 200 miles, below. Because why should the perfect vacation mean having to break the bank when it comes to gas mileage?
RV Trips From Phoenix That Are Under 200 Miles
Tonto National Forest
Travel Time and Distance: 1 hour, 60 miles
Just above Phoenix to the north is the sprawling Tonto National Forest and its incredible array of natural features. At over 3 million acres of preserve, there’s so much to see in Tonto that you’ll need to set aside at least two or three days to do it all. Within the park are towering mountains and canyons, trails lined with cactuses in places and pine valleys in others. Rushing rivers that pour out into peaceful basins where wild horses still graze to this day.
In short, Tonto National Forest is a paradise for nature lovers, thrill seekers, and hiking fanatics that’s unbelievably accessible with Phoenix as its jumping off point.
To make the most of your visit to the park, choose from its range in campgrounds throughout the landscape. Whether you prefer to camp among the trees or beneath the open sky, Tonto has something for everyone.
RV Campgrounds Near Tonto National Forest
Things To Do In Tonto National Forest
Saguaro Lake | Apache Trail Scenic Drive | Tonto National Monument
Travel Time and Distance: 1 ½ hours, 113 miles
Southeast of Phoenix, Tucson is similarly positioned as a city surrounded by mountains and forests. An hour away from the Mexican border, Tucson serves as both a hub for hiking and travel as well as a destination in its own right.
The two major mountains overlooking Tucson, Mt. Lemmon and Mica Mountain, offer classic Southwestern hiking experiences to choose from. In the north, Mt. Lemmon is the larger of the two ranges, with iconic canyon terrain in places that give way to alpine trees and lush green valleys. An all seasons landscape, skiing and snowboarding are popular in the winter at Ski Valley— in fact, Mt. Lemmon is home to the southernmost ski resort in the continental US!
In downtown Tucson, you’ll find a number of museums, restaurants, and cultural Southwestern staples (namely the San Xavier del Bac Mission, which is not to be missed). In town, be sure to check out the Pima Air & Space Museum, the Tucson Botanical Gardens, and the International Wildlife Museum.
RV Campgrounds Near Tucson
Things To Do In Tucson
San Xavier del Bac Mission | Saguaro National Park | Tucson Museum of Art
Travel Time and Distance: 2 hours, 117 miles
The incredible red rocks of Sedona are a hiker’s pilgrimage the world over. From the soaring summit of Cathedral Rock to the legendary Devil’s Bridge, Sedona’s rust colored rock formations are nothing short of awe inspiring. For easy access, there are numerous campgrounds scattered along the bases of many of the famous hiking trails so that your stay is completely immersed in nature.
However, it would be selling Sedona quite short to imply that it’s natural features are the only draw to the city. Filled to the brim with spas, art galleries, fine dining and wineries, downtown Sedona is a window shopper’s dream. After a long day of hiking, unwind in one of its many hot springs and treat yourself to some spa R&R to rejuvenate your skin. Then, head to the winery for a glass of vino while you take in the mountains and canyons in the distance.
Not too shabby for a day trip— though you may want to spend the whole trip there!
RV Campgrounds Near Sedona
Things To Do In Sedona
Cathedral Rock | Seven Sacred Pools | Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Travel Time and Distance: 2 hours, 128 miles
South of Phoenix, near the Mexico border, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a quintessential Southwestern vista. As its name implies, the national park is a great way to see the mighty saguaro cactus up close, surrounded by miles of desert flowers.
There are dozens of hiking trails and scenic drives throughout the park that can accommodate a range in trip lengths. For shorter stays, it’s well worth a drive through Ajo Mountain for some amazing views of the park. If you have more time, the Puerto Blanco Mountain Trails feature pathways by Victoria Mine and the Lost Cabin, plus the Senita Basin. For overnight stays, boondocking is allowed in designated places, but there are also a handful of private campgrounds across the park.
RV Campgrounds Near Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Things To Do In Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Arch Canyon Trail | Mount Ajo | Quitobaquito Springs
Travel Time and Distance: 3 hours, 194 miles
A perennial RV camping favorite in the US, Lake Havasu is a summer dream and just shy of 200 miles from Phoenix. The shimmering turquoise waters of the lake have been drawing people in from across the US every year, and it’s no small wonder why. With about 30 square miles of water and 45 miles in shoreline, there’s room and then some for the 2.5 million people that visit annually. Even at the height of Lake Havasu’s season, for holiday weekends like Memorial Day or July 4th, there’s still a surplus of room to accommodate crowds and quiet hideaways.
Watersports are incredibly popular on the lake, and we highly recommend renting out a jet ski or boat for a day to be able to reach secluded coves along the reservoir. Make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen though, because there’s little to no coverage from the shade.
RV Campgrounds Near Lake Havasu
Things To Do In Lake Havasu
Cattail Cove State Park | London Bridge Beach | Havasu Landing Resort & Casino
What did you think of our ideas for the best RV trips from Phoenix? Where will you RVnGO this summer?