PW on the Map – Arizona Travel Guide

PW on the Map – Arizona Travel Guide

Planning Your RV Road Trip in Arizona

Taking the leap and traveling through Arizona in your Pleasure-Way is an unforgettable experience. From traveling through the dry desert occupied with hundreds of beautiful cacti and plants, to seeking some snowy weather in Flagstaff, there are endless opportunities in this beautiful state.

Weather & Climate

Arizona, specifically Phoenix, is known to have one of the warmest climates in comparison to all of the other major U.S cities. This state is known to have the typical dry desert climate with little rain and little humidity, especially during the summer months when they reach incredibly hot temperatures. This is typically between May – September. If you’re seeking to visit this state but prefer temperatures that are lower, then traveling between the months of October – February is for you! The temperature tends to stay moderate during the day, and gets cool at night time.

Photo by Lynn Welty Jeffers


Arizona is known for the heat; however, they are also known for their exotic wildlife including rattlesnakes and scorpions. These creatures are a common sight in the desert and typically won’t bother you, but it is best practice to always be prepared! These creatures are the most active during the daylight hours of warmer months, from as early as March to as late as October. As the days become warmer, they will seek shade and rest during the day to become more lively at night. Here’s some tips and tricks to ensure you stay safe while traveling the desert!

  • Ensure all of your doors are fully closed at all times, including screen doors and windows.
  • Cover any drainage holes to keep out scorpions. (they will crawl up them to search for water).
  • You can use hard-wire screen, newspaper, fabric, or even coffee filters to aid this process.
  • Place any food, clothes, and shoes on elevated surfaces to help creatures avoid finding a new home.
  • Check your shoes and clothes before you wear them, shaking them out works great.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings!

Arizona contains three beautiful national parks. This includes the infamous Grand Canyon, Saguaro National Park, and Petrified Forest National Park. These parks are filled with stunning once in a lifetime views, with some exotic animals and many cacti. Furthermore, Arizona is home to the well-known Hoover Dam located a beautiful and short drive away on the border between Nevada and Arizona. They are also home to many sports teams and terrific stadiums; it’s easy to catch a football, basketball or baseball game during their seasons. From experiencing the perfect golf course, to spending the day at the mall, or relishing in the beautiful outdoors, there’s countless activities to engage in during your stay! Here’s some of the most popular activities.  

Photo by Diane Chalifoux

The Grand Canyon

One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world is located here, a massive canyon averaging 4,000 feet deep for the entirety of the 277-mile-long site. This iconic canyon stands as a symbol of the great expanses of the Western United States, and the only American representation of the Seven Wonders. It contains massive rocky walls that descend incredibly far, revealing several layers of beautifully coloured rocks and millions of years of geologic history.

What To Know Before You Visit

This is a very popular destination with over five million visitors a year. With that, to minimize wait time, it is recommended to visit during weekdays and to plan your arrival between the hours of 10AM to 2PM. The standard entrance pass includes a full seven days, including the North and South Rim. Each pass is twenty dollars per person, and thirty-five dollars to enter with a private vehicle. You can purchase these prior to arrival, upon arrival, or online!

With the Canyon comes caution. It is recommended to avoid long hikes during a single day trip and in extreme heat, as well as to try and avoid the headache of parking. They offer a free park shuttle that takes you from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center to and from the south entrance station. It is also endorsed to plan your trip well in advance as things are spread a lot farther apart than they seem. The South Rim, North Rim, and Grand Canyon West are all several hours apart and away from major cities. Plan your route ahead of time to ensure you don’t spend your whole day driving!

The next best practice is to wear good close-toed shoes as you are in the desert and may encounter a variety of insects, scorpions, and dirt. Always stay on the trails to avoid any harsh drop-offs and to avoid creating damage to the sacred desert plants.

Camping Resources

And of course, you need to know where to stay! There are a few campgrounds located near the Canyon, including Mather Campground which is the largest and most popular spot in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, holding 327 spacious sites. There is also Desert View Campground which is quiet and more secluded in comparison to Mather. It is also located very close, which is also a great option when aiming to beat the crowds and get a head start on your day! This campsite is first come first serve and holds only fifty sites, it is recommended to be there early and secure your site.

Lake Pleasant

If you’re looking for somewhere to relax, campout, and live in the beauty of nature by a lake, this is the place for you. Less than an hour outside the city of Phoenix is the gorgeous Lake Pleasant known for its 23,362 acres of beautiful landscape and water. It is known to be one of the most scenic recreation areas in the valley and comes with a Nature Center containing the history of the area and the desert wildlife, with a balcony facilitating a beautiful view of the lake. It is surrounded by the Sonoran-desert with gorgeous views and activities making it an out-door enthusiast’s dream.

What To Know Before You Visit

Lake Pleasant offers a vast variety of unique activities. They offer a large parking lot perfect to park a Pleasure-Way, with two public boat launching ramps, with wakeboarding, kayaking, and boating options. The Pleasant Harbor Marina on the south-east side of the lake offers activities including; boating, fishing, swimming, water sports, scuba diving, sailing, hiking, kayaking and dinner cruises to capture Arizona’s breathtaking sunsets. You will also find a local bar and restaurant, and water rental information. The other marina on this lake is Scorpion Bay Marina. This facility caters more towards families, and offers entertainment of water toys, ski boats, and the world’s largest floating waterslide.

If you’re looking to camp at this beautiful destination, here’s some things you may want to know. Check in time is at one in the afternoon, with a checkout time of noon. Only a maximum of eight people are allowed at a site at one time, and all supplies and equipment must be stored in the designated camping area. No more than one RV/trailer per site, with additional vehicles resulting in a fee. Reservations cannot exceed fourteen days long, and all pets must be kept on a leash and within owner view at all times.

Camping Resources

Lake Pleasant Regional Park provides 148 sites for RV’s and tent camping. Each fully-developed site contains water, electricity, dump station, picnic table, barbecue grill, and fire ring. There are three main campgrounds on the lake that you are able to reserve, the first being Desert Tortoise Campground. This campground has seventy-four campsites, with over half of the sites being half developed meaning no water or electricity. Roadrunner Campground offers seventy-one fully developed sites, leaving Desert Tortoise Group Campground being reserved for large groups with a minimum requirement of ten people.

Photo by Ines Mettler Gluck

Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam is just over a four-hour drive from the city of Phoenix, located on the border separating Nevada and Arizona. The construction of the Dam began in 1931 and was completed five years later with a whopping $49 million dollar construction cost. Hoover Dam stands at 726 feet tall, and is almost 1,300 feet along, remaining to stand as a very popular attraction to this day.

What To Know Before You Visit

Hoover Dam is open to the public as early as 5 A.M. each day and closing as late as 9 P.M each evening. There are two different tours, a guided Dam tour, and the guided power plant tour. For specifically the guided tour, a ticket is $30 and it is on a first come first serve basis, so they recommend you arrive early. The guided power plant tour is $15 and is the most accessible tour offering accessibility for those in need of wheelchairs, motorized scooters, and strollers. Pets of any kind with the exception of service animals is prohibited, along with leaving your animal in the car.

Route 66

The infamous Route 66, at nearly one-hundred years old is the road trip of a lifetime. Arizona remains to have the longest stretch of the very original Route 66 in the United States. Through this journey you will find the petrified forest, wigwam-shaped motel, a street corner dedicated to an Eagles song, Winslow, a very scenic drive, and much more.


Just over 100 miles away from the city of Phoenix lies Sedona, a beautiful city encapsulated by the majestic crimson rocks it is known for. Sedona has a reputation to have a healing and spiritual energy that is said to emanate from the red rocks. These red rocks can also be known as vortexes, which are essentially energy spots where people go to practice yoga, do meditation, or heal.  

What To Know Before You Visit

If you’re seeking outdoor thrill, Sedona is the place for you. Surrounded by 1.8 million acres of national forest land and with two state parks, there are plenty of fun activities to do. Just north of Sedona lies Oak Creek Canyon, which is an 80-foot stretch of a creek that rushes through the narrow red rock flume at Slide Rock State Park, where it provides a natural waterslide, cold pools, wading pools, and fishing holes. It is recommended to bring water shoes or wear sneakers, as the algae makes the rocks quite slippery. Red Rock State Park is another popular attraction located in the center of the state. This is a nature preserve that provides a visitor center and picnic areas to invite visitors to take in the beauty of the park. They also offer multiple interconnecting trails for hiking and biking, as well as guided wildlife tours. This park does not offer overnight stay, and they recommend Jerome and Cottonwood have space for travelers looking to extend their trip. From safari jeep tours, to horse-back riding, to ATV adventures and golf, there is something fun for everyone in Sedona.

Saguaro National Park

This national park is home to one of the world’s most beautiful plants, the saguaro cactus. Now you may ask yourself, what is so special about the saguaro cactus in comparison to the typical cacti you see in the desert? This is due to the specific type of cactus it is. Saguaro cacti are large and have a single deep taproot; meaning the rest of its root grows close to the surface of the ground to aid water absorption before it evaporates. If you take a close look at the cactus, you can observe the series of distinct pleats on the outside. This is because they are supported by a woody, ribbed type of skeleton which has the ability to expand (similar to an accordion) to allow the plant to retain moisture. These types of cacti live a very long life with the typical lifespan being up to 250 years!

Saguaro National Park offers many different hiking and biking trails of different lengths and sceneries; there is a hike that will match any individual’s hiking abilities and preferences. Embark on these trails and take in all the breathtaking views Saguaro National Park has to offer.

Honorable Mentions

Antelope Canyon

Taliesin West: Scottsdale

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

Horseshoe Bend