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Old 12-19-2015, 02:06 PM   #1
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AZ, where to stay in Jan/Feb

One of the main reasons we bought the Escape was to spend the next few years traveling the south in the winter looking for eventual spots to move to or at least do seasonal condo rentals or some such.

Spending this winter in and around FL and heading to AZ in 2017 for a couple months. Could use some suggestions for areas to check out and public campground to stay in. We're not into commercial RV parks, especially the mega ones I see advertised on the internet for snowbirds. Figuring I have to make reservations a year out as the areas are pretty popular and it's almost time to to do so.

If anyone is familiar enough to suggest areas worth checking out or different places to stay I'd appreciate it. So far I'm thinking Catalina, Lost Dutchman, and Picacho Peak SP's as well as Gilbert Ray outside Tucson and Usery Mt outside Phoenix. Is it worth trying to find something around Yuma for a week?

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Old 12-19-2015, 03:02 PM   #2
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You will like Gilbert Ray, Catalina and Lost Dutchman. Depending on where you are going, we also liked Organ Pipe National Monument, Dead Horse Ranch State Park, and Lee's Ferry Campground on the Colorado River. Of these, Organ Pipe would be my favorite. I would like to go back there and spend a couple of more days.

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Old 12-19-2015, 04:07 PM   #3
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Bob I hope to check out a few places in AZ early next year. I can hardly wait to get away. We had a big storm this week and have been clearing snow every day. I just finished cleaning about 8 inches off the trailer. Plus I cleared down to the gravel where the truck tires will be when I hook up and covered it so I can get the trailer moving next month (only have 2wd). Now I wish I had spent the money and left it in October near our daughter's place in KS, in the limestone caves where Loren has his parked!

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Old 12-19-2015, 05:28 PM   #4
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It's become a winter tradition for us to spend a couple weeks in AZ in Jan/Feb. We're heading out there Jan 27 for a few weeks.

We like Cattail Cove SP on the Colorado River. Also trying Buckskin SP and Cave Creek County Park this year. Ending with 4 or 5 nights in Quartzsite at the fiberglass rally. There's another Escape group that does to the RV show in Quartzsite in Jan. Never camped with them but I'm sure you'd be welcome.

Some like Aqua Caliente and Lake Cahuilla County Parks, in Cal, also Lost Dutchman and Catalina Mtn SP. Death Valley is nice too. Plenty to choose from but your fellow snowbirds fill them up fast so reserve early!

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Old 12-19-2015, 09:31 PM   #5
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McDowell Mountain Regional Park

If you want to stay in the Phoenix area, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, northeast of Phoenix, is great. Widely spaced campsites on high ground afforded a 360ᵒ view of the surrounding mountains. There are numerous multiuse trails of varying lengths and difficulty. We recommend booking early. Check out their website: Parks & Recreation - Maricopa County
McDowell is NW of Phoenix. There are other Maricopa County parks, which might also be good, but we've not stayed at others.
We also enjoyed Patagonia Lake State Park in SE AZ.
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Old 12-19-2015, 11:03 PM   #6
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I think we'll head back to the Chiracahuas. Ya, spend some time in the National Monument on the west side, but we really like the east side. Likely head for Sunny Flat CG. Flush toilets, no showers.

While in that corner of the state, try the Dragoons. There's the Cochise Stronghold CG on the east side. Primitive.

Then there is Roosevelt Lake. Several large CG along the west side. They are quite inexpensive and have showers. They may be very busy in Jan/Feb. We've been there in March/April and they start closing CG loops. Easter was busy though.

We usually stop in Bullhead City at the Davis Camp county park. Nice park on the Colorado River. And don't forget Valley of Fire SP, but that's in Nevada.

Haven't stayed at Gilbert Ray, Catalina and Lost Dutchman which Leon mentioned. Would suggest the CGs going up Mt Lemon though. I agree that Organ Pipe is the most interesting of the others he mentions.

We weren't impressed with the Yuma area, but didn't spend much time there. Visited some friends that were staying in a very very up scale "RV" park, fancy. But for us we'll stay away from there and the Quartzsite area.

Just a few of the many many great CG in Arizona. None too crowded in March/April. In Jan/Feb I don't know.

I'm picking up some good ideas from this thread. Thanks.
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Old 12-20-2015, 12:33 AM   #7
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A nice campsite we found by accident is approx. 100 miles west of Yuma called Painted Rock Petroglyph Site N. of Hwy.10 not far from Gila. Wide open spaces not busy and inexpensive. Then there are the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) sites in California and Arizona. Check on-line where to find them.
Driving past Lost Dutchman's park there is a winding (paved) road called Apache trail towards Tortilla Flat there are campsites just before the little town on your left. Very nice campsites with hook-up and only 6 bucks. You need to buy Tonto passes one for each night of stay. these are available at gas stations, conv. stores all over the area.incl. in the town of Tortilla Flat. Travel safe and we may see you out there somewhere in Feb. or March.
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Old 12-20-2015, 02:44 AM   #8
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Anyone crossing over the border into Mexico? Never see much here about that.

Those near the border please comment. I may be wantin' a travel down Baja.

Lots of bad press sometimes but is it real or media hype? After all Los Angeles is not very safe either.

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Old 12-20-2015, 06:31 AM   #9
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Of the previous suggestions we have been to, all are good or better.

Burro Creek - BLM - on US93 between Wickenburg and Wickieup.
Lake Pleasant - Maricopa County - NW of Phoenix.

Outside of metro areas will often be quite dusty/windy. And temperatures depend a lot on altitude, microclimates and El Nino/a.

I assume you know that most Federal/State/County parks have length of stay limits.

AZ/CA in the Yuma/Quartzsite/Blythe (Colorado River) area have longer stay allowed areas on BLM land. We find a few days is long enough for us - but we live near Phoenix.
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Old 12-20-2015, 10:07 AM   #10
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I've stayed a month at La Paz County Park near Parker, AZ (and Buckskin State Park). The county park does not take reservations, and can be difficult to get into. On the Colorado River, Electric & water, daily, weekly & monthly rates. A bar that does daily lunch & dinner specials next door. Parker has a Safeway & Walmart plus the usual small town stores & services, as well as a small hospital.

Not all of the AZ state parks allow more than 14 day stays - the last time I checked, only Cattail Cove & Alamo Lake had longer stays (minimum 4 weeks, max 12 weeks), with little or no discount from daily prices. I've stayed at Buckskin, Cattail Cove, Catalina & Lost Dutchman state parks and recommend any & all of them. My favorite of the 4 is Lost Dutchman.

Along with the Quartzite Dome Rock rally, I've I've also stayed at both Quartzite & Imperial Dam Long Term Visitors Area (just across the AZ border in CA). I'm in the Quartzsite LTVA now & have been here since mid November. My daily journal might have some useful information. A 2 week renewable permit for $40.00 or the season (7 months) for $180.00. You get access to bathrooms (Vault toilets at Quartzite) dump stations & fresh water.

While Quartzite is more crowded, particularly during the January "Big Tent" sale, there is a near by town with small grocery stores, restaurants, supplies, etc. Imperial Dam is in the middle of nowhere, with the nearest source of supplies a gas station (with some limited food) on the Yuma Proving grounds about 5 miles away or Yuma, 30 miles away.

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