Last Updated on 11/23/2023 by Glynn Willard
Is Arizona a Good State To Spend Winter?
It’s our favorite place to spend winter in an RV! Read on to learn the best locations.
We’ve all thought about wintering somewhere warm, right?
And the United States is loaded with a lot of great warm winter destinations.
But we really like Arizona and have wintered there for several years!
We tried Florida once and it was just too busy and expensive.
If you’re planning to spend the winter somewhere warm, Arizona has it all!
What are the best places to spend winter in Arizona?
There are so many places to go in Arizona in winter!
Even if you’re a snow junkie, northern Arizona has something for you.
We’ve stayed in or gone through all the Arizona locations listed below for several winters.
Here’s our take:
- Phoenix Winter
Winter In Yuma, Arizona
Winter in Quartzsite
Sedona Arizona winter
There is some great boondocking just outside of Phoenix.
But if you want to stay in the city, look for RV resorts and book them way in advance.
Most typical RV parks will likely not be to your liking. If you’re looking for low cost, you’re better off boondocking.
Regardless, Phoenix offers great restaurants, activities and museums.
We suggest checking out Martin’s Auto Museum if you have a few hours to kill. It’s the only car museum we know of that allows you to get in the cars.
The kids loved it! And the entrance fee is really low.
Phoenix is also a great central “base-camp” location to explore other areas in Arizona.
Are there a lot of snowbirds in Tucson? You bet! And for good reason.
I personally like Tuscon better than Phoenix. It’s a cool town and is within great proximity to some real natural beauty.
If you’re a hiker, Mt Wrightson just south of Tuscon will offer you some amazing hikes.
Mt Lemmon just northeast of Tuscon also offers some amazing hiking and snow in the winter.
Of course, there’s the option of the east and west versions of Saguaro National Park, which make nice drives.
There are plenty of RV parks and resorts in Tuscon, but like Phoenix, some of the best camping is to boondock on BLM just outside the city.
There are plenty of dispersed camping options if you know how to look.
We spent a long time here one winter, but we cheated. We work camped at The Palms RV Resort.
It’s definitely an upscale and super nice resort. It turned out to be a phenomenal experience and we made a lot of friends.
Yuma is a great place to winter if you want to cross the border into Los Algodones, Mexico to get some dental work done.
We tried it and got a full cleaning and checkup for $40 each. It was a cool experience. Just be prepared to wait a long time to cross back into the US.
There are a lot of great locations for OHV’s near Yuma, but not as much great hiking.
We hiked Telegraph Pass just east of Yuma, but it was anticlimactic. Not bad, just not great.
We used Yuma as a base-camp location to spend more time in Kofa National Wildlife Refuge to hike and boondock (where we lost a wheel).
Martinez Lake and the surrounding areas also have some great hiking and water activities.
Sadly, dispersed camping close to Yuma is limited. But there’s no shortage of dispersed camping a quick drive up 95 toward the north on the way to Quartzsite.
The proximity to the attractions in California is also a nice perk to staying near Yuma.
I’m not going to lie, Quartzsite holds no appeal to us. We spent three nights there during it’s RV peak and it was just too busy for us.
It was cool to send the drone up and see thousands of RV’s as far as the eye could see though.
There are too few dump stations, locations to dump trash and fresh water stations to accommodate the massive number of RV’s.
But I will say, the community that evolves in the LTVA sites is a cool, open minded and fun community.
We like to get off the beaten path, so Quartzsite was a one time experience for us.
Sedona is gorgeous anytime a year, but still gets cold in the winter.
Expect some light snow and cold nights. If you plan to RV there in the winter, a four season RV is a must.
Because of the popularity, finding boondocking locations during the warmer months is now difficult.
But if you’re properly equipped, winter camping in Sedona is less busy and worth the effort.
It’s a great time of year to visit Sedona to avoid the excessive crowds.
This is one of our favorite towns in Arizona.
We save our dispersed camping in Flagstaff for the warmer months.
If you’re a snow junkie, you can dispersed camp at the bottom of the mountain and drive up for the winter activities.
Albeit, it still gets cold at night at low elevation in the areas surrounding Flagstaff.
So make sure your rig is well insulated and designed for cold weather camping like ORV or Arctic Fox.
Live aboard class A’s will also work in cold environments, but their size will limit your ability to dispersed camp.
Nonetheless, Flagstaff is beautiful in the winter (or anytime of year).
What Are The Options For RV’s?
You only have a few options to winter in Arizona with an RV.
You can either:
- Stay at a campground or resort.
- Bounce around BLM land and national forests boondocking.
- Boondock in an LTVA area.
State parks are nice, but your stay will always be limited. There’s no long term camping to escape the winter for a longer period.
There is so much BLM land in Arizona, it’s easiest to just move every 7-10 days and boondock in a new location.
Not sure how to do that?
Check out our article How To Find Boondocking Sites.
Boondocking In Arizona In The Winter
If you have a four season RV, there are tons of boondocking locations south of Rt 40 across the state.
Finding locations is easy once you learn the skill set.
Dump stations are also copious across the state (especially at gas stations).
Water is a little more scarce, but there are always ways to find free or low cost water.
Learn more about water needs when boondocking in our article How Much Water Do You Need While Boondocking?
You can easily find the amenities to ping pong around the state all winter.
There are plenty of Walmarts to stock up on groceries and no shortage of outdoor activities in the winter.
Arizona Off The Beaten Path
We’ve found some great locations off the beaten path in Arizona.
Especially if you’re boondocking in southern AZ.
If you’re looking for less crowds, check out:
Chiricahua National Monument:
Low crowds, amazing hiking, beautiful scenery and free with a National Parks Pass.
Walnut Canyon National Monument:
If the weather is fair and not snowy, Walnut Canyon is a great homeschool/learning experience about Natives of the land.
Palm Canyon hike in Kofa National Wildlife Refuge:
A great off the beaten path hike that’s great for a family.
Spend a minute in busy Tombstone and then move on down the road to Bisbee. It’s just as cool with less tourists.
Martin Auto Museum in Phoenix:
We went there on a suggestion from a friend and had a blast. It’s one of the few auto museums that allows you to enter the cars.
During the warmer months, it’s a beautiful area north of the Grand Canyon to camp (and it’s quiet).
Lee’s Ferry in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area:
There’s so much to explore here and some really cool history!
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument:
There’s some great hiking and beautiful scenery. It’s best to go in the winter.
Arizona is definitely one of those states with a lot of “hidden gems.”
Winter Vacation In Arizona
If you’re not able to winter in Arizona, it also makes a great vacation destination.
There are no shortage of Airbnb’s, resorts or hotels.
If you want to experience the RV lifestyle in Arizona, try renting an RV through Fireside RV Rental.
If you’ve never driven or towed an RV before and you decide to rent, I suggest booking an RV park in advance.
Boondocking is a learned skill that takes time to perfect. Get a taste of the RV lifestyle in a controlled environment first.
Regardless, if you want to stay warm, look at destinations approximately 100 miles south of Rt 40 for the most comfort.