State Park campgrounds in Arizona.
Hike through the desert or learn about local history at Arizona's state parks.
While Arizona is perhaps best known for its national parks—especially the Grand Canyon—the Arizona State Parks system offers plenty of fantastic ways to experience the state. Arizona is home to more than 30 state parks and state historic parks in total, many of which offer camping and protect historic sites, so you're almost as likely to find a historicRead more...
While Arizona is perhaps best known for its national parks—especially the Grand Canyon—the Arizona State Parks system offers plenty of fantastic ways to experience the state. Arizona is home to more than 30 state parks and state historic parks in total, many of which offer camping and protect historic sites, so you're almost as likely to find a historic building or an archaeological site at an Arizona state park as you are a hiking trail. While much of the state is desert, many state parks are situated on lakes, reservoirs, or the Colorado River.
Where to Go
Western Arizona recreation centers largely on the Colorado River, on the border with Colorado. Most of the state parks in this region are right on the river, including the ever-popular Lake Havasu State Park (where the 19th-century London Bridge is located), the aptly named Colorado River State Park (which preserves the 19th-century US Army Quartermaster Depot), and Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park (where you can check out an Old West prison).
Slide Rock State Park is hugely popular for its swimming holes and fishing opportunities, while Red Rock State Park has about five miles of hiking trails and fantastic rock-formation views. Further east, Homolovi State Park protects ancient Homolovi archaeological sites, while Flagstaff's Riordan Mansion State Historic Park preserves a beautiful arts-and-crafts mansion dating to 1904.
Central Arizona doesn’t have a ton of state parks, but the few it does have are fantastic. Lost Dutchman State Park offers easy access to the hiking trails and wildlife-viewing opportunities in the picturesque Superstition Mountains, while Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is home to the largest travertine bridge formation in the world, easily visited via a 1.4-mile-long loop hike.
Southern Arizona has a large concentration of state parks, many within easy reach of Tucson. Just outside of town, Oracle State Park has over 15 miles of hiking trails and opportunities for seasonal wildflower viewing. It's also a great place for stargazing, with plenty of sky viewing programs throughout the year. Further south, Kartchner Caverns State Park gives visitors the chance to get an up-close view of caves full of stalactites and stalagmites, while the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park preserves the ruins of the oldest Spanish presidio in the state.