The American Southwest is a land of extremes—extreme temperatures, extreme dryness, extreme beauty. An area that can boast of having some of the hottest and some of the coldest temperatures in the country and has a landscape that not only seems to soar above the clouds but also dives down into the abyss definitely deserves to be on your bucket list of places to go RVing. The furthest I’ve been out west with our travel trailer in tow is Colorado, but next time I’m hitting the road for the Southwest and not stopping until I’m standing at the Four Corners or venturing down into the Grand Canyon. There’s so much to be discovered in the beautiful southwest states, everyone who has an RV should go! What are some of the best places to go RVing in the American Southwest? Let’s take a look!
Deep in the heart of the Southwest is the beautiful state of Arizona. This land of cacti and the Grand Canyon is a popular destination for snowbirds and non-snowbirds alike. This state has something for everyone: art lovers, boaters, explorers, golfers, couples, families, dog lovers, you name it. One of our favorite Arizona spots to go RVing is:
Lake Havasu State Park:
This year-round state park is located in western Arizona and offers tons of outdoor fun thanks to the beautiful lake that it’s located on. This is a great destination if you like to trailer a boat along on your vacations. There are three boat ramps, a lovely beach, fishing, swimming, and motorized watercraft rentals. If you love hiking, head down the Mojave Sunset Trail that winds down into the lowland desert and back along the shoreline. All 47 campsites have 50 amp electric hookups and access to potable water. The campground has showers/bathroom, a dump station, and individual fire pits/rings.
Texas—the land of ten-gallon hats and long-horned steers. As they say, everything is bigger in Texas, including stunning natural wonders and crazy cowboy fun! From the Rio Grande River and rodeos to mouth-watering southwestern fare and fauna, Texas vacations are brimming with fun things to do. For a memorable Texas RVing vacation featuring 800-foot cliffs and beautiful mesquite and juniper trees, check out this campground.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park:
This beautiful state park lies within the country’s second largest canyon and offers over 30 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Located in northwest Texas about an hour southeast of Amarillo, it’s landscape features multiple layers of rock in varying shades of color, making it interesting to the eye. While you’re there look for hoodoos. These head-scratching rock formations have a larger rock balancing on a smaller base. These form from the canyon eroding at different rates and the harder rock on top protecting the softer rock underneath. Palo Duro Canyon is huge—it’s 20 miles wide, 120 miles long, and descends down 800 feet! If you’re lucky you’ll catch a glimpse of the few Texas longhorns that call this park home. Descendants of cattle brought to the area in the 1500s by the Spaniards, these wild, massive animals are a sight to see! Head to the rim near the park headquarters with your camera for the best opportunity to see them. There are many campgrounds helpful hints within the state park that can accommodate RVs. They have electric and water hookups, restrooms/showers nearby, picnic tables, and fire rings. They’re under $30/night (plus park entrance fee).
Known for beautiful caverns, spectacular stargazing, and a landscape that is as varied as the people who live here, the Land of Enchantment state is one that won’t disappoint. With a history rich in Native American and Hispano culture, interesting Pueblo architecture, rose-colored deserts and snow-capped mountain peaks, exotic animals, and rumors of extraterrestrial life touching down, New Mexico is a great destination for RVing. The mild and arid climate offers plenty of sunshine year-round for great outdoor fun. The International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell is a big draw, as are the White Sands National Monument and the Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the Chihuahuan Desert, and the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in the southwest part of the state. For a highly rated RV campground, head to this historical park in northwestern New Mexico:
Chaco Culture National Historical Park:
Immerse yourself in ancient Pueblo culture by setting up camp at Gallo Campground within the park. Surrounded by petroglyphs, a cliff dwelling, ancient inscriptions, and a completely unobstructed view of the dark night sky (no shade trees!), this campground offers rustic scenery and rugged camping (no hookups). Fallen boulders and cliffs can be found throughout the campground. If you have an RV over 35’ long, you’ll have to head to another campground, as this one is for smaller campers. The guided tours offered in the park are a must for visitors, as are the Night Sky programs. Hikers will love the backcountry trails that offer spectacular views over the valley and treks through remote Chacoan sites.
Outdoor lovers flock to Colorado year-round for incredible vacations that include snow skiing/snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and, of course, camping! Having just visited the Centennial State this summer, the breathtaking views are still fresh in my mind. Whether you head to a glitzy ski resort in the middle of winter or into the woods for a summer backpacking adventure, you’ll come away singing this state’s praises (like I do!).
Golden Gate Canyon State Park:
Located just 30 minutes from Denver, this state park is the perfect location if you intend to explore Rocky Mountain National Park. Since none of the campgrounds in the national park offer hookups, this 12,000-acre park is perfect for your next RVing adventure. It’s known for its beautiful hiking trails within its dense forest area, stocked fishing ponds, and the epic Panorama Point Scenic Overlook. From this point you can see 100 miles of the Continental Divide (on a clear day). Bring your four-legged friend along and you’ll fit right in. Dogs are welcome everywhere in Colorado, including in this lovely campground. You’ll enjoy full hookups, nice bathrooms, and a very friendly staff in the visitor center.
Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, Zion, Flaming Gorge. The list of natural wonders goes on and on, making Utah one of those destinations you’ll be telling all your friends about. You can’t go wrong no matter which part of Utah you decide to visit, so let’s head to the southwestern part of the state and go RVing in the state’s most visited national park.
Zion National Park:
For the best weather to explore Zion, plan a trip in the offseason, particularly November to April. You’ll sidestep the stifling heat and miss all the crowds. Not many places can boast of a name derived from Scripture, but Zion is aptly named because it sure feels heavenly when you’re there. While Virginia is for lovers, Zion is for hikers, so make sure to pack your hiking boots and water bottle so you can take advantage of the amazing views of multi-layered and multi-colored cliffs, stunning waterfalls and pools, and lush vegetation. There are two campgrounds located near the south entrance to the national park that accommodate RVs: Watchman Campground and South Campground. Watchman offers electrical hookups, South does not. For a campground just minutes from the park, check out the plush Zion River Resort RV Park & Campground that has a pool, playground, laundromat, shuttle to Zion, social hall, and much more.
Have you gone RVing in the Southwest? What areas would you recommend? Let us know in the comments below and you might inspire one of our readers to give a new southwest destination a try!