Favorite campsites in Arizona

I’ve already mentioned Slab City in Niland, CA, as the coolest place to camp in the US. For more info about Slab City, you can check out my previous post about Slab City and take a look at some of my Slab City photos in my Picasa albums. Please take note of the unique photos of the Slab City community library which is something I haven’t mentioned yet on my blog. Look closely in the pictures. You’ll notice an extensive collection of National Geographic magazines, and if you look even closer, you’ll notice something technological that will make you laugh. And something about a mouse.

While my favorite place to camp is indeed in CA, when I think of my next few favorite places to camp, they are all in Arizona.

1. Quartzsite, AZ, on route 10.

View from the tent


On a map it looks to be about halfway between Indio, CA, and Phoenix. On my Picasa site there are a few pictures of where we camped in Quartzsite along with some examples of Shane practicing his bow drill incessantly. Click for pictures of our camp area at Quartzsite. Apart from the fact that the entire town is centered around a big ol’ fleamarket, there is this “Readers Oasis Books” book store that is quite famous now and loans a whole new meaning to the term “must see.” I could easily go on and on here about Quartzsite, but Shane reminded me that I already have a substantial body of written work all about Quartzsite and what it was like to be camped out there for two weeks. This reminded me that Quartzsite gets the spotlight in all of Chapter 12 of a book I wrote after the completion of our 256-day road trip, so, please see the next post for the text of Chapter 12 of 256 Days in a Pickup Truck. The entire completed manuscript is 250 pages. Each chapter of the book focuses on a person one can’t meet if one never travels. So, the characters in the book are examples of personalities I had never encountered growing up on the East Coast of the US. Enjoy!

2. Tortilla Flats, AZ, just outside of Phoenix.

Shane gets the fire ready for grilling dinner.


Our campsite was situated conveniently at the opening to a canyon. There were these really cool iridescent golden toads that I have never seen hopping around anywhere else. So Ruby, Shane and I spent a whole day following the toads as they hopped downstream through the canyon with our travel friends Petra and Matt. Behind every turn of the canyon were swimming holes. We even lugged a blow-up mattress through the canyon in order for all five of us to float over a deep swimming hole all afternoon. Tortilla Flats and Sunflower (#3) can be hard to find, so be sure to contact me directly and I can tell you how to get to these oasis campsites! Click for my pictures on Picasa of our campsite and surrounding area at Tortilla Flats. Notice particularly the aerial view picture I took from up on a ridge of our campsite below.

3. Sunflower, AZ, just outside of Phoenix.

Our friends Mikey and Matt scope out a site on the beach.


This campsite is actually just a pull-off from a major highway. However, you can’t see the sand beach along the stream from the road. This campsite has rock art and hiking trails leading through a maze of tall cacti and involves climbing over huge boulders. This is where we stumbled upon a nude sunbathing club as well. Lots of great deep swimming holes as you follow the foot path upstream. Ruby loved the swimming and climbed up the cliffs, thinking she was a mountain lion. Click for pictures of where we camped at Sunflower.

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  1. Chapter 12 from 256 Days in a Pickup Truck « 256 Days in a Pickup Truck - March 27, 2011

    […] Chapter 12 from 256 Days in a Pickup Truck (An excerpt from my manuscript about our 256-day road trip. This excerpt provides background info for my post about my favorite campsites in Arizona.) […]

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