7 Best Places for Camping in Sedona

Sedona is one of the most picturesque places in the world, and most people have seen the caverns around the town as it used to be one of the most popular Windows backgrounds. Regardless if you are a boondocker, hiker, or trailer camper you are in luck because some of the best places for camping in Sedona are accessible in all of those ways.

At this time, there are more than a dozen open campgrounds in and around Sedona, with some of the best are:

  • Camp Avalon
  • Manzanita Campground
  • Cave Springs Campground
  • Rancho Sedona RV Park
  • Munds Park Campground
  • Pine Flat Campground

If you want to go all the way with your RV, then your options will be relatively limited because some places are accessible only by hiking. But even dispersed camping in your recreational vehicle will allow you to visit some of the most beautiful places in Arizona, if not the entire country.

RVs, Trailers, and Hiking

Because all of the land in and around Sedona is federal land, public land, private reserves, or tribal land, the name of the game when it comes to camping here is cleanliness. Whatever you do, you need to make sure you keep the nature around you as pristine as you found it.

Thankfully, for boondockers, there are dedicated RV camps where you can hook up your electrical, water, and waste. This way you can, for a nominal fee, be sure that you are all set and can have all of the amenities in your RV as you would at home.

Sedona campers prefer dispersed camping, and there is more than enough space for everyone. Ideally, you will want to be at least half a mile to a mile from your neighbors. But, if you really want some company you will always find people online who are camping there at the same time and would like to hang out.

Finally, always follow one of the key rules of Boondocking, which is asking for consent. Especially if you are planning to enter tribal lands, not having express permission can lead to legal action, and even having your vehicle confiscated by the landowners.

Best Places to Camp around Sedona, Arizona

To get to the meat of the issue, here are the camps you will want to see if you are visiting Sedona. Some of these are directly accessible with your vehicle, but others will require some hiking.

Still, even if you are in your RV, they are worth the additional effort. Maybe it would be fun to have a little hiking trip and see the sights. All of these places are less than three hours of walking from the road, so if you are even in relative shape you should have a go.

Camp Avalon

This camp is majestic. Camp Avalon is just on the entry of the town of Sedona itself and is, relatively speaking, quite urban. This makes the camp more adequate for having fun and experiencing the Oak River and the nature around it than for relaxation alone.

Aside from dedicated places for both RVs and tents, Camp Avalon also has the feature of a Spiritual Nature Retreat. The people here are quite knowledgeable about nature and how humans can synchronize with it, and they are more than willing to help.

If that sounds like something you would enjoy, you will have a magnificent time here.

Manzanita Campground

The Manzanita Campground is run and operated by the US Forest Service and has some spectacular sceneries. It is one of the best places to hide from the Arizona summer, as there is a lot of shade and beautiful swimming holes to chill down.

Regretfully, no RVs are allowed inside the campsite itself. You can get to the door, but that is about it.

Overall, it is more of a ”youth” campground, as the surroundings call upon activities like running, hiking, and swimming.  But, as it is federal land, they will allow interagency passes to wave the $22 nightly fee. Passes accepted are:

  • America the Beautiful Interagency Pass
  • Red Rock Pass
  • Every Kid Outdoors Fourth Grader Pass

Manzanita Campground

The Manzanita Campground is run and operated by the US Forest Service and has some spectacular sceneries. It is one of the best places to hide from the Arizona summer, as there is a lot of shade and beautiful swimming holes to chill down.

Regretfully, no RVs are allowed inside the campsite itself. You can get to the door, but that is about it.

Overall, it is more of a ”youth” campground, as the surroundings call upon activities like running, hiking, and swimming.  But, as it is federal land, they will allow interagency passes to wave the $22 nightly fee. Passes accepted are:

  • America the Beautiful Interagency Pass
  • Red Rock Pass
  • Every Kid Outdoors Fourth Grader Pass

Cave Springs Campground

Cave Springs is beautiful, and everyone should visit it at least for half a day. The area is a wooded riparian zone with a lot of shade under the ponderosa pines if you are willing to hit the hiking trails.

But, take note that a lot of people do visit the campground, and you should both call in advance and be ready to have neighbors very close. If you are a fan of dispersed camping, Tuesday mornings are your best bet.

But, you can get in with an RV, and there is water access available. The campsite is also federal land, so the fee will be $22 and interagency passes will apply.

Rancho Sedona RV Park

If you want to make an RV base in Sedona from which you will be able to visit all of the hiking trails and still be close to a restaurant in town, this is the place for you. When you enter, you won’t even realize that just over Oak Creek there is a full shopping mall.

If you are a normal person, the distance from the place you can park and attach to water, electrical, and waste is roughly 20 minutes. But, if you have some good boots and strong legs in them, it is two minutes and one six feet jump over the creek.

The worst thing that can happen is that you will need to pull back to your RV to dry out and try again.

From this location, you will be able to set to about half a dozen trails directly, with each lasting from a couple of hours of hiking to more than a day. And, if you cross the town, which is also possible to do on foot, there are a few dozen more.

Finally, if walking is not your forte, you can always see it from the air. Rancho Sedona has charter balloon rides which are both amazing and romantic… depending on who you take.

Munds Park RV Resort

Munds Park is just between Sedona and Flagstaff, and for boondockers, it is the closest you will want to a hotel experience. It has a dining hall, fitness center, and a sizable swimming pool if you want to cool off.

From there, you can go on foot, ATV, or on a dirt bike to explore the trails around the resort, with several riverbeds showing you the way. But, as these are not as well kept as some of them down south, deeper leather boots are advised, as a snake bite will be a risk if you stumble through the bush.

The full hookup, including WiFi, will set you back $67 before tax, but it is worth it.

Pine Flat Campground

This campground, which allows both RVs and trailers but has no access points for water and electrical, is nested in the upper reaches of the canyon, right on the bank of the Oak Creek.

There are several trails that you can hit right from this place, but even if you stay at the campground it is very relaxing, and you can even do some fishing. The creek here is filled with trout and it seems that the fact some people are swimming doesn’t bother the fish.

This is federal land, so the $22 fee is expected, and there are quiet hours from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. so make sure your batteries are filled, as you won’t be allowed to run the generator.

All You Need to Know about Camping around Sedona, Arizona

Aside from regular Boondocking rules, there are also some additional things that you should consider when camping in Arizona in general and others when it comes to Sedona in particular.

First of all, there are abundant legal issues when it comes to the land. Private, federal, and tribal land often overlap with each other and they might have different rules. But, all of them focus on conservation and will not tolerate any type of litter.

That is why the first Boondocking rule, asking for permission, is golden here. In Sedona, it is best to do this before you even start your voyage, at least a week in advance. Informing yourself about any permits and possible costs for attachments in advance will also make your trip much better.

Laws and Permits

As far as Sedona goes, there aren’t a lot of unmanaged lands. Most places have designated locations where you can camp with everything outside of it being either illegal or inaccessible for RVs.

Thankfully, there are a lot of RV-designated campsites where you know that you will be permitted to camp and have all the amenities you need. Each of the camps, especially the ones on federal land, will also have contact numbers on their website that allow for issuing both camping and fishing licenses.

State Trust Land

Contrary to the name, the Arizona state trust land is privately owned. A permit is required for camping and getting caught without one will cost you quite a bit. Thankfully, if you are traveling with an RV you will see it every time you enter such land.

There is also a limited number of licenses, so if you have a particular location in mind it is best to call in in advance.

Yavapai-Apache Nation Land

The Indian Nation regions around Sedona are separated into several autonomous lands. Each of these lands will have different rules and while some will be very welcoming to campers in others camping will be strictly forbidden.

No type of state or federal license applies here and you should treat it for what it is, private property. Call in advance and everything except a clear ‘’Yes’’ should be considered a ‘’No’’.

Camping Rules

Experienced boondockers will be familiar with most of these, but there is never a bad time to mention them again. Staying kind, sensible, and prepared is always the way to go, and camping in Arizona is no different.

Make sure to stay high on supplies, to have redundant power and water, and that you know your general direction and plan as well as options. Once you know all that, it will be easy to deal with everything else.

Spread out Camping

Ideally, you want a mile between yourself and the next camper. This will ensure that everyone can enjoy nature and not come into conflict. People camp in different groups and in different ways, and everything less than an invitation should mean that you should stay clear.

Additionally, try not to stay directly above or below anyone if there is elevation, as small debris or kicked rocks can make serious injuries and you don’t need the risk with this much space.

Conserving Local Flora

Not just from forest fires, but from invasive species as well. There is always firewood to buy in our near the campsites and you should use that, as well as existing fire rings that will be very visible by day.

This way you are preventing random pollen or seeds to spread to the campsites and possibly damage the local system.

Two Weeks Maximum

Take note that all camping in and around Sedona, as well as the rest of Arizona for that matter, is limited to 14 days. You can only stay for two weeks in one spot and will need to move for 25 miles after that.

Thankfully, for Sedona, that means that you can stay in the area for a couple of months if you plan your route correctly, without ever camping on the same spot twice.

Beware of Wildlife Tanks

There are wildlife tanks all around Sedona that allow the local wildlife to have water even with the local watering holes that are dried out or full of people. You should, in general, stay clear of these tanks and never camps less than half a mile from the tank.

If you see it once you camp, move. Not only would staying there be dangerous for you, it will be difficult for the local animals. Also, it is very illegal and carries huge fines.

Fire Safety

This should fall into common sense, and most boondockers will use their RV’s gear regardless. Still, be very aware of how dry and hot the summers in Arizona may be and how easily there can be a disaster.

As the bear says: ‘’only you can prevent forest fires!’’

Keep to the existing fire rings, and never have anything but an electric stove near trees and bushes.

Conclusion

Sedona is one of the prettiest places to camp in the entire country. The region is filled with amazing hiking trails, caverns, creeks, natural pools, and waterfalls. This is a mecca for nature lovers from all around the world.

For any boondocker, this is a great destination. But, remember that it will be your job to keep it such a destination. Call in advance, plan your route, and always remember to collect all trash and waste you make with you to the nearest place you can dump it correctly.

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