6 Top Rated Campgrounds in Sedona

Camping in Sedona consists of three Forest Service campings along Oak Creek Canyon just a few minutes outside of Sedona on Highway 89A, a few RV park in or around Sedona, and scattered campsites at designated locations in the desert landscape just outside the city. The campgrounds along Oak Creek offer tent-only facilities, as well as campgrounds that are open to both tents and RVs. Located in the canyon, these campgrounds are cooler than Sedona and the surrounding area and often shaded by the canyon walls. This can be a real asset in the summer when temperatures are high, but can provide a cool campsite from autumn to spring. Several interesting hikes can be found in this area, as well as Slide Rock State Park.

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Boynton Canyon area, Sedona | Foto auteursrecht: Lana Law

The Forest Service campgrounds allow you to book sites up to six months in advance and no less than three days prior to arrival. Some of these campgrounds also offer first come, first served sites. Sites feature picnic tables, grills, and campfire rings, and all campsites offer vault toilets and some have showers. Generators must be turned off by 9pm.

Scattered camping has no facilities, so you must be completely self-sufficient. These sites are much warmer than those found along Oak Creek Canyon and come with plenty of direct sunlight. The camper parks offer full services. For a complete overview of what’s available, check out our list of the best campgrounds in Sedona.

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1 Camping Manzanita

Manzanita Campground | Photo copyright: Lana Law
Manzanita Campground | Photo copyright: Lana Law

This small campground tucked into the woods on the edge of Highway 89A Oak Creek Canyon is the closest campground to Sedona and by far the most convenient for accessing major attractions. Manzanita is only open to tents, but it operates all year round. Tall deciduous trees provide plenty of shade during the hot summer months, and the river running behind adds to the peaceful atmosphere. For tent campers looking to escape the noise of RV generators, this area is a real treat. However, it is up a hill from the highway so traffic noise can be a factor. This campground has just 19 sites, each of which can accommodate up to eight people.

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2 Cave Springs Campground

Cave Springs Campground | Photo Copyright: Lana Law
Cave Springs Campground | Photo Copyright: Lana Law

This campground is set back from the road in a heavily wooded area and is relatively free of highway noise. Many people really like this aspect of camping. It is also the largest campground in the Oak Creek Canyon area, with 89 campsites, so it has a busier vibe. You have a better chance of getting a site here than the smaller campgrounds down the road. Birds and wildlife are common on the trees and grounds. Many of the trees are deciduous, so they provide dense shade in the summer and more filtered light in the spring. This campsite is only open from the beginning of April to the end of October. With the exception of a tent-only site, campgrounds are open to both tents and RVs and can accommodate trailers and RVs up to 36 feet in length. Reservations are accepted for some sites, but they also offer first-come-first-served loops. This campground has showers but only vault toilets.

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3 Pine Flat Campground

Pine Flat Campground | Photo copyright: Lana Law
Pine Flat Campground | Photo copyright: Lana Law

Tall pines and views of the orange rock walls rising above make this the most scenic of all the campgrounds in Oak Creek Canyon. Oak Creek runs along the back of the campground and attracts a variety of wildlife. This campground has a total of 59 sites and is open to tents and RVs. The only drawback is the location right on the side of Highway 89A. Cars driving by get a good view of the sites as they stretch along the side of the road at the same height as the highway. On one side of Pine Flat Campground is a natural spring, with a faucet for campers to collect water.

Of the three Forest Service campgrounds, this is the furthest from Sedona. Driving time can vary significantly depending on traffic, but generally takes about 25 minutes to Uptown Sedona.

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4 Rancho Sedona RV Park

Rancho Sedona RV Park | Photo copyright: Lana Law
Rancho Sedona RV Park | Photo copyright: Lana Law

Rancho Sedona RV Park is located directly below Uptown Sedona and has a great location. You can look up to see the famous red rock setting, set up under large poplar cottonwood trees, hike along the banks of Oak Creek along the park or walk to many of the top attractions in Sedona. From the campground to Uptown Sedona is about a 20 minute walk, but you can be at the shops and restaurants of the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village in just 10 minutes or less. Sites are mostly gravel, although some have grass areas and are fairly close together. But when the trees come out in the spring, this facility looks like a botanical park.

Official site: www.ranchosedona.com

5 Verde Valley RV Resort & Campground

View of landscape near Cottonwood
View of landscape near Cottonwood

The Verde Valley RV Resort is an oasis of greenery on the banks of the Verde River, about 30 to 35 minutes from Sedona, near Cottonwood. The resort has large trees for plenty of shade and is open to both tent campers and RV’ers. Sites are large and offer full hookups. Comfort stations have showers and toilets. On site are an outdoor pool, miniature golf course, horseshoe pits, and a recreation center with a pool table and ping pong tables. If you don’t feel like camping, the resort also offers a variety of cabins for rent. Recent extensive renovations have completely revamped this RV park.

Official Site: https://ttvdevalley.com/

6 Scattered camping around Sedona

Scattered camping around Sedona| Photo Copyright: Michael Law
Scattered camping around Sedona| Photo Copyright: Michael Law

For your own piece of desert with beautiful views, tranquility and starry skies, just head southwest to Cottonwood. Find the right road, drive in a short distance and select your own piece of land to set up camp. The area off Highway 89A west of Sedona runs through Coconino National Forest land and camping is allowed almost everywhere. The rules are simple and easy to follow, and the price is right – camping is free. But there are no facilities without costs. You must be completely self-sufficient and bury your rubbish or have a self-contained unit. The main area for scattered camping is off the FS525, which is also the road to the Palatki ruins. Note that the area for scattered campgrounds ends at Boynton Canyon Road (FS152C). You can also find camping east of Sedona on Schnebly Road, but this is a very rough and steep road and not suitable for every type of trailer. South of Sedona, camping is also available, but this is a considerable distance from town and not particularly convenient for getting to major attractions, with the exception of Montezuma’s Well.

Official Site: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3839183.pdf

Where to stay in Sedona if you can’t find a campground

Sedona has several high-end hotels that offer nature-inspired experiences. If you want to treat yourself, these can be great choices. Prices vary seasonally, so when camping isn’t at its best you can often find great deals. Reasonably priced mid-range options can be harder to come by. During the high season, especially in the spring, prices can be astronomical. The best prices can usually be found in the village of Oak Creek, Sedona’s equally beautiful neighbor, a few minutes south of town.

  • Luxe hotels: L’Auberge de Sedona Resort & Spa has long been known as the go-to place in Sedona for luxury, scenery and location, offering an unforgettable experience. Elegant hillside cabins with large patios overlooking the mountains and Oak Creek. The resort is conveniently located directly below Uptown Sedona, the city’s main dining and shopping district. Also located in a scenic area not far from L’Auberge, the Kimpton Amara Resort & Spa offers contemporary guestrooms, an infinity pool overlooking the red rock surroundings, and beautiful outdoor areas with sitting areas and fire pits. Enchantment Resort, near Boynton Canyon, is about a 10-minute drive from the main part of Sedona and is a great choice for nature lovers who also want a high level of comfort and pampering.
  • Mid-range and budget hotels: The Desert Quail Inn in the village of Oak Creek is a great mid-range option. It comes complete with a swimming pool and large modern rooms. You can drive to Uptown Sedona in 10 to 15 minutes from here, but attractions like Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte are just across the street. Also located in the Village of Oak Creek, Days Inn Kokopelli Sedona offers an outdoor pool and spacious and comfortable rooms at very reasonable rates. For a few more amenities and an outdoor pool with a beautiful view of the mountains, The Andante Inn of Sedona is another property with good rates.

Explore more in Arizona’s Great Outdoors

  • Camping: Camping in Sedona is just the beginning. Plan the rest of your Arizona outdoor adventure with our guides to the best campgrounds in Prescott, Phoenix, and Tucson. Prescott and Sedona are great summer destinations, but during the colder months, Tucson and Phoenix are attractive camping areas. If you’re not sure where else to camp, get inspired by our list of the best places to camp in Arizona.
  • to walk: From the desert to the mountains, Arizona has all kinds of terrain just waiting to be explored. For some ideas on where to go, be sure to check out our latest tips for the best hikes in Arizona. Some of the most interesting hiking trails can be found near major cities. If you know you’ll be traveling to some of these destinations, don’t miss our articles on the best hikes in Sedona, Prescott, Phoenix, and Tucson.

Read also:

10 Top Rated Campgrounds in New Hampshire

11 Top Rated Ski Resorts in Colorado, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Exploring Arizona’s Best Places to Visit

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