Chiricahua National Monument.
Down Tucson-way, about an hour east of the Old Pueblo, lies one of Arizona’s great camping destinations – a high-desert range festooned with vertical rock formations, just minutes from Willcox wine country. And since hotels and guesthouses are scarce, RV camping is ideal. The campground is a logical home base, but be forewarned: maximum motorhome length is 29 feet. 520-824-3560, nps.gov
Est. drive time: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Named one of the top 100 campsites in America by Woodall magazine, Lo Lo Mai Springs Outdoor Resort invites RV-borne visitors to camp in a weald of sycamores and cottonwoods along Oak Creek south of Sedona. Just two miles from the heart of Cornville wine country, this is one of Arizona’s most beautiful riparian valleys, ideal for biking. 11505 E. Lo Lo Mai Rd., Cornville, 928-634-4700, lolomai.com
Est. drive time: 2 hours
California’s fabled high-desert rock pile lacks RV hookups and prohibits motorhomes longer than 25 feet, but if you score a campsite at the RV-friendly Hidden Valley campground, prepare thyself for wonderment – the park’s bounty of surreal beauty and low-risk boulder scrambles is something every outdoor enthusiast should experience. And since it’s still summer, campsites are first-come, first-serve – and reliably available. 760-367-3001, nps.gov
Est. drive time: 4 hours, 50 minutes
Lees Ferry Campground.
Grand Canyon camping spaces are known to fill up six months in advance. Boo. Avoid the rabble at this federally managed campground located roughly equidistant between the North and South Rims, in a stunning tributary canyon. The property offers 54 camping sites, but all are non-hookup, so make sure your water and gas tanks are filled. Located on Highway 89A about 45 miles west of Page, Ariz. 928-608-6200, nps.gov
Est. drive time: 4.5 hours
Apache Trout Campground.
Situated smack-dab in the middle of Arizona’s scenic White Mountains – alongside 450-acre Big Lake and its copious stock of rainbow, brook and cutthroat trout – this federally managed campground boasts some of Arizona’s best high-country RV hookups and sits at a rarified 9,100 feet elevation. Let that number slink around in your head for a second: 9,100 feet. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? Big Lake also boasts great hiking and bird-watching, and is within a short drive of the original Los Dos Molinos in Springerville. 928-333-6200, www.fs.fed.us
Est. drive time: 4 hours
Getting Started. Log onto gorving.com to get info on rentals and campgrounds, and impartial advice on how to select the right RV for you. The website even provides RV cooking tips.
Deal hunting. To score the lowest rates, try an owner-rental agency like Hightened Path in Phoenix, which rents well-maintained rigs on behalf of private owners, at rates generally lower than most agency-owned RVs. hightenedpath.com