The small town of Ajo in Southern Arizona is surrounded by 12 million acres of public and tribal land waiting to be explored.
Featuring a warm, dry climate, Ajo is located in the heart of the unique Sonoran Desert. Given that setting, it’s no wonder that Shadow Ridge RV Park is a favorite of those visiting the area.
The pet-friendly Shadow Ridge offers 125 sites with full hook-ups and lots of amenities. These include free cable TV and Wi-Fi, restrooms and showers, laundry facilities, a camp store, and nearby nature trails.
Also close to Shadow Ridge RV Park is the Ajo Country Club. Their golf course is built on naturally flat terrain and features elevated greens. Open year-round, the par 36, nine-hole course measures 3,093 yards.
It was built by locals and opened just after World War II in 1946. The signature hole is No. 9, a 123-yard, par 3, featuring water and tall palm trees protecting the front of the green. Golfers routinely share the course with roadrunners, coyotes, and deer. Another unique aspect of the golf course is the small airport runway adjacent to the course.
In addition to club and cart rentals, Ajo Country Club officials offer three days of free RV dry camping with use of the facilities. For details, call 520-387-5011.
Ajo residents are quite proud of their recent accolade, being named a Certified Wildlife Habitat, compliments of the National Wildlife Federation.
This town of 4,000 is the second Arizona Community (along with Mesa Community College’s Red Mountain Campus), and only the 65th in the nation to earn this distinct certification. The area is home to more than 1,000 species of plants and animals, many unique to the Southern Arizona region.
The area’s unpolluted skies have attracted countless astronomy buffs and stargazers. Kitt Peak National Observatory allows visitors to peer through massive telescopes and also enjoy educational programs and Native American exhibits.
Date / Temp: We camped here for 4 nights in mid January. The weather was perfect. Daily highs were in the 70s and nights in the 40s. If you’re looking for great winter weather, Arizona is the place to be.
Amenities: This site offers no amenities and practices a “Pack In, Pack Out” policy. We filled up with water in Quartzsite, Arizona. The town of Parker offers many options for buying filtered water, but it’s hard to find an RV water fill station.
There are easy dump options in Quartzsite as well.
Wifi / Cell: We received a 4G LTE signal with AT&T. The speeds allowed us to easily stream Netflix. We did use our WeBoost Cell Booster to increase upload speeds. Our T-Mobile Hot Spot received no connectivity.
Noise: The road is long and offers lots of space to spread out, or camp with a group. Noise was never an issue at our site. Even though we were close to the road, it was still quiet due to minimal auto traffic.
Grocery / Errands: Downtown Parker is 11 miles from our campsite, but only 1 mile from the entrance of Shea Road. The town offers a Walmart, Safeway and many dinning options.
Dog Friendly: This site is dog friendly. River had a lot of space to play and explore.
Entertainment: Most of the entertainment is outdoor activities. Hiking & ATV enthusiasts will have plenty to explore. For a change of scenery, take a day trip to Quartzsite or Lake Havasu.
Overall Experience of Free Camping in Parker, Arizona
A new RV resort recently opened in the Verde Valley region of Central Arizona. Just south of Flagstaff and Sedona in small-town Clarkdale, Rain Spirit RV Resort has full hookup RV sites with panoramic views and some amazing places to visit nearby.
The resort can accommodate RVs of all sizes with their wide paved roads and 63 large sites (both pull-thrus and back-ins). From your RV, you can get wide open views of the Tuzigoot Monument, Verde River, and Sycamore and Verde Canyons.
When you’re not exploring the area, make full use of their brand new facilities. You can take a dip in their heated pool and Jacuzzi, or relax in the air-conditioned rec room with a pool table and a kitchen. They also offer a fitness room, dog run, laundry room, and WiFi throughout the park.
Nearby there are enough attractions to keep you busy for weeks or even months. Take your time to explore Tuzigoot National Monument (about a mile from the resort) as it has Sinagua ruins dating back to 1100 AD. Grab one of their RV spaces 8-18 for the best views of this ancient Puebloan structure.
Verde River Canyon should also be on your list of places to visit. This vast area has ATV trails, kayaking, fishing, biking, bird watching, and the Verde Canyon Railroad tour train. Park your RV in one of their sites numbered 1-7 for a view of this massive colorful canyon.
The hillside mining town of Jerome is also less than ten minutes from the resort. Explore their local museums, art shops, gift shops, and restaurants, or visit Jerome State Historic Park to see the old Douglas Mansion built in 1916.
While you’re in town you’ll also want to visit the Gold King Mine Ghost Town. This abandoned town still preserves an old mine, dilapidated buildings, and various old cars and trucks.
Have you visited Rain Spirit RV Resort yet? Let us know about your experience on RV Park Reviews!
Much like Quartzsite, Lake Havasu City in Western Arizona is a haven for snowbirds in the winter. This city along the Colorado River has year-round sunshine and endless ways to get outdoors. You can find lots of local shops to browse, restaurants to choose from, and RV resorts with 5-star amenities. The city also claims home to the iconic London Bridge, relocated from England, which now connects the mainland to an island on the river.
The area hosts over 300 events throughout the year, including a few RV rallies coming up soon in Lake Havasu State Park. Make sure you add these events to your calendar for January-February 2019!
1. Buses By The Bridge
Date: January 17, 2019
Cost: Admission: $2 per person (good all weekend). Camping: Thursday-Sunday: $40, Camping Friday-Sunday: $30, Camping Saturday & Sunday: $20
All kinds of Volkswagen buses will be rounding up at Buses By The Bridge. Over the last two decades, this event has become a popular VW rally with classic buses coming in from all over the country. Keep an eye out for panel vans, seven and nine-passenger microbuses, Kombis, and cab pickups.
Besides vintage eye candy, this weekend-long event will have activities for all ages. There will be a bouncy house for the kids while adults can partake in hot air balloon rides, raffles, a chili cook-off, and a cornhole tournament. On Sunday morning, the event will wrap up with a pancake breakfast.
There will be a parking area designated for RVs, campers, motorhomes, trailers, and non-VW vans. The 500+ spaces are first-come, first-served, and pre-registration is not required. You can learn more about the 23rd annual event and see the full schedule from Go Lake Havasu.
2. Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair
Date: January 10, 2019 @ 12:00 pm – January 13, 2019 @ 3:00 pm
Hot air balloons will again be soaring over Lake Havasu City at the 9th Annual Balloon Festival. You can watch mass ascensions of hot air balloons take off and float over the London Bridge and the Bridgewater Channel. There will also be a Balloon Night Glow, air shows, skydivers, special shape balloons, antique cars, and live entertainment.
Dry camping will be available at the festival just steps from the activities, carnival rides, and vendors. The RV parking includes pricing for 5 nights and 2 festival entrance wristbands.
Tickets are $15 through their website and will also be sold at the gates. Alternatively, they have Gondola VIP tickets available with exclusive food, drinks, VIP parking, and prime views of the balloons.
Vintage campers will be open to the public on Friday and Saturday (February 1 & 2) from 10am-3pm. They will have dry RV campsites with no hookups, restrooms and showers, and limited power for medical devices.
Pets will be permitted at the event on a leash, but they are not allowed on the beach. You can learn more about the upcoming Vintage Trailer Campout from Go Lake Havasu.