For many, camping is synonymous with summer however we’ve found that the Arizona desert may have just as much to offer during the winter.  It’s definitely the place to go if you’d like to log more camping nights in your year or if you’re like us and just don’t have time to camp much during the summer months.  I’ve experienced my fair share of heat from 11 years living in the Arizona desert and you couldn’t pay me to spend another summer there but the winter months are where it’s at.  Here’s 7 reasons why camping in the desert during the winter is awesome…

1.  The weather can’t be beat.  During the winter, the Arizona desert consistently delivers ample sunshine and highs in the 60’s and 70’s.  There’s occasional windy days and colder days in the 50’s but for the most part, for anyone used to shoveling snow all winter, the desert is utopia.

Colorado River aerial photograph

Enjoying a sunset flight over the Colorado River near Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Arizona camping and off-roading

Searching for the perfect boondocking spot outside Jerome, Arizona.


2.  The sunsets are incredible.  It’s my favorite time of day and I’ve never seen the sky light up anywhere else the way it does in the desert.  It gives every night cause to stop and appreciate the simple things in life.

Arizona boondocking and camping

Boondocking outside Parker, Arizona.


Lake Havasu City Arizona sunset

Sunset on Lake Havasu from our camp site at Lake Havasu State Park.


3.  The Arizona desert is practically free of bugs and predators during the winter.  Anyone who’s ever had a camping trip ruined by mosquitos or flies can appreciate the glory of this.  We hardly ever come across bugs of any kind when we camp in the desert during the winter.  An added bonus is that snakes aren’t active during the coldest of the winter months.

4.  Summertime activities during winter.  Colder climates like where we’re from in the Colorado Rockies offer a short window every year to enjoy our favorite activities like hiking, biking and paddleboarding but the weather in the desert is perfect to enjoy those and tons of other summertime activities all winter long.


Camping and boondocking at Lake Mohave, Arizona.

Paddleboarding at Lake Mohave, Arizona.

Lake Mohave paddleboarding and camping

Paddleboarding at Lake Mohave, Arizona.


5. Little to no crowds.  The desert may attract snowbirds from all over the country looking to flee the wrath of old man winter but we’ve never experienced crowds in the winter like we do when camping during the summer.  Maybe it’s because the expansive desert offers plenty of room for everyone to spread out or the RV parks attract the majority of winter campers, either way sometimes it feels as though you have a whole piece of the desert entirely to yourselves.


Alamo Road near Kingman, Arizona.

Standard Road off-roading Lake Havasu City

Looking for a place to boondock on Standard Wash Rd. outside Lake Havasu City, Arizona.


6. Tons of free/cheap camping. Huge areas of public land in the desert, managed by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) offer free or low cost camping.  You, of course, need to be fully prepared to boondock and be 100% self-sufficient but for us, that’s half the fun.

Camping and boondocking on Lake Mohave, Arizona.

Camping near Cottonwood Road at Lake Mohave, Arizona

Tonto National Forest camping

Camping in the National Forest outside Payson, Arizona.

Lake Mohave shoreline camping

Camping at Lake Mohave with the lights of Laughlin, Nevada in the background.


Where are some of your favorite places to camp in the Southwest?  Do you like to camp during the winter?  Where have you always wanted to go but have never been?