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Old 12-02-2018, 06:21 PM   #1
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Reservations Necessary in Phoenix

We just purchased a 2017 Winnabago Navion and are excited to hit the road next February. We'd like to head to the South West to visit family. I've checked with some RV parks around Phoenix and they are full - these are the big parks, lots of rigs, lots of facilities. A friend mentioned that a few years ago they were able to get into the regional parks in the area with no problem, but when I check those it seems they are also full. Is it possible to go to the Phoenix area without reservations in February and find a place to stay? My sister indicated that you can park on the street for up to 3 days - we'd stay with our family not in the rig, but we'd prefer not to have to fall back on that route. Any thoughts, experience?

Thanks!
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Old 12-02-2018, 06:45 PM   #2
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No personal experience with that area but I will let you in on a secret!
Since so many of the state parks are going to the contract reservation system and it is a business to sell, they do not tell you the whole truth!
Many times, we see a park as fully reserved and no place to stay but it is only the "reservable" spots and there may be many others which are first come first serve. Sometimes it is simply a matter of a park has so few campers at a given time of year that they just stop taking reservations and that leaves you looking at a site which may show no sites available, when the truth is there are none "reservable" because nearly nobody is going to be there!
Certainly would not want to say that is the case as I have never RV'ed in the area. They may be having something and be totally crowded---or not. So my move is to call the specific campground/park/etc, and ask what's up.
A cool,calm attitude may get you in contact with a real live person who is on the ground there and knows whether it is full or something else.
Good luck and welcome to the stressful side of things!
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Old 12-02-2018, 06:46 PM   #3
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We have plenty of free open desert if you don't need hookups.
All the county (regional) and state parks have a 14-day stay limit.
Parking on the street might work unless someone complains.
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Old 12-02-2018, 08:55 PM   #4
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I have stayed at Leafe Verde RV Resort in Buckeye on west side of Phoenix metro twice and it's nice. Far enough off highways and rail lines to make it nice and quiet. Spaces are a little close together but no worse than most large RV parks are. They have many sites that are short term so if you don't want to buy camping for a month or two this might be an option for you.

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Old 12-03-2018, 12:52 PM   #5
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If you are an ELK most of the lodges have RV parking. Something to look into.
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Old 12-03-2018, 09:11 PM   #6
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Returning RV'er, it's a new digital world out there! Just completed 15,545 miles from Va to AK, I was ready to kill Oregon parks. Yes, the computer reservation program says full, HOWEVER, no information is provided indicating there are open "non-reservable" spaces available. WARNING, (computer reservation may require greater than 24 hrs), don't place all your options on park personnel stating "come on down", several occasions down the Pacific coast we were told this only to be turned away at 7 mpg in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:59 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Retired FF View Post
Returning RV'er, it's a new digital world out there! Just completed 15,545 miles from Va to AK, I was ready to kill Oregon parks. Yes, the computer reservation program says full, HOWEVER, no information is provided indicating there are open "non-reservable" spaces available. WARNING, (computer reservation may require greater than 24 hrs), don't place all your options on park personnel stating "come on down", several occasions down the Pacific coast we were told this only to be turned away at 7 mpg in the middle of nowhere.
This was an experience we had, too at one point this last fall. Our time in the barrel was a bit different, though. It seems that fall is the logical time to camp in the Central Texas area and we looked forward to trying out the new bus with grandkids, only to find the park management did not give a hoot about the public! They decided fall was the time to change the reservation computer system!! The result being that we tried the local corp of engineers park, found it said no vacant spots which we knew was not true, so we drove out there. That's when we got the true story that the system was totally shut down across ALL corp parks and they could not make us a reservation at all, as the system was down and all they were being told was it would be back, maybe Friday. Could not even get a site being on hand and at the park!
Because the nation als system was down, we could not camp at any of three parks near us but finally found a private park nearly one hundred miles South!
Obvious, the federal system management doesn't give a damn about the users! I really felt sorry for the old couples who volunteer at the parks. They were catching hell from a lot of other folks.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:20 AM   #8
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The availability of campsites depends to some extent on where in the Phoenix area you need to be. The metro area is quite large, about 60 miles across horizontally, and so some campsites may be too far away from where you need to be to be useful. It would help if you could specify what part of the metro area you need to be in - North (Scottsdale area), South (Gilbert area), East (Apache Junction area) or West (Glendale area).

The area gets quite busy with visitors during November through April but there are usually state or country campgrounds available if you reserve far enough in advance and there are probably places in town at private parks as well. I might be able to make some suggestions if I knew what part of this area you were interested in visiting.
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Old 12-04-2018, 12:31 PM   #9
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One thing I noticed in making reservations for our trip in October, the North Rim in AZ and Coral Pink Sand Dunes SP in UT.


A few weeks out, bot reservation sties had nothing open. I was freeting this, as they were the 2 main stops on our trip.


A week or two before, I checked again and there were openings both places, for 2 a three days in a row, and even for our split weekend (Thurs-Frr North Rim, Sat-Mon CPSD). And, when we got there, neither campground was full.


I think that this is a way of managing their reservations.


OTOH, February in Phoenix is prime snowbird season, so they really might be full.


7 years ago or so, in February, we stayed at Viewpoint RV & Golf Resort in Mesa, AZ for 4 nights. We didn't like it, but YMMV.



This last October, we stayed at Usery Mountain Regional Park outside Mesa, and it was great. Large sites, lots of separation...



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Old 12-06-2018, 07:45 PM   #10
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Can't believe I am sharing this secret!

Contact the Maricopa County Fairgrounds - by 'phone, not online. They have a RV park for vendors and participants during events. At other times they will let those spaces out.

Same with Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson and most other fairgrounds around the state.

Not fancy. Few trees and no grass. But clean, level, full hookups and reasonable.

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Old 12-07-2018, 07:07 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Oldchinahand View Post
Can't believe I am sharing this secret!

Contact the Maricopa County Fairgrounds - by 'phone, not online. They have a RV park for vendors and participants during events. At other times they will let those spaces out.

Same with Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson and most other fairgrounds around the state.

Not fancy. Few trees and no grass. But clean, level, full hookups and reasonable.

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Interesting. I did not know that. And I am a bit impressed that the country governments are smart enough to make some extra money by renting out the fairgrounds.
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Old 12-07-2018, 08:15 AM   #12
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Lots of places do this. Here just south of the Twin Cities our Dakota County Fairgrounds have spaces for vendors to camp during our County Fair. At other times they rent them out to anyone who comes along. They also have full hook ups and a dump station which I use when we return from a trip with tanks that need dumping.


The Fairgrounds in within a city limits and in walking distance of downtown. It is well groomed as well.



In the Winter they store RVs in their buildings as well.


(Half an hour from the Mall of America).
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Old 12-09-2018, 04:28 PM   #13
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Early Dec in Phoenix and stayed at Sams Club

Used "Overnight Parking Finder" to locate places I can stay a night.
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Old 12-09-2018, 04:33 PM   #14
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Live in VA and Planning a trip to AK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retired FF View Post
Returning RV'er, it's a new digital world out there! Just completed 15,545 miles from Va to AK, I was ready to kill Oregon parks. Yes, the computer reservation program says full, HOWEVER, no information is provided indicating there are open "non-reservable" spaces available. WARNING, (computer reservation may require greater than 24 hrs), don't place all your options on park personnel stating "come on down", several occasions down the Pacific coast we were told this only to be turned away at 7 mpg in the middle of nowhere.
I hope you will share the joys, trials, and tribulations of your trip. And Include your itinerary and what your were happy you did and what you might have done differently. What did you take you didn't need and what did you need and not have?
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Old 12-09-2018, 05:53 PM   #15
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We are north of Phoenix off of I17 and the campground is not full. You might want to give them a call. People start leaving in Feb/Mar.



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Old 12-09-2018, 06:06 PM   #16
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Phoenix Reservations

Very hard to find without advance reservations, but I found that closer to your date of arrival there seems to be many cancelled reservations that open up sites.
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Old 12-10-2018, 07:35 AM   #17
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Crowded parks

Ditto all the other replies and to add, that all of us "baby boomers" getting out there and huge numbers of younger people taking advantage of the booming economy, leads to places being booked further in advance. Especially the more famous sightseeing parks.
Maybe more new parks will pop up.
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Old 12-10-2018, 07:45 AM   #18
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Yes, reservations are necessary!

I'm an Arizona resident and camper. You definately need reservations from October to March/April. The snowbirds overtake the county and state parks, even tho the rules state a 14 day limited stay, they simply change sites to skirt the rules. It makes it almost impossible for locals to find sites. Good luck! The state and county opens up the reservation system 90 out, so you can only book that far out.

Rumor has it that they will start charging extra for out of state plates, simply because AZ residents contribute taxes that fund the parks.
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Old 12-10-2018, 08:07 AM   #19
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Rumor has it that they will start charging extra for out of state plates, simply because AZ residents contribute taxes that fund the parks.
I have not heard that. As an Arizona resident the idea sounds great to me, but I am not sure it would be legal.

We are in the habit of traveling without reservations to the Arizona state and country parks but would not try doing something like that from November through April when the snowbirds are here. They bring a lot of extra money to the local economy and I am glad that they travel and stay here, but there are times when I wish there were not quite so many.
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Old 12-10-2018, 10:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traveljunkie View Post
We just purchased a 2017 Winnabago Navion and are excited to hit the road next February. We'd like to head to the South West to visit family. I've checked with some RV parks around Phoenix and they are full - these are the big parks, lots of rigs, lots of facilities. A friend mentioned that a few years ago they were able to get into the regional parks in the area with no problem, but when I check those it seems they are also full. Is it possible to go to the Phoenix area without reservations in February and find a place to stay? My sister indicated that you can park on the street for up to 3 days - we'd stay with our family not in the rig, but we'd prefer not to have to fall back on that route. Any thoughts, experience?

Thanks!
Not knowing where exactly you are staying or for how long, but some municipalities allow you to park at Walmart and Walmart likes having people there when possible, because they know you are likely to shop in their store. Like everyone else has said, Snowbird Season makes things pretty tight at most commercial parks and campgrounds. If you are towing, the farther from Phoenix that you can get, the better. If you wait until the rush hour is over, it doesn't take long to get where you want to go, even if it's 20 or 30 miles from family. Good Luck.
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