Arizona Labor Day Weekend Adventures

Labor Day is less than a month away and it’s time to start thinking of your long-weekend plans! This year, the holiday falls on September 4 and, like many other Arizona residents, you might be thinking of spending the weekend with a tent under the stars. Along with other summer holidays, Labor Day is one of the most popular weekends to go camping in Arizona. So make sure to act fast!

Many state parks are regrettably already full. Mather Campground at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, is booked full except for Monday night for those with have some extra vacation time on Tuesday! The South Rim’s Desert View Campground is on a first-come, first-served, so you would have to be very early, and very lucky, to snag a spot. Spots at the North Rim Campground are fully booked as well.

If not the Grand Canyon, where are you going to spend your outdoor time? Here is a guide to 10 parks that can help you plan your Labor Day adventures!  The information provided regarding site availability may be outdated by the time this article is published.

1. Lost Dutchman State Park
This dog-friendly spot is located near the beautiful Superstition Mountains which offer great hiking and biking activities. There is park entrance fee of $7 and a non-refundable reservation fee of $5. 

There are plenty of spots available ranging from $20-$30 per night in the Main Campground.

2. Coconino National Forest
18 are scenic campgrounds are spread through this National Forest’s three districts in Flagstaff, Sedona and the Verde Valley.

Only six of the campgrounds take reservations, and unfortunately they are all booked for Labor Day. Most do have some walk-up sites available, particularly in the Mogollon Rim area. If you are an early-riser, you may be able to take advantage of one of these walk-ups! Recommended spot with sites still available: Pine Grove Campground.

3. Tonto National Forest
This national forest is situated directly on the beautiful Apache Lake, making it a beautiful spot for hiking, biking, and all those water activities that are a favorite on Labor Day weekend! The 79 campsites in this park are completely on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Please note that some of the campgrounds are still closed due to the Highline Fire that occurred in June, though there are still several available.

4. Kartchner Caverns State Park
This park still has several openings for campsites, though the cabins are already full. Sites range from $30-$35 per night and there is a park entrance fee of $7. It is important to note that the entrance gate is closed nightly at 10 p.m. This is a popular destination to take part in cave tours!


5. Alamo State Park
Situated on Alamo Lake, this park has most of its sites available! The price ranges from $15-25 per night, as well as the $7 entrance fee. This is a great place to spend a weekend on the water.


6. River Island State Park
There are 12 sites left at this water paradise! The park requires a two-night minimum stay during the summer. Campsites are $30 per night, and the park entrance fee is $10. Enjoy plenty of water sports during the day and spend the night gazing at the stars while at this campground.


7. Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Still looking for more options to cool off? Consider this national park! All sites at Lake Mead are on a first-come, first-serve basis with sites ranging from $20-$45 per night. There is also an additional $20 entrance fee.


8. Prescott National Forest
This national forest has 11 family campgrounds spread throughout the park that range from primitive sites to those that have all the standard amenities, all situated near the Bradshaw Mountains. Most of the reservable campsites are already booked, though there are some first-come, first-serve sites available in many of the campgrounds. Prices range from $10-$28 per night.


9. Kaibab National Forest
Still wishing the Grand Canyon wasn’t full? Well you can get closer with Kaibab! This national forest offers six campgrounds and, as you might have guessed, most of the reserved sites are booked. Fortunately for you, this park’s campgrounds hold close to 20 first-come, first-serve sites versus the average park only usually holding less than eight. Sites cost between $20-30 per night.


10. Apache-Sitegreaves National Forests
Maybe Zane Grey’s adventure novels have you dreaming of the White Mountains? These sprawling national forests boast more than 40 campgrounds across five districts. Some are already fully booked, but there are still plenty of options for the procrastinator! Prices range from free (check out the Clifton Ranger District) to $26 per night.

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