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Old 03-05-2014, 08:19 PM   #1
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Planning our 1st trip to Ariz, NM, TX.

Want to spend Feb - March 2015 camping in west AZ, NM, TX. We prefer state/federal campgrounds. So far have found reservations not possible until about 4-6 months out. Any tips for a first-timer ?

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Old 03-05-2014, 08:34 PM   #2
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Well.. There is always Quartzite.. Hundreds of square miles of federal land and many campers staying for free... There are also federal BLM lands southwest of Tucson and around Phoenix or Albuquerque where boondocking is essentially free.. Reservations not really needed a year in advance in most locations, so you have a lot of time to do research.. There are IOS Apps that offer cheap and free camping site locations, and you may get useful info from US Government or State Parks websites...


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Old 03-06-2014, 07:34 AM   #3
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Go online and Google State Parks for each of the states you want to visit. When you cross a state line visit the welcome center. They all have an RV map showing campgrounds.
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Old 03-06-2014, 07:40 AM   #4
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Try not to miss Inks Lake State Park (between Llano and Burnet) when you get to Texas. Beautiful spot in the Hill Country. Constant-level lake, so not much affected by the current shortage of rain. Weekend reservations are very hard to get. Weekdays much easier. Campsite rate is $22/night.
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Old 03-06-2014, 07:42 AM   #5
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If you are going towards Amarillo, stop by Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Beautiful this time of year. On the way, Arkansas State Parks are very nice and usually open this time of year. Congrats on your new trailer, we have one just like it. Hope you did not have as many factory defects as we did.

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Old 03-07-2014, 01:43 PM   #6
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If you pass thru Arkansas..try Bentonville..Crystal Bridges Art Museum made possible by the daughter of Walmart Sam.

There are many wonderful campgrounds in TX on lakes in the Hill Country. Don't forget Lukenbach. Great country music and a Post Office.

We just left Big Bend..great to have seen it..but a long drive for what is there.

Now headed to NM, AZ , Utah and CO.

Have fun planning!
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Old 03-07-2014, 02:26 PM   #7
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Keep an eye out for very low nighttime temperatures at high altitudes in New Mexico and Arizona to prevent freeze damage. Much of New Mexico is high, but we love the open unpopulated land.

We spend winters in these states at lower altitudes for the great climate and southwest culture.
Doug and Cheryl
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:27 PM   #8
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If you can find time to see Big Bend National Park in Texas it's worth the drive. A backcountry camping permit allows you to boondock in a number of locations. I think the camp permit is under $20 and can be used for 14 days.

If you make it to Big Bend be sure to leave time for Terlingua, Alpine and Marfa.

Don't overlook White Sands National Monument. I don't think they offer camping but it's a wonderful place to spend a day. Once a month they offer a special off-site tour that explains how the dunes were created and how the surrounding mountains and streams continue to replenish the white sand.

You'll be close to Carlsbad Caverns too. Great place to stop.

Oops! Almost forgot about the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

Also in AZ be sure to check out Prescott - cool town with some really great water, hiking and camping in the area.

WOW - NM, AZ, TX - so much to do you could spend a couple months out there. We were in NM for seven weeks last fall and just scratched the surface.
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:09 PM   #9
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Thanks to all for some great recommendations.
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Old 03-18-2014, 08:43 PM   #10
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Catalina State Park just north of Tucson is a favorite of ours for just relaxing, hanging out and maybe a little hiking. Also Kuchener (sp) Caverns near Benson.
Goose Island State Park near Corpus Christi gives you good access to Aransas Nat'l Wildlife Refuge as well as some pretty good fishing. Also Goliad State Park TX if you can be there for the reenactment of the Fannin massacre you'll find it very interesting. Texas is full of state parks and one can find much to do there. Oh! Organ Pipe Nat'l Monument AZ is nice.
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Old 03-18-2014, 09:14 PM   #11
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wmd1031 beat me to the suggestion of Catalina St Pk. Down on the other side of Tucson is Gilbert Ray park too. It's more rustic than Catalina, but nice in it's own way.
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Old 03-19-2014, 09:22 AM   #12
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A couple of suggestions from our trip last summer through the general area you mention: not too far from Big Bend Tx is Davis Mountains State Park, Ft Davis Tx. We used it as a base to visit Big Bend, Marfa, UofT observatory etc.
Very pretty state campground with full hook-ups.
In NM we really liked Elephant Butte State Park outside Truth or Consequences. Good for exploring Gila Forest and coming to the camp to relax on the beach
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:13 AM   #13
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New Mexico has Poncho Villa state park. South of Demming about 45 miles. Well worth staying there and if you are brave enough the Pink store across the border is worth the trip.
Have fun, we sure did.
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Old 03-25-2014, 03:15 PM   #14
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I will offer a couple of more suggestions to an already outstanding list of parks.

Fort Selden SP north of Las Cruces, NM off I-25. The park is next to a partially restored 1880s era army post with a museum. Further north up I-25 and south of Socorro, NM is Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge. World class bird watching to be done here. No public campgrounds at the Bosque but some private parks in San Antonio (NM) and Socorro.

Going west on I-10 from Las Cruces, NM if you venture off the interstate a few miles north of Deming, NM is Silver City and the Gila National Forest. There are National Forest campgrounds as well as undeveloped sites throughout the Gila. The Gila is a bit off the beaten path and you should have little trouble finding a spot, especially this time of year. Although I don't believe any of the public camp grounds have hook ups in the Gila its all primative/boondocking. Silver City has a few private RV parks.

If you make it to the Phoenix area check out the Maricopa County Parks, Cave Creek and Lake Pleasant are both great sites and rival the best state parks. Also check out Lost Duchman SP in Phoenix. All of these parks offier electric and water hook ups and on-site dump stations. But more important are the unbelievable iconic western sunsets.

In the Verde Valley north of Phoenix, Dead Horse Ranch SP is nice place along the Verde River with prehistoric Native American sites as well as historic mining towns and the incrediable views of Sedona very close by.

North of Verde Valley above the Mogollon Rim it can still be very cold this time of year. Its not uncommon for the low temp to be in the teens in Flagstaff and Grand Canyon area. Same is true of parts of Northern NM like Santa Fe, Gallup and Taos. The day time temps are fine its just the night time lows are ususally below freezing in the high altitude areas of both states.

One final word of caution, in West Texas and Southern New Mexico the month of March can be extremely windy, blowing dust, zero visability kind of windy.

I would be happy to address any specifice questions you may have as your trip gets closer. I have lived and camped in this region my entire life so I am familliar with many of the parks and sites.

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