Family Friendly Camping in Northern AZ

The idea of camping is vastly different to each of us.  If you have spent time camping as a child, it can have a Christmas/holiday type excitement.  Then, as you start to drift back down from reminiscing, logic and reality spark.  How many diapers do we need?  Did we pack toys?  When should we leave so that nap is not interrupted?  Do we have enough room?  Will we be warm or too cold?  The list goes on…

When camping with kids it’s always easier and more fun to go with other friends who have kids because it takes a village..lol  This will allow the kids to have a blast while entertaining each other, creating memories and exploring nature.  It will also give you the time needed to unplug from the trenches of parenthood and drink a beer with your fellow soldiers.

This was our first camping trip as a family and we decided to rent an RV.   We used RV rental outlet in Mesa AZ.  They were awesome and very easy to deal with.  Most of our friends have pop-up campers.  We realized, after renting an RV, that it’s nice to be able to disconnect from the pop-up and have a vehicle to go into town and or explore some trails.  We later purchased a pop-up because of this and a few other reasons.

Where to go?  Are you trying to escape the heat? It was helpful to check the weather in the area that you are thinking of visiting.

In AZ you usually want to be above 6,000 feet in elevation to get 70/80s when its 105+ in valley.  Most of lower lying areas like Payson and Prescott still hit 100s during the day in the summer.  This can make things the opposite of fun quickly.

We decided to go to a campground, Yavapi Campground to be exact, that requires reservations, has bathrooms, is closer in proximity to town and is 3 hours or less from Phoenix.  Keep in mind that cell service can be non-existent in some of these areas.  If you have a job that requires checking in, this could  make or break your true relaxation.  Research the options for connecting to ensure that you can connect when needed but still enjoy the feeling of being disconnected.   Verizon service was the strongest and existent in many areas while AT&T had no service anywhere at the campground.

When to go?  Make sure to check availability especially if traveling on a holiday.  Campsites fill up quickly and most are reserved for holidays 30+ days in advance.

The drive up to Yavapai was super simple from Phoenix.  Mostly I17.  Consider the traffic going north on Fridays and south on Sundays.  It’s best to hit the road before 3pm or after 6pm.

Yavapai Campground is 10 minutes from downtown Prescott, food & supplies.  It is less than 1.5 miles from Lynx Lake.  It’s within walking distance to the campground but beware, it’s downhill to the lake but uphill all the way back.  It might be best to take the car if you have little littles.

 

The next thing we did was make a “to do” list a few days in advance, listing all supplies from clothes (be sure to include warm clothes for nighttime) to household supplies like dish soap, paper towels and garbage bags.  We planned to make and eat most of our meals at the campground so the list continued with cooking supplies, food, snacks, cookware and storage supplies.  Of course, we could not forget the most important part, S’mores supplies!!  We did work out a “meal share” plan with our friends which basically means each family is in charge of one meal feeding the entire clan.  We each took our turn and it worked out great!

We had a great time and would fully recommend this campground to anyone looking for family friendly Prescott camping areas.

 

 

Matt Lambert is a local Realtor, super Dad and lover of the great outdoors. Find out more about Matt at EvoAZ.com.

 

Want to live close to the great outdoors but still be close to the freeway system and work?  Located at Val Vista and McKellips, this 4 bedroom home is not only affordable but in a great location, just a quick drive to the lake or mountains!  Details here or call 480-250-0023.

 

 

Escape the Phoenix heat to Mount Ord!

Mount Ord

Escape 105 degrees to 80 degrees in 90 min. Mount Ord is a great destination to not only escape the heat but also to enjoy the beauty nature offers ascending from 1086ft to 7129ft above sea level. With young kids this trip is great because it’s not an entire day in the car and they will easily sleep on the way home.

Facts:

1. MAP –  All wheel drive recommended

This is a fire road that is regularly maintained. This mountain is above 7000ft and the weather/conditions can change very quickly. I have seen AWD mini vans at the summit in dry conditions. I have driven it in heavy rain/snow and the road can get very muddy and a little scary even in our Jeep.

Here’s the  moderate / experienced 4×4 route

2. Hiking is available at the summit and along the fire road. The decommissioned fire tower at the top is about a 1/2 mile hike from the locked gate.

3. Picnic areas do exist. Nothing formal but there is space to set up camping chairs and tables.

4. Camping is also available!

Our experience:

We have been visiting Mount Ord since our son was 3 years old. We usually depart our home here in the Valley around 8am and arrive at the top around 9:30am. When parked at the top, there is a spot just over the gate and to the left with an old tree that gives nice shade and a perfect place to set up a picnic. We usually go up with friends and our German Shepherd so the kids can play and we can enjoy the views at 75-80 degrees. Once noon comes it does heat up and can quickly get to mid to high 90s.

We quickly discovered this was a great spot to snow chase!

One Saturday this past winter, we noticed the weather in this area supported snow fall. We are both from New England and miss the snow at time so we felt drawn to go explore. We piled into the jeep, brought warm clothes and ascended.

It had rained a lot in the area so the ground was soft with lots of mud. It was hairy on a few occasions as the mud was deep and slick at some ridge points.

It was so cool to cross the elevation point where snow was accumulating.  As we continued, so did the accumulated amount. At the top there was 2-3” of fresh snow. Our kiddo loved it. We made a small snow man and threw snow balls but quickly ended up back in the jeep as it was a bit windy, wet and cold.

It was an amazing experience all packed into 4 hours and then, in 90 mins, we were back in the sunshine!

 

Matt Lambert is a local Realtor, super Dad and lover of the great outdoors. Find out more about Matt at EvoAZ.com.