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Open Roads Forum  >  Snowbirds

 > Best (warmest?) snowbird spot in southern Arizona?

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Art Davis

Shady Cove, Oregon

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Posted: 11/15/09 05:16pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have tried searching on several terms, but haven't found what I am interested in.

Can any of you experienced snowbirders tell me which spot in southern Arizona is best for a couple of months stay?

We don't need lots of amenities. Our small rig is not completely self-contained, though, so we need good restroom/shower facilities. The fancy resort-style surroundings are not important. We just want to escape the cold weather for a couple of months.

We have spent some time in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and enjoyed it, but you can only spend a couple of weeks without better facilities.

We have enjoyed Lost Dutchman Mine State Park near Phoenix and Picacho Peak between Phoenix and Tucson.

I don't fully understand the "Quarzite" phenomenon. We have seen lots of rigs there while passing through. But we aren't "artsy" sorts. Play Scrabble in the evenings and read a lot. Basically nerds, you might say. So I don't think Quartzite is for us.

If anyone can make a suggestion, I would greatly appreciate it.

Do the best you can with what you have to work with.

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Posted: 11/15/09 05:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Check out Yuma area. Only 116 ft. above sea level so cold from alt. is not problem. Much warmer than Lost Dutchman.

wild bill

Mira Loma, Ca. USA

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Posted: 11/15/09 06:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mr. Butler that was a great response to the post!....I emjoyed reading it.....

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Ontario, Canada

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Posted: 11/15/09 06:07pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Art; Yuma gets another vote from me. You will have literally from the barest essentials to the ritzyest to pick from within the area. You can also rent a space on a lot out in the Foothills area for even greater cost savings if you do a comprehensive search and find one with a small 'casita' with washroom facilities within included.

For your first venture into the area I'd explore a few of the older, smaller parks down by the river. Others will come on and give you more detail I'm sure but You can't do much better than Yuma for your escape to the warmer Arizona southwest.

I got a kick out of your signature line with that pic of what looks like a 20 gal. 'blue buddy' tank hooked to your rig. Waytago!

Today is just the tomorrow you worried about yesterday!

Ron Butler

Federal Way WA./Sun City AZ. or points between.

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Posted: 11/15/09 06:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


Here's several "rules of thumb" that we found while spending several winters in the southwest.

Stay south of I-10 - generally warmer daytime temps.

Yuma area -
Pros - generally consistently the warmest area. Close to Los Alamgardo area for dental work, perscriptions and glasses, as well as the touristy things. Smaller population base, therefore far less traffic, even though the "natives" thinks there's too much with the snowbirds!! Somewhat smaller, more intimate campgrounds to stay in. Lots of BLM to boondock on. Mare laid back atmosphere. Quartzsite - your rig should support you for a week at least. With the LTVA pass, you can go to the dump station to dump and take on water. The attraction - quiet evenings to do what you want, clear skies for great star gazing, don't have to be the "artsy" type to enjoy the area!! That would be the last term I would use to describe it!![emoticon]
Cons - not a lot to offer for cultural things. Somewhat more windy at times, therefore more dust at times. Distances to drive for other attractions.

Phoenix/Valley of the Sun area -
Pros - LOTS of diversity as far as cultural things, sites to visit, theater, movies, plays etc. Not the dust as Yuma. Spring training games. Little more central location for day trips or taking off for 2-4 day trips around the area if you want. Still warm. Can select VERY large resorts that offer more things than you would have at home to get involved in or just to ignore if you wish to smaller more intimate and very nice facilities. Far greater shopping choices if that is important to you. Greater selection and variety of resturants.
Cons - TRAFFIC!! More crowded of course. More concrete and blacktop! More hectic pace of life. Seems like your back in the rat race if you let it get to you.

Tucson - to us a good compromise between the top two. Not as big and hectic as Phoenix, but still offers some cultural choices. Good variety of areas to visit with short drives. Still warm and not as much dust as Yuma. Great desert areas to go into if you like that. Tombstone and Bisbee close by to get a taste of what the "old west" was like. Karchner Caverns.
Con - I-10 is always being worked on!! Last time through, most exits and entrances were closed. Hopefully, they are done with that construction work now!

Not sure if this is what you are looking for. I would suggest getting down there and move around every several weeks and sample each area and the boondocking areas yourself. We are still in the travel mode and we have never had any problems getting into anyplace to stay without reservations.

Good luck and enjoy.

[b]Ron & Carolyn Tucker - Wire Hair Fox Terrier Federal Way WA./Sun City AZ. [b][COLOR=#000066]GO HUSKIES[/COLOR][/b] [url=http://picasaweb.google.com/RonButler6][b]Our Trip Pictures[/b][/url] [url=http://goodsamclub.mytripjournal.com/ronandcarolynstravels][b]Ron & Carolyns Travels[/b] [/url]

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Posted: 11/15/09 06:47pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tucson Mountain Park and Gilbert Ray Campground Camping and Catalina State Park sits at the base of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains. StatePark

Snider Hill - Free Boondocking and Free Campsites

The Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum is really great (a zoo mainly without bars mostly) is over on the west side of Tucson by the Saguaro Nat'l Park and Old Tucson (the movie set/theme park). The Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum is a must see for sure. DesertMuseum

Saguaro National Park near Tucson is great to see. Two sections seperated by Tucson. East and West. Nat'l Park

East Side one can camp at Colossal Cave.

These are some things I'd like to see DeGrazia Gallery & Tucson Museum of Art & Tucson Botanical Gardens & Sabino Canyon & Pima Canyon at End of Magee Road in Oro Valley; Pima Canyon rivals Sabino Canyon in grandeur, and it just never gets as crowded. From the parking lot at the end of Magee Road, the trail takes you into a pristine high-desert canyon that seems to be hundreds of miles from any urban area. You're likely to see most of the birds common to the Sonoran Desert such as cardinals, rock wrens and band verdins, but the real treat for any hiker is to watch the silhouette of a golden eagle soaring above the cliffs; if you're really lucky, you might even spot some Bighorn Sheep high on the rocks above you. You can turn around anytime, or decide to continue the strenuous hike all the way up to Mt. Lemmon. Also Colossal Cave.

And other Things to Do in Tucson. And Places to Eat Tucson & Bisbee - Etc.

In the Bisbee/Tombstone Area, the town of Bisbee itself is neat to walk around in and we enjoyed the art galleries. The Queen Mine Tour was neat, we enjoyed it. Tombstone is a very tourist trap site, if you get my meaning. The old Court House was interesting. Tombstone was the site of a lot of wild west history, but is now very commercial. Neat Tour - Queen Mine
You could use Kartchner Caverns State Park - as base to see both Bisbee & Tombstone in a day trip. When we went to the area last, we stayed in a hotel off I-10 in Benson and did both as a day trip, then drove back to Las Cruces. It was my son-in-laws first time to see them.

Near Wilcox is The Amerind Foundation ( Amerind Art Gallery is Neat ) a ethnological, anthropological, archaeological museum and art gallery with paintings by 20th century Anglo and Native American artists. We enjoyed the art gallery and the museum. A neat out of the way, hidden site in the boulders of Texas Canyon. The Amerind is located in Cochise County, one mile south of Interstate 10, only about an hour east of Tucson, between Benson and Willcox. It is easy to find - just look for Dragoon Road exit, #318, and head south until you see mile marker 1 on one side of the road and the Amerind entrance on the other. Amerind.Org Cochise Strong Hold is in the same area, drove to it but did not camp, a nice setting. Cochise Stronghold

Chiricahua National Monument by Wilcox is great, been there will go back. Chiricahua NPS but if rigs are too long for the Nat'l Mon Campground in the Coronado National Forest above it you can desperse camp for free. Forest Rd 42 or the Pinery Canyon Road which also has at least one campground along the road. * Map ** Campground *** Camping Report *** Small Campgound But diesperse site seems to be much larger area, and closer to the Nat'l Park.

Close by Chiricahua Nat'l Mon there is the neat ruins of a fort, some hiking to get to it. Fort Bowie National Historic Site is worth the 3 mile round-trip walk for the best experience of Fort Bowie National Historic Site. If you physically can not walk the trail, please contact the visitor center staff at 520-847-2500 for directions to the alternate access. Fort

Small town of Wilcox maybe an hour or so from Tucson. Reviews & Others Willcox has a free place to overnight aslo: Stout's Cider Mill & AZ Vistor Center

Closer to Tucson in Benson there is a 55+ RV Resort, NO make that TWO. - Others & Reviews

Other nearby Cities from Benson With RV Parks
Saint David, 4.78 miles SE
Huachuca City, 19.73 miles S
Tombstone, 22.34 miles SE
Sierra Vista, 28.53 miles S
Fort Huachuca, 28.73 miles SW

North of Tucson towards PhoenixCasa Grande 55+

55+ RV Resort which is gated & looks nice from the road. There are two Rincon Country RV Resorts West or East.

Another 55+ RV Resort in Tucson: Western Way

Desert Trails is out on the western edge of Tucson, not seen it, just read about it a few weeks ago. Review at Cyberspaces

"This park is hard to rate. If you want peace and quiet, especially in the summer, this is the perfect place. You are away from Tucson and miss typical airplane, train, or highway traffic noise. And we had a great space next to some desert brush. The owner is a terrific guy and gives you a great orientation about places to go and things to see. His orientation was very helpful to us. But, the park does need some serious work; especially the water slides that need to be removed (since they are non-functional now). Nevertheless, I would stay here again, versus another park that is just next door, but very bare. Our rate reflects the CCUSA discount. We camped here in a Motorhome." AND "We chose this park based on the rave reviews by others, but were somewhat disappointed. It appears that it is the friendly owners and guests as well as the activities that make this such a popular place to spend the Winter. The park would benefit greatly by some demolition of the old water park buildings, more modern facilities and cable TV. Many of the sites are just unappealing bare gravel, but since most of the snowbirds had left, we were able to park in a very pleasant spot with lovely desert vegetation all around. Wi-fi reception was spotty and TV reception poor. We would probably try to find a park closer to the city if traveling through here again. We camped here in a Fifth Wheel." RV Park Reviews

Green Valley is near Tucson a retirement community in fact. Reviews

East of Tucson by Willcox a free place to overnight Stout's Cider Mill & AZ Vistor Center

* This post was last edited 11/14/10 11:21pm by DesertHawk *   View edit history

">DesertHawk- Las Cruces, NM USA
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B Bob


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Posted: 11/15/09 08:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Area around the east of the Salton Sea in CA is below sea level and quite warm in the winter. We like the Fountain of youth park. There are several nice ones. Great sunsets over the sea. IMHO a wonderful spot to spend some winter in is in Borrego Springs CA. One fantastic park and several other less expensive options. This is a nice quite little town with big mountains to the west.



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Posted: 11/15/09 08:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yuma is the sunniest and probably the warmest, although the Lake Havasu area is nearly as warm.

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Earl E

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Posted: 11/15/09 08:56pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You mentioned liking Organ Pipe NM. There is a great snowbirding RV park in Ajo. Can't remember the name but it is on the east side of Ajo and very friendly people. We stayed only a few nights but it is still on our short list if we decide to settle down. Tucson is the other one in contention. It's easy to get around and reasonable traffic. Hate Yuma and Phoenix--too crowded and too many parking lot resorts. We're spending two months at Desert Trails in Tucson. About 10 miles out of Tucson, abuts Saguaro NP, spacious sites, not fancy at all--our kind of place.

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Posted: 11/15/09 09:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We are going to try Casa Grande this year, far enough from Phoenix to get away from the traffic, but close enough for a day trip if we want, and not as windy as Yuma, although Yuma wasn't bad two years ago.

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