For some people, the Fourth of July induces images of sparklers, fireworks, and backyard barbecues. For others? The perfect way to spend the Fourth is away from crowds, and on the road, tucked comfortably inside of an RV. Let freedom ring by taking a Fourth of July RV road trip in either Colorado or Northern Arizona, two exceptional places to camp with family or small gatherings of friends.
Fourth of July RV Road Trip in Colorado
Colorado and camping go hand-in-hand, especially during the summer months as the Rocky Mountains morph from the iconic snow-covered peaks to rolling green mountains with cascading waterfalls, and seas of white, purple, and yellow wildflowers stretching as far as the eye can see. Why not escape the crowds and the heat by taking a Colorado RV road trip?
This Fourth of July, head toward Grand Lake, Colorado, a small town with an extensive waterfront. Grand Lake sits at an elevation of 8,369 feet. The lakes, both Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Lake, have mountain backdrops that make wandering through the town, horseback riding, golfing, paddling, or ATV riding all the more scenic. A bonus for staying in Grand Lake is that this town serves as the Western Entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. When this entrance opens, guests have access to Trail Ridge Road, one of the most talked-about national park roads in the country. Nothing is more patriotic than a national park!
Next, point your RV toward Steamboat Springs, Colorado, a city located at 6,732 feet in elevation. Steamboat Springs is a hot spot for outdoor adventure year-round, but the summer beckons those who love wildlife photography, hot springs, paddling, fishing, boating, off-roading, and of course, camping. Celebrate your Fourth of July in a town rich in Western heritage, and then park your rig at some of the most beautiful camping locations near the city. Steamboat Lake State Park is just one of the Colorado State Parks in the vicinity. Also nearby is Pearl Lake State Park and Stagecoach State Park.
On the way back home, add one more stop to your Colorado Fourth of July itinerary. Silverthorne, Colorado, is an excellent choice for outdoor recreation in another one of Colorado’s most popular recreation areas. Silverthorne rests in between Breckenridge and Keystone, two major ski resort towns that offer just as many spectacular summer activities and recreation as they do in the winter. If the cities don’t have planned activities for the holidays, campers can paddle, ride bikes, take a gondola ride, stop at a brewery or distillery, hike, and shop. The Silverthorne area has several RV parks as well as dispersed camping and lakeside camping. The closest campground to the city is in the White River National Forest, which has camping areas that have some waterfront views of Lake Dillion. If any of the nearby towns have a fireworks show, the lake is a prime viewing area.
Fourth of July RV Road Trip in Northern Arizona
If you and your family want a quick getaway from the desert heat, Northern Arizona is the place to visit during a Fourth of July Arizona RV road trip. Spending time in the higher elevations of the state is a popular activity for most Arizonans because, unlike the desert portions of Arizona, the northern section of the state is known for its evergreen forests and cooler day temperatures. During the summer, the northern national forest campgrounds and recreation areas really come to life.
Start your Arizona road trip by heading to the middle section of the state, toward Prescott, Arizona. Prescott is less than a two-hour drive north of Phoenix, and its 5,367 feet elevation provides warm days and cool nights, making camping not only fun but comfortable. The city of Prescott has several museums and historic buildings worth visiting, and the downtown area often has live outdoor music along with its famous Whiskey Row. For activities like boating, picnicking, hiking, and of course, Fourth of July grilling, consider staying within the Prescott National Forest.
Next, you can take your RV further north to Williams or Flagstaff, depending on what kind of outdoor recreation your family craves. Williams, Arizona, is a small city with a historic downtown area filled with shops, restaurants, and breweries. In the center of the city, visitors should stop and see the Historic Route 66 sign or head to the Williams Grand Canyon Railway Depot. Williams, Arizona, is known as the Gateway to the Grand Canyon. When the railway is operational, people can purchase a ticket and take a scenic rail ride to the Southern Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Instead of heading toward Flagstaff, consider staying in the Kaibab National Forest, where there is plenty of camping, climbing, hiking, and picnicking for you and your whole crew.
If you want to see more of Northern Arizona’s higher elevation areas perfect for spending your Fourth of July outside, turn toward Flagstaff, Arizona. Flagstaff is a city located at the base of 12,633 feet tall Humphries Peak, the mountain that frames the city and provides a stunning backdrop wherever you decide to camp. For a festive Fourth of July, park your camper at one of the Coconino National Forest campgrounds and spend time celebrating the country in a quiet location near some of the state’s best fishing, hiking, and boating locations. If you head toward Flagstaff, the downtown area, located off of Historic Route 66, has several restaurants, breweries, and ice cream shops to help ward off hungry bellies before heading back toward the campground.
Along the Mogollon Rim
Flagstaff isn’t the only high-elevation camping area in the state. Instead of heading north from Prescott, veer to the east a bit, and visit an area of Arizona where the views stretch on for miles, and the cliff may drop 2,000 feet. Don’t worry, though! Driving near the Mogollon Rim is scenic and windy, but safe for recreational vehicles. Part of the Mogollon Rim area is located within the Coconino National Forest. The other part runs through the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, where visitors will find tons of fishing, wildlife viewing, and camping opportunities. Payson, Arizona, known as the geographic center of Arizona, is also near more epic outdoor camping areas. Tonto National Forest has both reservations and first-come, first-served camping, and the off-roading and fishing in this region of the state are hard to beat. Whether you decide to camp in the national forest campgrounds or stay closer to Payson, you and your family won’t want to miss Payson’s Fourth of July Hometown Celebration complete with vendors, outdoor activities, a farmer’s market, and of course, fireworks over the lake. This year, the celebration will comply with local and national social distancing guidelines, but the fun will be bigger and better than ever!
Take Freedom on the Road
Which Fourth of July road trip speaks to you? A Colorado caravan or a Northern Arizona adventure? Wherever the road takes you and your family, let freedom ring from the tops of your RV, motorhome, or campervan!