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Arizona seems to be the place to go to get away from the humid summer heat that encompasses much of the United States. State park RV campgrounds are the perfect place to enjoy the dry heat of the desert while exploring nature at its finest. Catalina State Park in Catalina, Arizona is located at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Pull your own rig to the park or book an RV in Pima County and stay for a while. Tucson sits about 40 minutes south of Catalina State Park and offers endless activities for tourists to enjoy.
Come spend time exploring the more than 5,500 acres of desert within Catalina State Park. You'll find hiking, biking, and equestrian trails to enjoy as well as scenic views along every trail that winds through the park. Marana sits about 35 minutes southwest of the park, where you can grab some camping essentials while RV camping at Catalina State Park.
Catalina State Park is chock full of fantastic views, serene settings, and amazing activities. Hiking through the park is a wonderful way to learn more about the various plants and animals of the desert. The park maintains eight trails which vary in length and difficulty. Grab a trail guide from the visitors' center and set out. Remember, seven of the trails are multi-use, so prepare to share the paths with horses and bicycles. The Romero Ruins trail is only open to hikers, no bikes or horses allowed.
Catalina State Park camping allows you to trailer your horses at the park and enjoy a weekend of horseback riding along five trails of varying length and difficulty. Bridle Trail is about a mile and a half each way and connects to the Equestrian Center and the trailhead parking area. This is a great trail to use to get your horse used to the environment. A more intense trail for horses is the Sutherland Trail, which is just over nine miles each way. This trail weaves in and out of the park and into the Coronado National Forest. This trail can be tricky for horses at the Cargodera Canyon, where the trail becomes rocky and very steep. Novice equestrians should turn back at the Cargodera Canyon entrance. The park's trail guide has more in-depth information regarding trail conditions, lengths, and difficulty for hikers, bikers, and horses.
Many families find RV camping at Catalina State Park to be great fun, especially for children under the age of 12. The Junior Ranger program is a popular program that encourages the next generation to respect our state and national parks. A Junior Ranger booklet is available at the ranger station or visitors' center. Each booklet has a series of activities for young park-goers to complete to become a Junior Ranger.
State park RV campgrounds can sometimes be a bit primitive. Fortunately, this isn't the case at Catalina State Park, which offers 120 campsites equipped with electric and water hookups. Even the biggest rigs are welcome here, as there's no length limit. Modern flush toilets and hot showers are within walking distance of each campsite. Dump stations are also available. Reservations aren't necessary, but to ensure you have a spot to park your rental RV, you may want to make reservations before heading out.
If you'd rather camp in an RV near Catalina State Park, check out the South Forty RV Ranch in Tucson. Multiple shower houses are available here as well as full hookups for your RV. Campers can enjoy free Wi-Fi while staying at the South Forty RV Ranch.
The Crazy Horse RV Campground in Tucson is another excellent alternative which offers water, sewer, and electric hookups for rigs of any length. Other amenities include laundry facilities, hot showers, flush toilets, Wi-Fi, and cable.
Spending time at Catalina State Park is a great way to unplug from life and reconnect with the more important things in life, such as family and nature. However, you may want to check out some of the other attractions in the area, such as the Annual Tucson Rodeo. Visit Tucson in mid to late February and grab tickets to one of the greatest rodeos in America. This rodeo, also known as La Fiesta de Los Vaqueros or Celebration of the Cowboys, began in 1925 as a three-day event. It's now a nine-day event that centers on the Tucson Rodeo.
Stop in and visit the University of Arizona/Flandrau Planetarium located on the UA campus. The planetarium has changing exhibits that explore the universe and focus mainly on energy, optics, and biology. The Flandrau Observatory has a 16-inch telescope that allows visitors to view Saturn’s rings and Jupiter’s belts, as well as other interesting sights in space. The Eos Planetarium Theater gives you a once-in-a-lifetime experience to journey through space while sitting comfortably in the theater.
Drive over to Benson, about an hour southeast of Catalina State Park, and explore Kartchner Caverns State Park. The park is situated near the north-flowing San Pedro River and has miles of hiking and biking trails. The biggest feature of the park is its two and a half miles of passages through the caverns, where you can be awed by the rock formations and stalactites that have formed underground for thousands of years.