Just southeast of Phoenix, Arizona, lies the booming metropolis area in the Sonoran Desert of Gilbert, Arizona. This town has a surprising history, bicycle-friendly roads, numerous parks and outdoor activities, fine dining and much more. Just minutes from major airports and highways, Gilbert is your gateway to exploring Arizona and this part of the southwestern United States.
Rugged landscapes like the Superstition Mountains, the Grand Canyon, and Picacho Peak are all within a days drive or less. Gilbert’s historic downtown area, with its iconic water tower, is a place for gathering, weekly events, farmers markets and feeling a sense of Old West community. Shopping is world class in the Gilbert/Phoenix metropolitan area, as well as live shows, music and great museums. All of this is in the midst of a stunning desert landscape that many people can never quite leave. Enjoy your own adventure in this wonderful desert area and book an RV in Gilbert, Arizona.
Experience the Sites and Scenery
If you’ve ever longed to experience the desert - really experience the desert - this part of the country is the place to start. Located in the northern portion of the Sonoran Desert, with its stately saguaro (suh-wah-ro) cacti, red mesas, and stunning sunsets, Gilbert, AZ, offers you the conveniences of a city with a central location to explore this mythical region. Having the mobility of traveling in your Gilbert rental camper means you can really feel and enjoy the desert landscape of the region.
Locally, there are many outdoor activities that you can enjoy right in Gilbert, or nearby. Favorite spots include The Riparian at Water Ranch. One of the largest nature preserves in Gilbert, locals enjoy walking trails, hiking and traversing the equestrian paths. The preserve also has campsites and picnic areas. Considered one of the area’s premier bird watching areas, you will see many of the more than 250 species that have been spotted here. There’s even a dinosaur dig site, and a public astronomy observatory, the only one in the Phoenix valley.
Freestone Park, right in the heart of town, is another local favorite. Home of the Central Trail System, with more than 135 miles of trails for hikers and bikers, Freestone Park is also home to sports facilities, picnic areas, a skate park, and amphitheater. Situated around a lovely lake, this oasis in the desert is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Just northeast of Gilbert is the rugged Superstition Wilderness and Lost Dutchman State Park. With iconic geology including Weaver’s Needle, this area features hundreds of hiking trails and backcountry camping opportunities. Old West legends of hidden treasures and other mysteries persist. You may not discover gold in these hills, but you will experience some of the most breathtaking desert landscape in the world.
South of Gilbert is Picacho Peak, another great hiking opportunity that puts you at what feels like the top of the world on this iconic peak located in a flat valley. This hike is a challenging one, and not for the faint of heart, as it sometimes involves crossing cable footbridges, holding on to steel handrails to pull yourself up the path, and exposure to the desert sun and heat if you hike on the west side of the peak. Nearby campgrounds welcome RVs, and the trailhead is easily accessible. There are nature trails for those who are looking for a less vigorous Picacho Peak experience.
No visit to Arizona is complete without seeing the Grand Canyon National Park. Visitors often state that the pictures they’ve seen of the canyon do no justice to the beauty and sense of awe they experience. Backcountry permits are required for any overnight hikes, but there are dozens and dozens of day hikes you can experience, including a day hike to and from the oasis six miles from the rim, at Indian Gardens. Hiking in the Grand Canyon is not to be taken lightly, as you are basically on your own once you decide to go past a certain point on any of the trails into the canyon. But, your rewards are immense. Make sure to talk to park rangers at the visitor centers before you start your trek. Camping sites for the Gilbert motorhome rental are available in and around the park.
You will not run out of things to do in the Gilbert area. Rich in art and culture, this area often surprises visitors with its sophistication and the number of high-quality museums. Shopping is a hobby for some folks, and you certainly won’t be disappointed in the Gilbert, Arizona area. Year-round events happen almost every weekend, and Gilbert is known as a bicycle-friendly city, so if you are traveling in your Gilbert rental motorhome with a mind for keeping active, you’ve found a perfect spot.
Right in town, Gilbert offers art walks every other week, from October through April. This favorite event welcomes artists from all over the state and region, and provides visitors an opportunity to meet artists and see some great art. Gilbert is also home to one of the most powerful 9/11 memorials, paying tribute to lives lost. Situated near the municipal building center, the memorial features a steel girder beam that once supported the north tower of the World Trade Center. The Gilbert Historical Museum, or HD South, exhibits vintage artifacts, oral histories, photographs and archives, in a beautiful adobe building. History cafes, gardening events, storytelling hours and more make the Gilbert Historical Museum a must-see place to visit with the RV rental near Gilbert.
Phoenix features several world-class museums including the Phoenix Art Museum, with its collection of classic and contemporary art from the region and around the world. To learn about Native American history and culture, including contemporary art and performance by local craftspersons, artists and performers, the Heard Museum is an absolute treasure. Phoenix is also home to one of the most unique museums in the United States. If you are a music lover, and fascinated by the history of music and instruments, you will absolutely love the Musical Instrument Museum.
Shopping is a way of life in the valley’s metropolitan area. There are dozens of outlet stores and malls, and exclusive shopping districts, as well as downtown walkable shopping areas. Biltmore Fashion Park is famous in the area, as well as the Melrose Shopping District for great vintage and antique shopping in the heart of Phoenix.
Gilbert, Arizona, is a perfect place to start your exploration of the vast southwestern desert. This once sleepy area is growing, but has kept its Old West charms. Even though it is located in the middle of one of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, there’s a small-town charm feel to Gilbert, Arizona, with its historic downtown area, older neighborhoods and its backdrop of the rugged desert mountains in every direction. And, yet Gilbert is new and modern, offering visitors a truly unique take on desert life in the American Southwest.
Where to Park It
There is no shortage of places to park your Gilbert travel trailer rental. From privately owned RV parks that dot the entirety of the Phoenix Valley with simple to sophisticated resort-like amenities, to beautiful state and regional parks with nature knocking on your rental camper’s door, there are plenty of places to park and stay. The Superstition Mountains, and other state and national lands, welcome rental RVs, just check road conditions and length limitations that might apply for backroads and mountain curves and grades. You’ll be in one of the most rental camper-friendly metropolitan areas in the country, so it will be easy to find groceries, camping supplies, fuel and anything else you need. Walmart stores are located throughout the valley, including Supercenters.
Dining is a local pastime in the Gilbert and Phoenix area. You will find casual dining along with sophisticated fine dining experiences right in town in Gilbert, as well as in the surrounding areas. This part of the country is known for its fine steakhouses and Mexican dining experiences. Gilbert’s agricultural roots are on display with several offerings for fresh, local produce including the Farm at Agritopia, a community built around growing food. The downtown Gilbert Farmers Market is open Saturdays, featuring organic and local produce. Considered one of the best Farmers Markets in the entire Phoenix region, it’s a must-visit spot in your Gilbert RV rental by owner.
Stop dreaming and start planning your very own southwest desert experience now! Search for an RV in Gilbert, Arizona, today!
Gilbert, AZ is the perfect spot to start your next road trip.
There are many popular rentals in Gilbert. Outdoorsy's Gilbert RV rental marketplace allows renters to choose from rental options from professional RV rental agencies as well as RVs for rent by owner.