Arizona has some of the most beautiful state parks in the country. They say when you are that close to nature, stress, depression, and anxiety all leave your body as you stand in awe of its presence. I truly believe being close to nature gives us an overall sense of well-being and helps us to truly appreciate life as it is. This is why I love visiting all National and State Parks so let me share my list of the best Arizona State Parks.
Top 7 Best Arizona State Parks
A quick note many state parks, like national parks, have a state park junior ranger program so make sure to stop at the visitor center and get the info on how to earn your badge.
Picacho Peak State Park
If you are traveling along I-10 in Southern Arizona, you won’t want to miss the 1,500-foot peak of Picacho at Picacho Peak State Park. I was driving and at one point the peak looked like an angry monkey! Of course, we had to stop!
The park offers you a wide range of things to do including:
- A park store
- A playground
- Historical Markers
- Picnic areas
- Scenic hiking trails
What won me over was in the picture above. The picture was taken from a picnic table next to a playground that overlooked the peaks. Talk about an amazing view!
Campsite reservations are available online or via phone: 1-877-MY-PARKS. Both tent and RV camping are allowed. Below is the pricing:
- October-May: $30 per night/per vehicle
- June-September: $25 per night/per vehicle
While you are in the Phoenix area make sure to check out the Phoenix Pogo Pass to save on local attractions!
Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park
At the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, you step back into the 1800s when cowboys and gunfights roamed the land. The park is open from 9a-5p. There is so much history filling this 12,000 square foot courthouse, turned museum.
They kept the only courtroom and now play videos there with the history of the building and town. They have many artifacts from the OK Corral fight and even still have the gallows in the back area you can view.
It does cost to get into the museum. Pricing is as follows:
- Adult (14+)-$7 per person
- Youth (7-13)-$2 per person
- Child (0-6)- FREE
See more about Tombstone and the OK Corral in this video.
Riordan Mansion State Park
The Riordan Mansion was built for two Riordan families in 1904. It is an amazing reminder of the living in a small logging town. The historic beauty is a stunning display featuring rustic exterior slab siding with volcanic stone arches and hand-split wooden shingles. It has 40 rooms for you to roam and discover.
The Park is open to visitors from 10:30am-5pm Thursday through Monday. There is a small tour fee:
- Adult (14+)-$10 per person
- Youth (7-13)-$5 per person
- Child (0-6)-FREE
Slide Rock State Park
Slide Rock State Park was originally the Pendley Homestead. It is a 43-acre farm located in Oak Creek Canyon. They farmed, of all things, apples! With picturesque views of the canyon, beauty in every corner, and plenty of fun to be had, you won’t want to miss a visit to this beautiful park.
They have many exhibits from the farm along with plenty of places for a picnic!
Here’s what you can do:
- Watch the wildlife. Slide Rock is home to white-tailed deer, javelina, coyote, black bear, bald eagle, blue heron, and rattlesnakes.
- Enjoy fishing for trout at Oak Creek. A short hike upstream will lead you to vast pools, undercut banks, and gentle ripples that trout love.
- Oak Creek offers you one of the top 10 swimming holes in Arizona. Always be safe when you jump in for a swim.
The park is open:
- November 1 – January 31 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
- February 1 – April 30 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
- May 1 – Labor Day 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- Tuesday after Labor Day – October 31 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Pricing is $10-$30 per car loading depending on when you visit. If you are going alone to hike the trails, it is $3 to get in.
Red Rock State Park
The views alone at the Red Rock State Park are breathtaking. The golden red canyon will take you to an immediate place of peace and tranquility. Of course, the park has lots of things you can do including:
- Hiking family-oriented trail systems. The 5-mile network consists of interloping trails which lead you to the vistas of the red rock or the greenery of Oak Creek.
- Hike, bike or take a horse ride along the Lime Kiln Trail.
- Enjoy the wildlife of the park. Red Rock hosts a bird walk every Wednesday and Saturday.
- Enjoy a family campout. For those inexperienced, you can get your feet wet with a family campout in April. ($90 per family of 4 and $5 for each additional member).
- Enjoy a movie at the visitor center. You can also enjoy hands-on exhibits at the Miller Visitor Center.
Park entrance is as follows:
- Adult (14+)=$7
- Youth (7-13)-$4
- Child (0-6)- FREE
Jerome State Historic Park
Just west of Sedona is the ghost town of Jerome. In its hay day, it's was a bustling mine that a city was built around. What is now the museum was the mansion of the mine owner James S. Douglas.
There are indoor and outdoor exhibits, 3D model of how the town looked back then, and rooms decorated in period decor. You can see many of the abandoned building from the walkway around the mansion. PLus the drive there is breathtaking!
Nearby there is a mine tour as well.
Park Entrance Fees:
Adult (14+): $7.00
Youth (7–13): $4.00
Child (0–6): FREE
Fort Verde State Park
Nestled in the town of Camp Verde, this historic park keeps the military history of the settlement of Verde Valley alive. When you visit Fort Verde State Park, you get to experience life through the eyes of frontier soldiers in many different ways. Here are some of the things to do:
- Take a walk through the visitor center. Here, you will find a bookstore, gift shop, displays, photographs, and videos on Indian scouts.
- Enjoy the museums and exhibits. The main museum is the former military headquarters building. Exhibits and artifacts focus on Indian wars and the people who served at Fort Verde.
- Take advantage of picnic areas. There are 8 different picnic areas where you can gather as a family.
The park is open from 9 am- 4:30 pm daily. Park entrance fees are as follows:
- Adult (14+)-$7
- Youth (7-13)-$4
- Child (0-6)-FREE
Which park is your favorite? Share your experience and thoughts on my list of the Best Arizona State Parks in the comments below!