June – Sept., 2016: I absolutely fell in love with the Sedona area, so I decided to stay a couple of months if I could find a decent and affordable place to stay that long. I always think that’s one of the nicest things about fulltime RVing – I can choose a home base and new backyard for a night or a few months to suit my mood.
And although beautiful Sedona was always the main attraction to me, there is lots to do in this area from all directions (some of my favorites listed below in Nearby Attractions). I checked out RV Parks in and near Sedona, but found that not only are they pretty expensive, they weren’t offering monthly rates during the time I was there.
But I ended up being happy with my stay in Cottonwood, about 18 miles from Sedona. I stayed at Rio Verde RV Park, but checked out other parks by at least driving through, so I’ll share what I know below. Click images for larger copies.
When I posted the question to Facebook friends about where to stay to explore Sedona, I heard about this park from a friend who was staying there at the time. I think it’s always best to hear from been-there-done-that folks about where I choose to make my home, no matter how long I’m there.
I noticed some of the reviews on RVParkReviews.com said that the park looked old and run down with a lot of permanent residents, but there was nothing that alarmed me because I’m not a hoity-toity type person with high expectations of resort type accommodations anyway. I was looking for a relatively nice, safe place to park my home that was convenient enough for me to explore the nearby attractions and I found that here, along with friendly management and nice folks as neighbors.
I ended up being there during the months of June – September, 2016 and totally enjoyed my time there with the Rio Verde as my backyard. That’s my motorhome 2nd on left. I liked how the windshield looked out onto the hillside instead of another RV. There are several more sites going up the bluff, but they have started removing some of these and replacing with cabins, unfortunately. You have to turn around at the circle at the end but you have to unhook your tow car first in order to have room to do that. I don’t think I would have liked to stay on the bottom row by the road, though, not only because it felt more crowded to me and too close to the road, but there were many more trees that I don’t think I would have been able to get my satellite TV reception there.
I could look down the bluff from my site and see glimpses of the river and even hear it every once in a while when it was running more after a rain. I did see canoes and kayaks coming down here sometimes and always enjoyed walking down here.
And even though I never ended up doing them, I think that they have a free yoga class every week and a community garden is pretty cool. They also offer ATV rentals and that seems like it would be a fun thing to do around here. There are options for tent camping on the river and a dry camping area by the road.
Before settling into Rio Verde, I spent 10 days in May, 2016 at one of the campgrounds here, which was my favorite spot.
Here’s the start of my full coverage with 6 pages of pictures and details about the park and all campground loops:
2501 E. State Route 89-A — Cottonwood, AZ
When I went in and met the manager, Sue, she was really nice and friendly, but at the time they didn’t have anything open.
The park is mostly heavily shaded with big beautiful trees.
In general, it seems easy enough to get around in and the park was well maintained.
Some of the sites did seem a bit small and tight, but I think this would have been my second choice in Cottonwood if they had space big enough for me. But all in all, I liked Rio Verde better, partly because it is a little closer to Sedona and the sites there where I was are farther back from the road.
They don’t have a rates page, so call for latest info. RVParkReviews – Latest review was from 2014, but it seemed like a nice enough park to me. It’s family owned since 1999 and people remark about the feeling of a neighborhood.
Camelot RV Park
651 N. Main St. — Cottonwood, AZ
This is an RV park and an RV repair facility. A friend of mine stayed here for a short visit and recommended it, but when I checked out reviews, I saw ones from Yelp and 5 Star Campgrounds that either said what a nice guy the owner was or how completely rude he was.
A reviewer on RVParking.com gave the campground a great rating, but another guy warned about the RV service part of it.
So I decided to find out for myself and stopped by even though there was a No Vacancy sign in front. I told the guy at the desk I was looking for a monthly spot for a couple of months and he said they didn’t have any. I asked if I could be put on a waiting list and he said he couldn’t hassle with that sort of thing – that he didn’t know when people were going to move anyway. He certainly wasn’t the friendliest guy I met in the area and he was curt to say the least, but I wouldn’t say he was totally rude.
Apparently they don’t even have a website and it doesn’t seem they’re hurting for business anyway.
6400 E. Thousand Trails Rd. — Cottonwood, AZ
Site Map — Call for non-member rates
Friends I met in Tennessee were staying here, so I was glad for the chance to go visit them and check out the park at the same time. Unfortunately, I ended up mistakenly deleting all the pictures I took, so I’m grateful for Gayle sending me hers to use here.
RVParkReviews – 2016: There are both pull through and back in sites; they try to utilize the sites back to back so the street sides are together and you are looking at your neighbor’s front yard. The park is trying to put in more 50amp sites but the local electric company will not update the park’s electric so there are many sites unavailable. The wi-fi at your campsite was almost non-existent; no cable and not many TV stations.
Passport America – Must call (888) 318-1243 for required reservations. Not valid during October and November, or from March through May. 7 nights max, and not valid during holidays and special events. (See PA link for more info and restrictions.)
800 E. Cherry St. — Cottonwood, AZ
From website: We have 50 amp service for 35 rigs. We have water to fill up and a dump station. Our rates are $25 for electrical service and $15 to dry camp. – If you are not staying with us, you can dump your rig for $10 or fill your rig with water for $10.
FreeCampsites.net review: Very informal — all staff members very friendly and accommodating. 50 amp service. No water at site, but is available. No WiFi at site, but readily available at local stores. Very quiet (no event currently in progress). Grounds very clean and well-maintained. VERY reasonably priced. Would definitely stay here again.
In my opinion, $15 for no hookups here is not a great deal when there are some free options nearby.
Boondocking Near Cottonwood:
This shows the area right off of Thousand Trails Road (which leads to the Verde Valley Thousand Trails RV Park listed above). This road runs off of AZ Hwy. 260 from Camp Verde. It’s really convenient, but I don’t think I’d like the constant road noise from both sides.
This shows AZ 260 on the side of this pulloff area at intersection with Thousand Trails Road.
Campendium – 2016: Not too much for scenery at the site but it’s quiet with no road noise to speak of. Take 206 to Thousand Trails Rd and make a left into the camping area. Most sites are spread along the left side of the road within a quarter mile of turning on to the road. If it rains while you are there plan on staying a couple of days. It turns into the most sticky mud I’ve ever seen!
More Cottonwood Info:
Old Town Cottonwood – I visited here frequently either to eat or look around at the cute shops along quaint Main Street. It’s a nice little town with a good vibe. I liked Old Town a lot, but also appreciated modern Cottonwood having all the big department and grocery store options for everything else I needed.
11 Best Restaurants in Cottonwood and Jerome (AZ Central – 6/9/16) – The Verde Valley has grown into a popular getaway for wine lovers. Boutique vineyards thrive in the fertile volcanic soil and numerous tasting rooms have popped up in Old Town Cottonwood and on the narrow streets of Jerome. So it’s no surprise that terrific restaurants have opened as well. In addition to the art galleries, antiques shops, historic sites and scenic beauty, the Verde Valley has become a culinary destination.
Verde Valley Wine Trail – Located in beautiful Northern Arizona, the Verde Valley Wine Trail invites wine enthusiasts to experience a destination rich in history, beauty, and the production of exquisite Arizona wines. There are seven Arizona wineries and eight tasting rooms on the Verde Valley Wine Trail that offer a variety of skillfully crafted wines to satisfy any wine taster’s palate.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park – This was my favorite camping spot in the area. See my overview of the park and review of the campground with details on all the loops.
Tuzigoot National Monument – I was fascinated with this ancient Sinagua village.
Jerome – About 10 miles from Cottonwood, don’t dare miss a visit here, but not in an RV due to the narrow winding road in spots. Once known as the wickedest town in the west, Jerome was a copper mining camp, growing from a settlement of tents to a roaring mining community. Jerome is an enchanting town, and a photographer’s paradise. From its external appearances it hasn’t changed much in nearly 100 years. Many of the buildings used by present-day business folks are those built after the fires of 1894 and 1899. A number of the buildings have been restored and more are planned for restoration.
Montezuma Castle National Monument – 19 miles from Cottonwood, I really enjoyed my visit here. “Today we gaze through the windows of the past into one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. This 20 room high-rise apartment, nestled into a towering limestone cliff, tells a story of ingenuity, survival and ultimately, prosperity in an unforgiving desert landscape.”
Montezuma’s Well – 24 miles from Cottonwood and about 10 miles from Montezuma Castle. “Take your time as you explore the trails at Montezuma Well and discover the tranquility of a site still considered sacred by many local tribes. The shaded forest along the trail near the swallet ruin and the outlet provides welcome relief from the unrelenting Arizona sunshine. The temperature difference at the outlet can be up to 20 degrees cooler than along the rim of the Well, making it easy to imagine the people of the Sinagua culture spending the hot summer days in this tranquil setting. Here’s a nicely done 15 minute video tour on YouTube of both the Castle and the Well.