Address: 6275 S Ave 8 1/2 E, Yuma, AZ 85365
Phone: (866) 217-8111
# of sites: 228 (plus extended stay sites)
Full hookup price: From $10/day (RPI rate)
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Warnings: HOT summers, many permanent or seasonal residents
Yuma Lakes RV Resort is about 6 miles from I-8, about 11 miles east of downtown Yuma. Yuma is a popular winter destination for snowbirds due to the mild desert weather and its proximity to Los Algodones, Mexico.
The primary reason for our staying in Yuma is that the border crossing into Los Algodones is just a few miles west and that it is a city with most of the normal shopping and eating options one would expect. This Mexican border town is well-known for its low-cost, high quality, dental, vision and pharmacy services. The normal high temps here are in the 60's and 70's all winter, and the region has little rainfall during that time. Also, the sunsets can be spectacular.
This particular resort is large and has a sizable pond, Redondo Lake, at its edge. Bass fishing and birding at the lake is available all winter. Yuma Lakes is clean and well-maintained, with some green space scattered around the park, and most of the amenities you would expect, plus a dine-in restaurant on-site. There is an off-leash dog park, though it was about a quarter-mile walk from our site, so we never used it.
Golf Digest has ranked Yuma the 7th best city in the U.S. for golf, and all around the resort are excellent ATV and motorbike hills and trails, as well as several gun and archery shooting ranges. Also nearby the park is a lush date farm and store.
Yuma Lakes RV Resort is perhaps prototypical of a desert campground, with slender sites for squeezing in as many RV's as possible in the busy season, and gravel throughout. Even the picnic tables are extra-short to accommodate the space. There are a good number of palm trees scattered around the park, but few shade trees in the camping areas. Being remote from the city, there is very weak cell coverage, even with a booster. Verizon was minimal and AT&T was only slightly better, but its Internet speed was always bogged down as the entire resort must have been on it.
There are as many seasonal and year-round residents as there are transient RV'ers, and they function more as a sales organization than a campground. We heard from some RV owners that they were given a hard sell for buying a site there, and though they did come by our 5th wheel to take down our contact info and ask a few RV usage questions, we were not given a sales pitch. Yuma Lakes is one of the first resorts we have visited since the pandemic began that did not close down most of their amenities and group functions, including their on-site café. The problem is that almost nobody was social distancing or wearing masks, so we did not feel at all comfortable in using them.
They tout themselves as dog-friendly, and they do have an off-leash park. However, it is far removed from most of the resort and we never used it. In hotter times of year, you might not want to walk your dog on the gravel in the heat of the day, and there is little lawn to use.
The heat is HOT in Yuma, so plan your stay with the weather calendar in mind. Also, Yuma is very windy in the winter months. This park is place in the middle of farming land and any daylight excursion will include an obstacle course of farming machines, massive trucks and busloads of workers.
Last, Yuma does not have wealth of attractions to visit. It's a hot desert town a couple of hours away from Phoenix with little to see between them.
My initial inclination was to rate Yuma Lakes a 3 out of 5 stars, but in comparing them to others I've rated a 3, it just doesn't measure up. So, it is indeed a 2. We would only recommend this park to those who wanted to be remote from Yuma and who only planned to stay a few days in the winter season.
Address: 2207 N. Yucca Drive, Huachuca City, AZ 85616
Phone: (520) 456-9301
# of sites: 131
Full hookup price: From $14/day
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Warnings: HOT summers
Nestled in the southeast corner of Arizona, Huachuca City and neighboring Sierra Vista offer opportunities for exploration of desert mining towns unique to the area. The primary reason we decided on Quail Ridge RV Resort is for its proximity to Bisbee, Tombstone and Patagonia.
Though Nadyne is not a fan of vast desert scenery, we do enjoy visiting small mining towns. Both Bisbee and Tombstone qualify and both have restored sections of town to their glory days. Tombstone has the recognition factor, with the Earps and the Gunfight at the OK Corral in its history, and the town takes full advantage, performing gunfights several times a day on its restored western Allen Street and featuring Old West saloons, museums, shops and restaurants.
Bisbee is a bit less touristy, but offers visitors a rich mix of art, music, history, architecture, outdoor activities, dining and nightlife. Just south of Bisbee is Lowell, a four-block strip of town that seems in a time warp. There are cars and trucks from the 50-s and 60's parked on the street, a vintage Harley Davidson dealership and other stores from that era that haven't been upgraded or restored. The Patagonia Mountains are also a short drive away from Quail Ridge and the location of the town of Patagonia, an extremely popular small lake and state park, and other old towns.
The Quail Ridge RV Resort is itself a clean, comfortable park with a great number of pull-through sites at a terrific price. Its 4,400' elevation makes it cooler than much of Southern Arizona. Shopping, fast food and eat-in dining are plentiful about seven miles away in the moderately modern town of Sierra Vista. The Mexican border is only about an hour's drive away at either Douglas or Nogales.
As with many southwestern RV parks, Quail Ridge is almost completely covered in gravel, with almost no greenery and few trees. Arizona is a windy state and the winters are sunny but gusty. With the park sitting in a rather flat, wind-prone area, we weren't able to use our awning much, though we would have appreciated the shade.
The sites are very narrow, and though it is somewhat dog friendly, there are several cacti to keep them away from during a walk. There are few amenities beyond a laundry room, showers, a clubhouse and a pool table, the latter two of which were closed due to the pandemic.
Like much of Southern Arizona, even at its higher elevation, summers in Huachuca City can be brutally hot. We would only consider staying here during the winter months.
If it weren't for the fact that I haven't spent much time in this part of Arizona, we probably wouldn't stay anywhere near Huachuca City. The cheap prices and clean resort drew this up to a rating of 3-out-of-5 stars. If you've never been to Tombstone or Bisbee, it's well worth a week here.
Address: 10167 N. Encore Dr. Casa Grande, AZ 85122
Phone: (520) 836-2531
# of sites: 182
Full hookup price: From $54/day
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Warnings: Poor phone services, HOT summers
If you want to avoid the Phoenix Metropolitan area but still want to stay in Central Arizona, Casa Grande has more than a few options. A little less than an hour's drive from Phoenix, yet situated at the split of I-8 from I-10, access to the rest of the state is easily available.
Casa Grande has grown up from the small town it once was, with plenty of shopping and dining options. Being outside of the Phoenix area keeps traffic light and lines relatively short, but within a couple hours are the Organ Pipe National Monument, Picacho Peak State Park, Kitt Peak, Saguaro National Park, Tucson, Mount Lemmon and all of the Phoenix metro region.
Foothills West is a clean, comfortable, age-qualified (55+) park with adequate space between parked rigs. Though it mostly consists of gravel, sites have cement porch pads and there are live fruit trees throughout. The amenities are the usual, with a clubhouse, pool and spa, restroom and showers, laundry, billiards, shuffleboard, putting green, bocce ball and horseshoes. We could not use them due to the pandemic. Also, they would usually have a variety of activities happening every day.
Arizona is a sunset paradise and Casa Grande is no different. Also, being miles away from a large metropolitan area and having few mountains to block views, stargazing is also exceptional.
While Foothills West is relatively pet friendly, there is no off-leash dog park, nor waste bags, and mostly there is just gravel to walk them on. You also have to keep dogs away from cacti planted by residents all over the park. The garbage bins are located together and quite a walk from most of the resort, another of my pet peeves.
Casa Grande has a very short cool season, with temps soaring in March and continuing into November. It is also very windy, so much so that we couldn't have our awning out very often and for very long. It is easy to get tired of the desert scenery. It's the only scenery for hundreds of miles.
Another drawback to the area was the lack of adequate cell signal. We have Verizon phones and hotspot and an AT&T data hub, and neither service was very good at all.
Casa Grande is relatively close by a state prison (in Florence). While we were staying in Foothills West, two convicts escaped and were captured less than five miles from the park, most likely on their way to Mexico. Like many communities in proximity of the Mexican border, you must be aware of potential violence and other crime. This park does not have a gate, so the public can drive in.
We would recommend Foothills west to anyone passing through or wanting to spend a few days in the winter exploring the desert. With nothing significant in its favor or to its detriment, my 3-out-of-5 star rating seems appropriate.
Jack Huber is a novelist with 7 mysteries published, along with several books of poetry and photography. Now retired, he and his wife, Nadyne, are free to travel the country in their 32' 5th wheel and 1-ton Ford pickup.