facebook share
twitter share
pinterest share
flipboard share

Follow


3 Week Southwest USA RV Road Trip

3 Week Southwest USA RV Road Trip


avatar   Stacy
Trip Date 10/26/2019
Posted On 12/09/2019 16:29:20

Camping | Hiking | Texas | New Mexico | Arizona | Passport America | I-10 | Phoenix | Benson | Tombstone | Capitan | Saguaro National Park | Davis Mountains State Park | Caprock Canyons State Park



Less than a week after returning home from a six week overseas trip, we began contemplating an RV trip through parts of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. We had a very short planning window to make a family visit to a suburb of Phoenix. We knew that the nearest RV park always fills with snowbirds by late October. Our goal was to plan a trip around dates still available for a one week stay. Fortunately, we also found sites available in Davis Mountains State Park for a couple of nights during our outbound journey.

Once we made it to Arizona, we planned our return drive which allowed us to explore and do some hiking in areas which we had yet to see including Caprock Canyons State Park and Saguaro National Park. We also spent time in the cities of Benson and Tombstone. Arizona, Capitan and Ruidoso, New Mexico and Quitaque, Texas.

If a camping trip including any of these destinations is on your radar, check out this post for ideas on where to stay, what to do, travel distances and more. (If you have a Passport America membership, you'll even find some places to take advantage of your discounts!) We followed I-10 westbound for most of our outward journey. Although much less direct, our return trip included most of our stops where we lingered to explore.



Round Trip Route Departing from Austin, Texas

We drove a total of 2,800 miles on our round trip loop from the Austin, Texas area through parts of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.


Map of our Journey

Map of our Journey

Approximate distances from one campground / RV park to another were:

  • 435 miles from our Austin, Texas area home to Davis Mountains State Park in Ft. Davis, Texas;
  • 450 miles to Ft. Willcox RV Park in Willcox, Arizona;
  • 180 miles to Hacienda Solano Resort in Chandler, Arizona;
  • 160 miles to Rincon Valley West RV Resort in Tucson, Arizona;
  • 50 miles to Valley Vista RV Resort in Benson, Arizona;
  • 380 miles to Mama Bear RV Park in Capitan, New Mexico;
  • 310 miles to Big C RV Park in Quitaque, Texas; and
  • 385 miles to return to our Austin, Texas area home.

In addition to the miles between the places where we camped, we put another 450 miles on our tow vehicle exploring the nearby areas.



2 Nights at Davis Mountains State Park

With our Texas State Parks Pass valid through the month of October, we chose Davis Mountains State Park. The park, located in the west Texas city of Ft. Davis, is near I-10 and was one we had not previously explored. All campsites sit in a valley and are surrounded by the Davis Mountain range.

Originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, there is lots to explore within the park. From biking, hiking or horseback riding to birding, joining in on regularly scheduled "Walks and Talks" offered by the park staff and more, there was more to see than the time that we had available.


Exploring Davis Mountains State Park

Exploring Davis Mountains State Park

Don't miss seeing Indian Lodge, Skyline Drive and other structures within the park built by the CCC. For history lovers with more time, a hike or drive to Fort Davis National Historic Site is a great way to spend part of a day. The quirky city of Marfa, famous for the Marfa Lights is a short drive away. Interested in astronomy? Find out what's going on at McDonald Observatory during the dates that you are planning to be there.



1 Night at Fort Willcox RV Park

In order to lessen our required single day drive time, we made our next stop in southeast Arizona. Through the Passport America app, we found Ft. Willcox RV Park located just one mile east of I-10 in Willcox, Arizona. The park is on the small side and filled primarily with permanent and long term residents. There appeared to be about 10 spaces dedicated to 50+ year old short term or seasonal campers.


View from Fort Willcox RV Park

View from Fort Willcox RV Park

With the convenient location of the park being our only consideration, our one night stay didn't allow us to see or do anything in the area. Returning guests to the park are often wine enthusiasts who enjoy visiting the many nearby vineyards. The Chiricahua National Monument is also close by, and a place that we have hopes to spend time during our next stay in the area.



7 Nights at Hacienda Solano Resort

The longest stay during our three week journey was a 7 night return visit to Hacienda Solano Resort. The combination RV and mobile home resort is located on the border between the Phoenix, Arizona suburbs of Chandler and Gilbert. One of the resort's main attractions for us is its location which is less than a 15 minute drive away from my family.

Although sites within the resort are basic, the age 55+ community has a number of amenities which make the resort appealing to guests who often return year after year. As we spent most of our time visiting family, we really only took advantage of soaking in the jacuzzi each evening. The resort offers so much more including regularly scheduled parties and activities for residents plus a swimming pool, shuffleboard, billiard tables, card tables, a book exchange and more.


Hacienda Solano Resort

Hacienda Solano Resort

We have found it difficult to find available RV sites between October and April in much of Arizona. RVers hoping to escape the cold winter months common in the northern US and Canada often choose Phoenix and its suburbs for extended stays. In addition to the warm winter climate, there is plenty to see and do in the Phoenix metropolitan area.



2 Nights at Rincon Country West RV Resort

Since we had a little time before needing to be back home following our family visit, we took advantage of our return drive to take in some sites which we had not previously seen. Our first stop was Rincon Country West RV Resort in Tucson. In addition to taking advantage of our Passport America discount, the close proximity to the western side of Saguaro National Park played a role in our resort choice. Others that we talked to who were also staying at the age 55+ resort were planning to spend their time exploring as much of Tucson as possible.


Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park

Had we not made reservations for the remainder of our return trip, we may have tried to extend our stay to take advantage of some of the amenities offered at the resort. (Since our stay was before the busiest months, it is likely that we could have extended for several days.) As it was, the two nights that we reserved only gave us an opportunity to walk around to see the resort, enjoy both of the jacuzzis and attend the first "Coffee and Donut" gathering of the season. It was there that we learned about some of the upcoming activities as well as the many clubs available.


Rincon Country West RV Resort

Rincon Country West RV Resort

2 Nights at Valley Vista RV Resort

Next up was a two night stay at Valley Vista RV Resort in Benson, Arizona. Our arrival was again just before peak season so we had no difficulty reserving a site for two nights. This age 50+ community has a swimming pool and jacuzzi, laundry machines, a sitting room/clubhouse, shuffleboard and horseshoes available for guests. The resort also participates in the Passport America program, so we were again eligible for a 50% discount.



In addition to exploring the city of Benson, the resort is also close enough to the eastern entrance of Saguaro National Park for an easy day trip. We were drawn to the area due to its proximity to Tombstone, Arizona. The city is often referred to as "the town too tough to die" and is home to the O. K. Corral. Unknowingly, our two night stay coincided with Helldorado Days, the city's biggest annual event held during the third weekend each October.


Helldorado Days in Tombstone, AZ

Helldorado Days in Tombstone, AZ

2 Nights at Mama Bear RV Park

In order to break up our drive between eastern Arizona and west Texas, we searched for places to camp in Ruidoso, New Mexico. We found prices to be much higher than we preferred, so our search for nearby cities took us to Capitan. Mama Bear RV Park is a more reasonably priced no frills park with 30-amp electric and onsite water and sewer.



In addition to being less than 30 minutes away from Ruidoso, the RV park is within a 20 minute drive to both the "ghost town" of Lincoln and Fort Stanton Historic Site. The city of Capitan's claim to fame is being the birthplace of Smokey the Bear.


Scott and Smokey

Scott and Smokey

Walking distance from the RV park is the Smokey Bear Historical Park. In our opinion, the $2.00 per adult admission fee was a small price to pay to learn all that we did about the forest fire prevention campaign as well as to see Smokey's burial site.


Smokey the Bear's Burial Site

Smokey the Bear's Burial Site

4 Nights at Big C RV Park

Before returning home, we spent our final four nights in the southern Texas panhandle city of Quitaque. Big C RV Park has only 10 RV sites and is another no frills park. Our original goal was to stay at Caprock Canyons State Park, however our plan came together too late to find any available campsites. Located just a five minute drive from the entrance to the state park, Big C is an excellent alternative.


Caprock Canyons State Park

Caprock Canyons State Park

In addition to exploring the state park, hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders will love the many miles of trails that are part of the Caprock Canyons Trailway. Those who choose to stay in Quitaque may also enjoy spending some time in the sleepy city itself. (Many of the city's attractions are only open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, so plan your visit accordingly.) If you have time to venture out further, you may want to also explore the cities of Lubbock or Amarillo, both about 1 1/2 hours away.



Davis Mountains State Park

For more about our journey through parts of west Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, we invite you to begin by reading "Hiking, Exploring and Camping at Davis Mountains State Park". As the first of over ten posts inspired by our three week trip, you'll find a very brief history of the state park plus some of the many photos taken during our stay. We also share our favorite campsites within the park and so much more. You can find a link below or search on "Davis Mountains" from our blog home page.

To make sure that you don't miss out on upcoming posts, create a User Account and opt in for an e-mail subscription now. You'll receive no more than one e-mail each week with links to all articles posted to our site during the prior week - including campground reviews and much more (all travel related).

Favorite Southwest USA Destinations

What are your favorite campgrounds / RV parks and sites to see in the southwest United States, and why do you favor them?





3 Week Southwest USA RV Road Trip




Booking.com




Related Posts  


Other Recent Posts  








Comments