When the dog days of summer set in, many people respond by taking to the hills to cool off. Arizona is particularly prone to this type of behavior. Like migrating birds, Arizonans flood the highways on Friday afternoons in summer, streaming north to Flagstaff, Payson, Prescott and other high-altitude retreats. The cool pines of the high country lie only a few hours from the sweltering heat of Phoenix. Farther south in Tucson, seven-thousand foot tall mountains sit just outside the low, desert city. Escaping the heat is a matter of driving up the mountain, which only takes about half an hour.
Once among the cool pines, many Arizonans stay only for the day. After all, the heat of the day in Phoenix is the prime reason to escape the valley. While the nights are still warm, 100 degrees is definitely cooler than 117. Others stay longer. Many people who live in the Arizona valleys maintain a second home or cabin in the mountains. However, this can get expensive, and the expense can be difficult to justify if the second property is only used a few weeks out of the year.
Another option is camping. The national forest (of which Arizona has a plentiful amount), allows people to camp for two weeks at a time, which is generally more than enough time to get a respite from the heat. National parks such as the Grand Canyon or State parks such as Slide Rock State Park or Tonto Natural Bridge State Park are other good options. National and state parks are more regulated than national forest, and usually require a nominal fee for entry and use. In exchange for these fees, visitors get amenities such as restrooms and maintained camping areas.
For some, camping is too primitive. The thought of living in the wilderness doesn’t appeal, and seems like an expense not worth paying to get a little cool weather and down time. An RV can be a great alternative. Instead of sleeping on the ground or on a hard foam pad, RV campers can stay in a relatively civilized bedroom on wheels, on a bed with a real mattress.
RVs take many shapes and sizes. The largest RVS are built on a bus chassis. Some of these giant-sized homes-away-from-home have large door at the back so that a four-wheeler can be driven up inside for transport. Smaller RVs are based off of a truck chassis, and might have a bed over the cab. This design frees up more space inside the vehicle, but the bed can be more difficult to access.
Other RV styles include fifth-wheel and other trailers. Trailers solve the problems of using an RV to get to a vacation spot, but then being unable to drive anywhere else once “home” has been set up. With a truck or bus style RV, one would have to tow another vehicle, but a trailer style RV allows for the pickup or SUV to be used for transportation after the vacation spot has been reached.
RV parks in Arizona are a excellent place to stay for a long vacation or summer. They have hookups for power and water, and often sewage. This means that the RV owner does not have to run a generator or monitor utilities. Other Arizona RV parks are more rudimentary, with a setup similar to a campground.