A rather busy, but well-located birding and water-lovers campground ~10 miles from Patagonia in SE Arizona.
- Site Quality = 2.5/5
Very varied site-quality in this campground. All sites are paved, either back-in or pull-through with 50Amp/water and “sitting areas” containing metal picnic table and fire-pit. The biggest issue is size and levelness. There are 2 main loops in the campground:
West Campground -> This loop comprises sites 39-108 and sits closest to the beach. This tends to be the most popular loop and has more kids, noise & activity. Sites nearest the beach (40-48) are very, very tightly spaced (far too close together IMHO), whereas those further back (esp. around 87-91) have more room. Sites 93-95 are right behind the dump station and best avoided altogether. No real water-views from any sites in this loop, but some sites do have covered picnic tables. Unless we can get a site at the back, we’d prefer to avoid this loop.
East Campground -> This loop comprises sites 1-37 and sits towards the birding trail. It is much more relaxed with sites (generally) more widely spaced, however you’ll get alot of variation in levelness and size. Sites 3-5 are so steep as to be almost unusable for most rigs (no way we could get in here without scraping “the beast”), while sites 16-22 although in nice spots with a slice of water-view are best suited for smaller rigs. Sites 10-15 are very nicely private, but also quite unlevel. Despite the level issues this is our preferred loop to stay.
- Facilities = 3.5/5
Decent facilities here. Large showers with separate bench and pegs, plus spacious toilets. Biggest ding is showers have those annoying spray-heads. On-site dump station.
- Location = 5/5
Patagonia Lake State Park gets its good marks for location. You are right next to a large lake with lots of water activities (boating, kayaking, canoeing etc.), swim-beach, fishing, marina, boat launch and ~3 miles of birding trails. Lots of cool birdwatching here (it’s one of the main draws of the area), plus you are only ~10 miles from the lovely little town of Patagonia.
- Pet Friendliness = 4/5
A good park for pooch. Variable space in camp (depends on your site), but good hiking and creek access along the birding trail, plus lake access to swim and play (towards east-end of East Campground). Biggest ding is pooch is not allowed on the beach.
Overall Rating = 3.75
BONUS ALERT = Birders paradise and lake all-in-one!
Summary: This is a popular park in the area and in many ways I can understand why. It’s by a large lake (a huge bonus in the desert) with no end of water activities (fishing, boating, kayaking etc.) plus it’s a very well-known birding spot that’s only ~10 miles from lovely Patagonia. The combo tends to draw both families and avid birdwatchers alike. The main downside of this is that it’s also a busy park, plus it gets some further dings in site levelness & size. Sites are all paved with 50Amp/water, but vary alot in quality. Sites closest to the beach (West Campground) tend to be very tight and very busy (lots of families and kids here), whereas sites closer to the birding area (East Campground) are more spacious & relaxed but also tend to be unlevel. We prefer the East Campground, despite the level issues mostly for space and privacy. Overall we had a lovely time walking the birding trails, splashing with pooch in the water and exploring the Patagonia area, but we did get somewhat overwhelmed by the crowds. This, together with poor Verizon signal means it doesn’t make our top list. We liked the park and it’s a very worthy stop for families, water-lovers and birders, but for our own preferences we’ll probably plan to go boondocking nearer Patagonia when we come back to the area.
Extra Info: Very poor Verizon signal (flickering between 1X and 1 bar of 3G). We were able to get a stable signal with our external antenna/amp, but otherwise would have had trouble connecting. ~108 sites with 50amp/water ($25/night) . There is NO overflow camping. boat launch, marina and on-site dump station.
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