RV Park Review – Escapees Co-Op, Benson, AZ (Members Only)
A lovely Escapees park in a fabulous location to explore all of the sights of SE Arizona. Members only.
Note/ Review updated as of last stay Feb 2016
Link to park here: Escapees Saguaro Co-Op, Benson, AZ
Link to map location here: Escapees Saguaro Co-Op, Benson, AZ
- Site quality = 4/5
In general very nice site quality here with just a few dings. As a “renter” you can come in and stay in several different kinds of sites:
- Dry-Camping: For very short-term stays (3 night limit) there is “parking lot” style camping for $5/night along the main entrance road of the park. No extras here except for a paved lot (and most of the lot is very uneven), but it’s the cheapest option for a short-term stay.
- Short-Term: As a short-term renter (few days to several months) you may rent a developed lot from a lease holder which has FHU, cable TV, often an on-site casita or house (not open for use) and potentially a porch, paving, landscaping. Each lot is different, but in general they are all large, very flat areas with either paved or gravel entrance. Many of the east-facing lots have lovely views of the Dragoons.
- Longer-Term: If staying for a minimum of 6 months you can rent back lots (in the 700’s) which are undeveloped large, plain gravel FHU and back-up to open desert. Not much view here, but they are spacious and do have cable TV plus a mailbox at the park. If staying a year you can rent semi-developed gravel lots (in the 300’s) which have a small, usable shed, FHU, cable TV and a mailbox in the park. These latter lots are also open to short-term renters as available.
- NOTE/ All sites here are first-come-first-serve (no reservations taken) so you cannot pre-choose your site and are assigned one upon arrival. If all lease lots are taken you can opt to stay in dry-camping until a site opens up.
- Facilities = 4/5
Clean on-site rest rooms at the main club-house, plus on-site showers. Good facilities all around.
- Amenities = 4/5
The facilities here are quite nice and available to anyone who comes (lot owners or renters). There is a large club-house with billiards room, laundry, library exercise room, WiFi (inside the clubhouse only) and multi-purpose main room where the Co-Op runs tons of interesting activities from beading, quilting, yoga to food and music. If you want to have something to do, you will find it! There is also a bocce ball court and lovely open picnic area in the NW corner, plus on-site dump station. The only “dings” are no pool and no campground-wide WiFi.
- Location = 4/5
Benson is actually a great little location to explore SE Arizona. It’s ~60 miles south of Tucson and lies with short drive of the sights at Tombstone, Kartchner Caverns, Dragoon Mountains, Bisbee etc.. Benson itself is a fairly sleepy town, but there is a nice Safeway store, ACE Hardware and Walmart in town as well as a few restaurants (Mi Casa is excellent!)
- Pet friendliness = 5/5
This is a fabulous area for doggie. There is a large fenced-in dog park a short walk behind the NW corner gate of the park plus access to miles of open desert and “free hiking”. The SW gate opens to a ridge-walk which leads behind the park and also gives lovely views of the entire area. Plenty of space to either run, bike or walk w/ doggie. Only slight ding is 3-pet limit.
Overall rating = 4.2
BONUS ALERT: Have your evening cocktail with a view of the lovely Dragoon Mountains!
Summary: We ended up liking this park far more than we originally expected. It’s a members only Co-Op (so, you either have to be an active Escapees member or come in as a short-term guest of an Escapee member in the park). The vast majority of the sites are held by leaseholders who own the lots and often develop casitas and landscaping. These sites are very spacious, individualized, often quite cute and a sub-selection of them are in the rental pool for short-term folks who come into the park like ourselves. For “renters” the sites are first-come-first-served, so you cannot chose a particular lot/site (you’re assigned one upon arrival), but they’re all quite lovely. What makes this park particularly nice is that the lots are tiered along a small hill offering quite lovely views of the valley & Dragoon mountains, especially from east-facing lots. There are also bare and less developed lots for longer-term renters (6-months to a year). In addition to the lots there is a large on-site club-house with almost daily activities plus miles of open desert behind the park for biking/hiking and walking doggie off-leash (a huge bonus!). Add onto that all the nearby sights of SE Arizona (Tombstone, Kartchner Caverns, Bisbee etc. are all short drives) and it’s quite a neat combo. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and could definitely see coming back here in the future.
Feb 2016 Update -> This park has gotten much more popular over the past few years. When we arrived this time around all the lease lots were taken and we ended up waiting in the dry-camping area for 4 days before a site opened up. Not a big deal, but just something to be aware of if you’re visiting. We still love the park and chose to stay here every time we pass through the area.
Extra Info: Decent cell signal = Verizon 2 bars LTE, ATT 2 bars 4G. Dry-camping sites cost $5/night (3-day limit). The leaseholder sites are all full hook-up + Cable TV and cost $20+elec+tax (daily rate), $110+elec+tax (weekly rate) or $330+elec+tax (monthly rate). 6 and 12-month rental costs are HERE. All rates include access to club-house and activities. On-site dump station, but no WiFi except at the clubhouse.SPONSORED LINK:
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Thank you for this information! Great!
Hope to get there in a year?
jil mohr says
Just to let you know we do have on site Showers…and another restroom area right next to the building where you checked in…you would have scored them high I am sure….
Argh! How did I miss that? I’ll update the review to match.
The Good Luck Duck says
And, what did you think of Benson, hmmm?
All this socializing talk makes a duck dizzy.
We liked! Sleepy town but it’s got hidden character.
Another terrific detailed review. Thanks Nina!
How many miles from the park to the grocery store? Is it possible to ride a bike to town? Thanks
jil mohr says
Although I am not Nina… I can tell you that you can ride a bike to town and there is a Safeway which is a bit over a mile and a Walmart down the road.
What Jil said (she’s the local expert). Easy ride into town and Safeway is closeby.
Between your great pictures and details, you sure help us get a real feel for a place. Thank you for sharing, it’s much appreciated!!
Hello Nina, Thanks for the detailed park reviews. I have a question regarding RV clubs. There are several national organizations for RVers to join. Do you belong to multiple groups and is it worthwhile. I am contemplating ESCAPEES, Good Sams, FMCA, Workhorse Chasis Owners and W.I.T. We will be fulltime in 2014 after retirement (on a budget).
It really depends how much you use them. When we first went RVing we joined just about every group out there. But as our RVing evolved we found we weren’t using them, especially because we spend so much time in public parks. So after our first year we dropped pretty much all our memberships. The only ones I consider these days are Passport America (for 50% off camping), Good Sams (we use it occasionally) and Escapees (for the parks and Days End directory). At present we only carry one of these, but I sign up as needed.
Thank you Nina, I was considering Escapees because you see to get a lot from it, I will look at your other reccomendations.
Jerry and Suzy says
So glad you liked our home in the desert! Most people who come here for the first time are as pleased at our park as you were.
We had a wonderful time! And it was great to finally meet you both!
jil mohr says
to Allen…I think we all did what Nina did in the beginning about join many clubs…we did…now we only belong to the Escapees more for the support you can get on their forums then anything..others I know belong because of their mail service…we also belong to Passport America….
I am convinced of the value found in Escapees membership but I wonder about Passport America being worth it when you consider all of the restrictions. I found restrictions like no July or August in NH, No weekends, no Holidays etc. Do you just accept the higher cost and combine restricted and unrestricted rates?
Again, just depends. You only need to use PA once or twice to make it worthwhile. For example there’s a beach-front RV park in San Diego (Mission Bay) that accepts PA mid-week. The sites are $50/day normally or $25/day with PA so just 2 nights will pay your membership. PA does have restrictions and each park is different, but if you can work around them it’s worth it. Then again, if you never stay at a PA park, you’ll never need it! My advice on PA is *wait* to sign up until you think you may need to stay at one of their parks. No point carrying it early unless your planned travel route has alot of PA parks on it.
I should point out that you don’t need to be a SKP member to use the forums. They are free for anyone to join.
The Days End Directory and parks are different. To access either of those you must be a SKP member.
Jeff Stone says
As for someone whom has just started looking into full timing it, I find your reviews wonderfully entertaining and informative. Keep up the great work, and keep enjoying yourself. I will learn a lot following you! Thanks again
Doug Miller says
Big news! We now have park wide wi if throughout the park !
Whoo hooo!! Another bonus star for Benson. Cheers for the update.
Hi! I stayed at Saguaro Co-op in Benson. I was going to write a review, but you did such a thorough job, that I linked to your site. I hope that is okay. If it’s not, please let me know and I’ll remove the link. I meant to contact you before my post went live, but I forgot.
Oh TOTALLY fine! Thank you very much for the link-back!
Elliott Thomas says
We stayed there once, and the next time we went back, the dry camp was full with people waiting to get in. Anyone staying there and missing Mi Casa is missing the best Mexican food in the area.
Always great reviews- Thank you Nina! You are my go to!
Has anyone been lately (2019) to this Escapee spot in Benson? We are Newbies and several of these posts are older.
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