10 Spectacular Places to Camp in the Summer


Cave Springs Campground, Ariz.

"Arizona? Why would I visit a desert in the summer?" you might ask yourself. However, with its rugged bluffs and majestic vistas, the Grand Canyon state makes for an attractive summer camping destination. While the rest of Arizona roasts at temperatures that can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius), you can cool off at Cave Springs, one of Arizona's most popular campgrounds, far away from the baking desert.

From the campground in the heavily wooded Oak Creek Canyon, visitors can access hiking trails, explore the many bird-watching spots (you might spot the black phoebe and the yellow warbler, among other species), and fish in the Oak Creek itself [sources: USDA Forest Service, Northern Arizona Audubon Society]. Equipped with grills, restrooms and coin-op showers, this campground is great for families with young children or less experienced campers. However, its popularity and accommodations come at a price: The site is often quite crowded, especially on weekends. If your schedule is flexible, take advantage and head out on a weekday [source: USDA Forest Service].

Cave Springs Campground is a riparian site (meaning it's next to a natural water source), so it keeps the heat at bay better than most of its surrounding region [source: Merriam Webster]. However, it's still in the middle of a desert, and Smokey the Bear can tell you that that means fire. Campers should always check weather conditions and fire advisories before heading out to a site -- if there's one thing that will sour a summer camping trip, it's having the campground wiped out by flames before you arrive.

Cave Springs isn't the only site that shows off its cool rock formations. Read on to find out how chemistry created some of the most spectacular stonework in the United States.