10 Easy Camping Tips at Lake Pleasant

Camping at Lake Pleasant near Scorpion Bay is open year-round and a great way to enjoy the fresh air, open spaces, and great facilities available just 45 minutes outside of Phoenix. However, due to Arizona weather, the best months for camping around the lake are February, March, April, September, and October.

Set on 23,362 acres, Lake Pleasant Regional Park offers 148 sites for RV and tent camping. Developed and semi-developed sites are available and a beautiful and comfortable way to immerse yourself in nature. You’ll find all the essentials available at each developed site, including water, electricity, dump station, ramadas, picnic tables and grills. Semi-developed sites have a covered ramada and picnic table, barbecue grill, and fire ring. Restroom and shower facilities are offered to both types of campsites. The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department's online campsite reservation system allows park visitors to make reservations for campsites six months in advance.

Make reservations

Here’s a link to Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department’s facilities reservations website so you can reserve your camping spot by Lake Pleasant up to six months in advance.


Desert Tortoise Campground has 76 campsites, 25 developed sites, 41 semi-developed sites, and 10 tent sites. Each “Developed Site” has water, electricity, a dump station, a covered ramada, a picnic table, a barbecue grill and a fire ring. Each “Semi-developed Site” and tent site has a covered ramada, a picnic table, a barbecue grill and fire ring. Restroom and shower facilities are available at both types of campsites.

Lake Pleasant Shoreline Camping at Lake Pleasant Regional Park offers shoreline/primitive camping during most of the year, depending on water levels. These campsites and areas can be quite popular during holiday weekends so make a reservation.

Roadrunner Campground at Lake Pleasant Regional Park offers 72 sites for RV and tent camping. All sites are Developed. Each “Developed Site” has water, electricity, a dump station, a covered ramada, a picnic table, a barbecue grill and a fire ring. Restroom and shower facilities are available at both types of campsites.

Camping tips*

Roughing it is fun until it’s not. Why not think ahead and allow a bit of creativity to make things easier for you on your next camping trip? Save space, time, weight, and money by considering these easy camping tips and tricks.

  1. Use a sleeping bag case stuffed with clothes as your pillow. Stuffing a pillow into your bag takes up a lot of space. To form the ultimate camping pillow, take the case for your sleeping bag and stuff it full of your softest clothing. If you desire more support, then simply add more clothing! It’s a great way to save space in your bag.
  2. Use gallon jugs of water as ice packs in your cooler. Bringing ice on a camping trip can be difficult. It melts quickly and turns into a watery mess. As an alternative to pouring ice into your cooler, freeze gallon jugs of water and put them in instead. They won’t crack when frozen, and these jugs have built-in room for expansion in freezing. Then, as the ice warms and turns into water, you’ll have drinking water ready without having to haul extra. This works with individual bottles too!
  3. Corn chips and Doritos make great kindling. Did you know? A handful of Doritos will do a beautiful job of starting a fire. The corn oil in these chips is flammable and provides a steady burn that will allow you to get your fire started.
  4. Crack eggs ahead of time and store them in a water bottle for an easy breakfast. Be sure to store these in your cooler so they won’t spoil. This is a great way to avoid toting fragile eggshells with you.
  5. Put a hot water bottle in the foot of your sleeping bag. With this trick, we take advantage of the heat-storing capabilities of water to bring some heat to our most remote extremities: our feet. As we snuggle into our sleeping bags, feet seem to be the last part of the body to warm up. Fill a container with hot water just before you retire for the evening. Toss it into the foot of your sleeping bag and enjoy the long-lasting warmth it offers.
  6. Use Frisbees as plates. The lip of the Frisbee holds food and sauces in neatly. These serve a dual purpose and each camper can carry their own.
  7. Sleeping bags? Sleeping bags are generally either synthetic fluff or down feathers, and each has its respective perks and disadvantages. Synthetic is cheaper and dries quickly but takes up quite a bit of room. Down sleeping bags are costlier and retain moisture but can compress into remarkably small shapes for packing and are generally warmer. A twin sleeping bag filled with down will not only keep you warmer, but can be stuffed into a small, portable sack to make transporting it a breeze.
  8. DIY Ice Pack: This make-your-own-ice-pack hack is reusable, so it’s good for the environment as well. First, purchase an inexpensive pack of sponges or just find some old ones around the house. These sponges will not be cleaning anything, so just find a big sponge that’s cheap. Next, grab a big bowl of water, immerse the sponges, and let them soak up as much water as possible. Put each sponge in a small sandwich bag with a zip close. Then freeze the wet and bagged sponges overnight.
  9. A Swiss Army Knife is a classic that’s affordable for most campers, so losing it isn’t traumatic. It’s light and compact, and campers can use the Phillips-head screwdriver about a thousand times every weekend.
  10. Give the kids jobs to do. Don’t be so busy making things nice that the kids are just standing around. Delegate easy jobs like finding kindling and setting up camp furniture so they feel involved. And be sure to leave no trace when packing up to leave. Have the kids help you pack up the trash.

*Courtesy KOA and Family Handyman

Plan now to make your next camping adventure a comfortable and exciting experience at Lake Pleasant near Scorpion Bay Marina.

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Scorpion Bay is Arizona’s premier floating playground, offering everything from daily pontoon and ski boat rentals to slips for harboring your yacht (or dinghy). Come for the fishing or come for the frolicking—either way, incredible mountain views, fantastic dining and world-class marina services await less than an hour out of Phoenix.