Watch us camp like pros with kids at Dead Horse Ranch State Park near Cottonwood, Arizona, while exploring other state and national parks nearby. There is so much to see and do in this area, it took a lot of videos to show just this one weekend, and then some. We still didn’t see everything there is to see in that area.
Dead Horse Ranch, Cottonwood, Arizona
Music: bensound.com Enigmatic
We camped at Dead Horse Ranch near Cottonwood, Arizona for the twins birthday. We loaded up my refurbished military trailer and headed out to Dead Horse Ranch, about a three-mile drive up the B-line Highway, and then across the 260 into Cottonwood, Arizona.
Here’s some of the gear we took with us that you might find helpful to make your camping experience comfortable and fun; especially for the wife and kids:
- Large Eureka! Tent – add additional “men” to your tent size so you have room for your gear.
- Large Tarp to put under your tent
- Outdoor mat to leave your shoes on
- Awning to cover your mat and table
- Folding Table
- Propane Camping Stove
- Cast Iron Skillet
- Water Kettle
- Camping dishes
- Water Jug Pump
- Hydration Backpacks
- Blow Up Mattress
- Sleeping Bags – be sure to check the temperature rating based on where you’ll be camping.
- Sleeping Pad
- Corn Hole/Bean Bag Toss
- Portable Power
- A First Aid Kit
- A place to sit
- A big bright lantern
- Communication – some cheap Walkie Talkies you don’t mind the kids losing or breaking.
- Plastic tubs to store everything in
Get your wood locally to prevent the spread of insects and tree diseases.
We get our water from a Thrifty Water and Ice Store. They are all over the place.
Most importantly, just take your family camping and have fun with whatever gear you have; just make sure you have shelter, food, and some emergency supplies. Remember kids love camping and spending time with their parents, and having the right equipment makes it more enjoyable.
Jerome State Park and Audrey Shaft
While in the Verde Valley, near Cottonwood, Arizona, we took a trip up to Jerome State Park at the Douglas Historic Home in Jerome, Arizona. We also stopped by the Audrey Shaft Park next door.
The kids got their first Junior Ranger badges at this state park and learned a lot about mining underground. We saw a lot of cool old mining equipment and diagrams of the billion-dollar mine.
We also took a trip out to Perkinsville along the Jerome-Perkinsville Road.
Music: “Chromatic Fantasia (Bach BWV 930)” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Tuzigoot National Monument, Clarkdale, Arizona
Just below Jerome, Arizona, next to Clarkdale, is a great place to visit called Tuzigoot National Monument. They have a set of ancient ruins that you can actually go inside of and explore. You can even get a great view from on top of the ruins.
Music: Wings by Nicolai Heidlas
Montezuma’s Castle and Well
The trip to Montezuma’s Castle was interesting, but not one of our most fun. The Well, on the other hand, was quite scenic and exciting. I also got to enjoy some Native American Flute Music performed live by Harry Seavey.
Montezuma’s Castle had a nice visitor’s center and some interesting things to purchase and watch, but the Castle itself was a bit disappointing. We couldn’t get as up close to it as other sites we had recently been to, and it was much more crowded and noisy than the others as well. Still, the flute music was nice, and if you’re looking for souvenirs this is definitely the place.
Montezuma’s Well was far more interesting with a more involved hike. Especially going down to the outlet on the back side of the well is a very nice and scenic place to be. The giant trees and man-made ditch are especially fun to see.
You cannot walk from one place to the other (it’s a 20-minute drive partially along the freeway), which may be while most people don’t show up as well after seeing the Castle, which is unfortunate because the Well is likely the better spot to see.
These are probably the most popular Verde Valley Archeology sights to go see, but there are plenty more in the area. Be sure to check out my other videos for more great places to visit like this.
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