Things to do in Camp Verde
Even though I grew up in Arizona, I had never been to Camp Verde. I had driven near or through it, but never stopped. I had no idea how much history lies there.
It’s just about an hour from Phoenix, Flagstaff, Prescott, and Payson. Camp Verde sits off the banks of the Verde River, which makes it a perfect destination for canoers and kayakers.
Camp Verde is also known for some great horseback riding and hiking. You may even discover some cliff dwellings.
There are so many great kid-friendly things to do on Camp Verde, but the whole family can enjoy Camp Verde as well.
Where to Stay in Camp Verde, Arizona
We were completely clueless when it came to looking for a place to stay. But one thing stood out and that was that people went there to camp, enjoy nature and relax and lay low.
My husband is not the camping type, and I don’t think we’re quite ready to pile ourselves, father in law and two young kids in an R.V. So, we did some searching and discovered this cute place called Verde Ranch RV Resort. At first I thought it was an R.V. resort but then I realized that they also offered cabins. Large cabins. Large enough to fit the whole family!
Verde Ranch RV Resort
Our cabin at Verde Ranch RV Resort was the cutest! It had 2 bedrooms and a loft with a bed. The kids absolutely loved it!
The cabin was very functional with a kitchen, living room, a comfortable bathroom and plenty of storage. The one thing that I particularly liked was the separate A/C zones. Even though the cabin isn’t big it has 3 A/C zones with a unit in each bedroom and one in the living room.
I always like my environment 3 degrees cooler than my husband does so I was in heaven! The kids loved the 3 large flat screen TVs which gets you the local channels and even Netflix for those who know how to use the remote. I didn’t, my kids did, so it was cartoons all weekend…
The outside has a nice BBQ area with a table big enough to fit 4 people comfortably. Speaking of outside, the cabin connect to the outside with 3 doors which is very convenient. One in each bedroom, plus the one door in the living room
Having a playground on the property was amazing. Especially when you’re tired from a long day of activities and the kids have more energy left than the Energizer Bunny… It was clean, safe, and more importantly, our cabin was right next to it!
Another cool feature of the Verde Ranch RV Resort is that the Verde River flows right behind it. A two minute walk from our cabin you could sit down by the river and listen to water. We saw people with fishing poles but I’m not sure what kind of fish is in this part of the river. I read other parts of the river have small mouth bass, catfish, large mouth bass, and bluegill.
The trail along the river is very easy. My father-in-law has some health problems that prevent him from going on hikes or challenging walks. He was able to walk the trail and enjoy himself without feeling too challenged.
The activity center is packed with things to do. From the games in the clubhouse to the swimming pool, there is something for everyone. They even have a splash pad!!
The clubhouse is large and comfortable. It’s a great place to relax while the kids stay entertained with the many games and activities including: a pool table, a shuffle board, a ping pong table, and more.
The kids loved playing table tennis before jumping into the pool. There were unusual high winds during our stay but that did not stop the kids from enjoying the large swimming pool and the splash pad. The splash pad is a really nice touch. I’ve been to many hotels and resorts and this was the first place I visited that had one.
The clubhouse is a great place to hang out and play games like pool and shuffleboard.
Verde Ranch RV Resort Cares About Your Safety.
We didn’t need to use it, but the resort also has a beautiful laundry room. “Beautiful laundry room” that might sound strange, but look at it, it’s beautiful!
There is plenty of space for the kids to run around and play or ride their bikes around the resort.
You will find a whole schedule of activities and events when you go there – we ran into Malta Joe who parked his food truck there and served delicious savory pastries.
Where to Eat
Breakfast in Camp Verde
Udderly Divine is very popular, so if you want to try their delicious cinnamon buns, you should arrive early. At the time I am writing this article they are remodeling the front of the restaurant, so there is no signage on Main Street for it.
Thanks a Latte Espresso Cafe
We had delicious pistachio and chocolate muffins and coffee at Thanks a Latte Espresso Cafe. The coffee was amazing.
Lunch in Camp Verde
Dinner in Camp Verde
My parents had told me about this restaurant and we love Mexican food so we saved our appetites for this.
They happened to have a Margarita special which made my husband and father-in-law very happy.
Dinner was delicious. Everything tasted authentic.
We wanted fried ice cream but they had run out of it because of Mother’s Day.
The ambiance was amazing, service was on point and we wobbled out of there. We would drive there from Phoenix just for dinner. It’s that good!
If you’re looking for BBQ, Babe’s Roundup is the place. The place is cozy and comfortable. The service is friendly and efficient.
They have so many options on their menu but I enjoyed the burger and sweet potato fries.
Verde Valley Archeology Center
The Verde Valley Archeology Center is a non-profit Arizona corporation that values the human adaptation to the Verde Valley and feels that both artifacts and archaeological sites should be protected and preserved as the top priority.
They are also the Official Nonprofit Partner of the National Park Service for Montezuma Castle National Monument and Tuzigoot National Monument and the Regional Coordinator for the Arizona Site Steward Program.
Inside this center full of history, there is lots of information about the Sinagua. The Sinaguan people lived in Central Arizona from about A.D. 650-1450.
These are Ollas (Spanish word meaning “large pot).”
The Sinagua of the Verde Valley used them for storing corn, beans and water. The ones with the black pit lining were used to store water to sustain Puebloan families through poor harvests.
These are the “Reservation Baskets”; they were made after the Yavapai and Apache were forced to leave (The Exodus) the Verde Valley to the San Carlos Reservation in 1875.
Before then the baskets and possessions were burned when the owner died. However, they sold these for income when they were forced to leave (The Long March of February 27, 1875).
There is also an Fine Art Gallery which started with the donation of the three original Paul Dyck Painting from the Paul Dyck Foundation.
There is also pottery and items from gathering and farming.
Here is the lab where they process archeological artifacts.
The Verde Valley Archeology Center is packed with history and definitely worth visiting. Don’t forget to pick up the Self Guided Tour Booklet on your way in.
Fort Verde State Historic Park
Fort Verde State Historic Park is a well-curated museum experience that displays Arizona’s military history of the late 1800’s.
The former Military Headquarters building is the main museum with artifacts, photos, videos, and interpretive exhibits focused on delivering the story of the Indian Wars history and lives of those who lived and served at Fort Verde.
We experienced all three historic house museums on Officer’s row: Commanding Officer’s Quarters, Bachelors’ Quarters and the Doctor’s & Surgeons Quarters, all furnished in the 1880’s period.
The lifestyle and possessions of soldiers, Indian Scouts, settlers, doctors, and Native Americans are all on display at this comprehensive museum.
Interactive displays, and staged scenarios help visitors to take a step back in time and feel the history.
Read about the Period History HERE.
If you’re between ages 6–12, you can become a Junior Ranger at Fort Verde State Historic Park! Pledge to do your part to help preserve the beauty of the park for everyone to enjoy!
They also took the Junior Ranger Pledge: “As an Arizona State Parks Junior Ranger, I pledge to help the park rangers protect and preserve habitat, wildlife, and help keep the park clean and safe for visitors and wildlife.”
Print out the activity sheet and check out the visitor center.
Out of Africa
Out of Africa is absolutely amazing! I really didn’t know what to expect. I’ve been to a few popular zoos so I thought it would be a similar experience. Boy was I wrong!!!
Out of Africa is a realistic escape to Africa. Not only because it has a wide variety of African animals, but because it is setup as a safari. What makes it especially realistic is that the Camp Verde area has kind of a similar look and feel to some parts of Africa.
The one thing that is obvious at Out of Africa is that the animals are well cared for. The various habitats are carefully designed and the animals have more than enough room to live almost as if they were in the wild.
There you will see a few lions, tigers, a black leopard, but you won’t see any cubs. They don’t breed big cats at the park which makes it a very ethical.
We took the African Bush Safari Tour which is done in a bus. It was amazing to see the giraffes during the tour. Those gentle giants popped their heads inside the bus to be fed by our amazing tour guide. Giraffes are not the only animals you will see on the safari.
From the bus you will be able to enjoy beautiful Zebras, Emus, Ostriches, Water Buffalo’s, Camels and so much more.
Out of Africa also features snakes, wolves, bears, even a rhinoceros and awesome Tiger Splash Shows.
If you are feeling adventurous, check out the Predator Zipline!
Camp Verde is a great place to visit for the whole family – my kids loved all the history and you will too!