Camping is one of those must do families activities, and a weekend camping experience at Lynx Lake with kids has been one of favorites! It’s under 2hrs away from Phoenix, with pine trees and a gorgeous lake to explore. Even beginner campers will find this campground easy to navigate and comfortable.
We’re not avid campers, but have been a couple times over the years with our kiddos. Yes, it can seem like a lot of work, both with food and supplies! We started a bin system last year that has made it easier to store, keep track, and pack up our camping items for the weekend. We also keep favorite meals listed for quick shopping. If you’re just wanting to try camping without all the big purchases, try borrowing a tent and sleeping bags from a friend. The Arizona Hiking Shack also offers rentals!
Campground in Prescott
We stayed at the Lynx Lake Campground for this weekend. Spots can be easily reserved online here. We chose a spot with a nearby vault toilet (no showers). Be sure to double check any fire restrictions. Shortly after we arrived, the camp host swung by to check us in and go over the rules.
Our camping spot included plenty of tent space, with a picnic table, fire ring/grill, and a tall hook to hang trash. There was some shade nearby depending on the time of day. Overall, we loved this campground; each site had a secluded feel without being remote, and was no more than 10 minutes away (walking) from the lake.
For our Friday-Sunday trip we had two dinners, two breakfasts and one lunch. Breakfasts were the same with boiled eggs, precooked sausage and bacon, muffins, and fruit. And coffee. Our one lunch on Saturday was sandwiches, chips, and fruit. (For Sunday’s lunch we ate out, since camping checkout was at noon.) For Friday night dinner, we did the easy hotdogs menu, with chips, salad, and cucumbers. The second night dinner was a fun mini pizza idea I found on Pinterest, and a veggie tray. You toast each half of an English muffin over a fire (we used a pan), and then add pizza sauce, desired toppings like pepperoni, and cheese before returning to the pan for 4-5 min while the cheese melts. This was fun, but somewhat time consuming dinner. I’d do it again, but allow an hour for the process (i.e. make them before the kids are starving).
Of course we also had s’mores each night, and brought along snacks and drinks. Our food for four + baby fit nicely into a cooler with ice, and a dry foods plastic bin. We abrought wood from home for the fires. There is also an ARCO gas station up the road (Hwy 69 and Walker Road) that usually has wood bundles for sale.
Family Things To Do in Prescott
I feel like we barely scratched the surface on Prescott activities! Half the time the kids just wanted to explore in the woods by our campsite. We also didn’t venture to downtown Prescott, which is quite fun with all the shops and restaurants around the beautiful courthouse. The two main activities we did were at Lynx Lake, and exploring at the Highlands Center for Natural History.
Lynx Lake has a 2.4 mile loop path around the perimeter, which is good for all ages. Portions are stroller friendly, but we recommend against it due to rocks jutting out in various places. At certain times of the year the water may be high and it can be difficult to cross the dam. Parking is available at the south shore boat ramp, or the north shore picnic site. Parking is $5/car.
Near the north shore picnic site is also the Lynx Lake Cafe, Store & Marina. You can rent boats here! Kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, and more are available for hourly, half day and day rentals. (No babies allowed.) We switched between kayaks and canoes for 2hrs and loved it. It was super fun to explore the lake and observe various fish and birds. Just watch out for fisherman in the coves.
The Highlands Center for Natural History is a must visit with kids. The center is free, with numerous hiking trails with paved and non paved options. The mini botanical gardens feel will let families learn more about the plants and local wildlife. Stop by the visitors center for a free map, as well as a children’s scavenger hunt page! These trails also connect with others around and near Lynx Lake, if you’re looking for a longer hike experience.
For sure stop at the Forest Play area as well. It’s a gorgeous nature based playground, with climbing options, a sandbox, and more. We loved the trails, and loved this area even more! So peaceful and beautiful.
Camping in Prescott
On the way home we stopped by Watson Lake. With tired kids and a crabby baby, we didn’t stay long (there was also a festival in the main parking lot, making it super crowded), but did enjoy walking around the lake and flying the drone.