Are you looking for family friendly things to do at Camp Verde? Well, you have come to the right place!
There is so much to do in Camp Verde, you won’t know where to start! Visit Montezuma Castle National Monument to learn about the area’s rich history, then explore the Verde Valley Archaeology Center. Camp Verde is also known for some great horse back riding and hiking. You may even discover some cliff dwellings.
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. It’s also just 20 minutes to Cottonwod. Camp Verde sits off the banks of the Verde River, which makes it a perfect destination for canoers and kayakers.
There are so many great kid friendly things to do in Camp Verde; but the whole family can enjoy Camp Verde as well.
Top Things to do in Camp Verde (or surrounding area)
- Where to Stay in Camp Verde, Arizona
- Places to Eat in Camp Verde
- Verde Valley Archeology Center
- Fort Verde State Historic Park
- Out of Africa
- Montezuma Castle National Monument
- Slide Rock State Park
- Fort Verde State Historic Park
- Verde Valley Archaeology Center
- Clear Creek Vineyard and Winery
- Cleopatra Hill
- The Verde Canyon Railroad
- Sedona Oak Creek Canyon
- Petrified Forest National Park
- Grand Canyon
- Jerome State Historic Park
- Montezuma Well
- V-Bar-V Ranch
- Alcantara Vineyards and Winery
- Nashwa Farms
- Salt Mine Wine Cave
- Tuzigoot National Monument
- A Day in the West
- Copper Star Indoor Shooting Range
- Summer Place Pecan Farms
- Verde Canyon Railroad
- Cliff Castle Casino
- Montezuma Castle National Monument
- Jeep Tours
- Dead Horse Ranch State Park
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.
Places to Eat in Camp Verde
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.
History of the Sinaguan People.
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).
Art and Pottery
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
A Museum Experience
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.
3 HIstoric House Museums
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.
Become a Junior Ranger
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!!!
Escape to Africa
This Africa Wildlife Park 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.
African Bush Safari Tour
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.
Other Activities at Out of Africa
Out of Africa also features snakes, wolves, bears, even a rhinoceros and awesome Tiger Splash Shows.
Camp Verde is a great place to visit for the whole family – my kids loved all the history and you will too!
Montezuma Castle National Monument
Just 10 minutes from Camp Verde, Montezuma Castle is one of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in North America. The 20-room high-rise apartment, built into a recess in the limestone cliffs, was occupied by the Sinagua people between 1100 and 1425 AD.
The Castle provides a glimpse into the daily lives of these people, who farmed the fertile Verde Valley and traded extensively with other cultures throughout the Southwest. A 1/3 mile loop trail leads from the Castle Visitor Center to the base of the cliff dwelling.
Slide Rock State Park
About 30 minutes north of Camp Verde, Slide Rock is one of Arizona’s most popular state parks. The natural water slide, formed by smooth red rocks and a small stream, is a perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day.
The park also has picnic areas, hiking trails, and scenic vistas.
Fort Verde State Historic Park
Fort Verde State Park is the best place to learn about the history of Camp Verde and the Verde Valley. The fort was built in 1865 and was an active military installation for almost 30 years.
Today, the park includes several restored buildings, a museum, and a self-guided tour.
Verde Valley Archaeology Center
Verde Valley Archaeology Center is an educational facility with exhibits on local archaeology and history. They offer tours of the nearby Montezuma Castle National Monument, as well as other local archaeological sites. The center also has a lab where visitors can see archaeologists at work.
Clear Creek Vineyard and Winery
Clear Creek Vineyard and Winery is a family-owned winery that offers tours and tastings of its award-winning wines. They also have a beautiful event space that can be rented for weddings and other special occasions.
The vineyard is located just outside of Camp Verde, in the scenic Verde Valley.
Cleopatra Hill is a historic mining town located about an hour from Camp Verde. The town was founded in 1863 and was the site of several gold and silver mines. Today, the town is a ghost town, but several buildings and ruins remain.
The Verde Canyon Railroad
The Verde Canyon Railroad is a scenic train ride through the canyon of the same name. The train passes through towering cliffs, lush vegetation, and occasional wildlife.
The railroad also offers a variety of special events throughout the year, including murder mystery dinners, wine tastings, and holiday-themed rides.
Sedona Oak Creek Canyon
Sedona Oak Creek Canyon is a beautiful canyon located just outside of Sedona. The canyon is full of towering red rock formations, oak trees, and bubbling streams.
There are several hiking trails in the canyon, as well as a number of scenic overlooks.
Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park is a must-see for any visitor to Arizona. The park is home to one of the largest collections of petrified wood in the world.
The park also has hiking trails, desert landscapes, and ancient ruins.
The Grand Canyon is a canyon located in northern Arizona. The canyon is home to a variety of plants and animals, as well as several hiking trails.
The Grand Canyon also has a visitor center, and visitors can purchase tickets for tours and events.
Jerome State Historic Park
Jerome State Historic Park is a former copper mining town that is now a ghost town. The town was once one of the largest copper mines in the world.
Today, the park includes several preserved buildings and ruins, as well as a museum.
Montezuma Well is a large natural spring that is home to a variety of wildlife. The well is also a popular spot for swimming and picnicking.
The well is located just outside of Camp Verde, and there is a small admission fee.
V-Bar-V Ranch is a working cattle ranch that offers tours and trail rides. The ranch is located in the scenic Verde Valley, and visitors can get a taste of the cowboy life.
The ranch also has several hiking trails, and visitors can often see wildlife such as deer, elk, and bighorn sheep.
Alcantara Vineyards and Winery is a family-owned vineyard and winery located in Camp Verde. The vineyard offers tours, tastings, and a variety of events throughout the year.
The winery also has a gift shop, and visitors can purchase wine by bottle or the case.
Nashwa Farms is a working farm that offers tours, hayrides, and a variety of events. The farm is located in Camp Verde, and visitors can learn about the history of farming in the area.
The farm also has a petting zoo, and visitors can purchase produce from the farm store.
Salt Mine Wine Cave
Salt Mine Wine Cave is a wine cave located in Camp Verde. The cave is home to a variety of salt mines, and visitors can tour the caves and taste the salt-infused wines.
The cave also has a gift shop, and visitors can purchase wine by the bottle or the case.
Tuzigoot National Monument
Tuzigoot National Monument is a Native American ruin located in Camp Verde. The monument is home to several well-preserved buildings and ruins, as well as a museum.
The monument also has several hiking trails, and visitors can often see wildlife such as deer, elk, and bighorn sheep.
A Day in the West is a western-themed amusement park located in Camp Verde. The park has a variety of rides, shows, and attractions.
The park also has a number of restaurants, and visitors can purchase tickets for individual rides or for an all-day pass.
Copper Star Indoor Shooting Range is an indoor shooting range located in Camp Verde. The range offers a variety of firearms for rent, as well as targets and ammunition.
The range also has a pro shop, and visitors can purchase firearms, ammunition, and targets.
Summer Place Pecan Farms is a working pecan farm that offers tours, tastings, and a variety of events. The farm is located in Camp Verde, and visitors can learn about the history of pecan farming in the area.
The farm also has a gift shop, and visitors can purchase pecans by the pound or the case.
Verde Canyon Railroad
Verde Canyon Railroad is a scenic railway that offers rides through the Verde Valley. The railroad has several historic locomotives and cars, as well as a variety of scenic routes.
The railroad also has a gift shop, and visitors can purchase tickets for individual rides or for a group.
Cliff Castle Casino is a casino located in Camp Verde. The casino offers a variety of gaming options, as well as a number of restaurants and bars.
The casino also has a hotel, and visitors can purchase tickets for shows and events.
Montezuma Castle National Monument
Montezuma Castle National Monument is a Native American ruin located in Camp Verde.
Jeep Tours is a tour company that offers tours of the Verde Valley. The company has several different tour options, and visitors can choose from a variety of different vehicles.
The company also has a gift shop, and visitors can purchase gifts and souvenirs.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park
Dead Horse Ranch State Park is a state park located in Camp Verde. The park has a variety of hiking trails, as well as a lake for fishing and swimming.
The park also has a campground, and visitors can purchase camping permits.