Last summer I went camping for the first time and I loved it. Every time we went camping we stayed at Davis Camp in Bullhead City, Arizona, and, probably in part due to my deep connection to the river and part reasons I will never understand, it is now one of my absolute favorite places.
Technically we camped for the first time in early spring / late winter, but I don’t really count that because we were only there overnight, less than 12 hours and we froze our asses off. Plus, it was more of an emergency, not an actual planned trip. Over the the summer though, we got to camp out there over the weekend on two separate camping trips and it created some of my all time favorite summer memories and I can’t wait to go back this year.
Our first trip was right at the beginning of the summer season. My husband, my fur baby, and two of my nephews left super early (sometime around 3 or 4 am) on a Friday morning and we camped out there until Sunday evening. (On Saturday evening we were joined by two of my friends as well.)
During the summer Davis Camp can get pretty packed so I do recommend getting there early on whatever day you plan on arriving to guarantee or at least increase your chances of getting a good spot. Either that or plan on arriving later in the evening when all the locals have left. Although it is a campground, locals use it to hang out at the beach and to launch their boats.
Despite being crowded, if you plan on camping out there they have a great deal. Starting Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend they offer weekend passes, which are $15 per person and are good from sunrise on Friday to sunset on Sunday. The rest of the year it is $20 per car, per night for up to 4 people per car.
Our first trip up there to camp, was our first camping trip ever so we didn’t really know what to expect, but overall it went fairly well (minus the slight trouble we had with my nephews, but that’s a different story I think we all are trying to just move past). We ate hot dogs and hamburgers, we even took the time to make some carne asada and attempted some corn. We did cheat for one meal and ordered Little Cesar’s, but hey that’s one of the advantages when you camp among civilization. When it came to breakfast, we (my nephews, my husband and I) depended on donuts, but my friends who arrived on Saturday saved us and made us a real breakfast of eggs, potatoes and bacon on Sunday morning.
On our first morning there, we (I’m now ashamed to admit this) laughed at a family as we watched them try to move a giant rock from one campsite to another. (Davis Camp is located right at the base of Davis Dam so in the morning the water level is incredibly low before they open up the dam.) We could not understand why they were doing this, until the water started to rise and we realized they had tied all of their flotation devices to the rock, anchoring them in float-able deep water. We had planned to anchor our float things to the shore with a long rope, not thinking that the current would pull them back to shore. Lesson learned.
Luckily the four of us sucked it up and swam out in the icy river with goggles to find another large rock which we could then tie our rafts to. (The next morning we did as the family next to us had done and found our rock and did our securing before the water was released.)
Flotation crisis averted, we spent the day floating in the river, listening to music and napping in hammocks. It was so relaxing. At night we enjoyed some music and we brought a bunch of card games that we never played, instead we just enjoyed the darkness and talked.
Our second camping trip up there, we were more prepared as far as water (we ran out and had to buy extra on our first trip), the type of food we needed and we could prepare easy (no Little Cesar’s this time), and most importantly the type of equipment we needed. Last time we brought no wind protection, which if you know the area at all you know it can blow pretty hard, and we depended on the grill pits at the campsite. This time around we brought tarps to block the wind and our own little grill. For comfort, we also brought a second ice chest, separate chests for the food and the drinks, some extra lights for the tent, and actual cooking utensils.
This time my sister-in-law and her boys joined us on the camping trip. Same as with my nephews, during the day we floated in the water and napped in hammocks. At night we enjoyed music and this time did play card games.
One thing to beware of, some of the people that come out to camp here think they can do whatever they want at night despite the clearly posted quiet hours. This was the only real downfall to both of our trips, but we now know how to handle it.
The campground has posted quiet hours as 10:00 pm to 6:00 am, however, there is no one on site to enforce this, besides the occasional random police patrol.
Both times we camped out here we ended up next to the loudest, rudest, rowdiest group of people. And both times they wanted to party all night. On our first trip, we didn’t really know what to do, so we called the number for the campground, which went to the entry booth onsite, which of course was empty after hours, but we left a message anyways. Figured there would at least be a note of it in the morning. Although this group did start to pass out and quiet down around 2 or 3 in the morning, we still decided to follow up with the park rangers. We let them know in the morning what had happened and they came down and spoke to them. Our second night they still went past quiet time, but they were done by midnight which I think is reasonable.
During our second camping trip, we got stuck with even worse neighbors. This time not only were they loud and rude, they were gross and yelling profanities and singing karaoke, and at 3 am showed no signs of stopping.
Now normally I’m not the person to complain and I’m really not the person to call the cops, but after our last trip, I didn’t know what else to do and I couldn’t handle them going all night so I called the cops and later learned that’s actually what I’m supposed to do with people violating the quiet hours.
At first, I called just the local police department, which as soon as I mentioned where I was at they directed me to the sheriff and within an hour they were there and shut their party down. It was so quick, so easy, and such a relief.
One thing I also forgot to mention is Camp Davis, does have showers. They aren’t the fanciest or cleanest, but your camping. How great do you need it to be? The water is hot and there is enough pressure to help you get all the sunblock, dirt and sand off you for a good night’s sleep.