Welcome to our (very personal) reviews of the campsites we have visited. If you arrived here from a link on our travel blog, Semi-True Tales of Our Life On the Road, you can click here to read all of our campground reviews.

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Monday, September 22, 2008


Our Opinion: Recommend. If walking/hiking is a priority for you, this is a great stop.

Date of Stay: Our third visit was Sept. 20 through 22, 2008. We also stayed twice in January/February of 2008. This photo was taken on this trip, when Justin's was virtually empty.

Weather During Stay: HOT! Highs in upper 90’s; lows in uppers 60’s. In winter, days are mild and nights are chilly.

Site Description: All 125 sites at Justin’s are unusually large for a commercial park, a big plus for us. Most are very level and most are back-ins, though there are some pull-throughs in the front row near the road. All are FHU with 50 amps. All are covered with a small rocks/huge gravel that is rather uncomfortable to walk on (Luna hates it). Saguaros and native landscaping scattered around. Roads are paved, which really helps keep the dust down here in the desert.

The “front” (south) section of the park is set up in standard rows of side-by-side sites and is slightly higher than the “back” (north) section. This photo is site 65, in the south section, taken in January of 2008.

Sites in the north section are arranged around a “golf course” (check out the third photo) - a large dirt area with 8 raised mounds, each covered with green outdoor carpeting sporting a cup and flag. We would fear for our windshield if we saw someone tee up! This area has been planted recently with native plants, and has a small pond - it will be very appealing when it matures, but the “golf course” seems pointless to us.

The single dumpster, up front by the entrance/exit, is often overflowing in snowbird season. Laundry, a clubroom, and a pickleball court round out the amenities.

Rate: In winter, we paid a weekly rate of $153, which included our electricity - around $22/night, a great deal for “high season” in/near Tucson. For this stay, well before the arrival of the snowbirds, we paid the Passport America rate of $13/night, which included our electricity (AC’s running almost constantly in the heat). Spaces in the north section are a dollar or two higher per day than in the south section.

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon works well here, including the aircard. No cable TV, but nothing to block a satellite signal. Local stations available on TV antenna. There is a local NPR station, but I forgot to write down the number. NOAA weather radio had a signal.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Though I forgot to check, I believe the elevation is around 2,500 ft - which is why Tucson is cooler than Phoenix. The park is mostly flat; one small elevation change between “front” and “back” sites. Views here are fabulous, even when the park is full. Near views are of rigs in the park and surrounding native plants. Distant views are of beautiful, arid mountain ranges, including well-known Gates Pass, covered with Saguaro cactus.

Lighting/Noise: Low lighting is unobtrusive at night. We stay in the “back” (north) section to avoid the road noise on San Joaquin Road. Residents in the nearby neighborhoods head to work early, and the sound of their vehicles stands out in the otherwise still mornings. Also some noise (not bad) from neighborhood dogs, livestock, and coyotes in the desert.

Favorite Sites: We pay a dollar or two a day more to stay in the north section, at the back of the park, ringing the “golf course”. The views are spectacular and the sites feel larger since you have no one directly behind or in front of you. Motorhomes like the row facing the mountains across the “golf course”; 5’ers choose the row adjacent to the desert. We were in site 7 on this trip/; this photo was taken when we stayed in site 6 in February, 2008.

Hiking/Walking: This is where Justin’s (and Desert Trails, next door) shines. Trails start on the north side of the park and head into Tucson Mountain Park. It is possible to hike into Saguaro National Park (long hike). The Sonoran desert here is gorgeous, and there are geocaches hidden around, too. Trails are well developed and marked. What a great amenity!

Comments: If only it was easier/quicker to get into Tucson! We come back to Justin’s (and Desert Trails, before Justin’s opened), again and again for the wonderful desert hiking, the great views, the beautiful sunsets… but complain each time we decide to go to Tucson! The nearest big grocery store is about 20-25 minutes away. The traffic on the “easy” route to Tucson (Ajo Highway) can be a real bear, so we usually take the beautiful but winding Gates Pass Road. The drive to just about anywhere we want to be in Tucson is at least 30 minutes; longer to Costco or Trader Joes.

1 comment:

Scott A. Reid said...

You guys are awesome. The LARGE pics really added realism and helped me choose parks. Thanks a million guys! Great work!