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Saturday, February 4, 2012


Our backyard at Justins, in premium site 74Our Opinion: Recommend.  If walking/hiking is a priority for you, this is a great stop.

Date of Stay: This is our fourth stay, coming back after 3 ½ years.  Click here to see photos of our stay in September of 2008, when we had the place to ourselves.

Weather During Stay: Wonderful Tucson winter weather -plenty of sunshine, highs in the mid-60’s and above; lows sometimes below freezing.

Site Description:  All 125 sites at Justin’s are unusually large for a commercial park, a big plus for us - all accommodate a large rig, with slides and awnings, and room to park your tow or towed.  Most are very level and most are back-ins, though there are some pull-throughs in the front row near the road. 

Almost all are sites are FHU with 50 amps (we’ve seen one with a shared water connection). All are covered with a small rocks/huge gravel that is rather uncomfortable to walk.  Saguaros and native landscaping scattered around.  Roads are paved, which really helps keep the dust down here in the desert. 

Our road at JustinsThe “front” (south) section of the park is set up in standard rows of side-by-side, back-to-back sites and is slightly higher than the “back” (north) section.  Sites in the north section are arranged around a “golf course” - 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! 

The single dumpster is up front by the entrance/exit.  Laundry (6 pairs of washers/dryers), a clubroom, and WiFi with plenty of antennas round out the amenities.  Lots of planned activities (hikes, bonfire, donut get-togethers), which we ignore but long-term campers may appreciate.

Rate: About half the sites in the park (including all the sites in the north section) are designated “premium” and cost $2 per night more than “standard” sites, $29/night vs. $27/night.  Premium sites might be slightly larger than standard sites, but seem to be considered premium because no one parks behind you; you back up either to the desert or to a wash/greenbelt, so have more privacy.  Current weekly rates are $189 (premium) vs. $175 (standard).   All fees and taxes are included in the quoted rate.  I believe they participate in Passport America in the summer (off) season.

Huge site 74Phone/radio/TV: Verizon works here (3G), including the aircard.  No cable TV, but nothing to block a satellite signal.  A few local stations are available on TV antenna, including two PBS stations.  Local NPR station on 89.1.  Wi-Fi - with about 4 antennas scattered through the park - worked very well most of the time.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Elevation here is around 2,500 ft.  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.  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 are willing to pay a couple dollars more for a premium site; we like the spacious feel, and the farther back from San Joaquin, the better for us.  In the off season, we stay in the north section; this time (high season), we were in site 74, facing south and bordering the greenbelt along the back of our site.

Office and laundry at JustinsHiking/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) 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.  Website: Justin’s Diamond J RV Park.