San Rafael State Natural Area RV & Campground Guide

Arizona

San Rafael State Natural Area

offers you a spectacular view of a landscape filled with native grasses, rolling hills, and cottonwood trees. Located about 15 miles south of Patagonia and 75 miles south of Tucson, this natural area is home to many species of animals and plants. The Huachuca Water Umbel is endangered, but it thrives in this region. You can also get a glimpse of the many bobcats, mule deer, antelope, cougars, coyotes, and native birds that are unique to the region. 

The focal point of this natural area is the San Rafael Ranch, which was constructed in the late 1800s and operated until 1999. Winter has an average high of 67°F, spring averages 83°F, summer reaches 93°F on average, and fall temperatures usually average 75°F.

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Weather
Spring 54-100 F
Summer 61-100 F
Fall 43-85 F
Winter 42-75 F
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Nearby Cities
Patagonia, AZ
Sonoita, AZ
Tucson, AZ
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RV Resorts & Campsites in San Rafael State Natural Area

Camping is not permitted in the San Rafael State Natural Area, but you can find several RV parks in the surrounding area. With an RV, it's much easier to explore the region of the San Rafael Valley and southern Arizona — you'll be able to relax and sleep in your own accommodations at the end of the day. 

If you don't have an RV, there are plenty of options to hit the road. The RVshare platform features everything from campervans to luxury motorhomes. In addition to that, RVshare wants to make your trip more convenient with 24/7 roadside assistance and nationwide insurance. 

CT RV Resort

Located near the Saguaro National Park and Mica Mountains, the CT RV Resort is a great place to relax and enjoy some quiet time. This park features large RV pads that can accommodate a wide range of rigs. CT RV Resort offers bigger discounts for longer-term visitors. 

• Water hookup: Yes

• Electrical hookup: Yes

• Sewer hookup: Yes

• Pet-friendly: Yes

• Other amenities: Full hookups, swimming pool, and putting green

Patagonia Lake State Park

The campground at Patagonia Lake State Park is very large, and you can rent some spaces for the night. If you are looking for a little isolation, you might want to reserve a spot that is only accessible by boat. 

• Water hookup: Yes

• Electrical hookup: Yes

• Sewer hookup: Yes

• Wi-Fi: Yes

• Pet-friendly: Yes

• Other amenities: Bathrooms, laundry facilities, and boat rentals

Butterfield RV Resort & Observatory

You've probably dreamed about spending a night under the stars. You'll have a great chance to observe them at the Butterfield RV Resort & Observatory. This is a family-owned park that features a private observatory on the premises. All guests are welcomed to use it to view the night sky. If you are not big into astronomy, there is an on-site putting green too.

• Water hookup: Yes

• Electrical hookup: Yes

• Sewer hookup: Yes

• Pet-friendly: Yes

• Other amenities: Observatory, clubhouse, and putting green

RV Rentals Near San Rafael State Natural Area

Nearby RV Rentals

Restaurants

What to Do at
San Rafael State Natural Area

Inside San Rafael State Natural Area

If you're looking to reconnect to nature, then San Rafael State Natural Area is the place for you. This spot is a wonderful area to see the untapped natural environment. San Rafael State Natural Area is not completely opened to the public, but you can travel the roads to see the landscape of the area. While some of the activities are limited, you are welcome to explore the dirt roads or grab your camera and capture those beautiful sights. 

Outside San Rafael State Natural Area

The closest town to San Rafael State Natural Area is Patagonia. Here, there are several places for you to dine, shop, and explore. You can enjoy the unique local cuisine as you're surrounded by the natural beauty of southern Arizona. 

Restaurants

Wagon Wheel Saloon

The menu at Wagon Wheel Saloon offers plenty of choices, from chicken wings to handmade sandwiches. If you are traveling with kids, the Wagon Wheel Saloon even has a children's menu.

Type: American

Location: Patagonia, AZ

Gathering Grounds

Gathering Grounds is another favorite cafe in the area. You can grab an espresso or sandwich in the market. If you want something sweeter, there is a large selection of ice cream. You'll also find a selection of vegan and gluten-free options. 

Type: American

Location: Patagonia, AZ

White Horse Restaurant

You will find the White Horse Restaurant located in the Stage Stop Inn. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the restaurant even if you're not a registered guest of the hotel. The menu offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner items, and there is a large selection of local wines and craft beers.

Type: American

Location: Patagonia, AZ

Ragazzi North Italian Cuisine

If you are looking to dine on some Italian fare, enjoy a meal at Ragazzi. You can find everything from classic Italian dishes to seafood. While you're there, don't forget to try the wide selection of wines on the menu. 

Type: Italian

Location: Patagonia, AZ

Velvet Elvis Pizza Company

For healthier choices in the Patagonia area, visit the Velvet Elvis Pizza Company. This restaurant has a large selection of vegetarian soups, organic salads, and juice drinks. Be sure to also try one of the specialty pizzas.

Type: American

Location: Patagonia, AZ

Shopping

Red Mountain Foods

This shop has been serving the Patagonia area since 1981. It is one of the best places for organic foods and products — you can find everything from organic produce to dried nuts. They also sell plenty of other natural products, including pantry staples, body care products, and household goods. 

Location: Patagonia, AZ

Patagonia Market

When in town, you should make a stop at the Patagonia Market. This a locally owned store that offers staples like canned goods, milk, and bread. You can also pick up other products, including frozen foods, fresh produce, and homemade tortillas. If you are looking for some wine and beer, the Patagonia Market also offers a large selection from local distilleries. 

Location: Patagonia, AZ

Sonoita Mercantile

The Sonoita Mercantile is another place to fill up your cart in the area. This general store has a little bit of everything, and you can stock up your RV with a visit here. They even have a selection of fresh meals, such as fried chicken and deli sandwiches. 

Location: Sonoita, AZ

Sightseeing

Kartchner Caverns State Park

Kartchner Kartchner Caverns State Park is a great place to explore underground caves. By the 1970s, the caves were opened to the public with 2.4 miles of passages to traverse. During the daily tours, you'll be able to see some magnificent caverns, including the Throne Room and Big Room. 

Location: Benson, AZ

Sonoita Creek State Natural Area

The Sonoita Creek State Natural Area offers visitors a chance to explore over 5,000 acres of land. While there, you can camp at the primitive sites or just hit the hiking trail to view the beautiful Santa Rita Mountains. The visitor center will help you learn more about this protected area in Arizona. 

Location: Nogales, AZ

Patagonia Lake State Park

Another great place to visit is Patagonia Lake State Park. Many people travel here for the opportunity to hike, boat, or fish. If you love to watch the birds, you can find many native species in this area. If you want to spend the night, you can rent a campsite to park your RV.

Location: Patagonia, AZ

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How to Get to
San Rafael State Natural Area

By Car

The closest major city to the San Rafael State Natural Area is Tucson. If you're traveling from that area, head on I-10E and take Exit 260 toward Nogales. You'll be traveling on I-19 E for 55 miles. Take Exit 12 toward Nogales Ranger Station. You'll want to follow AZ-82 E towards the San Rafael State Natural Area. Once you reach San Rafael Valley Road (Fr 58), you will turn right on the road to lead you into the preserved area. 


Entering San Rafael State Natural Area

The San Rafael State Natural Area is currently not open to the public. However, you can travel through Forest Service road 58 to see the landscape. There are no fees to travel this dirt road.

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If you are looking for a place to escape from it all, then you'll want to visit the San Rafael State Natural Area. This landscape is a wonderful space to explore with an RV rental from RVshare. You don't have to worry about finding a hotel room when you're traveling via a recreational vehicle. You can head into nature and set up your own place to kick back at the end of the day. During or after your adventure, be sure to send your stories and pictures to [email protected] Your vacation might even be featured on the RVshare blog or social media channels.