A really great spot we happened upon was Petrified Forest National Park.
You probably won’t want to spend a week there, but it’s a fascinating and beautiful day trip at least.
They do have backcountry camping, but I would not advise it in the summer.
Thankfully, we had great clouds and summer storms to add to the already dramatic landscape.
Remnants of ancient trees litter the desert…. now huge, colorful stones that were once a lush forest.
And the painted desert! Probably my favorite section of this park, for the amazing earthen colors and big blue sky.
The historic Painted Desert Inn. Worth a quick stop. Ask a ranger to show you one of the rooms… amazing! Great views too.