We also live in the valley, the east valley specifically. We did one of our first shake down trips in Lost Dutchman SP (Apache Junction area) last spring. I think most of the people in there were doing shake down visits that time of year (full hook ups as we ran the A/C that weekend and let the kids watch movies - not our normal "camping" experience). I believe there is another campground near Cave Creek that would do too. We do a lot of camping near Payson and up on the rim, but our first shake down trip I was glad we were closer to home. We needed a totally different weight distributing hitch and we were pretty terrified that first trip out with the amount of sway we were getting! We switched to the Equalizer hitch and have never had any sway since and we have already towed it all over the western US.
FYI... we were able to get reservations for one of the California beaches near Carlsbad for fall break. We had to book the day the dates were available to get them which is 6 months out (booked last spring). I have been trying to get those reservations for years! I actually put it in my Google calendar to remember to make the reservation and even then I got the LAST site available.
Jill & Tim
4 kids ('06,'07,'08 &'09) and the cat
2013 Ford Expedition 2WD, Heavy Duty Tow Package
2015 Jay Flight 28BHBE, Equalizer Hitch
(upgraded from 2007 Fleetwood Williamsburg pop-up)