It can be hard to explain the phenomenon that is Quartzsite. Not accurately, at least. It can come off either sounding too amazing and grand or like a dust bowl full of crazy people. The thing is that it’s a mix of both. It is almost like a mecca for RVers. There are numerous places to park, services everywhere, and gatherings galore. Q, as it’s commonly called, is also known for windy days, swap meets, and a naked bookseller. It’s hard to capture how this all intermingles in the winter when this little town of 3,000 people sees over 1 million visitors!
Camping in Quartzsite
Quartzsite has a plethora of camping options making it a popular choice for snowbirds, especially those on a budget. The value-priced RV parks and boondocking options make it easy to stay for the season and not spend a lot. You can also pass through town and quickly find a spot. Campendium shows over a dozen RV parks in the immediate area if you want full or partial hook-ups. That’s right, a dozen in this small town!
If boondocking is more your speed, there are plenty of areas for that, too. There are many BLM (Bureau of Land Management) areas with the typical 2-week stay limit and even a nearby national wildlife refuge where you can find a spot. We’ve stayed at a few boondocking spots around town using our solar set-up for power. For those who want to stay for the season without moving every couple of weeks, check out the long-term visitor areas run by the BLM. For $180, you can stay for up to seven months in the La Posa dispersed camping area. That’s the cheapest rent we’ve ever seen.
If you’re just spending a few days or week in the area dry camping, you’ll be happy to find fill and dumping options right in town. The most well-known being the RV Pit Stop. You can do it all here- fill up with fresh water, dump your tanks, and refill your propane. I think Quartzsite is the only town a place like this could exist!
Shopping and Eating in Quartzsite
Yeah…remember this isn’t a big town. While it may have over a dozen RV parks, it has only a handful of restaurants and a few stores. You can grab a pretty good pizza at Silly Al’s and there are a few other local joints or fast food places if you’re not in the mood for Italian. Silly Al’s and the Quartzsite Yacht Club (yes, a yacht club in the desert) are popular for a night on the town.
There are a couple grocery stores in town along with a Family Dollar. For other RVer needs, you’ll find a laundromat, RV supplies, post office, and Quiet Times. What’s Quiet Times you ask? Well, it’s a stationary store that becomes the RVers mail hub during the winter. They accept packages for a fee from all carriers, so you can get your Amazon packages while in town.
It’s not like there is a mall or anything, but there are tables and tents and buildings of things to buy. You really should watch the video to understand this. It’s everything from cheap flea market stuff to overstock food to handmade goods to gems and rocks. There is a whole mish-mash of stuff happening there. As full-time RVers, we are very cognizant of how much weight and just stuff we bring into our home, so most of this isn’t really appealing to us. But we did get an electric bug zapper and a couple gifts for rockhounds.
Quartzsite RV Show
Towards the end of January, the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation, and RV Show is held bringing the big tent and more vendors. It’s pretty typical of any RV show filled with RVing accessories, hot tubs (always), kitchenware, and workamping opportunities. There are RVs for sale outside. Actually, you can find these RVs for sale before and after the show as a few dealers have outposts in Quartzsite during the season.
If the RV show is typical and you’re not a rockhound or flea market shopper, what makes Q so appealing?
Friends and RVer Gatherings in Quartzsite
During the chill of winter months, you’ll find most RVers in the southern parts of the U.S. If you’re not in Florida, it’s likely you’re in the Southwest making it very easy to find and meet-up with other RVers. Clubs, organizations, and groups of friends all take advantage of this and Quartzsite’s RV friendliness to hold rallies, gatherings, and meet-ups.
We’ve personally attended two Xscapers convergences/bashes in the area and a couple friend meet-ups. We all rolled in and celebrated New Year’s together this year because we were all within driving distance of each other and it was a good middle point. A few years ago, we even tried to install our anti-sway bars while sitting in the desert with handy friends.
The Rubber Tramp Rendevous, better known as RTR, is also held in Quartzsite along with almost every club you can imagine- Wanderlodge, Escapee BoFs, FMCA groups, Alpine Coach Association, etc. If you can find a club to join, there is probably a gathering in January or February in Quartzsite. There are even local clubs in Quartzsite you can join for the season centered around crafts, rockhounding, and more.
All these meet-ups make it easy to see friends and meet new ones if you attend. This is the main reason many of us that just pass through go to Quartzsite. We’re not in search of cheap goods to fill our RV, or to be crushed in the crowd of the RV show, but to connect with other RVers. We know we’ll see old friends and make new ones each time we visit making this stop to a weird, little RV town in the middle of nowhere worth it.