If you haven’t heard about Quartzsite, Arizona, you aren’t alone. Let me paint you a picture.
“Thousands of acres of wide-open desert, towering Saguaro cacti dotting the land, tall, ridged mountains looking down on the valley floor, the most gorgeous sunrises and sunsets; each one completely different than the last”. That’s just the beginning. Every November, a sleepy tiny town comes alive with RVers, van-dwellers, schoolie conversions, and off-road vehicles for the next 5 months.
Each winter, Quartzsite becomes home to one of the nation’s largest Sports, Vacation, & RV Shows, which draws crowds in the hundreds of thousands. That, coupled with a massive Rock and Gem Show, Quartzsite hosts more than 2 million visitors each year. RVers from all walks of life gather in the Arizona desert during the winter months to escape the cold temperatures of the North. During the peak of the RV show, there have been well over a million RVers scattered across the desert at one time. It sounds a bit unordinary, but until you see it for yourself, this picture will have to do.
When we made our first trip out there, we hadn’t dry camped for more than a day here and there. We didn’t think we would make it a week. We met up with our friend who invited us out and we were quickly thrown head-first into “real boondocking”. We like to say this is where we earned our “boondocking stripes”. Some say that it’s a right-of-passage for fulltime RVers. We didn’t know what the heck we got ourselves into, but we do know that we fell in love with the freedom of boondocking, and we did that in Quartzsite, Arizona.
If you are thinking about making the trip, be sure to check out all the tips and lessons learned below. I will let you in on all the little details to help you get the most out of your visit. And if you aren’t into boondocking, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered there as well.
Where is Quartzsite?
The town of Quartzsite falls in La Paz County in the southwestern part of Arizona. The winters are typically mild, which draws RV and van dwellers from around November to March. By March, you will want to have moved on due to the region’s extreme heat. It’s actually recorded as one of the hottest places in the U.S. in the summer.
Where Can You Park? Is It Free? How Long Can You Stay?
BLM Camping Areas
What Resources are Available?
If you are an experienced boondocker or looking to dip your toes in, you will need to know how to get water, where to dump trash, where to get propane, and where to dump your waste. Not to worry, they’ve thought of everything.
Quartzsite is one of those places that you just have to experience, especially if you are an RVer. The sunrises and sunsets feel like they are from a painting and the weather in the winter months is mild enough to spend at least a couple of weeks out there. If you can’t stay, the RV and Gem show are still worth the drive to check out. Quartzsite, Arizona may be a small dot on the map but it definitely leaves a big impact on the heart.
Jodi & Corey Foreman
ROAD VENTURES USA
After over 10 years of marriage, 0 vacations, we decided to sell it all and hit the road fulltime with our Two kids and our dog Bailey. We enjoy sharing full-time RV Life with others and hope to inspire others to Venture out and Get out and Explore.