RV Destination: Quartzsite, Arizona
What and where is Quartzsite? And why would you want to visit? RVillage members share their helpful tips, information and experiences about Quartzsite, Arizona.
Newbie or seasoned snowbird, you've probably heard of Quartzsite. If you've never visited, you may be curious why so many people head to this snowbird mecca every winter. RVillagers explain “what,” “where” and “how!”
What is Quartzsite? History
From Desert USA: "In 1856, settler Charles Tyson built a fort at the present site of Quartzsite to protect his water supply from attacks by Native Americans. Fort Tyson soon became a stopover on the Ehrenberg-to-Prescott stagecoach route, eventually becoming known as Tyson's Wells. After the stage stopped running, it became a ghost town. A small mining boom revitalized the town and it became known as Quartzsite in 1897. It remained a mining town until 1965, when the Pow Wow Rock, Gem & Mineral Show initiated the rockhound winter migration to Quartzsite each year."
Where is Quartzsite and why winter there?
Located 20 miles east of the California border on I-10, an estimated 750,000 to one million "snowbirds" flock to Quartzsite for the mild winter months.
Visitors stay several weeks or several months—enjoying activities such as rock hounding, off-road ATV riding, shopping at the Quartzsite RV Show (also known as "the big tent") in January, hiking, visiting abandoned mines, and simply enjoying the warm & sunny desert climate.
Pro tip: Quartzsite is affectionately known as "Q" in the RVing community.
Camping around Quartzsite
There are multiple RV parks around the town, but many visitors take advantage of the abundant free or low-cost bureau of land management (BLM) camping areas. Many RVillagers are repeat visitors, coming to Quartzsite year after year.
Note: For the winter 2020-2021 season, sadly, there may be less of our fellow snowbirds traveling down from Canada, as well as less other seasonal visitors.
How do you find camping when you get there?
Camping on BLM land
The official BLM website for information about LTVAs (long term visitor areas): low-cost camping with limited services such as water, dump stations, and dumpsters. Season permits are $180 covering the period from September 15 to April 15. See MAP and RULES.
Note: The BLM-LTVAs opened for the winter 2020-2021 season on September 15, 2020.
Two popular LTVAs in the Quartzsite area:
- Laposa LTVA, just minutes south of Quartzite, on Rte 95
- Imperial Dam LTVA, an hour south of Quartzite—this LTVA is its own big community!
Here is information about FREE BLM camping around Quartzsite plus information on where to do laundry and get mail, groceries and supplies around "Q."
New to boondocking? Learn more here: The RVillagers Guide to Boondocking.
Wondering how you will handle your RV tanks?
RVillagers offer tips about fresh and waste water management from their experience in Quartzsite.
Questions about safety & security around Quartzsite?
Fellow RVillage Quartzsite campers offer neighborly advice.
Planning to off-road with your ATV?
The desert is great for this, and Arizona welcomes you. Make sure your vehicle has the Arizona off-road vehicle sticker.
Don't miss all the talk about Quartzsite—join these these RVillage groups, and ask questions or share your tips:
- Quartzsite Shenanigans!!
- Quartzsite Boondockers
- Free Camping, Boondocking, and Camping on Public Lands
More Quartzsite resources
Quartzsite events and sights
- Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show (a/k/a "The Big Tent")
- List of other shows and events
- For history buffs
- Quartzsite museum
Come, relax, enjoy the beautiful desert sunrises & sunsets, and hang out with your fellow RVillagers. Check the Get-Togethers page often (search "Quartzsite")—or create a few of your own while you are there all winter. Don't forget to set your location and check the RVillage explorer map to see who else is in the area. Have a great winter in "Q!"
Helpful trip planning apps
- Sign up for Togo RV Plus for route-planning, GPS navigation specific to your RV, helpful checklists for campsite setup/departure, and more!
- Use Roadtrippers for trip planning, and finding interesting & fun attractions along your route.
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