Why These RVers Went to Quartzsite, Arizona

Most RVers will tell you that visiting Quartzsite is a one and done destination. Their reason for not returning is there’s nothing to do there…well, except one week in January which is what lured them to the sleepy little town. And even that, the popularity, allure and dynamics of Quartzsite has changed. However, so not the case for us! In the last days of 2018, we made our third pilgrimage to Quartzsite and enjoyed the town’s quirkiness.

Quartzsite is literally a one-horse town and if you sneeze short, you may just miss it completely. If you need groceries, a pack of underwear or socks, and other necessities, you’ll have to drive to Blythe (22 miles west) or Parker (35 miles north).

Without sounding disrespectful, Quartzsite is a pass-through town. There is no Walmart, no decent sized grocery or big box stores, no movie theater, no Camping World, etc. except for a few sardine-packed RV parks, one RV dealership giant and a giant flea market full of people selling big rocks and little stones.

All of that said though, Quartzsite does have some cool historical value here.  Something to do with camels and the Army and some camel-whisperer dude named Hi Jolly. And, there are some pretty cool natural attractions that you won’t want to miss.

When we went to Quartzsite…

RVs of every size start to migrate after even before New Years to begin their search for the ultimate spot to hunker down for the so-called ‘RV Tent Show’.  Oftentimes, many score their site on the desert BLM land to celebrate New Year’s Even with other like-minded RVers. BLM rules dictate one can only stay for no more than 14 days in one spot; after which, you must relocate to another area. But there’s nothing saying you can’t stay in Quartzsite or the area for longer.

It’s a pilgrimage and gathering place…

Notoriously, Quartzsite is a well-known meeting place for RV nomads from all over the country. There’s tons of BLM land where RVers congregate and camp in the rocky desert. Of course, you have to want to boondock to really enjoy it’s true ambiance. Boondocking on the BLM is where the real fun is at because it certainly isn’t in the town itself; well except maybe Silly Al’s and the infamous ‘Bookstore’ where an elderly gentleman wears nothing but…

LATE EDIT: Sadly, Mr. Paul Winer, known as the Naked Bookseller, passed away in May of 2019. He will be missed. He offered so much to the Quartzsite community.

If you go to Quartzsite, you better appreciate lots of rock because that’s all your feet will be feeling during your stay. Let’s just say that your feet will hurt a little from walking. But for the OHVs and Jeep peeps, it’s game on and no bars held!

Seriously though, we really hadn’t planned on going to Quartzsite. However, the outside thermometer forced us to the area because of the very mild winter weather (warm days, cool nights).

Shortly after paying an obnoxious amount of money at a posh RV park in Yuma,  we instantly felt out of place with our dirt bikes in tow on our Idaho Tote behind our fifth wheel. But then, after perusing some Facebook pages, we heard about this big New Years Eve party with a new tribe, Xscapers. So, we  our losses, packed up our RV, filled and emptied our tanks to leave that 55-and-over RV park and head to Dome Rock area of Quartzsite.

Since we’ve had unimaginable fun in preceding years, we just knew we didn’t want to miss out this cool gathering. So we erased our penciled-in plans in our calendar and off we went to our first Xscapers New Years Eve Bash! We were off like a prom dress!

Welcome to Quartzsite!

Arriving the day before New Years’ Eve in 2018, it was a balmy 50 degrees during the day but that’s perfectly okay with us. When Mr. Sun went to shine his light in other parts of the planet, Mr. Moon made his nightly presence and a gazillion stars lit up the dark sky. Well, needless to say, when Mr. Sun would leave us, he took his warmth with him. The mercury plummeted well into the low 30s! However, the sunsets are sensational! Be it known, the desert gets pretty cold at night, so if you plan on going, pack your sweatshirts and bring an extra blanket.

On the bright side though, our 5 o’clock somewheres didn’t need ice or chilling. But the huge celebratory campfire is seriously inviting but the best part was our Xscapers tribe who made us even forget the cold!

There’s awesome potlucks and snacks. And worth mentioning, there’s a rich array of colorful and interesting beverage concoctions to litter the tabletops. But, it’s the people that were the icing on the cake. Even the few days following New Years, the party never ended. More potlucks, campfires, and bonding presided. You could say we were all emptying out our pantries, reefers and liquor lockers to prepare for the next Xscapers Annual Bash being held two weeks later in Havasu.

More partying…

About half of us who attended the New Years Eve Bash hung out in Quartzsite for another week while waiting to caravan over to Lake Havasu City for the big Annual Bash.

We hung out with our new Xscapers friends, Matt and Diana of Adventurous Way. I took advantage of some much needed tech training from Diana. Seemingly, they are more ambidextrous balancing work-life and the constant changes of electronic technology. Before we knew it, it was time to hook up and get underway to head to Lake Havasu 75 miles north of Quartzsite.

Party’s over…

The Quartzsite RV Big Tent Show is in town as is every January so we meandered into it to see what the latest and greatest gadgets, RVs and RV parts there were.

Since we are Battle Born Batteries Ambassadors, we helped market their products at their booth.

We also hung out a few more days with Matt and Diana of Adventurous Way, Phil and Stacy of You, Me and the RV, Lance and Flo of Wheelin’ with the Wendes, Al and Angie of Life Beyond the Burbs and a few other stragglers.

Once the big tent show was over, our 14-day limit was over. We met up with Matt and Diana at Palm Canyon National Wildlife Refuge public lands area for more fun tech training, help them install some solar panels and to enjoy a much quieter downtime.


A few days later, Matt and Diana left us for a new adventure elsewhere. We were on our own again looking at the mountains and canyon in the distance wondering where we’re going next.




7 Replies to “Why These RVers Went to Quartzsite, Arizona”

  1. I like the description you gave about Quartzsite, it was right on the money. There is also a gem called Randy’s Burgers. From 4-6 each day, the burgers are $1. And they are hand made with lots of grilled onions. Also, in January each year, here at Quartzsite is the RTR, “Rubber Tramp Rendezvous”, event, sponsored by HOWA, Home on Wheels Alliance and Bob Wells, author of the book, “How to live in a van, or a car”, (I think that’s the name of book). And he also has a website called Cheap RV Living. We’re 10k strong out here in Quartzsite, boondocking for this 2020 event. But, I loved your story.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read it, Bessie. It truly is an incredibly unique place. Yes, we know about the RTR and all that goes on. This past January was our forth year. I think we’re going to skip a couple years though as we will be touring the east coast. We wish you safe travels out there!

  2. Been going to and through Quartzite for the past 16 years every week. January and February is like a big swap meat. A lot of neat vendors, selling junk and gems. Quartzites population goes from about 10-15 thousand off season to over a hundred thousand during January and February.

  3. We have been to quartzsite numerous times, and although the grocery stores are small compared to Walmart, we were able to sustain ourselves. There is an abundance of RV supplies available there, and a lot of history to take in… General Patton trained his tank divisions there, petroglyphs and Pictographs throughout the area and around Blythe and Colorado river area. We always boondock on BLM land. Dave and Diane

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