7 Reasons Quartzsite AZ is a Bust | 2020 UPDATE
Every January thousands of RVers converge in Quartzsite AZ to socialize, boondock & shop. This year will be no different than the last. Or, in the words of David Byrne, “same as it ever was.”
The consistency of Quartzsite AZ isn’t comforting. In fact, over the years it simply moves from RV spectacle to waste-of-time.
Before we bash it, allow us to give Quartzsite AZ a little credit. It served as the launching point for our RV community experience – which is awesome! We learned the importance of our Honda Generator and bought one for cheap in Quartzsite AZ. Finally, it served as the basecamp for many amazing RV convergences.
And, to be clear: we think Quartzsite is a Rite of Passage for RVers, and you should definitely try it out for yourself!
Those good times made it hard to see Quartzsite AZ for what it really is. Our found emotions from friendships seeped into us thinking we “gotta go back” to Quartzsite AZ one too many times.
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We’ll break the “busts” of Quartzsite AZ down into easy-to-reference sections and include linked info when possible.
1. Groceries in Quartzsite AZ
Small desert towns aren’t known for their fresh produce, and Quartzsite is no different. We’ll stock up on groceries before we arrive (and recommend you do as well), but if you need to get groceries in Quartzsite, Roadrunner Market is your best bet.
There are also multiple dollar stores in town for dry goods. In front of most of these businesses you’ll find Glacier Water Purification Systems. These come in handy for gallon jug refills – giving you fresh water and reducing your trash.
We also recommend driving to Blythe, California for major grocery shopping. Although its about 20 miles away, the selection makes it worth the drive!
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2. Water & Dump in Quartzsite AZ
Since we don’t have to far to drive (Yuma to Quartzsite), we’ll dump our tanks and fill up with fresh water before heading into Q. If you want to wait until you get to town to dump & fill – there are a few options.
First, you can dump & fill at the RV Pit Stop. We’ve used their service before and found it easy and relatively inexpensive. Rose RV Park in Quartzsite also allows non-guests to dump & fill for a small fee.
The epic fail of these solutions is that they are always slamming busy. RVs line up in the streets as they await to dump or fill.
3. Trash Disposal in Quartzsite
Since most folks (including us) dry camp when visiting Quartzsite, there are no trash receptacles readily available. The best place to dump trash is at the La Paz Transfer Station. But, the hours of operation are not always known.
We recommend keeping trash to a minimum and packing it in small grocery bags. This allows for even easier disposal at gas station trash cans.
One thing on our list of Boondocking Essentials is paper plates – they help conserve water, stack easily in the trash bag and even work as a campfire starter 🙂
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4. Receiving Mail in Quartzsite AZ
Traveling full time in an RV always makes receiving mail slightly challenging and Quartzsite doesn’t make it any easier. If you go the General Delivery route – the post office is slamming busy and only distributes GD mail a few hours a day. You may find yourself waiting in line for hours and/or multiple days!
There is an easier, albeit more expensive option. Quiet Time allows direct deliveries from the USPS, UPS and FedEx. Each package will coast about 4 bucks to receive, but it sure beats wasting hours of your day! If you want to try this service out – give them call before hand to find out all the details.
5. Showers in Quartzsite AZ
If you’re like us and have to conserve water while boondocking, these shower options might be intriguing to you. There are two options for hot showers in Quartzsite. First, the local laundromat has a facility that includes showers. These cost around $6 and offer the luxury of washing your clothes and yourself at the same time. Super weird and somewhat sketchy.
Our most used way though is a truck stop shower. Quartzsite has a few of these available. If you’re hesitant about this option, check out our video below to see what its all about!
6. People in Quartzsite AZ
While our experience with locals has been limited, they don’t seem thrilled to have their town trampled by RVers every year. Also, customer service in quartzsite leaves a lot to be desired.
We’ve had plenty of good experiences at businesses in Quartzsite, but I’d never rank it in the top of “savvy customer service skills” polls.
7. Cellular Connectivity in Quartzsite
Why in the world would I expect Quartzsite AZ to have great cell coverage?! The towns population jumps 500% every winter and then retreats to its actually size in the summer.
The north side of town is much better than the center or west side of town, but either way you’ll be struggling to watch Netflix on its bogged down towers.
Best Free Campsite in Quartzsite
There are lots of places to camp for free (or cheap) in Quartzsite AZ. Here’s our favorite free campsites of them all:
Location: Quartzsite, AZ
Why You’ll Love It: If you need to get your Quartzsite fix – Plomosa Road is the place to camp. You’ll be surrounded by thousands of fellow campers, but (believe it or not) there’s enough room for everyone to spread out.
We like this site because it’s on the north end of town. This means you’ll have better cell connectivity and better access to a larger town (Parker, AZ) with big grocery stores.
The biggest of rigs can access this site. Its flat desert land with few obstructions.
What’s the Word: OurEndeavor on Campendium says, “If you’re headed to quartzite, capable of boondocking and have no clue where to stay once you get here look no further. Plomosa Rd is so big, easy to use for any rig, camping with friends or just want your own private slice of the desert you will find it here. It’s a little drive into town but not bad. Best part is its free.”
Quartzsite RV Show Tips
If you’re going to the world famous Quartzsite RV Show, we want to help make your experience as good as possible. Here are a few tips that will get you ready:
- Be Patient: the big tent can get crowded and the herds of people inside will be moving at a snails pace. Don’t try to speed through the show..relax and move slow.
- Good Carnival Food, Bring Tums: I love carnival food…and the Quartzsite RV Show sells it by the boatload. Bring some extra tums with you for good measure.
- Realistic Expectations: The show is pretty lame. There are WAY better (and more comprehensive) RV shows in America. You’ll see a lot of nicknacks and “as seen on tv” products…not many RV related products.
- Visit the Outdoor Flea Market: There’s an outdoor flea market on the other end of town (not associated with the RV Show). I found this to be a lot more fun to explore.
- Check out the Bargain Food Tent: Also, more exciting than the RV Tent, is the bargain food tent. They sell a lot of soon-to-be-expired food products. We love sweet deals, and this seems to be the only place to find them.
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Actual Epic RV Sites & Resources
Here are a few more “Top Free Camping Lists” and boondocking resources if you’re interested in learning more!
If you’re interested in viewing all the free campsites we visit, click here!