Quartzsite vs Tampa: Which Winter RV Show Rules?
When it comes to winter-time RV events, two shows reign above all others. The Quartzsite Big Tent Show and the Florida RV SuperShow divide the majority of seasonal RVers in North America.
However, does one of these two shows reign supreme?
Today we’ll be learning about the nuances of each RV event and sharing the stats of over 400 RVers we surveyed.
Let’s dive in!
A Tale of Two RV Shows
Even though these are the two largest RV events every January – they couldn’t be more different. From the show layout to the nearby camping options, these shows are polar opposites.
The only commonality is carnival food! Both sell a wonderful variety of fried goods and meats on a stick.
The Tampa RV Show is located at the Florida State Fairgrounds. It’s across the street from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and just a few miles from downtown Tampa. Within 4 miles of the site, you can find any type of restaurant, grocer or supply store.
Quartzsite, on the other hand, is the sole attraction on a 50-mile stretch of I-10 near the Arizona & California border. Shopping is limited and dinning options are less than diverse.
However, that’s the beauty of Quartzsite. When you’re there, it’s all about the event & the RV community.
Neither Tampa nor Quartzsite take the advantage with location. It’s completely up to your preferred experience.
One of our favorite aspects of both of these RV shows is the community.
At Quartzsite the people are the key to success! This small desert town has the ability to draw RVers from across the globe to organically commune every winter. Even though it’s not as big as it once was, the town is still slammed with nomads every January.
Since Tampa is a large city, with other large cities nearby, the feeling of “pilgrimage” is much less. While we met hundreds of awesome RVers in Tampa, nothing compares to the camaraderie felt in Quartzsite.
Quartzsite wins this round!
The Camping Options
It’s pretty simple to talk about the camping difference at each show. There are two questions you must ask yourself:
- Do you want full RV hook ups?
- Do you want to spend a lot of money?
We love Quartzsite for the infinite boondocking surrounding the town. However, at Tampa, we enjoyed the amenities like a hot tub and electrical hook ups.
This round is a draw in our books. It really depends on your camping preference.
The Actual RV Show
Like the last round, this one is simple as well. If you want to attend an actual RV show with actual RVs, you have to go to Tampa.
The Tampa show has more than 1,500 units onsite, ranging from teardrops to million dollar motorhomes.
The Quartzsite RV Show, on the other hand, is a glorified flea market. Sure, there are a few good vendor booths like Dometic & Battle Born…but mostly you’ll stroll by all the “as seen on tv” products.
As for RVs, they may have 25 onsite.
Tampa clearly wins the RV show round.
What Do RVers Have To Say?
The 400+ RVers we surveyed (on Facebook & Instagram) had strong opinions and clear results. We asked them, “Quartzsite or Tampa: Which RV show would you rather attend?”
67% of the RVers we surveys said they’d rather attend the Florida SuperShow in Tampa, leaving just 33% opting for Quartzsite.
Additionally, in the comments, many of the RVers surveyed admittedly voted for the only one they’ve attended.
Here’s a few RVer opinions for Tampa:
- “There were so many more RV related products offered in Tampa than we found in Quartzsite.” Jennifer M.
- “Quartzite big tent is a joke. Only about half the products are RV related. And there are no new rigs to look at just used ones in front of the tent.” Garry G.
- “We’ve had booths at both, and Tampa wins hands down for that.” Tami J.
Here’s a few pro-Quartzsite opinions:
- “Quartzsite cause it’s a good spot to make friends and loaded with boondocking” Justin D.
- “Quartzsite because there’s 🎶too much camping for free🎶 😉” Garrett T.
However, the overall opinion is got to both!
- “Depends on what you’re looking for – they’re both completely different experiences that is worthwhile for every RVer to check out at least once.” Cherie V.
- “Been to both now & Tampa is the Far Better show. Quartzsite is fun & craziness” Jan S.
The Best FREE Camping in the USA
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Tampa, hands down! Because when not at the show you have the beautiful Tampa Bay area with the nearby barrier islands. Quartzsite is just brown dusty desert. Also, you can ride your bike in Tampa without getting flat tires from Goatheads thorns.
The downside is no vast free camping. It’s a sad fact that the poorer amongst us go to places like Quartzsite, whereas the richer go to luxury RV Resorts in places like Florida, where they chase little white balls around every day. 😆