9 Best Things To Do in Quartzsite, Arizona
If you’re looking for things to do in Quartzsite, Arizona, you’ve come to the right place.
For the last five years, my wife and I have been traveling the USA full time in our vintage Airstream. Quartzsite is a must-see destination for ALL RVers in America.
It’s the only town in the USA that hosts tens of thousands of campers every winter. Here’s the best part, most of the campsites and activities are absolutely free!
Today we’re sharing the best of what’s around.
Let’s dive in!
Quartzsite Annual Mineral Shows and Swap Meets
Price: Free to shop.
Why You’ll Love It: Known as a rockhound mecca since the 1960s, over a million visitors, come to this area during January and February each year.
Thousands of vendors with minerals, gems, rocks, fossils, and everything imaginable set up in a swap meet (flea market) and at least 8 official shows, offering an educational and interesting shopping experience in the desert.
Address: 1055 Kuehn Rd, Quartzite
What’s the Word: “This is my favorite rock show. It rocks!” (Yelp)
Quartzsite AZ Vibe Score: 8/10
Quartzsite Sports, Vacation, and RV Show
Why You’ll Love It: HUGE RV and accessories show with trailer and motorcoach dealers, as well as lifestyle vendors with add-ons for your rig and gifts for yourself. Get anything you need to enhance your camping experience.
The Quartzsite RV show is a rite of passage for full-time RV travelers.
Address: 700 S Central Blvd, Quartzite
What’s the Word: “We believe accidentally coming across this show changed our lives and got us out of boondocking into an RV! It’s the Sturgis of RV’ers.” (Facebook)
Quartzsite AZ Vibe Score: 9/10
Reader’s Oasis Book Store
Price: Free to browse
Why You’ll Love It: A jam-packed bookstore with an unusual and eclectic collection of genres, but especially southwest topics. This bookstore is truly a funky Quartzite gem.
We’re sad to report the eclectic owner has since passed.
Address: 690 E Main St, Quartzite
What’s the Word: “Very unusual and a must stop for anyone who likes print. There is so much packed in here, it is a treasure trove.” (Google reviews)
Quartzsite AZ Vibe Score: 7.5/10
Hi Jolly Tomb
Why You’ll Love It: Have you ever visited a camel caretaker’s tomb? Well, now you can add this offbeat roadside attraction to your list. In 1856, over 70 camels were imported to transport freight and people across the desert southwest, and they came with a caretaker named Hadji Ali, who to locals became known as Hi Jolly.
The Civil War intervened, and the camels were set free. Hi Jolly remained and lived until his 70s. He was so beloved that the locals built a stone and petrified wood tomb which was later improved with a bronze plaque and camel silhouette.
Address: W. Elsie Lane and Hi Jolly Lane, Quartzite
What’s the Word: “Interesting monument and unique story in history. Nice to visit for a short time and learn something of the area. Well kept monument; you can tell they cared for the contributions of Hi Jolly.” (Google reviews)
Quartzsite AZ Vibe Score: 9/10
Quartzsite Rock Alignment and Intaglios
Why You’ll Love It: Another southwest oddity, the Rock Alignment was laid out for training General Patton’s air troops during World War II. The rocks, spread over 100 feet of desert floor, spell QUARTZSITE with an arrow.
The Fisherman Intalgio is the rock outline of a fisherman drawn on the desert floor, mysteriously created by ancient Native Americans for an unknown reason.
Address: Plomosa Road
What’s the Word: “Great little quirky piece of history.” “Really interesting to see the Intaglio and wonder about ancient people.” (Google)
Quartzsite AZ Vibe Score: 8/10
Restaurant: Quartzsite Yacht Club
Price: Sandwiches from $9-$13, nightly specials.
Why You’ll Love It: Another quirky Quartzite must-see, this nautical theme bar, restaurant, and motel in the desert has a motto of “long time, no sea.” A local hangout, the Yacht Club is a fun, casual place to sing karaoke, listen to live music, visit with friends, and have a fun night out.
Address: 1090 W Main, Quartzite
What’s the Word: “The food is casual and reasonably priced, with a fun theme.” “People have fun here. The rooms are single wide trailers split in half, themed for different ships. I felt like I was staying over at a friend’s house.” (Google)
Quartzsite AZ Vibe Score: 10/10
Best RV Park: Holiday Palms RV Park
Price: $35-$42/night, $215-$250/week, $450-$525 month, snowbird (Oct-April 6 months) $1545.
Why You’ll Love It: This conveniently located RV park has great amenities including two pools, pickleball, wifi, cable, fitness center, game room, hot tub, a car wash and is pet friendly. The 245 sites are full hookup, ensuring a no-stress stay, and the dog park will make your dog happy too! Walking distance to most winter attractions.
Address: 355 W Main, Quartzite, Arizona
What’s the Word: “Showed up after hours and still got great service.” “Very nice park, one of the best in Quartzite.” (Google Reviews)
Quartzsite AZ Vibe Score: 7/10
Best Free Camping: Plomosa Road
Why You’ll Love It: It’s close, free camping on BLM land. “Pack In Pack Out”, but close to town so you can go get things you forgot or visit attractions. Many report great signal for cell and internet via various providers so you can boondock and get some work done. After work, this area is known for quiet camping and great sunsets, along with meeting new friends.
Address: 40617-40703 Plomosa Rd, Quartzite
What’s the Word: “Easy place to first-time boondock, we got a large site to share with friends.” “One of our favorite BLM camping spots.” (Google)
Quartzsite AZ Vibe Score: 10/10
Hotel: Best Western Desert Oasis
Why You’ll Love It: Conveniently located off I-10, this basic hotel has a pool and palm trees, free breakfast, free WiFi, and comfortable rooms if you need to take a break from driving or the RV.
Some nights there is a Managers Reception from 5-7 with free appetizers.
Address: 1-10 Exit, 1 S Frontage Road, Ehrenberg, AZ
What’s the Word: “Outstanding hotel for the price.” “Excellent staff, hotel has a decent breakfast.” (Google)
Quartzsite AZ Vibe Score: 7/10
Trip Routing to Quartzsite, Arizona
If you’re traveling with an RV, trip planning to Quartzsite is essential.
We use RV Trip Wizard to route our cross country trips.
It allows us to avoid steep passes, tolls, and tunnels – making travel day way less stressful! Try RV Trip Wizard Free for 7 Days.
It’s not all good…7 Reasons Quartzsite AZ is a Bust
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.
Watch the Video
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!
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 🙂
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.
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).
You should give it a try!
As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
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