If you have been following Rene Agredano’s column on full-time RVing in this magazine, you know that she provides a wealth of practical information every month. But there’s more. Rene also writes a blog at rvlife.com entitled “The Full-Timing Nomad,” in which she shares information about her travels and RVing every week. In a recent post, Rene offered this helpful advice to anyone planning a trip to Quartzsite, Arizona:
The Full-Timing Nomad: Quality Time in Quirky Quartzsite By Rene Agredano
Today while sitting down to eat in a Quartzsite cafe, I overheard the following conversation at the next table: “You’re a real RVer now that you’ve been to Quartzsite!” And now that I’ve returned to this dusty snowbird mecca for a third consecutive winter, I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. All RVers need to make the journey at least once to see what this quirky place is all about.
From about November to the end of March, Quartzsite is ground zero for all things RV. Whether you are looking to exchange fix-it tips, need to upgrade your interior lights to LEDs, or just surround yourself with like-minded people who appreciate the adventure of RVing as much as you do, this dusty camping paradise is the place to do it while escaping winter’s wrath.
I’m a Quartzsite newbie compared to many of my neighbors, but I have a few observations to share that can make your journey easier if you make the trek.
What to Bring
We love shopping at local businesses but recommend stocking up on necessities in a major town before you get to Quartzsite. The town’s one main grocery store tries hard to fulfill the needs of thousands of winter snowbirds but it’s not unusual to see bare shelves occasionally. The good news is that fuel and propane are relatively cheap compared with those found at California gas stations just 20 miles away.
Where to Camp
Quartzsite has a small number of full-hookup RV parks but much of the real fun happens on the nearby Bureau of Land Management camping areas. These cheap and free dry camping areas are fun places to join rallies, meet friends and enjoy nightly campfire cookouts under the stars. If you stay in one of the BLM’s Long Term Visitor Areas in Quartzsite you’ll pay $40 for two weeks of boondocking, which includes dump station use, water refills and trash service. Stay all winter and you can purchase a seasonal pass for just $180.
What to Do
Quartzsite is so full of activities that you’ll never have time to do them all. From the flea markets to the gem and mineral shows, to the RV dealers selling every type of rig and a giant RV-centric exposition under a circus tent, there’s always something to keep you entertained. Pick up a community calendar to learn about free activities taking place around town, like jam band sessions, dance classes and rock hound hikes. Talk to Quartzsite veterans and you’ll find out where the best food deals are in town, which Laundromats have the best facilities and where to take great day hikes.
Since our first visit we’ve found that the best part about Quartzsite is also its biggest drawback: crowds can be crazy and you can’t escape people, generator noise or occasional dust clouds caused by excessive use of roads throughout the surrounding BLM lands. However if you can look past these minor irritations, you’ll probably find it a fun place to escape winter, make new friends, pick up some good bargains or maybe even hit the road in a brand-new RV.