The RVers Ultimate Survival Guide To The Quartzsite RV Show

PublishedDecember 4, 2019

Crowd inside big tent Quartzsite RV show

Dometic products, LED lights, cell phone accessories, club memberships- you name it, it's there!

So you heard about the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation, and RV show, eh? In the RV world, it's hard not to!

I heard about it too, back in 2014. I was researching all things RVing.

The big show sounded like a 'must-do' and I hit it for the first time in January of 2016. I've been a couple of times since.

There were a TON of RVers parked EVERY-WHERE. More than I had ever seen at once.

La Posa West by road

Clusters and clusters of RVs everywhere!

Quartzsite, Arizona houses the largest gathering of RVs anywhere in the world!

There is so much space to camp for free, or for very cheap on public land, and people KNOW it.

Quartzsite boondocking sunset

Space for MILES. This is Dome Rock BLM area.

Here's the thing. You are likely going to fall into one of two camps.

You're bound to either love The Show/Quartzsite or you will hate it.

If you love it, I suppose you will be loving the menagerie of outdoor 'stores', tent sales, and a wide variety of yard sale type of items.

Quartzsite Flea Market

If this is your kind of thing, you might love it! (The tent show is much nicer, but  'flea-markets like this are everywhere.)' 

If you don't like it, there's only really one other reason to ever go and it's the only reason I ever go now: to meet up with friends who will be there.

It can  be a great winter social hub.

Desert Bar group picture

Me and friends visiting the Desert Bar while staying in Quartzsite.

Wintertime is known as RVers 'social season' as we are all pushed so far south to escape the cold.

Quartzsite, AZ is a place some RVers stay for the whole season.

At only about 850 feet in elevation, Quartzsite (otherwise known as 'Q') is a warm, Arizona destination for wintertime RVers.

It's so expansive that many RVing clubs and groups have their biggest gatherings in Quartzsite in January.

Expect to see signs on the road pointing the way to 'X' or 'Y' club meetup point.

There are pop-up RV sales lots in town. There are rock shows. Flea markets. Some booths and businesses are there year-round.

You can get a concealed carry gun permit, there's an adult 'daycare' on-site (a bar, LOL) and a lot more.

There are places to get water and propane. There are RV repair places and solar installation businesses around.

Quartzsite swap meet

Things! Things! And more things!

There is a lot to see.

So we are going to make this a guide you can follow so you know what to expect and are armed with information when you hit the show!

What Is The Quartzsite Sports, Vacation, and RV Show? 

Every year since the early '80s, this event has taken place in January in Q.

Check their website for exact show dates.

It started as an RV show and has expanded over the years to include vacation and sports gear.

They bring in lots of RVs for sale, they have a HUGE tent set up with vendors peddling ALL kinds of items.

Inside Quartzsite RV show big tent

The Quartzsite RV show has everything from generators to phone charging cables to LED lights and so much more.

There's lots of stuff you don't need but just may enjoy looking at. Or not.

They even sold pets back in 2017. Yikes. (Sugar Gliders) Maybe they do every year?

Generators for sale Quartzsite RV show
Mobility scooters Quartzsite big tent

They do have RVs for sale. (Insider tip- DON'T pay for the asking 'discounted' prices by a mile.)

Do I REALLY Need To Attend The RV/Tent Show?

Is the Quartzsite RV/Tent show something you MUST-DO as an RVer? Not by a long shot.

But it doesn't hurt to experience it as an RVer. Just to see it and say you went.

I'm sure some people go every year. It might even be the highlight of their year.

I (and all my friends) certainly don't go because it's a great place to get RVing gear.

Quite the opposite.

There's hardly anything there I (or they) need or can use.

Especially in this day and age of Amazon and other online ordering.

I thought I would find a TON of stuff I needed the first year I went.

I found exactly zero items I could use or needed.

Quartzsite RV Show Hot Tub

Hot tub for your RV, anyone? Um, nope. Although I have TWO friends who carry around inflatable hot tubs on the road!

Don't get me wrong- you CAN get RV products there that you need/want like portable generators, LED lights, and Dometic products.

For me, I already had pretty much everything I needed. And I didn't find the right kind of LED lights for my RV. That's the ONE thing I was hoping to get.

So the only reason I go is if there is an event that hosts a lot of friends.

Such as an Xscapers convergence.

But they don't hold them at Q anymore. Too crowded, too little to do, and bogged down cell towers- none of that bodes well for the working-age RVer.

Not judging the area, it's just a fact.

But you might love it! You never know until you try, right?

You're probably reading this because you are interested in going... right?

So let's get started and tell you what you need to know before you go!

7 MUST-KNOW First-Timer Tips

It's your first time to the Quartzsite Arizona RV Show?

You need to know a few things. These aren't common tips, but they are VITAL to making your stay as comfortable and easy as possible!

1. PIN IT- If you are boondocking, when you arrive PIN YOUR SPOT ON GOOGLE MAPS!!! If not, good luck finding your RV ever again, especially at night!!!

2. SOLAR LIGHT- Bring a solar spotlight and point it at your RV. You can use this at night to make it easier to spot your RV. This helps even if you went for a walk and came back after dark. It's VERY dark out there!

3. MEDICATIONS- Bring plenty of medications if you have prescriptions. That goes for your pets as well.

4. INTERNET- Make sure you have suitable Internet from a major carrier. Sprint can be spotty west of town.

5. BATTERY POWER- If you haven't boondocked before, TEST your batteries limits before you come. Go camping or unplug for a few days while at your campground. You need a generator or ample solar to keep your batteries charged.

6. CAMPGROUNDS- Don't expect to find a campground with availability for even a week right before the event. I called (it's early December) 4 or 5 places and EVERYONE was booked for the season through March at least. They have annual renters who come every year.

7. EXTEND YOUR STAY- If you are boondocking and want to try not to have to move to dump, don't put TP down the toilet. Saves a TON of room in the black tank!

(You're welcome.)

Getting To Quartzsite, Arizona

Quartzsite, Arizona is not very close to any large city/metropolis. Quite the contrary.

It's a very small town halfway in between Phoenix (128 miles to the east) and Palm Springs (140 miles to the west).

But let's be real- you are only two hours from Phoenix.

If you REALLY need something, just sit on your butt for two hours and you'll have everything Phoenix has to offer.

Quartzsite, AZ lies RIGHT off of I-10 so it's VERY easy to access from the East or West.

Otherwise, Hwy 95 will get you there from the North (or South) quite easily.

Map of Quartzsite Arizona north

Tent/RV show is always located just south of the southwest corner of Hwy 95 and the I-10 'intersection'.

The terrain starts to look like you landed on Mars as you get closer to the area.

If it has rained recently, watch for water on the road in wash areas.

Quartzsite's main intersection is Highway 95 (Central Blvd). It goes north/south.

The east/west road is Main Street. Interstate 10 also parallels Main Street.

Q has two other 'main' north/south intersections.

One to the east (Riggles Ave), and one to the west (Quartzsite Ave) of the 'middle' one.

(The 'east and west' intersections also have Interstate access. You cannot get on to/off of I-10 from Central Blvd.)

The simplicity of the N/S/E/W layout makes getting around the tiny town VERY easy to figure out.

It's small, but don't panic! There ARE amenities in this tiny town. We will get to that.

Where To Park Your RV In Quartzsite For Your Stay

There are so many opportunities for different kinds of camping around Quartzsite.

The area is largely known for its cheap LTVA (Long Term Visitor Area) camping.

There are 3 types of parking available:

  • Bureau of Land Management, or BLM land (free)
  • LTVA areas (not free)
  • Campgrounds (not free)

To stay in the LTVA area (La Posa), you must purchase a permit.

There are some amenities you can use on-site, but they aren't right where you are parked. They are common areas.

In other words, it's a no-hookups type of situation.

Boondocking is free but it also has zero amenities.

Quartzsite boondocking sunset

Free BLM parking around Quartzsite (Dome Rock Road)

Campgrounds aren't free, but usually offer power, water, and possibly dump at your site. But good luck finding one available during the show.

What's The Difference Between 'Normal' Boondocking And LTVA Boondocking?

  • Let's be clear on this- I was confused with terminology when I started. In an LTVA area, you essentially ARE boondocking/dry camping. You have zero utilities at your site. But you have to PAY to dry camp in an LTVA (you need a permit), and can stay for the entire season.
  •  "Boondocking" on public land that is NOT an LTVA area is almost always 100% free. Same deal (no services) but you will be limited as to how long you can stay there. (Usually an average of about 14 days. Check wherever you are.)

Let's look at the ins and outs of the three types of RV parking you can do in Quartzsite.

Parking At The La Posa LTVA (Long Term Visitor Area)

What Is An LTVA?

LTVA's are government-run parcels of land that allow long-term boondocking for a small fee.

(Good from September 15th till April 15th.)

There are 7 LTVA (Long Term Visitor Area) locations in Arizona and Southern California. The one in Quartzsite is called La Posa. 

La Posa North sign

The benefit of an LTVA is that you don't have to move on after the typical time limit most public land has which is about two weeks.

You can stay long-term at an LTVA.

La Posa is located just south of Quartzsite off of Hwy 95. To find it, simply enter in Google maps "La Posa Quartzsite".

La Posa has four entrances:

  • North and West La Posa (entrances across the highway from each other)
  • South La Posa and Tyson Wash  (entrances across the highway from each other)
Map Showing La Posa and Tent Show

North and West La Posa entrances are across from each other, as are South La Posa and Tyson Wash

Only La Posa South area has a dump station and dumpsters. (And one dump station strictly for Blue Boys)

NOTE: You must have an LTVA pass to use the amenities (dump station, dumpsters, water).

Here is a link to all of the LTVA areas, including La Posa.

You can walk from North La Posa/West La Posa to the RV show!

Where Can I Buy A La Posa LTVA Pass?

You can buy your pass at any of the four La Posa entrance stations.

La Posa South entrance

La Posa South entrance station.

Or, you can buy it from one of these three BLM offices:

Yuma Field Office
7341 E. 30th Street, Suite A
Yuma, AZ 85365
(928) 317-3200

Palm Springs- South Coast Field Office
1201 Bird Center Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262
(760) 833-7100

El Centro Field Office
1661 South 4th Street
El Centro, CA 92243
(760) 337-4400

When you buy an LTVA season pass ($180), you can stay in any LTVA area for as long as the season is open. 

Or for $40, you can get a two-week pass.

(Don't forget- you can stay for FREE in the other boondocking locations around the area for up to two weeks. Same difference. You're not getting power, water, or sewer at either place.)

Do I Get To Choose Where I Park?

Yes, you do. Once you buy the pass, you simply pull into the area and find a place to park. Nobody tells you where to park.

The decision is all yours. (Yay!)

They do not have 'sites' as a campground does. The land is open.

You pick where to park, how to orient yourself, etc.

La Posa South boondocking

You're here! La Posa. Pick your spot...

The areas will be pretty crowded during The RV, Sports, and Vacation Show and January/February in general.

Don't expect to find a nice quiet spot away from everyone (and their generators) unless you decide to boondock on BLM land far away from the center of town.

Even then, there can be noise/generators you can't seem to get away from.

(Remember, if you decide to boondock for free, instead of using the LTVA area, you will have a 14-day limit.)

But don't worry, the LTVA won't be nearly as packed as a campground.

You have 11,400 acres to choose from at the La Posa LTVA. You will be able to find a spot!

Why Choose LTVA Instead Of Free BLM Boondocking?

Because LTVA areas are a very economical way of living away from snow and cold throughout the winter.

You can stay for seven months in an LTVA for a mere $180. That's like $0.85/day.

You won't find a campground for that cheap, not by a long shot.

If you aren't into doing much travel and want to live in the cheapest possible manner, then an LTVA could be your gig.

If you get the seasonal pass, you can move from one LTVA to another as there are seven areas available around southern California and southern Arizona.

They are all pretty much in the middle of nowhere though, so be prepared.

Are There RV Type Requirements To Stay At La Posa?

Not that we can find. SOME of the Long Term Visitor Areas have rules saying you must have a self- contained unit.

Meaning (according to the LTVA website), you must have a minimum of a 10-gallon capacity wastewater holding tank.)

We have found no such restrictions for La Posa. You can stay in a tent for all they care.

Is There Really A Nudist Camp At La Posa??

Sphinx cat

Heh.

What you have heard is true. There is! It's at La Posa South.

Escapees have a BOF (Birds of a Feather) group there. It's called the Magic Circle. If going nude is your thing, head on over!

They will probably welcome you with open... arms. 

(Heh)

If not, stay away from the south-east portion of La Posa South!

(There will be signs warning you of what is ahead, so you will be warned.)

Magic Circle Signs

The 'official' nude camp sign(s)?

What Amenities Does La Posa Offer?

La Posa LTVA offers certain utilities in certain areas. It offers:

  • Potable water fill-up stations
  • Dumpsters (Only at La Posa South)
  • One dump station (La Posa South)
  • Vault toilets

La Posa South offers plenty of water stations and dumpsters.

NOTE: You must have an LTVA pass to use the amenities (dump station, dumpsters, water).

La Posa South dumpsters

PROOF! These are  La Posa South's dumpsters.

La Posa South also has one dump station with two dump lanes. It's the only dump station for all of La Posa, strangely.

South also has a separate dump strictly for blue boys/portable waste tanks.

La Posa South dump station

Below is the line one day for the dump station. Yikes! (Go early or late for best chance of little to no line.)

Quartzsite LTVA dump station line

This was a long line for the La Posa dump station one day. Dumpsters are off-screen to the right.

Boondocking In Quartzsite

Q has many different areas where one can boondock during the RV Show.

(Or anytime!)

Be aware though, you should watch for signs like the ones here.

Get to know where the true free areas are on a boondocking map. Or by using Campendium. It's your best resource.

We use it all the time.

Quartzsite long term visitor area boundary sign

They aren't kidding. You will get a warning note (or possibly fined?) if your LTVA pass isn't on display.

I sort of didn't pay attention or believe this sign. This was my very first true boondocking spot I stayed in, EVER.

This area was part of La Posa. It's a different entrance from the main ones off of Hwy 95. Oops!

Some of the free boondocking places have camp hosts with whom you are supposed to register before camping in the area. Stop and register if you see them.

Don't worry- regular BLM areas are still free even if there's a host.

Hopefully, you know that any time you are boondocking you have zero amenities.

You have to rely on your solar or a generator for re-charging your batteries.

Please make sure you have an INVERTER generator for boondocking purposes.

If you are using a contractor generator, know this- every single neighbor around you hates your guts.

Their anger is with good reason.

Wen generators running in parallel

Inverter generators are VERY affordable these days. PLEASE don't be 'that guy' with the contractor generator ruining everyone's peace within a mile+ radius.

Because it's rude and obnoxious to have such noise going on out in a serene place.

Inverter generators (much quieter) are plenty affordable these days.

You have no business using a contractor generator when boondocking.

Ok, rant over.

Boondocking in Q is plentiful.

There are free BLM areas to the north, south, east, and west of town.

You will see others parked there. Again, to find them, use Campendium and you will be good to go.

Quartzsite boondocking spots

Map of the BLM areas (grey) and La Posa (LTVA area)

Otherwise, Q is a newbie boondocker's dream.

Open, flat, hard areas to camp on with little to no fear that you will have to back up or that you will get stuck. It's the perfect place for newbies!

West of town, around the Dome Rock area, there are a few deeper washes that some of the roads go through, so watch it if you have a large motorhome or a 2wd truck pulling too much weight for the drivetrain.

You could get stuck. Still, Dome Rock has perfectly flat areas as well.

The internet can be a little touchy there though.

You will have a stay limit when boondocking.

Usually, in Q it's 14-days.

Check the limit for whatever area you stay at on Campendium.

Quartzsite boondocking

This was taken off of Plamosa Road, north of town. Flat, wide open areas. Perfect for beginners!

Campgrounds in Quartzsite

As you can see from the map shown here, there are numerous campgrounds in Quartzsite.

Book WAY early to ensure yourself a spot.

But, if all else fails, you can temporarily stay on public land until something opens up!

I've stayed in one campground in Q. It was the Rose RV park (now called Tumbleweed RV Park). It was simply an open parking lot for the most part, with power hookups.

Like a lot of campgrounds around Q, don't expect much outside of a flat gravel area that offers one or two utilities.

Water or power. Maybe sewer.

Map Showing Quartzsite RV Parks

The blue pins are all campgrounds. Via Campendium.

What To Bring / Know About The Show

You're going to do a lot of walking.

This is not the place to try new shoes or to wear heels, etc. 

Quartzsite RV show big tent interior

The tent is large, but outside there are also rows and rows of RV products/ goodies/ junk/ RVs/ food trailers/ alcoholic beverages (watch out for those drunk seniors, lol!) to be had.

So yes,  a lot of walking. Also:

  • Bring COMFORTABLE shoes!
  • Bring water
  • Bring a jacket. If it's 75º outside, it could be 65º under the tent. Clouds could form. The desert is funny this way- like it can't make up its mind. Be prepared for fluctuating temps.
  • Parking may take a while. Be patient, you'll find a spot.
  • Food will be available around the tent
  • The RV/tent show is free! (yay!)
  • Bring cash. Some may not take cards.
  • There's great people-watching
  • Be prepared to see things for sale under the big tent that you don't think 'go' with the theme
  • Do NOT pay the asking price for the 'discounted' RVs if you are in the market
  • There are probably other shows going on- mostly gem and rock shows, in the area for Jan and Feb
  • There will be many dogs in strollers (just sayin')

Quartzsite's Amenities

Yes, it's a small town. Even so, you DO NOT have to stock up like the world is coming to an end.

Grocery store items

Don't overstock your dry goods! There ARE grocery stores...

However, if you DO have very specific things you like to eat from specialty stores such as Trader Joe's or health food stores, you'd better stock up on that stuff.

Yes, there are plenty of gas stations in Quartzsite, including two truck stop stations.

There are a couple of small grocery stores, some restaurants, and plenty of RV utility services such as water and propane.

Also to be found (at least during the winter season) are RV related businesses.

There's solar installers, windshield repair/ replacement, awning installers and more.

Some of them even come to you!

Kelly awning replacement

My awning about to be replaced on BLM land at my campsite in 2016. Quartzsite.

For those needing more services/ businesses than Quartzsite can provide, the town of Blythe is about 25 minutes to the west, and Parker is about 40 minutes to the north.

Keep in mind these times are from the town of Quartzsite proper. It will take you longer (or shorter) to get there from the LTVA or boondocking locations.

(Yes, Parker has a Walmart for you Wally-World die-hards.)

Or you can simply stock up in Parker on the way down if you are coming from the North.

Blythe (to the west) is smaller than Parker but does provide more for groceries than Quartzsite can, by a mile.

Some consider Q to be a 'food desert'. (Lacking in fresh produce.)

Still, have a look- you WILL have the bare necessity amenities (and produce) available right in town:

Grocery Stores

Roadrunner Market: 200 E Main St, Quartzsite - One of the most complete groceries in Q.

Roadrunner produce

See? Roadrunner has produce. Just not everything you might need.

Quartzsite Roadrunner Market exterior

Front of Roadrunner Grocery

Roadrunner parking lot

Side of Roadrunner. Pretty good room for RVs to maneuver and park.


Big Market: 775 W Main St, Quartzsite - Dry goods, liquor, and hardware.

Big Market Quartzsite

General Store: 410 E Main Street, Quartzsite - Very similar to Roadrunner.

Coyote Market Quartzsite

General Store in Quartzsite

Quartzsite General Store produce

Look, they have some produce, too.

There are a few other places that sell dry goods such as Dollar General, Family Dollar, and some of the tent areas have dry goods as well.

If you have ever shopped in any of the dollar stores, you pretty much know what they do and don't have.

(I.E. No place in Quartzsite is going to have less common/ popular or specialty items.)

Gas Stations

  • Love's Travel Stop- They have showers, a Subway, and Chester's Chicken. Off the west I-10 exit.
  • Pilot Travel Center- They also have Subway, a Dairy Queen, and there's a McDonald's next door. Smaller than Love's Travel Center. Also off the west I-10 exit.
  • Arco- East side of town off the east exit from I-10. Also a large, easy to maneuver gas station.
  • Other- There are other gas stations right in town. They are easy to find.
  • Heading South-  If you're heading south on Highway 95, you won't hit gas for about 85 miles, so if you're going, fill up or be sure you can make it.

Water/Propane

It's best to show up in Q with empty holding tanks and filled with fresh water so you don't have to do it during your stay.

But if you need services in Quartzsite, here they are:

  • RV Pitstop425 N Central Blvd (Hwy 95 N). This place works like clockwork. For a fee, they get you in and out so you get dumped, watered, and propane filled in no time! This is the best place to do utilities if you ask me. Yes, they can accommodate the largest motorhomes.
  • La Posa LTVA- If you have an LTVA pass, you can fill and dump in the La Posa area. No propane is available.
  • Pattie's RV Park and Propane- 455 E Main St. Right off of Main street, easy in, easy out. Open every day during the season till 5 pm.
RV Pit Stop Quartzsite

This is the RV Pit Stop. Dump to the right, propane in center, and water beyond propane.

Dump Stations

  • RV Pit Stop425 N Central Blvd (Hwy 95 N). They offer more, but this is a great place to dump if you have the need.
  • Random RV Parks- I don't know why you may be tempted to find a dump at a campground, the RV Pit Stop (above) is great. But hey, it's your life. Call around, you will probably find something.
  • La Posa LTVAOnly can dump here if you have an LTVA pass. Just south of town on Hwy 95.

Mail Services

There are two main ways to get mail:

  • US Post Office
  • Quiet Times

The local Post Office can get very crowded and they only accept items delivered via the USPS.

You can only pick up general delivery mail from 12-1 pm on weekdays. Also, you can only receive general delivery for 30 days.

Quartzsite Post Office General Delivery Hours

Many people opt to have their mail and UPS/FedEx packages delivered to a little store on Main Street called Quiet Times.

No, they don't have a website.

It's Quartzsite, guys. Let's be real.

They do have an old fashioned phone number: (use the flat rectangle-shaped object in your hand- you can make calls with it) Quiet Times: (928) 927-8081 (Hours M-F 10 am - 4 pm)

It's a fax/mail/print type of shop (and also has a Christmas store section in it, naturally) that allows package delivery for a small fee (at time of writing this post, December 2019.)

($2-$5 for packages under 50 pounds and $5-$8 for packages over 50 pounds - see image below for all rates).

Quiet Times rates

Quiet Times Rate Sheet

Quiet Times is a cash-only business.

You MUST address your deliveries the following way (include the box number!):

Your Name
C/O Quiet Times
90 E. Main Street - Box 2813
Quartzsite, AZ 85346
Quiet Times address

Quiet Times Address

Quiet Times Quartzsite

Quiet times. Yeah, it's an odd place.

Quiet Times Xmas Room

Christmas year-round in the desert? This is WILDLY entertaining!!!!

Quiet Times is the only game in town to receive packages shipped via UPS or FedEx.

And if you want to avoid long Post Office lines, you'd be smart to ship your USPS to Quiet Times as well.

The Quartzsite Post Office will accept UPS packages shipped via UPS SurePost, which means UPS will deliver to the Post Office for final delivery.

But this is only for actual street addresses in Quartzsite, which you aren't going to have in you are at the LTVA or are boondocking.

So the Quartzsite Post Office is only good to receive General Delivery mail delivered via USPS.

Which means you get to stand in line at the Post Office for the one hour they are open for General Delivery pickup on weekdays.

Quartzsite Post Office

Or you could spend the $2 and have your mail/package sent to to Quiet Times.

Then you go pick it up anytime they are open. Which is a lot more than one hour a day!

If you insist on receiving USPS mail at the Post Office, address your General Delivery USPS mail/packages this way:

Your Name
General Delivery
Quartzsite, AZ 85346

Getting mail on the road can be such a pain sometimes, so make my life easier I don't bother with anything in Q aside from using Quiet Times.

It's WELL worth the very nominal package pickup charge.

('Quiet Times'. The weirdest name for a business, ever. AMIRIGHT?)

  • USPS Post Office- 80 W Main Street (Very specific general delivery pickup times: Noon-1pm M-F.)
  • Quiet Times- 90 E Main Street (928) 927- 8081 (Call if you have specific questions.)

Medical Services

Quartzsite does have a family medical practice in town, La Paz Medical Services.

So no worries here. You do have a medical professional around in the event you need something.

But I hope you don't.

Don't run over your finger.

Restaurants

Yes, there are some restaurants in Quartzsite.

No, I would not say that there's 'great' restaurants/food to be found.

You will be somewhat limited to fast food, pizza, and Mexican foods.

Yes, there are other restaurant types available, but nothing I'd write home about.

The tent show, on the other hand, does have a lot of food trucks available.

With very yummy smelling foods.

Quartzsite BBQ food stand

And a decent variety is available.

Personally, that's where I would go for my eating out during the show.

For restaurants, I suggest you Google 'restaurants' in Quartzsite and then call around to make sure they are open and/or not too busy during the season or at that moment.

The only restaurant in Q I tend to hit is Silly Al's.

It's a pretty good pizza joint.

Not out of this world, but good for Quartzsite.

They usually have live bands Thurs- Sat nights.

It can be a hopping place! (For Quartzsite)

Silly Al's Pizza

What Else To See When Visiting Quartzsite

Ok, Quartzsite is a weird little place.

Q is a town of fewer than 4,000 residents that swells to about 250,000 at a time in January.

There's a little more to do/see than just the RV show/big tent.

(But not much.)

Ok well then, anyhoo, before I get jumped on for saying that, let's dive right in!

  • Reader's Oasis Bookstore- (690 E Main St.) This place was most famous for it's 'naked' owner, Paul Winer. (AMAZING last name. Amiright?) It has a TON of books, and it's like a book hoarder's heaven. But they are more uncommon books and it IS unique. Now, this place may not be the same as Paul (the 'naked' bookstore owner) passed away in May of 2019. Such a shame. He was quite the character. Lucky for me, I met him in 2016 on my first visit there, and he played a tune for me. He was wearing a sweater because it was cold out. But not much more, per his usual.
Quartzsite book store banana hammock guy

Paul Winer and me. Sadly, he passed in 2019.

Inside Readers Oasis Books Quartzsite

Reader's Oasis Bookstore

  • Rock And Gem Show- If you love rocks, well, this is your place too! There's an annual rock show people flock to from all over the world. Multiple shows are going on all through January and February. Mostly rock related. (But not the guitar kind.)
  • The Flea Markets- These seem to be all around town. Tent after tent after tent full of everything from junk to RV items to junk art to jewelry. Just drive around, youuuuu can't miss them.
  • Camels In Quartzsite?- Visit Hi Jolly's tomb and learn about the history of the area and why there used to be camels in Q.
  • Joanne's Gum Gallery- (Washington St.) Pretty self-explanatory! It's a gum museum. What?
  • Daniel's Really Good Fresh Jerky- (1349 W Main St.) Also self-explanatory. But they have much more than just jerky! Yummy place.
  • Crystal Hill (PDF)- All you rockhounds out there- If you go about 8 miles south of Quartzsite on 95, you can go mine for crystals at Crystal Hill. A unique experience for the whole family.
  • RV Shopping- There are 'pop-up' RV sales lots all around Q during the show. Knock yourself out.
  • Palm Canyon- Palm trees are growing in the desert? This is a rare one. It's a beautiful, easy hike, too. See if you can find these only native palms to Arizona. (Well, there's a sign pointing to them.) South of Quartzsite in Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.
  • The Desert Bar/Nellie E Saloon- THIS place is unique as can be. It's not in Quartzsite, but if you made it to Q, you must go at least once. There are two ways to get there- an off-road/jeep only type of trail (4x4 is a MUST, and don't try to take a Ford Raptor. Trust me.) and a more reasonable off-road 2wd friendly, albeit bumpy dirt road. The Desert Bar is 100% off-grid and only open on weekends. It's self-sustaining and in the middle of nowhere. Impressive!
Desert bar

The Nellie E Saloon totally off-the-grid 'Desert Bar'

There you have it.

That's a good sampling of extra stuff you may want to check out.

If I put anything more here, it would be reaching.

Quartzsite Flea Market Vendors

Some of the permanent tents/shops in the area. Closed late in the day in December.

January Quartzsite RV Show Weather

What's it like in winter in Q? Usually, it's quite nice!

You won't have snow.

You will sometimes have WIND. (Be sure to put your stabilizers out.)

There may be nights (and possibly days) when you may be forced to put your slides in, the wind is so bad.

That's not to say it will be bad every day or night.

But out West, the wind is quite the force to deal with at times.

Trixie walking in wind

Side parts are unavoidable on some days.

There won't be much rain, and the temperatures can be quite mild.

Just have warm clothes on hand and watch the forecast.

Cold temperatures DO exist in January in Q. 50's and 60's or colder.

Pack warm clothing and a jacket.

Even though it's a desert, they do get rain on occasion.

Therefore, I would NOT advise parking in a wash.

They are there for a reason.

Rainwater washes through there, sometimes in potentially deadly/damaging amounts.

So, stick to the higher grounds when you are looking for a place to park if boondocking.

Dome Rock Camping Area Quartzsite

That's an Ocotillo (AH-ko-TILL-o) in the foreground. Quartzsite BLM parking in the background.

It's very easy to do.

Also, on the higher ground, your cellular reception will be better.

Oh, you're wondering about cellular?

Let's talk about that.

Cellular Service In Quartzsite

I use Verizon and AT&T. USUALLY, I have pretty OK service in and around Q.

But there are only so many towers and in January/February the towers are super overloaded.

I haven't had too much of an issue except for when camping at the Dome Rock BLM area to the west of town.

The higher spots at Dome Rock are OK, but some areas dip down or have the mountain obscuring you from the view of the towers.

In low areas off of Dome Rock, you won't have very good reception.

A booster might help.

But this is an area that will likely be less populated than some others, so if cell isn't a need of yours, it can be a good area to camp to be farther from people.

Though I have never used T-Mobile or any other service, the cellular service maps show that only Sprint may have issues around the Dome Rock area.

Again, because you are there during the show, when it's very busy in town, at times service may be slow.

Female hands using smart phone

If you have an online job, try working at night if you can.

Bottom line is to stop and test your Internet once you think you found where you want to boondock.

If it doesn't work, try moving.

But again- time of day can and will affect how good or bad it is.

Wi-Fi

The Quartzsite library has free Wi-Fi as does the McDonald's in town.

But that's about it.

Don't expect to find free Wi-Fi all over the place in Q.

Best to come armed with a good cellular hotspot if you need the Internet.

Or go ahead and download whatever you want to watch before you come.

  • McDonaldsMcDonalds offers free Wi-Fi.
  • Library- Q has a library with smoking fast Wi-Fi. (928) 927-4333  Open 8am -5pm M-F

Laundromats and Showers in Quartzsite

There  are three laundromats in Q and several places to pay for a shower.

The largest laundry is the Main Street Laundromat.

It's right across from the Roadrunner grocery (nifty!).

Zero excuses to be all stinky around Quartzsite!

Trash

Where does one dump their trash?

If you are staying at the La Posa LTVA, you can use the dumpsters they provide.

If you are boondocking, you can dump your trash at the transfer station just north of Quartzsite.

Quartzsite Transfer Station sign
Quartzsite Transfer Station sign

Hours and what you are permitted to dump shown above.

It's located on the west side of the road 2.4 miles north from the intersection of Main Street and Hwy 95.

EVERYTHING Becomes Trash One Day

As full-time RVers, we all begin to have an appreciation and awareness of how much trash is 'made' every day.

I just want to take a moment here to remind you, and myself, that 99% of EVERYTHING you buy becomes one of two things:

  1. Trash
  2. A Turd

Let's be very conscientious about what we purchase.

Do you truly need that? Or can you go without?

If you buy it, it will become trash one day.

The less we buy, the more we save, and the less trash gets put on our Earth.

Ok, carry on...

Can I Bring My Dog To The Quartzsite RV Show?

Yes, you sure can! (yay!)

We have seen dogs inside and outside of the big tent area.

I have brought my 2.4 pound Chihuahua and carried her in my jacket.

I guess if dogs are OK at the RV show, your other weird pets will be allowed as well.

Be aware that if you have a smaller dog, it may have a hard time not getting kicked or stepped on while in the area.

I suppose this is why we see so many dogs in strollers at the Quartzsite Arizona RV show.

Dog In Stroller

I'm not usually an advocate for dogs in strollers, but I guess it's better than being left at home and it's better than being stepped on!

Conclusion

Quartzsite RV show big tent exterior

The annual Vacation, Sports, and RV Show in Quartzsite is something you may want to experience at least once in your RVing life.

Should it be an annual event you attend?

It's not for me, but I'm guessing for some people, it could be the highlight of their year!

We are all different.

Different strokes for different folks.

Now you are armed with the knowledge of what to expect at the show, where to park, and what you will have available to you while you are there.

Let us know what you think of Quartzsite and the show in the comments below.

Let me know what I missed for great things to do/see while there.

If you have questions about Quartzsite (relevant to RVing) or the show, just ask in the comments!

Most of all, have fun!

Quartzsite Main Street

Quartzsite- Main Street

Camp Addict Kelly

Kelly Beasley is co-founder of Camp Addict and loves sharing her enthusiasm for the RVing lifestyle. As a full-time RVer since May 2015, Kelly's playful writing style helps make learning about the sometimes dull subject of RV products a bit more interesting.

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    • As of now the show is still on. With COVID precautions in place.

      Of course this is all subject to change. The show is still 2 months out and, as you know, things are rapidly changing regarding COVID.

      Their Facebook page and website have the latest information regarding the 2021 Quartzite RV Show.

    • Hey Shane,

      Glad you like the post and thank you for checking out Camp Addict!

      You can Google “back way to desert bar” and lots of sites will show up. Here is one.

      It is a pretty difficult trail and can get very crowded during season, especially on the weekend.

  • The LTVA has ‘potable’ water but I wouldn’t drink it for very long. I was camped in LTVA for 12 weeks in 2008 and ended up with a kidney stone from drinking that water. Now I only drink water from the water fill stations (Glacier, Windmill, etc.) Yes, I pay a small amount but anything is better than being told I might need a surgical procedure or two over a kidney stone.

    • Well, thank you, Patrick!

      We think it’s the most comprehensive guide to Q that is on the ‘Net!

      Glad you liked it, and thank you for the nice comment. : )

  • I’m a writer, so I’m persnickety about others’ styles. Yours is superb. Congratulations on successfully balancing grammatical fastidiousness and fun. Terrific job.

    • Thank you, Matthew! We happen to agree. : ) I’m really surprised there aren’t more really in-depth posts out there about it, as popular as Q is for RVers. Heck, my RvChickadee blog post about Q currently ranks #6 for “Quartzsite RV show” and I wasn’t even TRYING to rank for anything. ????

      Glad you found it. Hope it helped!

    • Glad you liked it and learned! Quartzsite is one of those places that can be intimidating if you’ve never been, but it’s really not a difficult place to get a grasp on.

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