What’s It Like to RV in Quartzsite AZ? Anything Goes!

January 2016 – The desert RV scene around Quartzsite, Arizona, is a wild place in January, and has been compared to Burning Man in the Nevada desert and even 1969’s Woodstock in upstate New York.

Quartzsite Desert RV Boondockging AZ

The sun winks at the RVs boondocked in Quartzsite in the early morning light

But the crazy Quartzsite RV insanity lasts longer, and more people go, and you don’t have to buy a ticket to be a part of it all. Plus — the crowd is decidedly gray haired.

Even though there may be some free love going on in a few rigs in Quartzsite, I can’t say I’ve seen Jimi Hendrix performing there. And rather than one huge bonfire, there are lots of small campfires.

Quartzsite Arizona RV boondocking in the desert

A typical scene around the campfire in Quartzsite

Of course, nowadays, it’s likely that a few faces in Quartzsite are the very same ones that were at Woodstock all those years ago, although they are probably a bit more wrinkled now, nearly 50 years later.

Dawn photography Quartzsite Arizona

Quartzsite has its share of wacky people. Some even lug their tripod up on their trailer roof to take pics at dawn.

The fun thing is that it is open to anyone that can get there, and come they do, driving, pulling, and probably in the worst cases even pushing whatever kind of RV they can get their hands on.

Motorhome RV Boondocking Quartzsite Arizona

Any and every kind of RV is welcome in the Quartzsite desert, from ordinary to off-the-wall.

We saw lots of beautiful Class A motorhomes decked out with great big solar power installations.

Solar power on a motorhome RV Quartzsite Arizona

Quartzsite is a great place to get ideas for how to configure your RV’s solar power

Solar panels on motorhome RV camping in Quartzsite Arizona

From small to tall, we saw solar panels of all kinds.

A cool custom bus conversion we came across looked like a fabulous way to go.

Custom bus conversion solar power project

Power and cargo carrying capacity to spare.

Some travelers forego the RV all together when they make their way to Quartzsite, and we were quite surprised to see a tent tucked between some RVs in the vendor area of the RV show.

Tent camping Quartzsite Arizona RV Show

If you can’t swing a rig with wheels, a tent will do the trick.

Getting up off the ground is good when it gets cold, though, and Quartzsite nights sometimes get down into the freezing zone in January. A vintage popup tent trailer we saw fit in just fine with the bigger rigs around it.

Antique popup tent trailer Quartzsite Arizona camping

A popup can be just the ticket in Quartzsite

Some folks like to add a little class to the antique RV niche in Quartzsite, and we saw more than a few wonderful old Airstream trailers.

Antique Airstream Trailer Quartzsite boondocking

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Going retro is cool, but some folks are handy and would rather build from scratch than deal with fixing and repairing an antique. We saw one rig that was totally custom.

Unusual Class C Motorhome in Arizona

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Another one we noticed was not entirely identifiable.

Unusual RV parking in the Arizona desert Quartzsite

Umm… what’s in the trailer?

At one point we found ourselves driving behind a Funny Car.

Funny Car Quartzsite Arizona

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Out in the desert, the love of rollling wheels includes remote control ATVs that scurry around on the hard packed gravel between the rigs.

Remote controller dune buggy and RV

Whaddya do all day in the desert in Quartzsite? Play!!

Others take to the sky for a bird’s eye view.

Quartzsite Arizona Ultralight

What a great way to survey the scene!

We took off on our bikes and found that just a few pedal strokes away from the RV madness are some pretty nice mountain biking trails. It can be a little soft and sandy in places, but the trails go on forever!

Mountain biking BLM land Quartzsite Arizona

A little spin on the bike can take you far from the crowd.

With all the RVs in town, there’s a constant RV traffic jam on the roads, and it’s not unusual to find the local gas stations filled with RVs.

RV lineup at gas pump Quartzsite Arizona

RVs fueling up at the gas station.

The Quartzsite RVing crowd is not proud. We all know what we’re made of and who we are. Wearing a t-shirt emblazoned “Trailer Trash” kinda sums up the sentiment in these parts.

Trailer Trash t-shirt for RVer Quartzsite AZ

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Well, maybe that’s a little harsh. “My Indian Name is ‘Runs With Beer'” may be closer to the truth for many.

Silly T-shirt at the Quartzsite RV Show Arizona

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Not everyone in town is a t-shirt type of guy, though, and the owner of Oasis Books on Main Street, Paul Winer, is famous for wearing nothing more than a thong.

He is very willing to pose for photos with the ladies at his store (I’ve done it too!), and he does his laundry — what little there is of it — right alongside all the RVers down at the Main Street Laundromat.

Quartzsite Laundry sign for Oasis Books

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And it’s a good thing too because, as another sign at the laundromat says…

Laundry Today or Naked Tomorrow

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The bulk of the Quartzsite crowd is old enough to have grown children, so, it’s not surprising to see a sticker on the back of a Honda CRV that says, “I love my Grandog.”

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Lots of grandmas and grandpas love their granddogs here, and a few love them to an extreme.

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Not all RV pets are quite so pampered, though, and one Kool Kat we saw in the desert was keeping a close eye on what was happening within reach of his trailer.

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No matter how you come to Quartzsite, there’s fun to be had in the desert, and we certainly had our share this year with the Hitchhiker fifth wheel gang.

Hitchhiker RV gathering Quartzsite Arizona

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At the end of our ten day stay, our new friends from the Hitchhiker group, Steve and Jean, brought out champagne for everyone, while Christine shared a plate of homemade chocolate covered strawberries fresh from her Mobile Suites RV kitchen.

Did anyone say we were roughing it out here?

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Mark shows off Christine’s truly decadent chocolate covered strawberries while Steve pours champagne. This is living!

Everyone raised their glasses in a toast to the great time we shared.

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Cheers…and Happy Trails til next year!

Almost every morning and evening we were in Quartzsite, the Arizona sunrises and sunsets lit up the sky in some of the most dramatic and colorful displays we have seen anywhere.

RV Hitchhikers dawn Quartzsite Arizona

It was another great year in Quartzsite AZ

If you have a buggy that rolls — or a tent you can pitch — join the RV party in Quartzsite, Arizona, next year!

RV sunset Quartzsite Arizona BLM land

A beautiful Quartzsite sunset

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8 thoughts on “What’s It Like to RV in Quartzsite AZ? Anything Goes!

  1. Yup, spend your entire adult life, responsibilities, job pressures, that everyday grind. It is wonderful to reach that milestone, where you cash in on your hard work, and settle into a life of less junk more freedom.

    Look forward to parking our rig in that desert 🙂

  2. Mark and Emily , I really enjoy your wonderful site. you have so much to comment on. I especially liked the piece on copper mining and our public lands. I look at lots of sites and have not seen anyone else interested in this misuse of our lands. It is not only the RV’s but the fishermen, bike riders and miners, hikers, all using public lands that are going to be hurt by this if we keep looking the other way. There should be some way we can group together to combat this behavior of our leaders. Any way keep up the good work you guys are really needed.

    • Wow. Thank you so much, Chuck. It’s not easy to write about sensitive subjects like poor leadership and misuse of our public lands. Along with receiving a huge amount of support for the post I wrote about copper mining versus camping in Tonto National Forest (the article is here) I also got a shocking amount of very stinging criticism from fellow boondockers (of all people!) who thought I was making it all up. So, knowing that you value what I write means a tremendous amount to me. Ultimately, if we don’t speak up (and suffer the slings and arrows of the misinformed), there’s no chance for change. Thank you — most profoundly — for expressing your appreciation.

  3. Just a simple thank you… from one of the “HitchHiker” fifth wheel gang. We enjoyed your company as well. Just wish you could have made our HH rig circle bigger (maybe next time?), but so glad you were able to make our group circle bigger for happy hour.
    God bless, and Cheers!

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