In this weeks "RV Lifestyle" Segment I started doing some research on Snowbirds and different places where these Snowbirds migrate. In my research I discovered the Quartzsite Phenomenon, I had always heard about Quartzsite and the fantastic RV Show that is in Arizona for 8 days in winter but what I did not realize is there are thousands of RVers who will stay in Quartzsite all winter. In January as many as 750,000 to 1,000,000 people converge onto Quartzsite and most of those people are in RV's.
Quartzsite is in Arizona and consists of the area surrounding the four corners where Interstate 10 and U.S Highway 95 intersect. The city of Quartzsite has a long history and is located near the site of the old Fort Tyson from the mid 1800s. In 1897, the area had a small mining boom, resulting in the developing town being name Quartzsite. The Pow Wow Rock, Gem & Mineral Show began bringing rockhound visitors in 1965. There are now eight major gem and mineral shows each winter in addition to the largest RV show. The RV Show for 2016 is January 16th -24th, there is a complete listing of all the shows here
Besides these shows what is the big draw to come to the desert and camp? First and I am not sure if it is foremost or not you can camp for relatively cheap. There are BLM (Bureau of Land Management) Campsites that are free if you stay 14 days out of a 28 day period and not to extend any longer. Now basically when you stake out your "campsite" you get a plot of desert to call your home, you are boondocking it for that period of time.
There are also LTVA (Long Term Visitor Areas) on the BLM land which you will pay a nominal fee for $40 for a 14 day consecutive stay or $180 for a seven month stay. That has got to be the cheapest rate to stay anywhere besides your buddies extra land in a warmer climate and usually that comes at a steep price also (dinners, work around the property etc...). This fee entitles you to a plot of desert, use of the trash bins, dump station and potable water. As I am thinking about this, how does one boondock for months on end? I cannot conceive it myself for a week let alone months. I know with all the solar panel kits, battery packs and LED lights available now it makes it easier than yesteryear. I am sure once you dry camp for a few months it teaches you what you can live without and what you really need to survive. It sounds to me like this would be as close to high class primitive living as it gets.Year after year alot of the same folks gravitate to the same plots of BLM land and set up their own little colonies.
The choices of recreational activities in Quartzsite abound for people who love to be outside. With average winter temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees during the day, it's no wonder. Rockhounds and recreational prospectors alike can enjoy taking a pick and shovel into the public land areas in search of gems and minerals. RVers and desert rats also can ride and race quads, dune buggys and dirt bikes in the area. With the Colorado River and Lake Havasu just a short drive away, boating and jet skiing are also popular.
If you like to go to flea markets and shows Quartzsite will provide an endless supply all winter long you can check out a complete listing put together by the Chamber of Commerce.
If you are undecided where to spend some of your winter months this year and are okay with dry camping Quartzsite may be a great option for you. To get a complete listing of the BLM'sand Campsites in the Quartzsite area check out the BLM Website for Arizona.