Snowbirds and full-time RVers often take advantage of boondocking (camping without hookups) in order to keep their traveling costs lower. Of all the places to boondock in Arizona, Quartzsite is the most popular.
Most boondocking RVers have heard of Quartzsite. Each year, hundreds of thousands of RVs descend on this little desert town to camp in the BLM short term and long term visitor areas.
The short term visitor areas are free to park at, but still require signing in with camp hosts and getting a free permit, and the permit has a limit of 14 days. After that, you can’t park in any short term areas within 20 miles for a certain number of weeks, after which you can return to stay another 14 days again.
These areas include no amenities, so if you need to dump your black water tanks, fill your fresh water tanks, or throw away trash, you’ll have to drive into town and pay for such services. They can also become extremely crowded when the “big show,” the RV event that draws all these RVers, happens in January.
The long term visitor areas, or LTVAs, are much bigger and can accommodate many more rigs. You’ll find plenty of space between your neighbor in most areas, especially outside of the busy month of January. The LTVA requires a paid permit to stay there, either $40 for two weeks, or $180 for the full season (September through April), as of this writing.
This fee pays for upkeep and clean up of these BLM areas, and allows you to dump your tanks, fill with potable water, and throw away trash in a dumpster. If you like your privacy and need to dump often, it’s worth the investment, especially if you plan to stay longer than two weeks.
The town of Quartzsite will have everything you need, including several restaurants, a few fast food restaurants, two small grocery stores, hardware stores, two “dollar” stores, and a city park that has a skate park, a dog park, a model airplane landing strip, two playground areas, and more.
If you travel in your RV seasonally or full-time, you should check out Quartzsite. It’s an unusual experience that every RVer should try at least once. Many a recreational vehicle owner has fallen in love with the rugged, raw beauty of the desert, and returned year after year to enjoy it all over again.