The Ultimate Guide to Boondocking in Quartzsite, Arizona: Best Sites & Tips

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Nestled amidst vast desert landscapes, Quartzsite, Arizona is a haven for RVers and campers seeking the freedom of off-grid living. Visiting is a unique experience that blends the rustic charm of the desert with a sense of community among fellow boondockers.

Every winter, boondockers flock to Quartzsite, drawn by its legendary gatherings and the allure of living under the expansive Arizona sky. It’s not just about finding a spot to park; it’s about embracing a lifestyle that celebrates simplicity and the great outdoors. Whether you’re a seasoned boondocker or curious about dipping your toes into this lifestyle, Quartzsite has something to offer.

In this post…

All About Quartzsite, AZ

One of the highlights of visiting Quartzsite is experiencing the desert environment. From the colorful sunsets to the vast array of cacti that dot the landscape, there is plenty of beauty to enjoy from your campsite. The occasional sightings of desert wildlife, such as jackrabbits and roadrunners, definitely adds to the experience.


Hiking in Quartzsite is both a challenge and a reward. The trails offer breathtaking views that make every step worth it. Whether it’s the Plomosa Mountains to the north or the Dome Rock Mountains to the west, the surrounding landscapes present an endless opportunity for exploration and photography.


The area is also home to several fascinating sites, including petroglyphs near Dripping Springs and Tyson Gulch. There are also historic cabins and gold mines near Quartzsite that are worth a visit. Finally, be sure to check out the free Quartzsite Museum (also known as the Tysons Well Stage Station Museum) Learning more about the past inhabitants of this desert is sure to make your time there more rewarding.


Last but not least, Quartzsite’s geology is really something special. Visiting one of the annual gem shows that attract millions of visitors each January and February is a great way to experience the sheer variety of minerals, fossils, and gems that contribute to the geological richness of the area. Of course, you can also experience the amazing geology of Quartzsite by simply getting out and exploring the landscape!

Reasons to Boondock in Quartzsite

Firstly, Quartzsite’s affordability cannot be overstated. It’s possible to camp for free on BLM lands for up to 14 consecutive days or stay up to 7 months in the La Posa Long Term Visitor Area for just $180 (includes water, dumping, and trash services). This financial benefit is a major draw for many, especially for long-term travelers looking to stretch their budget further.

Another undeniable advantage is the sense of freedom and flexibility. In the free, dispersed sites near Quartzsite, you won’t be bound by campground rules or check-out times. Campers can wake up to a calendar dictated only by their desires—whether that’s exploring local hiking trails, visiting the famous Quartzsite gem shows, or simply enjoying the peace and quiet of the desert surroundings.

Community is a facet of boondocking in Quartzsite that really makes it unique. Despite the vastness of the desert, there’s a tight-knit community of like-minded adventurers here. Weekly potlucks, impromptu gatherings, and shared sunset viewings provide opportunities to meet people from all walks of life, each with their own stories and tips for making the most out of the boondocking experience.

Lastly, the connection to nature in Quartzsite is unparalleled. Surrounded by miles of open desert landscape, you can feel closer to that natural world than you might in a traditional campground. There’s something truly special about falling asleep under a blanket of stars and waking up to the sounds of nature.

In Quartzsite, the blend of affordability, freedom, community, and natural beauty creates a unique boondocking experience that’s hard to find anywhere else. It’s not just about finding a place to park; it’s about discovering a lifestyle that embraces simplicity, adventure, and the great outdoors.

Saguaro cactus silhouetted in the sunset.
The desert surrounding Quartzsite has some of the most magical sunsets.

The Best Places to Boondock Near Quartzsite, Arizona

If you’re looking specifically for boondocking near Quartzsite (as opposed to RV parks or campgrounds), you’ll have two options. The La Posa Long Term Visitor Area is a great option for those looking to set up camp for more than two weeks and/or those who want easy access to services. The remaining boondocking spots in the area are on BLM lands located in all four directions from Quartzsite. These are completely free, but you can only stay up for 14 days before you’ll need to move to a different site. We’ve provided a map and descriptions of each boondocking option below.

La Posa LTVA

The 11,400-acre La Posa Long Term Visitor Area is a sprawling campground that can accommodate thousands of RVs. While you won’t find designated sites or hookups, there are vault toilets and water faucets located throughout the area, as well as a dry dump station, a dump station with water, and trash services. It’s located just two miles from Quartzsite, making it convenient to pick up groceries or go out for a meal.

If you’re planning to stay awhile, you can purchase a long term permit for $180. This allows you to boondock and access the campground services September 15th-April 15th, or for any length of time between those two dates. There’s also a $40 short term permit that will allow you to stay for any consecutive 14-day period within the September-April window. You can also renew the short term permit as many times as you’d like for an additional $40. Permits can be purchased online or at the Yuma Field Office.

Plomosa Road BLM

The Plomosa Road dispersed camping area is situated on BLM land north of the town of Quartzsite, Arizona. This is desert camping at its finest and you can expect to enjoy some spectacular sunrises and sunsets from this free boondocking area. You’ll be close to some of the regions best attractions here, including the spectacular Palm Canyon in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.

As with all BLM boondocking sites you won’t find any drinking water sources or restrooms at Plomosa Road, but you will find plenty of services 10 minutes away in Quartzsite.

Hi Jolly BLM

Hi Jolly is another great dispersed camping area located just three miles north of Quartzsite. You can camp for free for up to 14 days, but you’ll need to check in with the camp host when you arrive. Although there are no official designated sites, fire rings have been built throughout the area to help you find a level spot.

Hi Jolly is pretty quiet for most of the winter, although it does get crowded at peak times in January and February. You can also expect to hear some road noise, given its proximity to Highway 95. There’s a Verizon tower close by, and most campers report getting great call service. There are no services here, so be sure to come prepared and Leave No Trace.

Scaddan Wash BLM

Scaddan Wash is located on the east edge of Quartzite along Interstate 10, within biking distance of all of the amenities in town. Just like with the other BLM campgrounds, it is free to camp for up to 14 days and you’ll need to register with the camp host when you arrive. Due to its popularity and proximity to the highway, it’s not the best option for those seeking silence and solitude. It is possible to drive a mile or so in to find more space and quiet, although expect a bumpy and rocky ride.

There are no services at Scaddan Wash, so come prepared and make use of the nearby shops and restrooms in town. Campers report good T-Mobile coverage in this area, and it can be a good place for remote work. Campers tend to leave behind trash and pet waste here, so be sure to Leave No Trace and do your part to leave the area better than you found it.

Gold Nugget Road BLM

If you’re looking to escape the crowds, consider venturing a bit further from town to Gold Nugget Road. This BLM dispersed camping area is located on either side of Interstate 10, about 10 miles east of Quartzsite. The area south of the highway tends to be a bit nicer although you’ll have to contend with road noise in either spot. There are no services at the Gold Nugget Road BLM boondocking area, although you will find good Verizon coverage. The views and stargazing from this camping area are extra wonderful, given its more remote location.

Dome Rock BLM

Dome Rock is a popular BLM campsite located five miles west of the town of Quartzsite, just off Interstate 10. The geography of the land around Dome Rock tends to be more rugged and mountainous than the flat landscapes of many of the other boondocking sites in the area. This makes it a great place for hiking, photography, and other recreational activities.

The camping area at Dome Rock is definitely busy in the winter months, but there’s typically plenty of space to spread out. Like all BLM campgrounds, it’s free to stay for up for up to 14 days. Be sure to register with the camp host when you arrive. There are no services at Dome Rock, so be sure to pack in and pack out everything you need.

Tom Wells Road/Morgantown BLM

This BLM area is further west of Quartzsite than Dome Rock, and is very close to the California-Arizona border. Tom Wells Road is about a 15-minute drive from the town of Quartzsite, but there are services available at a rest stop just down the road as well as in the nearby town of Ehrenberg. There are no services at the BLM campground, however.

Tom Wells Road BLM is a good option for those looking for something on the west side of town that is less crowded than Dome Rock. Although you can expect some highway and ATV noise, it’s otherwise a pretty quiet place to camp. As with all BLM campgrounds, you can stay for free for up to 14 days.

Roadrunner BLM

Located roughly seven miles south of Quartzsite along Highway 95, the Roadrunner BLM campground is another excellent free boondocking spot. It tends to be much less crowded than some of the areas closer to town, and its level gravel sites make it very accommodating for big rigs. Just like with all of the BLM campgrounds, you can stay for 14 days and you’ll need to register with the camp host upon arrival.

There are no services at Roadrunner, but campers typically report good cell coverage. The area has fantastic wide open desert views and there are plenty of majestic saguaros dotting the landscape. ATV enthusiasts will also appreciate the many trails nearby.

Tips for Finding the Best Boondocking Spots in Quartzsite

Discovering the perfect boondocking spot in Quartzsite, Arizona can transform a simple RV trip into an unforgettable adventure. Here’s how you can find the best spots to park your rig and enjoy the natural beauty and camaraderie Quartzsite has to offer.

First and foremost, research is key. In addition to the descriptions provided in the previous section, we recommend you start with online forums and boondocking-specific websites where fellow RVers share their favorite locations and tips. Websites like FreeCampsites.net and Campendium are a great resource. They not only provide coordinates and reviews but also offer insights into the terrain, accessibility, and amenities of each spot.

Another essential tip is to arrive early in the season or week. Quartzsite becomes extremely crowded, especially during the RV Show in January. By arriving earlier, you’ll have a broader selection of spots to choose from, allowing you to find a location that offers both privacy and stunning views. Remember, the early bird gets the worm—or in this case, the best parking spot.

Another helpful practice is networking with fellow boondockers. Don’t hesitate to strike up conversations. More often than not, you’ll discover incredible spots through recommendations from people you meet on the road. The boondocking community is incredibly friendly and often willing to share information about lesser-known locations that offer serenity and spectacular landscapes.

Lastly, always respect the land and follow Leave No Trace principles. Keeping our boondocking sites clean and undisturbed ensures that these beautiful places remain accessible for years to come.

By combining thorough research, strategic timing, networking, and a strong commitment to the environment, you’re well on your way to finding the best boondocking spots in Quartzsite. These locations not only offer a place to stay but also an opportunity to connect deeply with nature, experience unparalleled freedom, and become part of a welcoming and vibrant community.

Logistics for Boondocking in Quartzsite: Groceries, Water, and More

Quartzsite is often called the “Boondocking Capital of the World,” and this means it is well equipped to provide services for the many thousands of RV campers that pass through each winter. From dump stations to propane refills, you won’t have to look far to find what you need.

Water and Dumping

If you’re camping at the LTVA, use of the onsite water and dump stations is included with your permit. Those boondocking on BLM lands will have their pick of services available in town. One of the best places to go for all of your RV needs, including water, dump, ice, and propane, is RV Pit Stop which is centrally located just north of Interstate 10 in Quartzsite. RV Relief is just north of RV Pit Stop and also provides a one-stop-shop with all of the essential services.

If you just need to fill up on water, The Water Queue offers reasonable prices and friendly services. Alternatively, many of the RV parks in the area will allow you to use their dump stations for a small fee.

Groceries

There are two grocery stores in the town of Quartzsite: Coyote Fresh Foods and Roadrunner Market. Both stores are on the smaller side, but are stocked with all of the essential items. They’re pretty similar in terms of prices and quality, although Coyote Fresh Foods tends to get better reviews for its meats and deli items. There is a Walmart Supercenter located about 40 minutes north in Parker if you need to access a larger store.

There are also a few good restaurants in town. Silly Al’s Pizza is a favorite amongst boondockers, but you can find a variety of cuisines to choose from.

Propane

Propane is widely available in Quartzsite. The best places to fill up are RV Pit Stop and RV Relief, but you can also find fill stations and many gas stations and RV parks in town.

Other Services

There are a handful of laundromats in town, so you won’t have any trouble getting the desert dust out of your favorite clothes. A popular pick amongst boondockers is Main Street Laundromats and Showers, where you can get a clean and decently-priced shower while you wash your clothes. Other places to take a proper shower include Loves and the Pilot Travel Center, which are both located on the west side of town.

There is a post office right on Main Street that accepts general delivery as well as all of the other standard postal services. During the busy winter season, it’s common for there to be long lines, so come prepared to be patient!

A Carl's Jr sign with a sunset in the background on Main Street in Quartzsite, Arizona.
Just off Main Street in Quartzsite.

RV Gatherings and Community in Quartzsite

One of the most compelling reasons to visit Quartzsite, especially during the winter months, is the unparalleled sense of community among RV enthusiasts. The town becomes a bustling hub for RV gatherings, transforming into what many call the RV Capital of the World.

First off, Quartzsite’s most notable event, the Quartzsite RV Show, takes place annually in January. This event isn’t just a showcase of the latest RV models and accessories; it’s a congregation point for thousands of RVers from across the nation. The atmosphere is electric, with workshops, seminars, and countless opportunities to connect with fellow RV enthusiasts.

Beyond the RV show, Quartzsite offers numerous smaller gatherings and clubs tailored to specific interests, whether you’re into amateur radio, gem and mineral shows, or simply love the lifestyle that comes with RVing. These gatherings are informal, hugely welcoming, and act as the social glue of the community. Every week, it’s possible to find a potluck, a campfire gathering, or a group excursion into the surrounding desert.

The genuine camaraderie and shared joy of exploration here are truly special, offering more than just a place to park — it’s a place to connect, learn, and grow.

Embracing the Boondocking Lifestyle in Quartzsite

Boondocking in Quartzsite means waking up to the serene desert landscape, with saguaro cacti greeting you in the morning light. But to truly embrace this lifestyle, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

One of the first lessons was about sustainability. Living off-grid in Quartzsite requires careful water usage, power management, and waste disposal. Investing in solar panels and learning how to conserve water isn’t just environmentally responsible, but also incredibly freeing.

It’s also important to adhere to Leave No Trace principles when camping in fragile desert environments. You may arrive to a campsite that has plenty of trash left behind from the previous occupant. Although this can be frustrating, doing your part to leave it cleaner than you found it will encourage others to do the same. And as a friendly reminder, this also applies to picking up pet waste.

Networking with fellow boondockers is another way to make the most of your experience. Through shared campfires and potlucks, you’ll receive invaluable tips about hidden boondocking spots and local points of interest. Moreover, the sense of belonging and mutual support among travelers is something that deeply enriches the experience.

And of course, exploring the local culture and activities is a must. From the Quartzsite RV Show to the gem shows and flea markets, there’s always something happening. These events are not just for entertainment—they’re opportunities to connect with others who share a love for this unique lifestyle.

Family takes a photo next to an RV in the desert.

Conclusion

Boondocking in Quartzsite, Arizona, isn’t just about finding a place to park your RV; it’s a lifestyle choice that offers a blend of freedom, community, and a deeper connection with nature. From the practicalities of managing resources responsibly to the delights of local events and the warmth of fellow boondockers, camping in this desert haven is enriching on every level. If you’re seeking an adventure that combines the thrill of off-grid living with the comfort of community support, Quartzsite might just be the perfect destination for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is boondocking, and why choose Quartzsite, Arizona for it?

Boondocking refers to camping without hookups outside established campgrounds, often in remote locations. It is similar to dispersed camping, although boondocking typically refers to camping out of a vehicle like a van or RV. Quartzsite, Arizona, is favored for boondocking due to its affordability, the freedom it offers, and the strong sense of community among RV enthusiasts, especially during the winter months.

What makes the RV community in Quartzsite unique?

The RV community in Quartzsite is known for its tight-knit nature, vibrant during the winter months with a calendar full of events like the Quartzsite RV Show. This community fosters a sense of belonging and mutual support among boondockers.

How can one embrace the boondocking lifestyle in Quartzsite sustainably?

Embracing the boondocking lifestyle sustainably in Quartzsite involves careful management of resources like water and power, mainly through conserving water and investing in solar panels. These practices not only respect the environment but also add to the freedom of living off-grid.

How can one explore the local culture and activities in Quartzsite while boondocking?

Exploring the local culture and activities in Quartzsite involves participating in community events such as the Quartzsite RV Show and gem shows. These activities allow boondockers to connect with others who share their passion for the lifestyle, enhancing their experience.

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