When we arrived in Quartzsite (the “Q”), we really weren’t sure what to expect and went in search of information about basic services. And we found the ladies at the Chamber of Commerce at 101 W Main Street, across from the Post Office, very helpful, they answered all of our questions, gave us a business directory and a directory of vendors for the various shows, as well as some other event and tourist information.
For those that prefer to get their information in advance, I compiled a short list of various services that we used and were satisfied with below:
Grocery Stores – The Roadrunner Market and The Quartzsite General Store both on Main Street offered produce, meats, a limited wine and beer selection and other basic foods but the Roadrunner Market was larger and had by far the best selection.
If you need a full grocery store, there’s an Albertsons at 840 East Hobson Way in Blythe, about 20 miles west, just across the California state line. There is a border patrol checkpoint on the way there and back, and, although we sailed through, we noticed traffic held up on the opposite side so be prepared for a possible delay.
Mail –There is a Post Office at 80 W Main Street, however, my understanding is that the lines can be quite long.
Ironwood Outpost at 225 N Central Boulevard will receive Fedex and UPS packages. We left our name and phone and they called to notify us when they received our package. They charge a $5.00 fee, but we thought it was worth it to avoid long lines, especially since we only had one delivery while in Quartzsite. This company provides other services as well.
Laundry – Main Street Laundromat and Showers at 205 East Main Street is a huge laundromat– they have Wi-Fi and a restaurant (didn’t try this one) next door. They also offer showers, including towel, bath mat, soap and shampoo for $6.00, though we didn’t try those out.
Bars/Restaurants with TVs – Hector needed a place to watch the Denver Broncos playoff game, and we went to The Quartzsite Yacht Club, 1070 W. Main Street, a place with a very colorful history. A yacht club many miles from the nearest water. Funny.
We were not thrilled with our food choices, but it has a large bar, lots of TV’s (some of which are dedicated to off-track betting), and is seemingly very popular with locals. Another (smaller) place that has TV’s and supposedly good food (per one of the town cops) is The Grubstake on Central Boulevard.
Trash and Recycling – The Refuse Transfer Station on Central Boulevard on the left hand side headed north of Quartzsite a bit past the Fire Station. It’s free but open limited hours (7:30 to 2:30) Sunday through Wednesday only so plan accordingly.
Holding Tank Dump Station, Potable Water Tank Fill and Propane – The RV Pit Stop at 425 North Central Road. They have a filter attached to their fresh water fill. They also offer reverse osmosis water for drinking water refills as well as ice though we didn’t use those services. A very convenient and well organized all in one set up. You drive from station to station.
Campsite selection. Full hook ups or boondocking? The “Q” has several commercial campgrounds with hook ups. Most looked ok if simple, but frankly the desert called to us so we didn’t look into the campgrounds in town.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) allows dispersed camping on various public land areas nearby. So, how did we choose which BLM area to stay in? The BLM web site nicely identifies where all the camping areas are on the map, and we read RV reviews, but the descriptions were pretty basic so we couldn’t really tell which one offered what. Two things stood out on many of the reviews – there’s lots of dust and highway noise can be a problem.
There are several free BLM areas (14 day max stay within any 28 day period). These have no services, pack it in/ pack it out. And a Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) for $40 for 14 nights or $180 for seven months. Cheap! Staying in the LTVA includes access to potable water and a dump site and there are dumpsters and some vault toilets throughout the areas but the places are still basically open desert.
North of town are Hi Jolly BLM (5.5 miles) and Plomosa Road BLM (10 miles). East is Scaddan Wash (3.5 miles), West is Dome Rock Mountain (3.5 miles), South is RoadRunner (5 miles) and the La Posa LTVA (2 miles) which is broken up into several areas. La Posa West and North are right near town and La Posa Tyson Wash and La Posa South (where the dump and potable water are located) are a bit further south.
Choosing a spot depends on your priorities.
Traffic noise carries quite easily across the desert, so if you really want to avoid it plan to drive somewhere as far from I-10 as you can. Perhaps La Posa South, Hi Jolly or Plomosa Road.
Dust is mostly created by traffic, so to get away from it you should park away from the access roads towards the back of the area you select.
If access to the shows in town are a priority La Posa West is right by the show (walking distance), but you are pretty packed in.
Privacy or Party? If you want some privacy you might try the Dome Rock Mountain area. This is hillier terrain so the flat places suitable for camping are fewer and more spaced out.
We drove around several dirt roads looking for our specific campsite and ultimately found a cozy one, a little close to the dirt access road so we got a bit of ATV traffic zooming through but not much other traffic. You could hear I-10 traffic in the distance but not too disturbing.
This did mean driving Island Girl SLOWLY down an uneven dirt road. And several of the roads were clearly not suitable for larger RVs so scouting is a must.
We really liked our spot with vegetation on both sides and our very own Saguaro and we even entertained a couple of times.
Some other BLM areas seemed flatter and less interesting to us, but campsite access seemed easier and lots of groups were gathered in the flatter areas. So if you want a place to arrange multiple rigs in a giant circle and have a giant fire ring, there is plenty of open flat space to choose from. Some groups place the rigs in a circle, others prefer a rectangle, many are just sort of scattered across the land.
Campsite Services – One nice thing about having such a density of RVs is that they provide business opportunities for service providers. There are several mobile RV repair guys in town, and apparently you can also have water delivered and your tanks pumped out at your site as well (for a fee of course).
So all in all Quartzsite is a great place for boondocking with lots of moral and technical support available for newbies. We weren’t sure what to expect. But we sure had a wonderful time and learned a lot about boondocking during our Quartzsite experience.