"Welcome to Quartzsite, a desert oasis that explodes
annually into a world famous event. Quartzsite is a big part of
The Travel Council that we look forward to every year.
We hope you enjoy this video as much as we enjoy being there."
~ The Travel Channel
Quartzsite, Arizona is a small town in the Southwest Sonoran desert. It is located at the crossroads of Highway 10 between Phoenix and Los Angeles, and Highway 95 between Lake Havasu City and Yuma. The history of the West reveals that this area was always a gathering place for pioneers on their way to the rich gold fields in California, a weigh station and hub of activity for travelers going in every direction.
Quartzsite is known these days as a gathering place of a different kind. In the hot summer months, it is a place where weary travelers can make a stop for food, lodging, fueling, and shopping on the way to places east, west, north and south. The summer temperatures here exceed 100 degrees almost daily, and Quartzsite is just another quite town in the deserts of Arizona.
During the winter months, it’s a different story—and Quartzsite transforms into a different town. Western Arizona temperatures are often in the seventies in the winter, and Quartzsite turns into one of the biggest gatherings of people in the country.
Over one million RV visitors, many called “snowbirds” because they migrate here from the northern climates, converge on Quartzsite every winter to shop and sell at its famous indoor and outdoor swap meets and shows—a commercial extravaganza where you can find anything and everything imaginable!
During Quartzsite’s world famous annual show season dealers, vendors and sellers arrive in town from all over the world with some of the most unusual items you can find anywhere.
Several of the bigger show areas specialize in rocks, gems, and minerals from all around the globe:
Amethyst from Brazil, opals and crystals from Australia, turquoise from Africa and right here in the Southwest, fossilized geodes, and ancient bones from everywhere. If antiques are your thing, there are dozens of vendors who bring them in from all over the country—dishes, pans, lamps, jewelry, wagons, household items and much more. If you are looking for homemade craft items, there are plenty to choose from, and some you will not see anywhere else.
There are several craft shows going on all the time, and major craft shows during the peak season. If jewelry is your thing, there are hundreds of vendors selling handmade and commercially made necklaces, earrings, brooches, etc., made with some of the hundreds of specimens of fine gemstones found all over the world as well as in the desert area around Quartzsite.
This is a dealer’s paradise, with hundreds of booths filled with gems, minerals, findings, ready made items and raw material for making jewelry and anything else you can think of.
And this is just a taste of the bounties one can find during Quartzsite’s show season. If you are an RV’er or sportsman, there are some shows that specialize in the things you may need for your traveling, hunting or fishing pleasure. Looking for t-shirts, souvenirs, socks, wind chimes, pottery, polished rock eggs, sliced rocks, wood carvings, clothing, medical aides, dolls, Native American Indian merchandise, you name it, you can probably find it in Quartzsite during the winter. There is an old saying in this area that if you can’t find it in Quartzsite, then it hasn’t been thought of yet.
The “season” in Quartzsite starts in October and lasts until the end of April. The main shows are in January and February, but some vendors stay all year. Quartzsite also has many year-round businesses that, during show season, are happy to help you find anything you may need or want while you’re in town.
Keep in mind that, if you get your fill of walking around the swap meets and want something else to do, there are many local attractions to visit and fun, interesting, and educational activities to participate in. You’ll find that music is a big thing in Quartzsite, and one can always find a jam session going on or a rollicking music festival to attend. The Quartzsite Improvement Association (QIA) and Senior Citizens Center have something going on every day and night as well—dances, bingo, crafts, pot luck dinners, and many special events and shows as well.
There are hundreds of miles of trails around Quartzsite if you like desert ATV’ing, walking and hiking trails, golfing, and regularly scheduled field trips. Be sure to take in a scheduled day trip or two to observe and learn more about the flora and fauna of the region. The desert surrounding Quartzsite is enclosed by several mountain ranges, and there are hundreds of species of wildlife and vegegation to discover that are unique to this area alone.
Many ancient intaglios and petroglyphs can be found in this area, as well as old mines and wagon trails, old buildings and cabins. There is an abundance of history, including Gen. George Patton’s old camp just outside of the town of Bouse, 21 miles from Quartzsite. If you like museums, there are several in the area and within a day’s trip that will give you the history of this part of the southern desert. You will be amazed at how many hardships our earlier settlers had to overcome as the west was settled.
You won’t want to miss Celia’s Rainbow Gardens, a one-of-a-kind desert botanical gardens. It encompasses over 15 acres of the Town Park on Plymouth Road, and is staffed solely by volunteers. And everyone coming to Quartzsite needs to experience, at least once, the quite unique Readers’ Oasis as well as the town’s famous Hadji Ali (Hi Jolly) monument, a tribute to the camel driver who worked for the U.S. Army in an experiment to use camels as pack animals just before the Civil War.
Accommodations in Quartzsite are many and varied. There are several motels, over 70 campgrounds, and thousands of acres of BLM campgrounds in the desert surrounding Quartzsite. During the winter season it is not unusual for over 75,000 RV’s to flock to the desert and towns in this area. Quartzsite annually hosts more than a million and half visitors to the area. A large number of these snowbirds and winter visitors have been coming for decades, and many from all over the world.
One can be as active or as sedentary as they want to be while in Quartzsite, filling the days with activities or simply sitting back and enjoying the desert beauty. Join the buying and selling pandemonium of the season or take advantage of some well deserved alone time away from the crowds.
Whatever you choose to fill your time with, the Town of Quartzsite, its residents, and its business community welcome you to visit and stay as long as you like. We want you to enjoy our town and businesses, and will do all we can to make your stay a happy one. You may decide to come back again and again—Quartzsite has a way of growing on you.
The following organizations will happily provide you with any information you require.
Town of Quartzsite: 928-927-4333
Quartzsite Business Chamber of Commerce: 928-927-9321
Quartzsite Improvement Association (QIA):928-927-6325
For the latest news, read the Desert Messenger,
Quartzsite's FREE Community Paper which publishes the 1st and 3rd Wed. of each month Sept. thru May with special monthly summer issues.
View the latest issue online at http://www.MyQuartzsite.com
For more information call Rain at
or E-mail: Editor@DesertMessenger.com
Pilot Rock Publishing/ Desert Messenger,
Box 3185, Quartzsite, AZ 85359
Read the paper online at: www.MyQuartzsite.com