If you’re an RV enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of the Quartzsite RV Show. Technically billed as the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show, it’s among the largest and most popular RV-related events in the world.
Located in the small desert town of Quartzsite, Arizona, hundreds of thousands of RVers attend the show each year. But what exactly is the Quartzsite RV Show? When is it, what happens there, and why might you want to attend? Can you camp in the area? If so, where?
Today’s post is a guide to this popular RV show. We’ll take a look at its history, location, dates, attractions, camping options, and tips to help you decide whether it’s an event you think you’d enjoy, and how to make the most of your experience if you go.
- 1) What Is the Quartzsite RV Show?
- 2) A Little History of the Quartzsite RV Show
- 3) Where Is the Quartzsite RV Show Located?
- 4) When Is the Quartzsite RV Show?
- 5) What Kinds of Things Can You Do At the Quartzsite RV Show?
- 6) Can I Camp At the Quartzsite RV Show?
- 7) A Few Insider Tips to Keep In Mind If You Plan to Attend the Quartzsite RV Show
- 8) Free RVing Tips, Tricks, Reviews, Giveaways & More
What Is the Quartzsite RV Show?
The Quartzsite RV Show is a huge RV trade show that takes place every January in Quartzsite, Arizona. It features a 70,000 sq. ft tent with over 300 exhibitors who sell all kinds of RV-related products and services. Those include accessories, gadgets, appliances, solar panels, generators, insurance, financing, and more.
Outside the tent, there are hundreds of new and used RVs for sale or on display from various dealers and manufacturers. You can also enjoy food vendors and live entertainment, as well as seminars and workshops on various topics related to RVing, such as boondocking, maintenance, safety, travel tips, and more.
But the Quartzsite RV Show isn’t just a trade show. It’s also a social event where you can meet and mingle with fellow RVers from all over the country and beyond. And like all gatherings of RVers, it’s fun to connect with like-minded people who share our enthusiasm for RVing.
A Little History of the Quartzsite RV Show
The Quartzsite RV Show started over 40 years ago as a small gathering of rockhounds who went to Quartzsite to buy and sell rocks, gems, and minerals. The event grew over time, and people started bringing their RVs and setting up camp in the surrounding desert.
In 1984, a guy named Kenny King, once a rock dealer and promoter of gem & mineral shows, decided to organize a formal RV show in Quartzsite to cater to the growing demand for RV products and services. He rented a small tent and invited some exhibitors to participate. The first show was a success, attracting about 10,000 visitors.
Since then, the Quartzsite RV Show has grown exponentially every year, becoming one of the biggest events in the RV industry. The event currently attracts over 300 exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of visitors, and is now billed as “The Largest Gathering Of RVers in the World.”
Where Is the Quartzsite RV Show Located?
The Quartzsite RV Show is located in Quartzsite, Arizona, a small town of about 3,000 residents, a couple of hours west of Phoenix.
Located about 20 miles east of the California border on Interstate 10, Quartzsite is known as the “Rock Capital of the World” because of its abundance of rocks, gems, and minerals that still attract collectors and dealers from all over the world.
The address of the RV show itself is 700 S. Central Blvd in Quartzsite, AZ, 85346, covering about 20 acres. This particular show includes a very large tent area as well as a huge outdoor display area, surrounded by desert landscapes. There’s plenty of parking for both visitors and exhibitors.
When Is the Quartzsite RV Show?
The Quartzsite RV Show takes place every year in late January for nine days. As we write this post, the next show is scheduled for January 20th-28th, 2024. Show hours are from 9AM to 5PM every day, with the exception of the final day when the show closes at 3PM.
There are a number of other events that occur in Quartzsite, including the Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show, flea markets, and swap meets.
Also, the Xscapers Annual Bash is always scheduled the week immediately prior to the Quartzsite show. The Bash’s timing and location, in Lake Havasu City, AZ, about 75 miles north of Quartzsite), make for a perfect pair of RVing weeks. When we attend one, we usually do both.
Travelers are attracted to Quartzsite for various reasons, including the opportunity for some boondocking (dry camping) on BLM land in the area’s mild winter temperatures. Thousands of RVers even spend most or all of the winter rv camping in the BLM’s nearby LTVAs (Long-Term Visitor Areas). It’s no surprise that Quartzsite is known as “RV Country.”
What Kinds of Things Can You Do At the Quartzsite RV Show?
There’s a lot to do at the Quartzsite RV Show, so most people need more than one day to see it all.
There are different main attractions daily, including educational seminars given by various businesses in the RV industry and by RVers themselves.
Here are some of the things you can do at the show:
- Shop for RV-related products & services, visiting over 300 exhibitors inside and outside the tent
- Take a walk through hundreds of new & used RVs for sale or on display from various dealers & manufacturers
- Attend free seminars and workshops on various topics related to RVing
- Sample food from vendors who offer a variety of cuisines
- Enjoy live entertainment
- Meet and hang with fellow RVers from all over the country and beyond
- Take part in contests and giveaways
Can I Camp At the Quartzsite RV Show?
Yes! A great feature of the Quartzsite RV Show is the fact that you can camp right near the showground. There are options for free camping, low-fee camping, and camping for all budgets all over Quartzsite.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) offers free dispersed camping on public land around Quartzsite. You can camp anywhere you want as long as you follow the rules & regulations. There are no hookups or facilities on BLM land, so you need to be self-contained and practice leave no trace principles.
If you’re not familiar with boondocking (our personal favorite way to camp), or a little nervous about trying it, take a look at our post on boondocking for newbies and watch the video below for lots of great tips. (Part of this video was shot at Split Rail RV Park right in Quartzsite.)
Long-Term Visitor Areas (LTVA)
As mentioned above, the Bureau of Land Management also offers Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA) where you can camp for up to seven months (from September 15th to April 15th) for a fee of $180 or $40 for two weeks.
There are four LTVAs near Quartzsite: La Posa, Tyson Wash, Hi Jolly, and Plomosa Road. These areas have some amenities, such as dump stations, potable water stations, trash bins, and restrooms. But there are no hook-ups, which generally means moving your rig to dump waste holding tanks (or using a blue boy) and filling the fresh tank (or using a water bladder).
For more information, check out the Bureau of Land Management’s page covering the La Posa Long Term Visitor Area.
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If you prefer the comfort and convenience of an established RV park, you can stay at one of the many commercial parks in Quartzsite. These parks offer full hookups, showers, laundry, WiFi, and other amenities, including activities and events for guests.
Keeping in mind that RV parks will definitely be more expensive and crowded than other options, especially during the show, you can find a list of Quartzsite RV parks with reviews and prices from Trip Advisor here.
A Few Insider Tips to Keep In Mind If You Plan to Attend the Quartzsite RV Show
The Quartzsite RV Show welcomes an estimated 750,000 to one million visitors. That’s a LOT of people. It can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you’re not accustomed to the show and don’t know what to expect. Here are a few tips to help you to navigate the show a little easier:
Plan in Advance
Do some research beforehand and plan which exhibitors, vendors, seminars, and other attractions you’re interested in visiting. If you’d like to see certain brands of RVs, plan a day to browse them. If you have a list of what you want to do, it’ll help you to make your way through the week without feeling completely overwhelmed.
Don’t plan too much on any one day! You can pick up a program for the entire show at the entrance, but we highly recommend visiting the Quartzsite RV Show website before your visit to devise a plan in advance.
To get an idea of the show’s setup, have a look at Kenny King’s brief video compilation of the 2019 show:
Arrive Early In the Day
The Quartzsite RV show can get very crowded during peak hours, especially over the weekend. To avoid finding yourself stuck in traffic jams and long lines, it’s best to arrive as early in the morning as possible, or later in the afternoon. You’re also likely to find the show to be less crowded on weekdays than on the weekend.
Dress In Layers & Wear Comfortable Shoes
The weather in Quartzsite can be chilly in January for part of the day, but can also warm up considerably later in the afternoon. Dress in layers so you’ll be comfortable in varying temperatures.
Items like a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and plenty of water and snacks in a backpack can be very helpful. Emergency items like band-aids, Advil, Tylenol, etc. are always good to have on hand as well.
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Be sure to wear your most comfortable footwear because you’ll be on your feet for most of the day when you’re away from your RV.
Embrace Plan B
If you’ve never been to the Quartzsite RV show before, you may be somewhat overwhelmed no matter how much you plan in advance. Remember that rolling with plan B sometimes gives us the best experiences.
You could make a plan and then arrive and find that your plan isn’t working well. The ability to pivot is always helpful.
The Quartzsite RV show is a huge event with lots of opportunities to chat with exhibitors, learn new things, find out about new products, and be social with other RVers. See old friends, make new friends, and enjoy the great company surrounding you.
Here’s another video from Kenny King, giving you a look inside the Big Tent before the crowd arrives, to give you an idea of the variety of vendors you’ll find:
If you enjoy being social, we suggest participating in group events like the Escapees/Xscapers groups that have gatherings in BLM areas during and around the time of the show.
See what you can find that you might enjoy, and go out and have some fun! If you’re an introvert, well…ummm…this gathering of a million RVers might not be the right show for you. ????
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