Quartzsite, Arizona

Quartzsite, Arizona

The sun shines 300 days a year in Arizona. This is a fact that thousands of vacationers seldom take advantage of. Warm winters, low visitation and a beautiful natural scenery make the western part of the state a surprising and wonderful destination.

Some time ago I spent a winter in a little town no one has ever heard of called Quartzsite, in western Arizona. If you are looking for an out of the way experience that offers a taste of the Real West and all the history and natural beauty you could want, this out of the way corner of the world is the vacation identify for you.

Around 120 miles west of Phoenix, on interstate 10 you will find Quartzsite. It’s a town that looks tiny. Blink and you could miss the exit. The city is located south of Parker and Lake Havasu, north of Yuma and about 10 miles from the California border right on the Colorado River.

Timeshares and vacation resorts are close, but not immediate to this little town. I would guess 90% of the city is comprised of campgrounds offering service to a range of budgets. Whether you are traveling with a tent or a motor coach, or anything in between you will find a identify just right for you.

The town is home to an annual Rock and Gem show that goes from Thanksgiving by the spring of every year. Collectors and dealers bring mineral specimens in every imaginable quantity and size to show and sell. The show grounds are reminiscent of an old time bazaar with dealers offering almost anything you can imagine.

Hot air balloons and glider rides are regularly obtainable to allow guests to take in the natural beauty of the surrounding Sonoran Desert. A walk outside of town in any direction takes explorers past abandoned mines, prospector’s grave sites, ancient Spanish construction and my favorite, intaglios as old as the Nazca drawings which are best seen from the air.

Nearby is Parker, Arizona. located on an Indian reservation, this little town offers Casinos, river rides and local cuisine. A bit farther north is Lake Havasu City, home of the famous London Bridge, moved all the way from England. A excursion south takes guests to the historic town of Yuma right across the border from Nogales, Mexico.

The real charm of the area is it’s natural beauty and history. The vicinity is so untouched and unexplored that explorers may stumble across a mine or structure in the desert that has been untouched for hundreds of years.

On one excursion I stumbled across tracks left by armored units left untouched since the desert was used for training during WW2. On another event I discovered a footpath leading to an ancient stone overhang that protected Native Americans possibly thousands of years before. The discovery included pottery and a grinding stone that had been untouched since it had been last used. (A information to the amateur archeologist: these are wonderful objects to find. When you find them, leave them untouched for future generations.)

A quick Google search of Quartzsite will turn up a wealth of information, including theme parks, golf courses, resorts, and other accommodations nearby. If you are looking for a new vacation identify, looking to travel in the winter to keep costs down, or just adventurous by character. I strongly recommend exploring this little town in Arizona and its surroundings. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

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