Quartzsite Bumming & Day-Tripping To Parker & Lake Havasu, AZ
Since we left our last spot and I finally (phew!!) finished my boondocking post series, we’ve been parked on BLM just outside of Quartzsite, AZ. Interestingly enough Quartzsite was the very first place we boondocked, just over a month into our travels back in early 2010. At the time I was super nervous and had very little info about this whole boondocking thing, but this turned out to be the perfect place to try it.
Seriously, if you’ve always wanted to try boondocking, but have always been too worried to try there is no easier place than Quartzsite, AZ.
There are no less than 9 different boondocking areas here, several of which are semi-managed areas with BLM hosts (that’ll be happy to help you out) as well as dump/water. There are hundreds of other boondockers out here, lots of flat/firm ground and super easy access. You’ll have plenty of company, and there’s more than enough space for you to find more remote spots with no company if you prefer too.
We’re in an old-time favorite area of ours near Dome Rock just west of town. This time of year the “big RV show” has already passed, many of the hundreds of temporary vendors have dispersed from town and the boondocking spots have thinned out. Only the “core” of Quartzsite is left, but we still like it here for all it’s quirks and wierdness, plus it’s a super-convenient spot to day-trip to nearby towns. And that’s what we’ve spent our time on.
So, here’s bringing you up to date on our week….
Parker Desert Bar
One of the things that’s always been on my “list” of things to do around here is the solar-powered Desert Bar ~3.5 miles down a lonely dirt road just north of Parker, AZ. Built at the site of a copper mining camp in 1975, it’s a bumpy, dusty drive to get there via either an “easy way” or a”crazy 4WD way” on the back-side (for those nutty enough to try it).
The bar is totally over-priced and touristy, but it’s a fun little outing nonetheless. There’s some decent burgers on the menu and a few cold/adult beverages (only Coors and Bud cans for beer, unfortunately). It’s not fancy, but it’s out in the boonies, has some neat Western decor, hosts good, live music bands (they were rocking!) and is totally solar powered which IS rather cool. I wouldn’t call it amazing, but it’s an interesting and fun enough place to spend the afternoon with some buddies.
Note/ The Desert Bar is only open Sat/Sun from 12-6 and only in season (check their website before you go). Dog and kid-friendly spot. If coming by regular car make sure to take the “easy way” listed here.
Lake Havasu City
I’ve always been leery about visiting Lake Havasu City, not because it isn’t a nice town, but because I’d heard so much about it being a “tourist” destination that I thought it really wouldn’t appeal to me. It’s a popular boating area, is rather famous for the London Bridge and is a well-known “party destination” during Spring Break. Being mostly nature-lovers I couldn’t really see what appeal the place might have for us? So, part of me wanted to see it, part of me didn’t.
Interestingly enough it was a complete tourist-trap that finally hooked us to go. Through my Google-efforts I learned that Lake Havasu has a Lighthouse Club that’s built no less than eighteen, 1/3-scale replicas of real lighthouses on the shores of Lake Havasu. Actual lighthouse minatures that you can go right up to and visit!! Yeah, total kitsch tourist-trap but NOW you’ve got my attention (what can I say, we all have our weaknesses). With that little gem in my backpocket I arranged a day-trip which would take us to a secluded cove hike, the lighthouses (obviously) and finish with a microbrew visit.
We started bright and early with our hike. My chosen trail was this 4-mile round-trip to Solitude Cove, which sounded enticingly private. We got into the wash at ~8:30AM and completed a lovely, lonely walk to a beautifully calm, deep blue cove. Perfect! Polly got to swim, something she’s been dying to do for months and we enjoyed complete solitude for the entire outing.
Once back in the car we motored over the famous London Bridge (yes, it’s the actual London Bridge transported brick for brick from England in 1968) and onto the Island where most of the lighthouses are located.
Oh yeah, now you’re talking my kind of geek!
We only saw a small portion of all eighteen (you can download the complete map HERE), but I have to admit they were super cute. Each lighthouse has a plaque with info on it’s “big brother” counterpart and is reproduced in exact detail in mini size. Pretty darn cool!
We finished our day with lunch at Mudshark Brewery. Totally respectable microbrew (the Belgian Style White Ale was particularly tasty) and very reasonable at under $20 for beer and meal together. Of course it was at this point that I realized I had lost my wallet (aaaaargggghhh!), but that’s a topic best left to another blog post (I’ve got much to write on the subject).
Overall we had an awesome day and found more depth to this town than I originally imagined. There’s plenty of remote hiking, lots of biking & walking tours and places even us nature-lovers can call our own. Plus there’s a decent selection of eateries in town. There’s still too much of a tourist vibe to make this an all-time favorite for us, but we enjoyed it and will definitely come back to the area for more hiking/exploration in the future.
Note/ All the hiking trails I looked at in Lake Havasu were dog friendly (most are on State Park or BLM land). The lighthouses are all dog-friendly too, as is Mudshark Brewery (very spacious covered outdoor seating area to hang with doggie).
Bumming Around Q
The rest of our time has been spent bumming around Q. We managed to spend a lovely afternoon with our RV buddy Sassy’s On Da Road who, by the by, taught us a fabulous new way to refill small propane tanks from a larger tank -> what a money saver!! (See this video on how to do this). But otherwise we have just been total social hermit slobs, which is the complete opposite of what we usually do here.
Mostly we’ve just relaxed & hiked around our superb boondocking spot, which is perfectly fine with us. We’re planning to move on shortly to new destinations, as yet unknown, but likely somewhere south of here. I’ve got at least 2-3 brand new sightseeing spots in mind, plus at least one brand new (for us) boondocking location.
The only firm plan we currently have in our future is a month in San Diego (we snagged a last-minute cancellation and will be getting there end of Feb) so we’re just planning to bum around the desert until that time.
See ya at the next spot!
- Social, Crazy Diverse – Quartzsite, AZ
- 8 Tips For Shopping & Boondocking At Quartzsite, AZ
- The Biggest RV Gathering On Earth! Quartzsite, AZ
- Boondocking Site Review – Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ