It’s going on now, the Desert Gardens Gem & Mineral show at Quartzsite, a rock collector’s piece of heaven.
For a great day trip, head due west out of Phoenix approximately 125 miles to Quartzsite, aptly named for this event, to a sleepy little town that is home to a few hundred permanent residents ten months out of the year. But prepare yourself for a bee hive of activity in January and February when over a million visitors arrive for the show.
It all started back in the 1960’s when Quartzsite became a haven for rock hounds–not surprising since Arizona’s past is steeped in the lore of copper and gold mining. So what started with a few old prospectors and hippy miners has turned into a white tent event with tens of thousands in the town, two months out of the year, at any one time.
It has grown to much more than a rock show. There is something in everyone’s price range, whether that means paying one dollar for a crystal or thousands of dollars for a crystal. Yes, thousands! There’s an on-going swap meet with an array of treasures from all over the world. And mineral and gem enthusiasts come from around the world for this annual opportunity to buy, sell and trade.
Most visitors arrive in RVs, some with tents – adjacent camping on government land is free – and if you are one of the lucky ones to score a room at the only motel in town , more power to you! There is lodging available in some neighboring towns about 25-35 miles away – namely Blythe, CA, and Ehrenbergor and Parker, AZ. If you call and get a no vacancy response there, and you are determined to make this show, plan to drive close to 100 miles for a room in Yuma or Lake Havasu City. Regardless of the drive time, it’s well worth the trip to experience this “Desert Phenomenon”.
Quartzsite’s setting is at 879’ above sea level and surrounded by mountains and a pristine desert with amazing Arizona sunsets and warm temperatures and sunshine all during the day.
Did you know? General Patton’s troops used the area just north of Quartzsite to train his troops for WWII. From a plane you can see QUARTZSITE spelled out in rocks with an area pointing the way for the planes.
Quartzsite might be small but it’s mighty, and they have a renowned reputation for catering to a visitor’s every whim and fancy. Make this your destination of choice and have a great day or two!
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