Quartzsite: Here’s the 2024 QZ Show Schedule

If you can’t find it at Quartzsite, it hasn’t been thought of yet

Every January something happens that is hard to believe—unless you have seen it.

According to the Arizona Highway Department, as many as 750,000 to 1,000,000 people mostly in RVs converge on this sleepy little desert town located just 20 miles east of the California border on Interstate 10 for the rock, gem, and mineral shows plus numerous flea markets and the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show. This phenomenon started over 40 years ago and is now billed as The Largest Gathering of RVers in the World.

The winter season is go time in Quartzsite. With winter temperatures hovering in the 70s, people flock to Quartzsite from colder climates to relish the warm weather and fascinating shopping. Thousands of vendors gather during these months to showcase items ranging from rocks, gems, and minerals to jewelry, apparel, home decor, and more.

Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Where is Quartzsite?

Quartzsite is located in western Arizona, just 20 miles east of the Colorado River on I-10. It’s been a rockhound’s paradise since the 1960s. These days, it’s also a mecca to well over a million visitors each year, most of whom converge on this small town in a wave of RVs during January and February.

During the winter months, 2,000 vendors of rocks, gems, minerals, fossils, and everything else imaginable create one of the world’s largest open-air flea markets in Quartzsite. Eight major gem and mineral shows in addition to vendors of raw and handcrafted merchandise peddle their wares to snowbirds, collectors, and enthusiasts making Quartzsite the place to be in January and February.

Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

History of Quartzsite

In 1856, settler Charles Tyson built a fort at the present site of Quartzsite to protect his water supply. Fort Tyson soon became a stopover on the Ehrenburg-to-Prescott stagecoach route eventually becoming known as Tyson’s Wells. The stage stopped running when the railway was built through the area in the 1880s and it became a ghost town.

A post office was established at Tyson Wells in the summer of 1893 but was closed in 1895.

In 1896 the post office reopened with the new name of Quartzsite since the postal authorities would not allow a branch to reopen with the same name. A bureaucratic misspelling resulted in an s being added to the mineral that was the town’s namesake.

Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Weather and climate

Quartzsite has a classic low desert climate with extremely low relative humidity and very high summer temperatures. On average, it receives less than 4 inches of precipitation a year. Stores, shops, restaurants, theaters, and homes are air-conditioned year-round in Quartzsite. June, July, August and September temperatures are in the 100-plus ranges.

Tyson Wells show history

Tyson Wells began with an open lot where an RV Park was developed; the Sell-A-Rama Show started in 1978. Soon Tyson Wells became known as a leading Rock & Gem Show in the United States. Later, additional land was acquired for more parking, and two more shows—Rock & Gem Show and Art & Craft Fair—were added. Tyson Wells has something for everyone with the three shows in January and February, seasonal vendors, self-storage units, and an RV Park.

Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Rock, Mineral, and Gem Show

Quartzsite is a rock collector’s paradise. For everything you need to make artsy rock art and jewelry, look no further. Thousands of rock hounds flock here to get magic rocks of every size and sparkle. Now, don’t be expecting beautifully displayed juried show wares and supplies. It’s nothing more than a huge outdoor desert flea market venue. However, once you get past the sand and dirt, you’re sure to find the perfect gem you may be looking for.

Tyson Wells Flea Market

If you’re looking for something odd or don’t want to pay top dollar in those big box stores, the Tyson Wells Flea Market may just be the place where you can find it. You’ll find tools, kitchen gadgets, flags, blanket throws, clothes bandanas, and all kinds of stupid stuff all on the cheap. There are RV supplies and camping accessories too.

Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show

For nine days, RVers descend on the giant exhibit tent to see the latest gadgets, get work and upgrades done on their RVs, and learn more about the RV lifestyle with workshops and seminars where attendees can learn about topics from trip planning to safety upgrades, solar and batteries, boondocking, and how to shop for an RV. Attendance at the event is free as is parking.

One can expect to see the who’s who of the RV industry but the stars of the show are the over 400 exhibitors (set up in and around the Big Tent—a 70,000-square-foot fully carpeted structure) selling everything from the latest and greatest RV gadgets to fashion jewelry to local honey. Some big tent vendors also have cellphones and electronic gadgets, glass fingernail files, dip mixes, and other vendors with non-RV junk.

If you’re looking for anything related to RVs, you’ll find it at the show in Quartzsite. It’s something every RVer should have on their bucket list and experience at least once in their lifetime.

Tomb of Hi Jolly © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tomb Of Hi Jolly

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Who in the world is Hi Jolly and why is his tomb in Quartzsite, Arizona?” then get ready because you’re about to find out. Hi, Jolly was actually a Syrian immigrant who was hired by the federal government to introduce camels into the parched deserts of the American Southwest.

Though the plan was scrapped, Hadji Ali–also known as Hi Jolly stayed on and lived out the rest of his days in Quartzsite. He died in the early 20th century and in the ’30s a bronze camel was placed at his tomb by townspeople who loved and admired him. The tomb is in town and free, so don’t miss it.

Tyson Wells Sell-a-Rama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2024 QZ Show Schedule

Bookmark this page to find out what’s happening.

January 1–February 28: Desert Gardens Rock, Gem and Mineral Show
Claiming to be “the largest international rock, gem and mineral show in Quartzsite,” there’s no doubt that other venues will dispute the claim. You’ll need to decide for yourself.

Hours: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., seven days a week

Location: Desert Gardens Show Grounds, 1055 Kuehn Street

January 2-February 28: Prospectors Panorama 
Claims to be the longest lasting annual show running from January 2nd through February 28th, every year.

Hours: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. daily

Location: Prospectors Panorama, 35 West Kuehn Street

Tyson Wells Sell-a-Rama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

January 5–14: Tyson Wells Rock & Gem Show
Bills itself as “an unbelievable variety displayed on 2.2 miles of aisle frontage.”

Hours: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., seven days a week

Location: 121 West Kuehn Street

January 17–22: QIA Pow Wow Gem & Mineral Show
This is THE original event that’s credited with launching Quartzsite as a major gathering point. The first show was in 1967 attracting maybe 1,000 buyers to visit with 100 vendors. Expect four times that many vendors now and rub elbows with 10,000 daily show-goers. If you’re into rocks and gems, don’t miss this one.

Hours: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., seven days a week

Location: Quartzsite Improvement Association Building, 235 East Ironwood Street

January 19–28: Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama
Rocks and minerals, arts and crafts, antiques, all this plus foods to amaze you. Do they include Tums vendors? You’ll need to come and find out for yourself.

Hours: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., seven days a week

Location: 121 West Kuehn Street

Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

January 20–28: Sports, Vacation & RV Show (The Big Tent)
Arguably the attraction that draws the most attention—and traffic. Acres of tented-over vendors with a specialization in RV stuff. 

Hours: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (3 p.m. closing day)

Location: 700 South Central Blvd.

February 2–11: Tyson Wells Arts and Crafts Fair
“10 days, 2.2 miles of aisle frontage”

Hours: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., seven days a week

Location: 121 West Kuehn Street

Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

February 9–11: Quartzsite Gold Show
There’s gold at that thar show—along with panning contests, metal detecting contests, and some great speakers and special presentations during the show each day.

Hours: Friday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.

Location: Quartzsite Improvement Association Building, 235 East Ironwood Street

Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Show attendance tips

It is always a good idea to plan your itinerary ahead of your travel. Think about what you want to buy, and the shows you want to attend, and plan your days.

As the vast majority of the Quartzsite shows are outdoors, I cannot stress enough how important it is to wear comfortable shoes, a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, carry water, and take breaks. Be prepared for cool or warm weather. That’s the desert in the winter. Be prepared to walk a lot of miles in the dusty aisles of the shows.

Also remember to keep detailed notes of what you are looking at or buying—which show, what item, what price, which dealer, what booth number, what day. By the end of the day, it all becomes a blur and if you want to go back and revisit a dealer those notes will be your life-saver.

Finally, have patience. If you are coming in at peak time, traffic on the Interstate exit ramps can be gridlock as there are only stop signs on the overpasses. Lots of patience is also required when waiting about an hour in line for dinner at the few restaurants in town.

To be sure, there are plenty of other Quartzsite shows—if one counts the hundreds of vendors and shops. 

Quartzsite RV Show © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Want to know more about Quartzsite? 

Let the shows begin!

See you at the Q!

Worth Pondering… 

Nowhere on earth will you find such an assortment of stuff as you will at Quartzsite from mid-December to mid-February. As the saying goes, “If you can’t find it in Quartzsite, you won’t find it anywhere.”