By GCI ambassador Jessica Baker
Whether you live the RV lifestyle full-time or are a weekend warrior, chances are you prefer warmer temperatures while camping. As the US cools in the fall and winter seasons, many RVers migrate south. These campers are known as snowbirds. They pack up and seek warmer weather in the cooler months.
When you think of snowbirding in the United States, the first place that may come to mind is Florida. Each year hundreds of thousands of RVers hit the Sunshine State for the winter. But if you are looking for drier air and fewer people, the West might be best! There are many places in the Southwest that are ideal for snowbirds. So, where should you camp this winter? Here are the best RV snowbird destinations in the West!
You can’t get more southwest than San Diego, CA. San Diego is an excellent option for snowbirds because it has everything: the coast, the desert, the mountains, the city, and more. The weather might just be perfect. From November through January, highs stay in the low 60s and low 70s, and lows stay in the 50s and 60s. Talk about chasing 70°!
No matter how you like to spend your time, you can find it in San Diego. This area is home to miles upon miles of beautiful beaches, both salt and freshwater, ideal for paddling and fishing, plus hundreds of hiking trails, close to 100 golf courses, an exciting downtown scene, delicious food from all over the world, and so much more.
Whether you’re looking to be right on the water or tucked away in the outskirts, there are plenty of places to RV camp in and around San Diego. Here are a couple of the best options!
If you want to get away from it all but still be within a short drive of all that San Diego has to offer, snowbirding at Pio Pico Campground is a great option. This RV park is located in the small community of Jamal in the foothills outside of San Diego. You’re able to enjoy peace and quiet but still be only 30 minutes from downtown. Mexico is only 20 minutes away if you feel like heading south of the border!
The park itself has all of the amenities needed to enjoy your winter. There are multiple swimming pools, hot tub, pickleball, horseshoes, minigolf, and hiking/biking trails. You can enjoy breakfast and lunch at the onsite restaurant or pick up a book at the library. There is always something going on at the activity center, whether it’s bingo, arts and crafts, or church service.
If you’re looking for sun, surf, and sand while spending the winter in San Diego, Campland on the Bay is the place for you! This RV park offers waterfront camping on the shores of Mission Bay. While the park itself is enough to keep you happy all season, Campland is conveniently located close to everything you’d want to do or see in San Diego. The heart of Pacific Beach is just two miles away and easy to access via bike on the Mission Beach-Pacific Beach Boardwalk. Downtown San Diego is just 12 minutes away, and Old Town San Diego is just 10 minutes away.
Sites are full hook up and come in various sizes to meet your and your rig’s needs. The majority of campsites come with a picnic table and fire ring, or there is the SuperSite, which comes with a large gate for privacy, private hot tub, BBQ grill, and more! There is no shortage of fun to be had at Campland. Enjoy happy hour at the onsite restaurant and bar, rent a kayak or bike at the rental shop, work out in the fitness center, and if you have little ones in tow, enjoy daily family-friendly activities such as pickleball and freeze tag!
When talking about snowbird destinations, it’s a given that Arizona would be on the list. Quartzsite, AZ in particular is a haven for RVing snowbirds. It is said more than a million snowbirds flock to Quartzsite each year! With temperatures hovering around 70°, hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails, fantastic shopping, and events specifically catering to the snowbird, it’s no wonder Quartzsite is a top winter destination in the West for RVers!
Quartzsite is located 17 miles from the California border at the intersection of I-10 and Hwy. 95. Probably the biggest draw to Quartzsite is the number of camping options. Snowbirds enjoy the warm winters while camping in more than 70 RV parks and 11,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA), plus five 14-day free dispersed camping areas.
There is no shortage of places to park your home on wheels in and around Quartzsite. This tiny desert town welcomes snowbirds with wide-open arms and offers a plethora of camping options. Here are just a few to consider!
If full hookups and amenities are what you’re looking for in Quartzsite, then Holiday Palms RV Resort is a great place to spend the winter. A stay at this RV park doesn’t just get you full hookups; your campsite also comes with Wi-Fi and cable. Experience the natural beauty and adventure of Quartzsite with all of the luxuries of home!
Besides a nice site, another great reason to stay at Holiday Palms is the amenities. You’ll have access to the onsite pool, spa, billiards room, pickleball courts, dog park, horseshoes, showers, laundry room, library, rec center, and car wash. If you’re looking to get to know your neighbor and have some fun, there is always a fun activity taking place at this RV park, including bingo, pot lucks, poker games, music jams, holiday parties, line dancing, movie nights, and more!
Besides the weather, what is one of the most fantastic reasons to snowbird in Quartzsite? The abundance of cheap and free camping! As mentioned above, there are more than 11,000 acres of BLM land in the area, and there are a number of options for camping on federal land. You can spend up to seven months in one of the LTVAs (Long Term Visitor Areas) for under $180. For a shorter stay, you can pay $40 for a 14-day permit. You can spend the entire winter on BLM land for a fraction of what it would cost for one month at an RV park!
Something that has to be taken into consideration is the fact that camping on federal land means going off-grid or boondocking. While you may have access to an onsite dump station, a fresh water source, and trash dumpsters, you won’t have electric or water hookups. A generator is a must, and solar power would be recommended. Fresh water would take planning. But, with some of the hardships that come with dry camping, you get to enjoy wide-open spaces in this beautiful part of the country inexpensively. A wonderful way to spend the winter!
An hour north of Las Vegas, just off of I-15 in the picturesque Virgin River Valley, sits the small town of Mesquite. The town offers access to an abundance of outdoor fun with seven golf courses and close proximity to national and state parks in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. There is an abundance of resorts, casinos, dining, and shopping options. The winter weather starts above the mid-60°s. So no matter how you are looking to spend your time, Mesquite could be a great destination for you!
Mesquite is the type of place where you can live large in a luxurious RV park and not pay top dollar for it. It’s a little lesser known than Las Vegas or any snowbird destinations in Arizona, so the rates are still reasonable.
Sun Resorts RV Park is located in the heart of Mesquite, yet offers easy access to the freeway. Whether you want to golf locally, hit the casino, take a road trip to Zion National Park, or spend the day shopping in Las Vegas, Sun Resorts RV Park is the perfect home base. Campsites come with full hookups, cable TV, and Wi-Fi. Corner and extra large lots are the ideal place to spend your winter. There’s plenty of room to set up your outdoor space with your favorite camping chairs and relax!
The park offers a number of amenities including onsite laundry, dog run, putting green, clubhouse, billiards room, and shower house. The RV park is within walking distance of anything you need, including the grocery store, casinos, beauty salon, medical services, and much more.
Are you looking for luxury in the desert? Look no further than Desert Skies RV Resort! The list of amenities offered at this park is long and sure to keep you more than happy during your stay. Enjoy the heated pool and hot tub, multiple pickleball courts, minigolf course, fitness facility, billiards and game room, dog run, large laundry room, and library. You’ll never get bored, as there is always a fun activity happening!
There are several campsite options to choose from at Desert Skies RV Resort. Pick from a standard site, deluxe site, deluxe super view lot, or premium pull-through site. Don’t have your own RV in tow? Well, you could rent an RV or stay in a park model. Park models are for sale and are great as a winter home away from home or a year-round residence.
Snowbird destinations in the west offer warm days, cool nights, wide open spaces, and plenty of adventure. No matter where you land while chasing 70° in your RV, have fun, travel safe, and enjoy!
Jessica Baker has been full-time RVing since 2018. She has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada in her fifth-wheel RV turned tiny home on wheels with her husband, two kids, and three cats. You can find out more about her travels at BoundlessBakers.com and follow along on her adventures on Instagram.