RV Vacation: GLAMIS – The Glamour of Off-Roading

No matter if you’re a California resident or you live across the country, if you are into UTVs, side-by-sides, ATVs, dune buggies, or running sand tires on dirt bikes, you’ve likely heard of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA), or as it most often referred to, Glamis.  Glamis is renowned for its expansive and exciting sand dunes.

However, for those outside of California you may not realize that in southern California there is a sand season. It is basically the time of year when the temperatures cool down enough to make the desert region that encompasses the ISDRA bearable.

The Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area is geographically known as the Algodones Dunes. It is the largest sand dune mass in California and the largest OHV recreation area for sand dunes in the country. The dunes stretch out about 40-miles long, are around 5 miles wide, reach up to 300 feet tall, encompass approximately 118,000 acres that are open to OHV recreation. This is a lot of space for family fun – racing your off-road bikes, trikes and all kinds of vehicles on the vast desert sand.

The season starts now. Between Halloween and mid-April, things cool down on the sand enough so you can touch it without it melting through your skin. Thanksgiving Weekend is quickly approaching and for many RVers, celebrating the Day of Thanks feels most comfortable on the road.

The Imperial Sand Dunes offers a unique hot spot for getting out in nature. The dunes bring in over 100,000 visitors every Thanksgiving weekend. The area is known as an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise and often times for its role in Star Wars, Return of the Jedi. The rolling dunes act as a playground for off-roaders and visitors bring everything from ATV’s and buggies to funky, one-of-a-kind contraptions.

There are many camping areas scattered throughout the dunes. The majority of people camp in RVs, toy haulers, or 5th wheels and some even tent camp. It is the desert so be aware that facilities are extremely limited, with mostly only vaulted toilets available. Other than that you have to be self-sufficient for fresh water, electricity, showers, etc.

Some estimate that more than a million people visit Glamis every year. People travel from all over the state of California as well from across the country and beyond to experience the infamous Glamis sand dunes.

Glamis Dunes RV Vacation

Glamis Dunes RV Vacation

Glamis has virtually no permanent structures aside from the “Glamis Store” and “Boardmanville Trading Post”. Both offer supplies; fuel is not available for some hundreds of thousands of recreational visitors each year who pass through the Algodones Dunes and the associated Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, located in the southern portion of the dune system. Located in the southeast corner of California, the Imperial Sand Dunes are the largest mass of sand dunes in the state.

With most of the off-road action taking place in the recreation area south of Highway 78, the open areas allow all types of vehicle recreation. Limited areas surround the dunes require vehicles to travel on designated routes. Closed areas prohibit motorized vehicle use entirely. The northern areas are off-limits to wheeled vehicles, keeping a portion of the area pristine for hiking and enjoying the scenery.

Information and maps for all of these areas are available at the ranger stations.

Camping, hill climbing, exploring, sand drag racing, partying, spending time with family and friends and relaxing are just a few of the reasons why people go to Glamis.

Permits are required from October 1 through April 15 each year. Permits are $35 per week in advance and $50 per week if purchased onsite. Season permits are $150. You can buy your weekly or season permits online.

An upcoming Fee Free Date:

January 18-21, 2019
(Fri-Mon) to support the MLK volunteer clean up weekend

Rent an RV for your trip:

For this unique off-roading experience, you can rent an RV from one of our 4 nearby El Monte RV California rental locations.  Click here to see all of the California locations and perhaps get some other ideas for your California RV vacation.

Whatever you decide for your next RV trip, we hope you enjoy yourself while creating great RV adventuring memories.

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