Thanksgiving Weekend is quickly approaching and for many RVers, celebrating the Day of Thanks feels most comfortable on the road. Each region of the U.S. has hot spots for Thanksgiving weekend campouts, and one unique option is the Imperial Sand Dunes, mostly known for Glamis. The dunes are located in southeast California and 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.
A few things to know about Glamis:
The Imperial Sand Dunes or the Algodones Dunes, are located 160 miles east of San Diego and 220 miles west of Phoenix. The recreation area is split up into two sections, North and South. While popular Glamis is situated in the North, RVers can find a similar experience in the Southern section in Buttercup and Dune Buggy Flats. Each area has options for RV camping and putting around the dunes.
Environment and Weather
Before tripping to the Dunes, it’s important to be aware of its setting. The desert area brings in mass amounts of visitors per year, most of which bring off-road vehicles. Big crowds and revving engines make up much of the noise at Glamis, making for lots of fun and minimal quiet time. Next to Thanksgiving, the busiest times at Glamis are Halloween, New Year’s, President’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Easter. The entertaining dunes and warm temps alike bring in large numbers of visitors, with winter averages in the 60s to 70s and spring averages in the 70s to 80s. The desert does have its vengeance in the summer, with uncomfortable temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, so plan accordingly.
Prepare to Boondock
Dry camping is a big part of the Glamis experience, so prepare in advance by keeping an eye on your water supply, generator, and other boondocking necessities. As mentioned above, the big crowds and desert toys generate lots of noise, so your generator can be used without worry. Be ready to socialize, as many “duners” are friendly and community is a key part of the experience.
Fees and Rules
It is very important to know that there are required permits for all who stay in the dunes fee area. Weekly permits are $50 and season permits, valid from October to April, are $150. You can purchase the permit online, onsite at Glamis, or at a permit retailer. Park rules to follow include having safety flags on any and all OHVs, operate only properly registered vehicles, and use of beverages in glass containers are prohibited.
We hope you enjoyed these Dunes “must-knows” and can experience all that the California desert has to offer. Going anywhere else over Thanksgiving weekend? Tell us your destination in the comments below!