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Family Time at Camp RZR in Glamis

Aaron Turpen

Aaron Turpen


Every year, the north end of the sand dunes near Glamis, California, turns into a small city as hundreds of off-road enthusiasts congregate for Camp RZR. This event is exciting and fun as Polaris fans come together to celebrate in the desert. The party atmosphere of Camp RZR is, surprisingly, very family-friendly.

The Polaris RZR is a series of side-by-side off-road utility vehicles seating two or four people. These UTVs come in all sizes, including a small “200” series meant for pre-teens and teenagers and tiny electric versions aimed at small children. At Camp RZR in California, these are showcased alongside custom rigs, specialized tire options, and extreme racing setups for the various RZR models on the market.

Courtesy of Aaron Turpen

Camp RZR caters to family participation beyond just showcasing what machines are available. The center of the event’s plaza is dominated by a huge Polaris-branded Ferris wheel, surrounded by food trucks, vendor booths, and small tracks dedicated to children’s RZR rides. Bounce houses, games, and more are found there as well. Plus a nightly fireworks show and concert.

As thousands of Polaris fans arrive near Glamis to celebrate, they bring with them their recreational vehicles, RZR machines, and kids. The timing of Camp RZR, which happens in the early fall before Halloween, means that racing legends and newcomers are in attendance with their Baja rigs and specialized machines. Kids can meet their racing idols, get their helmets autographed and selfies taken, and maybe even tag along for a ride on the dunes with one of the pros.

Courtesy of Garth Milan

Kids Riding Machines

Back at Camp RZR proper, a dedicated track for the smaller young driver-oriented machines allows those too young or inexperienced to take to the dunes proper a chance to hit the sand and have a good time in a more controlled environment. Where the dunes are a free-for-all of exciting off-road driving, they have some inherent dangers that the less experienced might balk at. The dedicated track removes those worries and gives younger drivers an excellent chance to get some chops with fewer chances of mishaps.

Out in the dunes themselves, though, teenagers are a common sight, usually riding shotgun with a parent or relative and having a blast. And the environment, despite the feeling of chaos, is very friendly. A sort of spontaneous order happens as people come together to have fun. If someone gets stuck, several drivers nearby will pull in to help get them out. Machines breaking down are towed by random helpers to the Polaris pits, where mechanics and technicians are ready to help (free of charge). It’s all a good example to kids of how adults can play together nicely.

Courtesy of Garth Milan

Every night during Camp RZR weekend, there is a free concert, a fireworks show, and a night ride up to the largest dune nearest the camp. For 2022, the concerts included some local bands headlined by Blink 182. The night ride, punctuated by lit markers on most of the machines participating and the fireworks show down below, just outside of camp, makes for a good time. There’s no shortage of entertainment here.

The bravest of adults might take their kids on the giant Ferris wheel as well. At about sixty feet in height, a ride to the top gives a spectacular overview of the small city of RVs that make up Camp RZR and the endless dunes beyond. It’s well worth waiting in the short line for.

Courtesy of Garth Milan

Safety First

There are several chances for kids to learn about off-road safety during the Polaris Camp RZR Glamis event. Polaris sponsors booths featuring informative machine cutaways and breakdowns to show how their in-built safety systems work. Alongside those are booths showing how helmets, eye protection, and other options work (and offering them for sale). Clinics at the ride-and-drive tracks for younger riders go through safety procedures, gear usage, and machine operation.

First aid tents and water stations are also prevalent in Camp RZR for those who might have overdone it.

Food and Custom RZR Rigs

Mixed in with the informative booths, helpful services, and games are food trucks of every description and customizers of every type.

Want pizza made in an oven built into the back of an old fire truck? That was there this year. So was a taco truck selling carbonated limeade. Prefer BBQ? Yep, you’re covered. Hot dogs and burgers? OK, fine, that’s there too. Sushi? OK, maybe that isn’t an option. It’s the desert, after all. Not the best place for raw fish.

Courtesy of Garth Milan

Beyond food, there were several booths featuring custom RZR rigs. The Diesel Brothers, of television fame, were there with a Polaris-chartered custom turbo. It was surprisingly normal, as custom options go, made up entirely of readily available aftermarket options and a custom paint job reflecting the earliest of the Polaris RZR machines. A little more extreme was the RZR ice cream truck concept and the Halloween-themed spooky rig featuring Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Camp RZR near Glamis is a great event that draws Polaris enthusiasts from across the country. It happens every year, usually in late October, and runs through a three-day weekend. It’s an excellent opportunity for off-road enthusiasts to load up the family and have a good time.

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