Are you looking for a way to enjoy RVing without the hassles of packing, towing, and setting up? If so, seasonal camping just might be for you. Seasonal camping has been growing in popularity along with the growth of RV sales, as more and more RVers figure out why this lifestyle is perfect for them.
What is seasonal camping? Seasonal camping is when you rent a long-term spot at a campground and, sometimes, leave your RV there even when you aren’t in it. Some seasonal campers choose a campground close to home, while others snag a spot at a favorite destination, even if it is a bit of a drive.
We recently talked about seasonal camping with some experienced experts, Jon and Heather Anderson. We first met Jon and Heather at the Hershey RV show in 2015 when they purchased their Class A Winnebago Brave. Since then, we have been impressed with how much time and research they put into all their RV decisions.
Is Seasonal Camping for You?
Seasonal camping might appeal to you if:
- You like to head to the campground at the last minute. If you find yourself deciding to camp on short notice, you may have trouble finding open campsites. Having a seasonal spot means no more making reservations!
- You dislike the weekend camping hustle. By the time you get off work on Friday, get home, and get hooked up and packed up, you are exhausted when you arrive at the campground. You face the same struggle when you get home on Sunday. Having a seasonal spot means you can load up the essentials and head to the campground with much less hassle.
- You are paying for off-site storage. If you have a HOA or other reasons for not storing your RV at home, you might find a seasonal campsite that costs only slightly more than paying for storage.
- You would like to be part of a community. Some campgrounds have a lot of seasonal campers, and you may enjoy socializing at the campground (of course, you may discover you don’t like this aspect!).
- You’d like an affordable vacation home. If you’ve considered getting a vacation home near one of your favorite destinations, a seasonal campsite would give you a similar experience, while also allowing the flexibility to take your RV offsite for trips.
Five Tips for Finding the Perfect Seasonal Campground
Here are five tips for finding the perfect seasonal campground, right from Jon and Heather:
- Find a place that you love going back to again and again. Lots of campgrounds are just fine for a night or two, but how enjoyable is the campground for repeat visits? Think about the location, the amenities, the campsites, and the overall atmosphere as you consider how often you’d like to camp in a particular park.
- Do your research, and ask the right questions. There are a lot of elements to consider when you are looking at a long-term spot. Are other seasonal campers happy with their experience at this park? Will you be surrounded by other seasonal campers or overnighters? Can you get Amazon deliveries? Can you store stuff outside of your RV? Try to think about all of the items that contribute to a great experience and think of things that make the long-term experience different from a short-term stay.
- Check out the surrounding area. If you are returning to the same campground again and again, chances are you will also be exploring the local area. Does it offer the kinds of activities, restaurants, shops, and amenities you will need and enjoy? As with buying a home, think location, location, location.
- Do a trial run of weekends. Try out the seasonal camping experience by renting a spot for a couple of weeks. Leave your RV, and see how you like the experience of coming and going. You’ll soon figure out how far of a drive works for your situation. Be sure to include a holiday camping weekend to see how much the atmosphere changes.
- Calculate your costs. Does the cost of a seasonal spot make sense for your budget? Sure, it will cost more, but if you get out camping more, the cost could be well worth the experience. A seasonal sites may cost anywhere between $2,000 to $10,000 per year. Make sure you understand what is and what is not included (for example, some campgrounds charge extra based on usage for electricity or water on seasonal sites). Find out the exact dates that are included. Some seasonal sites can be rented for the whole year, while other parks offer shorter seasons. Ask whether you have to pay the fee upfront, or is it there a pay-by-month option. Also, you may want to check into any cancellation fees if you decide the park isn’t for you.
If this episode peaks your interest, make sure to check out A Beginner’s Guide to Seasonal Camping: 5 Reasons It Might Be Right for You! and Why We Gave Up Our Seasonal Camping Site.
You might think RVing is all about exploring new destinations and finding the next best campground. But we know that seasonal camping might be the best path to affordable RV bliss!
See you at the campground,
Jeremy + Stephanie
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I just finished listening to Seasonal Camping 101. Great pod cast! My wife and I were seasonal campers for 4 years and the 2016 camping season we gave up our seasonal site to go back on the road. We had a GREAT camping season this year. A major draw back of being a seasonal camper which was touched on in the pod cast is your neighbors know everything that you are doing. We found that if you did not have the best and newest accessories you were often looked down upon. We kept our site simple and did not add a deck or a paver patio just to keep up with the neighbors. I laughed out load about other seasonal asking about the electric bills, that happened every month. The other down fall is if you don’t participate in every activity at the campground you are labeled as anti-social. whats wrong with wanting to just relax after a long week. Don’t get me wrong seasonal camping is awesome, but it does have its down falls as well.
Great feedback, Mike! We will definitely share this with our listeners!!
Hi Mike. You’re post was spot on! One thing that I would like to add is, you have to be very, very, very careful. You cannot have any accidents at all. If you bump a camper, you’re gone. If you have a dog bite, you…are…gone. If your children scrap a car, see ya! Seasonal campers are not forgiving and they complain all the time to management about little things. If you have a big problem, there are no second chances. You should always be careful, but always be prepared to pack at a seasonal place, for Mike’s reasons and mine.
wife and i went to a few campgrounds found most of them all right but we found one small quiet and very friendly so we went a few times last year went a couple of times this year in june all weekends in july participated in weekend events got to know the crowd there was a dance one weekend the owner asked if we would like to be seasonal he said that he didn’t ask this of every one and that we fit in very well so we consider we had a 17 ft hybrid ,the wife said we were not going seasonal in it so we traded for 35 ft jayco eagle, the owner said he would find us a spot next spring expanding 12 new sights near the lake,so still awaiting the jayco we were asked to still participate in events even though we are not camping owner said considered us seasonal, last weekend was a bbq pork was amazing,next weekend is a crib tournament.really nice bunch of people,next spring setting up jayco there ,its 20 minutes from home ,the season ends mid october so no use setting it there this year,can’t wait for next spring,and not having to tow a trailer back and forth,one of the weekends was steamed mussels and clams ,i am semiretired boss wanted to stay on and 2 days a week and one weekend a month,may be fully retired next spring
It makes sense that you should consider parking your RV in a location that offers a variety of amenities and activities. My wife and I are interested in taking our children on a camping trip this summer, but we want to ensure that we find an area that is close to other people in case of an emergency. Maybe we should consider looking for an RV park that is in a good location.
So informative!! Thanks so much. Where can I find a list of seasonal camping resorts in California? I’ve googled everything I can think of and all I get are mobile home parks.