What Are The Benefits Of Permanent Campsites?
Whether you’re a weekend camper or full-time RVer, you’ve probably been to at least a few campgrounds that offer permanent campsites. Maybe you didn’t think anything of those sites, or they left you wondering, “Are permanent campsites a better choice?”
The answer to this question isn’t an easy one, as there are many factors that come into play. That said, we will say that depending on your situation, it might makes sense to consider a permanent campsite. You see, while a permanent site does tie you to one place for a while, these long-term campsites come with a whole host of benefits.
Let’s explore this topic further, discussing who might benefit from a long-term campsite, what they should consider, as well as what kinds of benefits they should expect.
Why choose a permanent RV site?
First, let’s discuss when you might benefit from choosing a permanent campsite. These long-term campsites are ideal for those who:
- Live in their RV full-time and do not travel.
- Live in their RV full-time and travel very slowly, moving once a month or less.
- Use their RV for short stays and don’t mind visiting the same campground every time.
If you fit into one of these categories, you may be wondering how you would benefit from choosing a permanent site over hopping from one campground to the next. Here are the benefits of such a site:
- Lower cost. Generally, campers in permanent sites are charged a monthly, seasonal, or yearly rate. The per-night cost is much less than paying for nightly stays, but this might only be cost-effective if you’re full-time or spend a significant amount of time in your RV.
- No more moving the rig. Moving an RV can be a pain, especially if you only go on weekend trips or you are full-time and in one area for a long time. Not only that, but moving means actually finding a new campsite every time you move, something that can be challenging during camping season. Paying for a long-term site means you won’t have to deal with moving the RV or finding sites anymore.
- A mailbox. Some campgrounds give those in long-term sites a mailbox, meaning they can receive mail and packages at the campground, a major bonus for full-time RVers.
- A community. In many campgrounds with permanent sites, there is a tight-knit community that you will get to be a part of. This can be a major benefit if you’re looking for fellow campers to connect with or if you’re new to an area and looking to make friends.
Long-term RV campsites
There are many different long-term stay options out there. The type of permanent site you choose will depend on how long you plan to keep your RV on-site. Think about which option best suits your needs before you start looking for a site. Research campgrounds on RV LIFE Campground Reviews to learn more about the campground before you stay.
Monthly stays are for those who only plan to stay a month or two or aren’t sure how long they might need to be in one place. Choosing a monthly site does save money over a weekly or daily rate but gives you more freedom to move around.
If you plan to move with the seasons, a seasonal site might be for you. Generally, choosing a seasonal site gives you a place to stay for 5–7 months. You might be asked to pay for the entire stay upfront, but you will likely get a better rate than those who choose monthly sites.
Finally, there are annual sites. These are perfect for those who will always be in the same general area and just want a place to park their rig and leave it. The contract for an annual site lasts a full year and could even save you money over a seasonal site.
Things to consider when choosing a permanent campsite
By now, you probably have a good idea of whether a permanent campsite would work well for you. If you do decide to go this route, remember to keep these things in mind as you’re looking for the perfect long-term campsite.
Obviously, location is key. If you’re in one spot in order to work a stationary job, you will need to be near your work. If you’ll only go to your RV on weekends, you’ll need a campground near home. Just want to explore an area for a while? Be sure to choose somewhere that has plenty to see and do.
Cost is the next thing to keep in mind. The biggest benefit of staying long-term is cost savings, so you will want to make sure you’re actually saving some money. Keep in mind however, that the cost of permanent campsites varies greatly depending on where in the country you happen to be. We’ve seen sites for as little as $350 a month and other places that cost $2,000 or more.
Amenities are another important factor. If you’ll be in one place for a while, make sure it has what you need to be happy. This might include mailboxes for residents. It could also include a playground, pool, hot tub, laundry room, dog park, and more.
Before you sign any contract, make sure you fully understand what you’re signing. Many campgrounds require that those staying long-term pay for their own utilities. If you’re accustomed to water and electric being included in the cost of your site, this could come as a nasty surprise.
Last but not least, make sure you clarify whether the campground has any stay limits. We’ve heard of folks renting annual sites that they were only allowed to use 210 days a year. If you’re planning to live in the site full-time, this could be a major issue.
As you can see, permanent campsites are a great option for many people. Hopefully, this article helps you determine whether these are an ideal campsite solution for you!
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Chelsea Gonzales is a full-time RVer, freelance writer, and roadschooling mama who loves sharing her expertise about RVing with kids, roadschooling, and full-time RVing. The entrepreneurial and free-spirited author is also artistic director of the Aistear Mobile Irish Dance Academy, and currently travels with her family in a 27-foot travel trailer. Chelsea’s informational articles about full-time RVing, raising children on the road, camping, and destination features appear on her blog, Wonder Wherever We Wander. throughout the RV LIFE network, and in RV industry media outlets such as Outdoorsy, Coach-Net, and RV Share.
S. Osburn says
I realize that Chelsea is a full time RV’er and wrote this for full time RV’ers, however, Full Time RV’ers are a big part of why we have been staying at state and national parks more. In fact, we just sold our Elite Plus Thousand Trails membership because membership has gone downhill for the last 5 or 6 years – in large part, due to the increase in Full Time RV’ers and “park hoppers”. Nothing against Full Time RV’ers personally, but it changes the campground flavor from “camping” to moving into someone else’s neighborhood. With our Thousand Trails membership we had the option to stay in a park for up to 21 days, and then move to another park – but that is not how we camped. That is, however, how other people camped, and there was a circuit where people would simply stay for 21 days, move to another park, stay another 21 days, and so on. They would set up tents outside their RV, and in at least one park, we were parked next to an RV that looked like homeless people next door. Yes, it’s cost effective in terms of not having a house, but the campground became more of an encampment. Some of the parks even offered seasonal sites, which essentially denied access for those of us who move around a lot. One park in particular (Crescent Bar, near Quincy, WA) was a great park, but all the best sites were seasonally rented, and therefore not available to people who wanted to camp for a few days.
So while the article talks about the value of Full Time Parking, I can say that for those who want more of a campground experience, where everyone is camping and in the same boat – Full Timers are changing the game, and making many RV parks feel like trailer parks – which is not the experience we intended when we bought our RV.
We’re not newbies to RV’ing – we’ve had an RV for 4 decades – and many RV Parks have gone downhill (in my opinion) by offering long-term stays. As a result, we’re going to state and federal parks more now – but so are many others, and it’s harder to get a site there now. We also do more boondocking now – to get away from full timers. It’s a bit sad – the Thousand Trails membership used to be more enjoyable, and so did staying at Good Sam parks. Now, not so much, and in the case of Thousand Trails, it’s just not worth paying the yearly dues anymore for parks we don’t like anymore.
So since your article talks about the good parts of long term stays, it would be nice to see an article about how long term stays have unintended consequences for those who want to go “camping”…
I am looking for references and long term RV lots…. Minimum 3months
Loren Miller says
My grandson managed an RV park that allowed customers to rent a lot for the season (6 months). He always had the problem with a few that made let lot look like a homeless camp and had to be dealt with. Most RV’ers take pride with their lot but a few just don’t care. Sad
What Loren said is so true.
We stay at many RV Resorts that have as many as 50% seasonal (permanent) ‘residents’. Some of these lots are very neat looking but many of them become looking like a cluttered mess with all sorts of ‘stuff’ laying around and under the rigs. We pride ourselves as transients by keeping a tidy site with no clutter even stowing chairs etc. every night.