The Truth About Year-Round RV Park Living

Updated on July 27, 2017
TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

I am an avid RV enthusiast who understands that my life and my safety depend on the condition of the equipment in my coach.

There is a great deal to learn about living full time in a recreational vehicle park, so it's important to do your homework before you decide to move into one in your RV.

If you take the time to talk to full timers, visit a few parks and read informative articles you will be well prepared to deal with situations you may face once you start your new life.

This article provides an overview of what you can expect. Use it as a starting point for your research, learn what you can and then decide if campground living is really for you.

What you need to know about living in an RV park
What you need to know about living in an RV park | Source

General Information About RV Park Living

If you are considering living year round in an RV park, there are a few things you need to know that will help you to understand some of the issues that come with it.

  1. Warm climates work best for personal comfort as well as social reasons. Although you can keep a coach's interior warm in most cold climates, cold weather brings many mechanical problems with it. Furthermore, when you live full time in such a small space and weather keeps you inside most of the time, you can start to feel closed in and isolated.
  2. Many facilities do not allow pets or, if they do, they require people who own them to stay in segregated areas. One reason is that most campsites are closely spaced and pets can irritate other campers. Also, their waste can be a real problem, especially if people do not pick up after their animals.
  3. Young children are not a good "fit" for this lifestyle. Most adults do not want the noise and worry of children, and the truth is that there are very few facilities for kids. It is one thing to travel and stay briefly at certain spots that are geared to them, but it is quite another to try to mix their needs with those of adults on a daily basis.
  4. Residents will be a mix of transients and permanent people.
  5. Some who stay in campgrounds do so because they have to, not because they want to. Their poor financial situations have placed them there, and a few of them may not be the types of individuals you would want as neighbors due to their personal habits and attitudes.
  6. How you spend your days depends greatly on how a facility is set up. Some offer special luxuries such as workout rooms and personal trainers while others offer a place to stay and nothing more.
  7. No matter what type you choose, you must always practice good etiquette. For example, you never walk across another person's site, you observe quiet hours, you do not infringe on another camper's area with slides or awnings and, if you have guests, you make sure they do not disturb your neighbors.
  8. Most residents are not there to vacation, even though they can and do partake of the amenities. To them, their coaches are homes, and they treat them as such.

In truth, you basically live the same as you would in any neighborhood. The main difference is that you have less space, more social contact and may have more amenities.

Space Limitations, Chores and Repair Issues

Because you have less space, you. must organize, plan well and limit possessions. My articles, "Is Full -Time RV Living For You?" and "9 Things You Need to Know About Living in a RV" explain more about this issue.

You also need to make sure that the unit you own suits your needs.

  • If you plan to only for reside in your coach, you want it to be as large as possible and as comfortable as possible.
  • If you plan to travel during the year, you might want one that weighs less and is easier to drive.

In addition to other chores, you will have to care for your tanks. My articles, "How to Clean and Sanitize the Septic Tank in Your RV " and "RV Fresh Water Tank Care" will tell you what is involved.

There will be repairs from time to time, but you won't be mowing lawns, planting gardens, painting or doing much other heavy work.

There may be planned activities, but you can choose to take part or not. In fact, you can pretty much do as you like, just as you would in other types of housing.

One big benefit is that if you are parked next to someone you come to dislike, you can move to a different spot very easily as long as one is available.

Whether you still work or are retired, you will have many benefits you would not get with other types of housing. For this reason, campground living is perfect for many people.

Campground living gives you more time to relax and enjoy life.
Campground living gives you more time to relax and enjoy life. | Source

Amenities Vary From Park to Park

The amenities offered by facilities can differ greatly. Depending on where you live and what a park offers, you may get access to

  • cable TV,
  • hookups for land line phone service,
  • WIFI,
  • a laundry room,
  • a swimming pool,
  • a clubhouse,
  • sewer,
  • water,
  • electric ,
  • concrete pads and patios,
  • BBQ grills on site,
  • Jacuzzis,
  • exercise classes,
  • water aerobics,
  • live entertainment,
  • tennis courts,
  • beach access

and more.

Some of these options come with your camping fees, others require you to pay extra or even arrange for them directly with vendors.

Accessing Your Mail

Your mail will go directly to the park office unless you arrange to have it sent elsewhere. Each day you will have to stop by to pick it up because few facilities will deliver it to your campsite.

In many cases, other people will have open access to your mail, but most are respectful of each other's privacy and will not bother it. Nonetheless, you need to be aware of the fact that in such situations, there is always a chance that someone can steal your identity by invading your mailbox.

If you find that this is a problem, you can always use a mail forwarding service as an added protection. My article, "How to Set Up and Use a Mail Forwarding Service" will give you all of the details you need.

Two of the best ones are those offered by Good Sam Club and Passport America. It costs a bit to use these services and can be inconvenient, but they protect your privacy.

There are more social activities available when you live in an RV park.
There are more social activities available when you live in an RV park. | Source


As the video I've included shows, people of all ages and situations live in camping facilities.

A large majority of them are senior citizens who have traveled for years prior to settling into one place permanently. These folks, mostly due to health reasons and age, can no longer travel, but they still want to enjoy the RV life because they find it to be more interesting, stimulating and easy.

Usually, there is a group of such individuals who are "regulars", and they tend form a sort of mini home owners association. Since most parks have clubhouses and swimming pools, the residents get together at these spots for socializing and special activities.

They usually have a "coffee" one morning a week where they decide which activities they would like to plan. These can be anything from parties, picnics and dances to dinners and bus trips to local (and sometimes long distance) areas of interest. Some groups even plan cruises.No matter their situation, all residents are welcome to take part in activities.

Most lead very active social lives and get together in small, more personalized groups as well. Because their coach's are small, they are easy to manage, This leaves more time for leisure activities.

Generally speaking, the only reasons they leave are for health problems or death.

Changes You Can Expect

This lifestyle will not change your basic routines, but it will change the ways in which you do them.

  • You cannot keep an exercise machine in a travel unit, but you can join a gym or use the park's exercise room if they have one.
  • You cannot entertain large numbers of people in your motor home or camper, but you can rent the clubhouse for fun activities.
  • You will not have a great deal of room for computer equipment, but you can carry a laptop and a small portable printer on board.

There are ways around just about every type of issue you feel might get in your way, but if you want to live in an RV park you will find alternatives.

The real truth about year round campground living is that if you plan well and make smart decisions, it generally costs less, is an easier way to live and in many cases is cheaper than remaining in a house.

Millions of people live this way, and you can, too.

Insights Into Full Time RV Living

Do you think you would like to live year round in a campground?

See results

Questions & Answers

  • I am currently looking to purchase an RV, because I want to travel the country before I decide where to lay down roots. During this time, I will be visiting people I know in various places, but might want to settle in a certain area for a month or two. What kind of cost would I be looking at if I wanted to rent a space with utility hook ups for a month? I don’t care about fancy amenities, Just electrical and sewage.

    That all depends on where you will be going, the time of year and similar issues. A Good Sam Travel Guide will provide basic info about costs nationwide and also will give you contact numbers that will allow you to directly contact various RV Parks. You'll find a link to it in the article entitled How to Plan the Best RV Road Trip Ever which you can find on my profile page along with other articles that will provide information about how to save money on campgrounds and RV travel in general.

© 2014 Sondra Rochelle


Submit a Comment

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    Sondra Rochelle 2 months ago from USA

    I'm sure that's true, but people need services at some point and being able to access them can become very important. You're not likely to survive a heart attack living in the woods! I'm not sure what you mean about "comforts of home" if you don't have hookups. To me, water, sewer and electric are what keep you comfortable, but I know that some people are willing and able to do without them.

  • profile image

    Casita Fan 2 months ago

    You can live with all the comforts of home and cheaply in an RV but not in an urban area.

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    Sondra Rochelle 2 months ago from USA

    Depends on how you want to live and where you want to live. Living without hookups is not comfortable for most people. Also, in larger cities, parks have started limiting pets or refusing to have them altogether. The great majority of RVers are not kids, and they like their luxuries. I'm one of them!

  • profile image

    Casita Fan 2 months ago

    Fulltiming can be pretty cheap LTVA in quartzsite is 180 for 6 months for example.I have stayed at decent FHU parks in Arizona for 165 a month. Also, almost every fulltimer I have ever met has pets. RV parks not allowing this is very rare in my experience.

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    Sondra Rochelle 3 months ago from USA

    Yes. See my other comment for more info on this.

  • profile image

    MikeM24 3 months ago

    My big question: Can we stay in a 5th wheel RV in Southern FLA. year-round ?

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    Sondra Rochelle 14 months ago from USA

    Rickelodeon: If you read some of my articles such as "Live Free in Your RV" plus some others, you'll find info about how to access free camping sites. Work Camping is always a good way to save money and make some, too...but you usually have to commit for a period of time...can't just do a few days here and there. Check out my profile page to find the titles of articles that will give you the info you need. They'll save you a ton of money.

  • Rickelodeon profile image

    Rickelodeon 14 months ago

    Thanks TimeTraveler2! No, I don't mind moving often. The plan is to drive across America. I did read your other articles and the might become handy when we're up for the great adventure. I'am also willing to work at a camping for a free spot. How do you know if you can park somewhere for free? Is there something like an App for your mobile with such places?

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    Sondra Rochelle 15 months ago from USA

    Rickelodeaon: If you don't mind moving often and being limited as to where you can camp, yes, you can camp for free year round...even with hookups. If you want to just stay in the van, your safest place to do so is in a truck stop if you can't find a free or inexpensive campground. If you check out my profile page, you'll find some articles that give you more info about camping for free. You may even want to consider work camping, which will give you a free site and pay you a stipend as well. Good Luck!

  • Rickelodeon profile image

    Rickelodeon 15 months ago

    Great article, it gave us some real good information. One question; is it also possible to camp for (almost) free year round? We're planning to buy a Roadtrek 210 (more like a van, not really an RV) and travel through the country. Is it possible to just park the van somewhere and sleep in it? Or what are the regulations?

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    Sondra Rochelle 18 months ago from USA

    Deirdre Sargent: Almost all private campgrounds have sewer hookups, as well as water and electric, right at their sites. Some even offer free WIFI and cable. Do some research in the area where you want to live to find out what's available. Any good campground guide will give you access to phone numbers and emails so that you can ask questions and get an overview of what each park offers as well as their costs. The cheapest way to live full time is to rent a spot year round. Doing this will save you thousands of dollars over what you would pay to rent daily, weekly or monthly. Good luck!

  • profile image

    Deirdre Sargent 18 months ago

    We're considering selling our home and buying a 5th wheel to live in full time, but not to do much traveling at all, maybe 1 or 2 times a year until actual retirement. Is there such a thing as some sort of hook-up at rv campgrounds or resorts where you are basically hooked up to a septic or sewer system at your space or do you have to drive the 5th wheel over to a dump station daily or every few days?

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    Sondra Rochelle 3 years ago from USA

    Bethleannie: No, you do not. However, you will need to take a driver training course and practice a lot before you try to drive one of these rigs. There is no law requiring you to do this, but it is the only way you will be able to drive one safely. Glad you liked the article By the way, you can live in an RV park with your kids by either buying a unit and placing one there permanently or buying one that is already set up on a lot.

  • Bethieannie profile image

    Beth Collins 3 years ago from Ohio

    This is wonderful, honest information. I rent a home now, because when my kids grow I know I want to live in an RV! My problem is that I have never drove one. Do you need a special drivers license?

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    Sondra Rochelle 3 years ago from USA

    Vvitta RV living has many benefits, but a large interior living area is not one of them! Thanks for commenting!

  • Vvitta profile image

    Kalai 3 years ago from Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

    Interesting article. This is not found here in Malaysia where folks actually can spend such a long time in such a small space. Truly an eye opener and loaded with vital information. Great hub.

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    Sondra Rochelle 3 years ago from USA

    janshares Yes, it can be pretty nice living if you pick the right place. Of course, the more you spend, the better it gets! I'll be doing a hub soon about the different types of arrangements people can make for camping. The variations are many and so are the costs!

  • janshares profile image

    Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

    This was an interesting and informative read, TIMETRAVELER2. I had no idea about RV/campground living, out of my league here. :) I found the number of amenities surprising, as well as the choice of activities. It sounds like a nice extended vacation to me. Thanks for the enlightening info, voted up, useful, and interesting.

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    Sondra Rochelle 3 years ago from USA

    rebeccamealey:!!! It is so easy when you live full time in an do not even have to pack and can be on the road in an hours. No wonder people love RVing so much!!

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    Sondra Rochelle 3 years ago from USA

    suzettenaples: If you look at some of my other RV articles, several discuss costs of the RV lifestyle. It is a big topic and requires research. Feel free to email me privately if you want specific information because much depends on where you live and what you want. As I stated in one of my articles, you can actually live for free if you do it right, or you can pay a small fortune if you want all of the luxuries. The choice is yours! Read, and then get back to me on this.

  • rebeccamealey profile image

    Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

    I believe I could go for year-round RV living! I would definitely want to travel, though. You bring up some excellent points to think about here. Thanks!

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

    I have never thought of permanently living in an RV. What would be the cost to do so? I don't know what campgrounds charge to have an RV on their premises. You give some good suggestions and tips for doing this. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us.

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    Sondra Rochelle 3 years ago from USA

    Nell Rose: Yes, it does get into your blood!

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

    Hi, I used to live in a caravan years ago, and I loved it because it was right out in the countryside, so really long walks! the only problem we had was having to keep changing the gas bottle, it was a pain! lol! but I would love to live in one and travel around, I do miss it, nell

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    Sondra Rochelle 3 years ago from USA

    Billybuc: Definitely a lot to consider here. Thanks for stopping by.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Still debating this option. We have a couple years to decide. Thanks for the continuing education, and have a great weekend.