The Truth About Year-Round RV Park Living
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Residents will be a mix of transients and permanent people.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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,
- a laundry room,
- a swimming pool,
- a clubhouse,
- electric ,
- concrete pads and patios,
- BBQ grills on site,
- exercise classes,
- water aerobics,
- live entertainment,
- tennis courts,
- beach access
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.
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?
Questions & Answers
I'm currently living in my 2016 Grand Design Solitude. The 5th wheel has been parked in the safe spot approximately 1.5 years. Is there any maintenance I should be doing since it's going to be parked in one spot for the foreseeable future?
Yes: Make sure to check and seal your roof, seams and any areas that attach to the RV regularly, cover the tires to protect them from the sun, also check screens and repair where needed. Before you try to drive it anywhere, make sure your tires have not rotted on the inside.Helpful 48
I would like to relocate in an RV to Surfside, SC within a couple of years. It there a place that rents out full time? If so, what is the cost per month? Also, if I have my own camper, what would that cost per month?
Most parks that rent out RVs do not do so on a year-round basis, so you likely would have to buy one of your own. To find RV parks in any area of the country, you will need to buy a camping guide such as the one put out by the Good Sam Club. You can find one right on Amazon.com. Once you have it, you can search for the area where you want to be. The guide will give you current costs for each park along with contact info so that you can call them directly to find out their charges, etc. You pay less for a year-round spot than you do for shorter periods of time.Helpful 38
This is my first year of full time living in my RV. I'm parking it at the ranch I work on so I have electrical, water and sewer available to me. I purchased a unit with heated enclosed underbelly but how can I best prepare for the Colorado cold winter months so my waste water doesn't freeze from the trailer to the connection or freshwater freezing in the line from the connection to my RV? Should I look at heated hoses or electrical wrap?
Buy a roll of insulated aluminum bubble wrap and wrap your exterior hoses with it. Keep the internal water at a slow, ongoing drip from the outside faucet as well as the interior faucets. You may also want to get some bales of hay and place them around the outside of your RV. This will keep the colder, blowing air from getting beneath your coach and will keep pipes from freezing. The heated, enclosed underbelly will help a lot with this. Also, you can cut the insulated foil to size and place it on all of your windows. This will really help to maintain a comfortable interior temperature. Make sure to cover ceiling vents with insulated covers as well. You can buy many of these products via my articles or go directly to Amazon for them. Your wastewater won't freeze in the tank but empty often as an added measure of protection. The pipes it travels through will be empty until you pull your tanks, so they shouldn't be a problem.Helpful 36
How can the camp director say I can't try to visit my girlfriend who rents a permanent RV spot?
Visiting and living with are two different things. He must think you want to move in permanently. If so, you'll have to pay more to do.Helpful 25
Do RV parks rent spaces to cars?
No, they do not.Helpful 4
© 2014 Sondra Rochelle