By RVtravel.com staff
Many full-time RVers work part- or sometimes full-time as camp hosts, usually during the summer travel season. In exchange for a few hours of work a week, camp hosts receive a free campsite, usually with water, utility and often sewer hookups.
Camp hosting positions are plentiful, with opportunities in many public and some private campgrounds. Anyone who has done much camping has likely noticed camp hosts in the campgrounds of state parks, national forests and other camping areas. Hosts’ campsites are most often right near the entrance of the park. In many rural campgrounds, they will often be the only sites with utility hookups.
Hosts stay in their own RVs. There is no requirement regarding type or length of vehicle. We have seen some camp hosts squeeze into 22-foot Class C motorhomes, while others spread out in big fifth wheel trailers with multiple slideouts. While most camp hosting jobs are occupied by married couples, many positions are held by single RVers, both male and female.
Most camp hosts do not receive payment for their services, but some do. One couple we met in a large U.S. Forest Service campground near Mt. Baker in Washington state received both a free campsite as well as an $800-a-month stipend. These hosts, however, were required to work nearly full-time, dealing with campers and cleaning each site after it was vacated. This campsite, like many others these days, is operated by a private concessionaire and not the Forest Service, hence, the relatively generous pay.
Camp hosts usually stay a minimum of two months but occasionally longer, often for the full camping season — or at least the busiest part, typically Memorial Day to Labor Day. Some camp hosts will work a summer season in the northern part of the country and then head south for the winter with the snowbirds to host in a desert park.
Chores include answering the questions of campers, helping them find a campsite, collecting campsite fees, picking up litter, and keeping an eye on the campground for both safety and security problems. The hosts may be required to clean the restrooms and the fire pits, and/or attend to other maintenance duties. Most hosts are provided with a short-wave radio if no phone is available. In big campgrounds hosts are provided with a golf cart to make their rounds.
Hosts should be in good physical shape. No previous experience is required to be a camp host.
We’ve been full timing and volunteering for over 15 years. From the beginning, we made the decision to volunteer as “interpretive” hosts teaching Junior Rangers, giving nature programs, and guiding tours. This not only gave us the opportunity to meet other hosts and park staff, but interact with children and their parents. It’s been a rewarding experience!