Friday, June 2, 2023


RV parks, campgrounds, perform background checks on RVers; RVers must pay

“Can you believe it?!” Robin searched the faces of folks gathered around the campfire. “It will cost me twenty dollars for the Florida campground to run a background check on me! Whoever heard of a ridiculous background check for camping!” Have you heard of RV parks performing background checks?

It was something new to my husband and me. But other folks around the fire acknowledged they’d also experienced this phenomenon during their travels. “It’s pretty common,” Jake said. “Especially if you plan to stay for an extended period of time.”

“I don’t blame campgrounds,” Mike added. “We’ve camped in places where I kinda’ wished they’d have run background checks on some of my neighbors!” He chuckled and indicated the three families who were caravanning with him.

The conversation got me thinking: When did campgrounds begin the practice of running background checks for potential campers? Why do campgrounds do it? Do campgrounds ever refuse folks based on the outcome of these checks? What kind of personal information must a camper provide for the check? How can I trust that my information will not be compromised?

When did RV parks begin background checks?

It’s hard to determine exactly when background checks for campers started. Most folks around the campfire estimated checks may have begun as early as ten years ago. “I remember the first time,” Mike noted. “I was surprised and, I’ll admit, a little offended, too. We wanted that RV park, so we paid for the background check.”

Who does this?

Robin’s frustration resurfaced. “This has never happened to me before. And the deal is, I’ve stayed at the same park for the past several years! Now, all of a sudden, they need to run a background check on me?! I still think it’s ridiculous!”

“It’s usually done for folks reserving an extended stay,” Mike explained. “Although I’ve seen it done for shorter visits, too.”

Other RVers agreed. Campgrounds in southern states like Texas, Arizona, and Florida often host RVers for months at a time. Even though I hadn’t personally witnessed the background check practice, others around the campfire agreed that checks weren’t that unusual for long-term stays.

Why do it?

RV parks are responsible for ensuring their guests’ safety. A background check can potentially save a park owner from heartache and potential lawsuits if folks get hurt or RVers’ property is damaged or stolen.

In addition, RV parks need to protect what they’ve worked so hard to build and maintain. Keeping the campground clean, safe, and welcoming is an important park responsibility.

I talked to a local RV park owner near my stix-n-brix home. Their policy states: “Our campground will not admit any person who may endanger a camper and/or property based on the results of a criminal background check.”

Another reason RV parks may require a background check has to do with eviction laws. In some states, people who reside in a place for 30 days are considered “tenants.” If a problem arises, the campground may have difficulty removing the problem camper from the campground. By taking a proactive step (the background check), park owners may reduce a high-risk liability from tenants who may prove problematic.

Folks around the campfire mentioned these factors, too. Then, Judy added, “The RV park where we winter started doing background checks because campers were lying about their age! It was an over-55 park. Can you imagine?” Sadly, yes, I can, Judy.

Turned away?

“I’m happy to have a background check run,” Sarah said. “I feel safer knowing that a check has been done on the people who camp near me and my children.”

Yes, applications for RV stays may be denied based on the results of a background check. Serious issues like felonies or child endangerment convictions will typically result in denial. If the check shows a problem fifteen years ago, and no issues since, the campground will take that into account, and decide on acceptance on a case-by-case basis. Also, if no convictions resulted from charges against the applicant, some campgrounds will admit the RVer.

What information does the RVer provide?

In most cases, a potential camper will provide full name, address, and contact information to the campground, along with verbal permission for them to run a background check. A quick online search should yield results with this basic information.

Who pays?

The RVer (that’s you!) will pick up the cost for a background check. Fees vary anywhere from $15 to $75 per person. Yipes!

What about Robin?

She’s decided to find a different campground for her upcoming stay. “I’ve got nothing to hide,” she admitted. “I just don’t want to pay for a ridiculous background check.”

How about you?

Have you ever encountered a campground that required a background check? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Last time in “Around the Campfire”


Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


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Brent Wood
19 days ago

I have been getting background checks for years because I was a long term snowbird once upon a time in Texas and Florida. And yes, I had to pay for it. But the issue that bothered me more was that some parks also want your photos of RV, drivers license copy, and a credit check run, and yes, you pay for that as well. Not a new concept, just maybe caught up with some of you.

25 days ago

A past “conviction” is a VERY poor indicator of a problem camper. Many of the most horrendous crimes have the least recidivism rates, meaning, statistically, you’d be more likely to have trouble from someone without a “record”.

If a campground chooses to run a background check on potential guests, that’s totally up to them. However, call it what it is: Butt Coverage, and little more.

26 days ago

We’ve been RV’ing for the past 6 years, mostly in the Northeast and our longest stay is typically a week. My concern with these background checks are the storage of personal information that if mishandled can lead to identity theft. How long are they maintaining these records? Who has access to them? We don’t really plan to do extended stays, however in a couple years we plan to travel more, staying a couple weeks at each location if we are enjoying ourselves. Until I see some formal guidelines or laws on this I won’t be staying in a place that is doing these checks. Haven’t had to do any yet…

27 days ago

My wife and I have been traveling across the country for 8 years and never been required to have a background check performed. If this is going to be a requirement in the future they should set something up so you get a background check done the receive a card good for day a year.

Tom Piper
29 days ago

Here’s an idea – charge an amount for the background check. If it comes back negative, apply it toward their stay. If negative, refuse the camper and keep the fee.

30 days ago

Most campgrounds we have went to over 30 days you get checked they may even run a credit check I personally understand that it’s a business and they wanna. Make sure that they’re grounds and safety of everybody and they want to make sure they get paid if you’re offended by this just think facial recognition in. Walmart at the grocery store in fast food places. Everywhere you look you’re being watched they’re searching who you are that’s the life we live in

Kit Vargas
1 month ago

RVer doesn’t always pay. Our RV park in Tx. paid for ours. Always & never are words to use carefully.

1 month ago

Those states mentioned have limited gun laws. I didn’t think RV parks did this but it’s good especially if you have snow birds with children. Don’t want pedophiles around the children. Also need to weed out illegal gun toting trouble makers. I’d pay for the background check.

Gandalf the White
1 month ago

It kinda makes sense, especially traveling with children. But, if the main reason for performing the checks is to protect the RV parks and not the camper, then the parks need to pay for the check, not the camper!

1 month ago

Yes, when staying for more than one month, we had to pay for a background check. This happened in central Florida and also in N Carolina.

1 month ago

No I have never experienced background checks in the 40+ years I’ve been camping but I
don’t do extended camping. I think it makes a lot of sense to keep RV parks or campgrounds safe. I have been to campground where fulltime or extended campers totally trash the place.

1 month ago
Reply to  Joy

I’m a extended camper and found that the short term people trash the park way more. Even with background checks.

J van orden
1 month ago

It keeps out the meth heads & dealers. Believe me, it’s a problem.

Gale Baker
1 month ago

We are having our first background check for the place we are staying next winter. I think it’s a good idea as we will be there for at least 3 months

1 month ago

Presently we are in a northan CA RV park for a four month stay. I would not consider this a “resort” or “beautiful view” type of RV park. The management is nice, the park is clean. A pool, propane, and good laundry facilitys available. The neighbors are nice, It’s quiet, away from town, a farming/cherry orchard setting. This is an extended stay only park, three month minimum. A finacial statement and a one months rent as security deposit was required. It took about 4-5 days before we qualified to stay. Water, elec, and sewer hook up are added to the monthly rental. The park is full. A waiting list is available.
Options in this area are limited. We consider ourselves fortunate to be here, close to work and a major metropolitan city. We feel a deposit, financial statement, and a background check, are all within reason.

Al LeFeusch
1 month ago

I have had to do background checks for monthly stays at more than one park, as long ago as 2016. I don’t think it’s entirely uncommon for longer term stays. For a few days, it would be weird.

1 month ago

I can see why in some instances. Most places that rent apartments or homes ask for one and jobs, gun permits and etc.

1 month ago

Yeah Florida does background checks on RVs but they won’t do background checks on people buying guns. DeSantis has to get his priorities straight.

1 month ago
Reply to  Deborah

Please try to read what you write as you sadly sound very angry and not knowledgeable in this statement. One desantis isn’t doing this as it is up to individual rv parks from what I can find. Two people do have to get a background check to buy a firearm so either you aren’t able to or have never purchased a firearm. Three please try to sound a bit more courteous as you really do come off as uneducated in the topic and also very angry at the same time. Now to the article at hand for long term stays I can understand a background check to keep a place safe and clean in today’s environment. I would agree generally that short term camping is a bit of a stretch however depending on where you are camping they may have a problem with certain issues in the area which makes this a necessity for the owners. Anyways have a good night and please keep in mind this is a constructive criticism!

Last edited 1 month ago by James
Raymond Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Deborah

Might I suggest you do a little research after you read some post spewing false information. Background checks for firearms are required by federal law in all 50 states. There are additional requirements in FL as well.

Gandalf the White
1 month ago
Reply to  Deborah

EVERY legal firearms dealer or ffl transfer point in the country, performs a federal background check when selling or transferring firearms. It’s a Federal law.

Paul Wyles
1 month ago

I have refused all background checks to stay at a RV Park. If the park requires a background check I vote with my feet and wallet. I was IT security for too many years to give information to people who don’t need it. The best way to keep a secret is to tell no one. The information to run a background check name, address, ID, social security number, etc, is the information for identity theft too. There has been too many data breaches for me to give away information to people who don’t need it. I will find someplace else to stay.

By the way I don’t give my social security number to medical providers either. I have received letters from hospitals, doctor’s offices, and insurance companies apologizing for the latest data breach. Apologies don’t protect stolen data. Don’t give information to people who don’t need it, just walk away. If enough people refuse to give away unnecessary information and patronize the competition, perhaps policies will change because of lost business.

1 month ago

We are year round campers and if you want a background check as long as you are paying check all you want. I may pay for 1 a year but if you want it checked more often then it’s not coming out of my budget. If I haven’t broken the law at my age then I don’t see it happening.

Abel Rivera
1 month ago

I dont mind background checks that’s a bit more secure, last year we had an incident when a rver tried to enter our travel trailer and we cought him we confronted the person I honestly do believe he was a pedophile or {bleeped} offender we have small children and this was scary now I have to carry a gun at all times for our safety.

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