Reader comment: Shortage of RV spaces a big problem

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A reader named Roy left this comment last week to one of our articles. Like many other RVers, he is concerned about the increasing shortage of available spaces in RV parks. Here’s what he wrote. What do you think? We invite your comment.

“Growing lack of campgrounds will become a major issue. More CGs are turning all or part of their space into ‘permanent’ sites for park models or semi-permanent placement on leases or space purchase. Across the country, opening CGs is cost prohibitive. The requirements for new CGs is so intensive that no one wants to invest for little return.

“Increasing code requirements are placing many older CGs in no other alternative than to close. Older CGs may have ‘grandfather’ clauses but it also means they cannot sell or ‘upgrade’ their properties without meeting new and costly codes.

“The only thing that seems to be growing is the number and size of RV storage lots.”

What do you think? Please leave a comment.


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RV Wanderer
RV Wanderer

This is the only major concern we have about full time RVing. The strength of the lifestyle is NOT having to be in one place for long periods and even more important – not having to always plan out every single move. With Prices escalating – and lack of sites – and the need now to plan, it is getting to the point that inexpensive hotels provide more spontaneity than RVing – without all the hassle. And if you don’t stay at the Ritz, the aggregate cost of the RV on an annual basis is now exceeding 365 days in… Read more »

Dee Williams

Bought a RV park in Texas last year that had the water backflow system grandfathered, six months later state fined me for not being up to code. $10,000 later we’re up to code. They (state) changed the rules to grandfathered till sold, although when I bought it, it was good, law changed four months after I bought.

Rod Humphrey
Rod Humphrey

You may want to check your resources regarding the Requirement to upgrade sold parks to be in compliance with new laws. In Pa, that’s not the case if the RV park has already been zoned as an RV Park, as THE RV park is Grandfathered in, not who the owners were or are. That may not apply to expansions, as its classified as “New” construction and that expansion only will routinely have to meet newer/perhaps more stringent Standards!

Richard Allen Farmer
Richard Allen Farmer

Machelle:
I enjoyed your comment and look forward to reading about your journey as you develop the Getaway.
Curious: why “ramada’s” with an apostrophe? It is the only pluralized word you added an unnecessary apostrophe to.

AJ's Getaway
AJ's Getaway

This is really good information. My husband and I are building an RV Campground in Heber-Overgaard, AZ. We bought 15 acres and are making all the spots pull throughs as well as 80 feet between your neighbor. It will be a small RV campground that we can manage ourselves. 25 spots with water and Electric. We will have a dump station free for our guests, or a honey wagon will come through as needed. The reason is the costs to have a sewer from each spot is ridiculously expensive. That will be down the road when we start making a… Read more »

Wayne Maier
Wayne Maier

What material will your site pads be constructed of to park on? Your pricing doesn’t seem over the top. Thank you for building a badly needed park. Looking forward to a future stay.

Steven Groves
Steven Groves

I appreciate the idea of pay-as-you-go, even in an RV development. Not sure I’d forsake the sewer hookup though. Without sewer hookups, IMO it’s def more a campground boondock vs. an ‘RV Resort’. Any idea how the cell svc is up there? Heber-Overgaard is 145 miles from Phoenix at 6,600 ft elevation (approx). It would be a good deal cooler than Phx in the summer for sure. Amenities might include water features, paved roads, landscaping. If there’s no $$ for completing or upgrading the septic for parkwide use initially in your current plan, what would / could you do if… Read more »

Machelle James
Machelle James

Hi Steven. Good feedback. Our thoughts are we don’t want to be an RV Resort. That implies fancy things to us. As in a pool, tennis courts , the works. We want a smaller family friendly campground that we can manage ourselves. We thought a good trade off would be for a honey wagon to come through at no cost to our guests, once a week. We will have paved roads and pull through sites. With a community area and event area. The cell service works great up there! We are open to ideas as nothing is being Engineered yet.… Read more »

Daniel Pankiewicz
Daniel Pankiewicz

Since you are at the planning stage “level sites” with decent stormwater drainage should be on the top of your engineering list

Richard O'Kelly
Richard O'Kelly

Live in Tucson Can’t wait for you to open. So few nice campgrounds in your area. We hope to have one of your first reservations.
Best of luck

JR Thornton
JR Thornton

Two things I always enjoy about a RV Park: the first is an air compressor at the front gate. I am very mindful of the importance of keeping the tires properly aired up and in my TT it is difficult to find additional space for a compressor. Also as we travel with a pet it is always a pleasure when a dog wash is provided. Generally just a galvanized walk in tub with running water. To really go crazy maybe a hairdryer! Just two things that make a RV Park a little more special. Good luck on the project.

Nancy
Nancy

AED machine in office, RV accessories, level dry sites, when I travel alone, gated at night is extra peace of mind.

Henry Dorn
Henry Dorn

Hi Machelle, Everyone loves the outdoors; there has to be a special place in heaven for entrepreneurs like you and your husband who have land to develop and share with your fellow campers. My suggestion would be to open earlier and close later–like March thru early Nov. Maybe a camp host could be arranged so you and your husband do not have to be on site in March and November. Also, many RVers have limited funds and your idea of a slight discount for those who stay a few days at your water and electrical hookups is welcome. The fact… Read more »

Peggy
Peggy

My husband and I travel with Good Sam RV Guide and we visit, update info and see MANY parks up close and personal every year. Thank you for being interested in making a quality campground – it sounds like you have a wonderful start. It is expensive. It is hard work. BUT campground owners and managers are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet!

Richard Lang
Richard Lang

It’s refreshing to hear that some folks are out to expand the ability of RVer’s to find a new place. If I look at my needs, there’s a few: running water, electricity and some sort of internet connection. If cell service is good, then WiFi isn’t really a necessity. The idea of a fire pit is great – but some sort of sheltered pavilion would be welcome as well. I’m a musician and won’t even think about bringing out my instrument if there’s a hint of rain and no shelter. So even an open sided pavilion would be welcome. A… Read more »

Judy
Judy

We already stay in Overgaard during the summer. I wish you had bought our park, sounds like you are the right people to be in the business. I wish you every success.

Terry Duffy
Terry Duffy

RVers need two types of campgrounds. One is a place to stop and sleep while traveling to destination and the other is for longer stays at destinations. The loss of most Walmart options has created a shortage of the the sleep option. Many campgrounds are located a good distance from the interstates. Paying $50.00 to $80.00 for a place to park is rediculase.
Most long term parks are old, run down and/or expensive. The RV option is getting harder and harder to use as an option to travel. I’m only good for a couple of more years and I’ll be done.

Marty Chambers
Marty Chambers

People will opt for a cabin and save $ not buying an RV if there interests are golf courses, tennis, swimming pools, etc and not traditional camping. Greedy RV manufacturers and dealers are only interested in money, not rving. They don’t care if you enjoy camping, only that you buy and buy from them. The list of Lemon RVs and recalls is exploding in number. Why spend thousands on an RV when cabins are available for much less. And no long list of repairs that should have been taken care of before the RV left the factory. And now shoddy… Read more »

rvgrandma
rvgrandma

Where we live in the Tri-Ciities, WA the nice RV parks have gone to the 10 year rule for long term but ours grandfathered in those of us here if our RVs are nice. Moon River down the road grandfathered in those 2000 and newer but supposedly are requiring them to buy new ones this year. (will wait and see). Otherwise those moving in must be 10 years or newer. There are older parks not considered ‘resorts’ that allow the older rvs to move in for long term. Older mobile home parks want to let long term RVs in since… Read more »

Carol A Forrest
Carol A Forrest

Won’t live there. No one is going to tell me what to do with my trailer or that I have to buy a new one to stay long term. Washington leans too far left for me anyway.

Edward Price
Edward Price

That’s not really a leftist position; it is actually very libertarian and also acceptable to conservatives. You own a property and you set the rules for people who want to pay you for using it. If you don’t like their money, they don’t stay. If the people don’t like your rules, they don’t stay. The only guests are those who agree to a mutually beneficial agreement.

Carol A Forrest
Carol A Forrest

Mine is still under 10 years old. Maybe you can afford a new trailer every 10 years, but some of us can’t.

Darrel
Darrel

West of the Cascades you are correct. East of the Cascades not so much.

Einar Hansen
Einar Hansen

We live in New England where the season for camping is short. My wife and I were lucky enough to get a seasonal campsite two years ago after being on a waiting list for two years. Like I said the season is short from May 1 – October 15, And I would have to say that the campgrounds that we are at about 3/4 is set aside for seasonal campers. And of course the prices range from where you are on the grounds and what hookups you want or need? Short term and overnight are booked far in advance. Holiday… Read more »

BO
BO

While roaming the western US last year, we found RV sites in some most unusual places, many in smaller towns where zoning and regulations are less restrictive. * One such location had obviously been a used car dealer — huge lot and small office. Guy turned it into an RV park…right in the middle of community businesses (all of which were closed by 9 pm). * Another was a modest, ranch-style home set back from the road. We saw horses in the pasture. The front yard had been turned into RV sites and the office was the closed-in garage of… Read more »

Frank
Frank

I know that there can be a squeeze on CG sites but must also say I have only been left without a site only once in 40 years. Back in the good ol’ days you could just pull in anywhere and be assured of a spot. As the demand increased we would plan our vacation well in advance. Today, being retired and with a motorhome, we have never gone anywhere without a reservation. We don’t boondock anymore. We know our driving limits per day and schedule our stops accordingly ( usually 6 hours or 300 miles whichever comes first). Most… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin

In the Atlanta metro area there is another concern. Three parks now require the RV to be no older than ten years or they are not allowed to stay. My RV is a 1999 model which I keep in excellent condition. Now there are hundreds of spaces that are no longer available to me because of this “ten years old” rule.

BO
BO

The older models we have owned have been far more dependable and well built than the newer ones. We can buy an older model, well-maintained, higher-end RV for the same price we would get a new one of more moderate build. We maintain our RVs with the same devotion that we do our brick-and-mortar home and look for private sales from other RVers who have done the same. In the county in which we live, our taxes drop appreciably at that ten-year mark as well — which we love!

Russell Grassl
Russell Grassl

Stayed in Las Vegas at one with those 10 year rules. They asked for a photo of my 5th wheel. They said it looked fine. When I got there and looked around, there were a bunch that looked pretty bad. So I’m not sure what they really want.

Herb & Kathy Baldwin

We have found that when they ask on the phone while making the reservation, we just lie and tell them its newer than it really is. They never ask to see the registration and ours, like yours, is in excellent condition

rick louderbough
rick louderbough

Our 1990 Chinook Ford is spotless w obvious care to every bit of it. Its adds value to most parks.

theresa brown
theresa brown

dude’s right – here’s our take: we love to go fishing every weekend (yeah work during the week) we used to pass thru this tiny town, where there was a lot that a mobile home sat on for years before it was removed (this spot is 10 minutes from the boat ramp) and the space remained vacant forever… since it took us an hour to go from our house to the lake (and after a day of fishing another hour back) – we’d be exhausted.. it occurred to us, we should contact the property owner because there’s obviously existing utilities… Read more »

Bill
Bill

Also, being in upstate South Carolina, you probably didn’t have restrictive zoning or code enforcement to deal with.

Kenny
Kenny

The solution is really simple, the parks need to charge more so that they can be profitable.
The RV manufacturers seem to have no problem keeping prices at a profitable level and hundreds of thousands of people are supporting them annually.
Why can’tthe park owners see the light?
All the “campers” need to do is start paying a fair profitable price for the services they want.
They don’t seem to have a problem paying for the RV’s

Becky Nicholl
Becky Nicholl

We have found that to be “not” true in Texas. There is an abundance of campgrounds and RV parks in most areas. Most leave spaces specifically for the overnight travelers and many offer a nice discount if you stay a week. The most difficult places in Texas to find a site are in the state parks. The campgrounds are small and full most of the time. If you go to the state park in the morning of the day you want to stay, most have a couple spots saved for walk ins. But who wants to take a chance on… Read more »

Graybyrd

Zoning, budget cuts, and FUD are major factors that are accelerating the problem. As mentioned, restrictive zoning and increased regulation make new RV park development financially difficult. (The same problem exists for new/expanded truck stop parking.) Public campgrounds are under assault by federal, state and local budget cuts, with increased dependence on new or increased user fees to make up the difference, made worse by simultaneous cutbacks in improvements and maintenance. An even more insidious problem is the FUD Factor (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) caused by increased homeless refugees moving into older RVs for shelter, and seeking lowest cost parking.… Read more »

Henry Dorn
Henry Dorn

Hi Graybyrd, Last week–in early February–before the snow hit Puget Sound here in Washington state, we took our 19 foot travel trailer to Cape Disappointment State Park (at the headwaters of the Columbia River) for three nights. Off season, the park had many beautiful spots available. Two years ago at the same park for a June family gathering, we reserved two yurt sites and a full trailer hookup site–all next door to each other. But like you said, you have to get online and reserve these sites several months in advance. I love Machelle James proposed campground. When word gets… Read more »

Jim
Jim

In 20 14 we did a trip from Arizona to the East Coast by I-40 Eastbound and the I-10 returning westbound. In October of this past year (2018) we did nearly the same trip in four weeks. Of the 18 RV Parks we stayed in 10 were comercial parks. and every one of them had raised their rates! Several in somewhat rural areas had raised their rates by only a few dollars. While one of those in metropolitan areas had raised their rates by as much as $37.00 a night! Two of of the parks we had stayed in four… Read more »

Merikay MacKenna
Merikay MacKenna

I keep a close acconting of all of our expenses. In five years I have seen an increase in space fees of 30% to 40%. Although we did get to use our Passport America more in the past. Many parks are dropping this much loved discount or putting on weekend or seasonal restrictions. That raised our cost.

fred ford
fred ford

total agreement