Reader letter: I want to learn about how to build a campground

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Dear editor,
A topic I would be interested in learning more about is building NEW campgrounds. Almost daily someone on the RV forums posts that they want to build a new privately owned campground. They usually ask what amenities people are looking for.

My question is how FEASIBLE is it for ordinary people to accomplish? Every time I read any news about a proposed campground the local authorities and citizens act like campgrounds are worse than a nuclear waste dump next door! I’ve read where traffic abatement studies and all kinds of environmental concerns are heaped on the prospective owners. Usually there is no follow up, telling if the campground was approved, so the assumption is the hopeful owners are discouraged and blocked from building.

Additionally I feel RV manufacturers should be partnering with wishful private owners by providing expertise and counseling, planning engineers, zoning lawyers, etc., to help them navigate the process of building new campsites.

I feel the manufacturers should be invested in creating spots for their products to be used. They could also assist state and local public entities in obtaining land and developing new public camping spaces.

A future article for you?

Thanks again for sharing your experiences and knowledge. — Kathleen Squires

Dear Kathleen,
We agree that this is a topic that needs to be better addressed. First, though, be sure you are reading our Saturday newsletter, where Machelle James has been writing a regular column “Building an RV Park” about the trials and tribulations of building a campground from scratch. Her latest column is in last week’s issue, and there’s a link at the bottom of each of her articles to her previous posts.

Also, I would suggest you visit Woodall’s Campground Management and sign up for its daily newsletter. This is a trade publication for the camping accommodations industry. Over time, you will gain some insights into what it takes to start and then run a campground or RV park.

I can tell you this, though: It’s not a cheap process to build an RV park. On average, it costs about $15,000 to $20,000 per full-hookup site to build a park from scratch and that does not include land.

Heaven knows, there is a great demand for new parks, though.

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Bill
2 days ago

I worked in land development engineering for years, and the Not in My Back Yard (NIMBY) syndrome is very real for almost any new development. The smartest developers did two things first – they visited the neighbors and civic groups before announcing their plans to see what sort of development would likely be supported by the community. The other thing was to look for a site that already had the proper zoning so they didn’t need to apply for rezoning, variances, conditional use permits, or other things requiring public hearings. Some of the best projects were redevelopments, replacing an abandoned or underused eyesore with something better.

Vanessa Simmons
4 days ago

I just made a straight trip from NV to MT and back for the birth of my grandson. One campground was $33/night (stayed there coming and going) and the others were over $50 All I needed was an electric hookup since I have no inverter (need for cpap, laptop and charging) and keep a little water in the tank for necessities. I would love to see no frills campgrounds for when I travel. I usually spend one night, two after being on the road for three days to get extra down time but don’t use pools, hot tubs, etc I’ve never stayed at a “resort”…too expensive.

Thomas D
5 days ago

You’ve got to give the couple from AZ that reports here all the credit in the world for proposing and then building their campground. All the hoops they have to jump thru just to get to charge a small amount to regain their investment. I know I’d have given up a long time ago. I’m hoping some day to drive into AJ’S hideaway in or near Overguard Az.

Tom
5 days ago

Chuck, I still like your concept of a ‘just the night’ RV park, along major routes. I live very near I-10, a major route to Florida. Hundreds of RV’s use this road to visit the Land of the Mouse. The Florida/Alabama line is a drivable distance from Orlando. You just want to stop and spend the night, not vacation at that spot.