By Paul Lacitinola
When you go camping, you want to make it an experience that’s as memorable as possible. Getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and having some time in nature is a great way to achieve that. The best way to do this is to pick a campsite with everything you need for a relaxing trip. This includes amenities such as clean drinking water, bathrooms with hot showers, a fully stocked general store, and other services. If you’re new to the world of camping, you might not be aware of something called “long-term resident campers” who take over some campsites for months at a time. While this might seem like a good thing, there are downsides to having long-term residents take over your favorite spots. Keep reading to learn more about why long-term residents taking over campgrounds is not always good news for campers.
WHAT ARE LONG-TERM RESIDENT CAMPERS?
Long-term resident campers are people who occupy campsites for months, a season, or even years. Most people who stay at a campground for a long time are likely relocated or retired, not on vacation. They may stay in one place because they don’t want to move all the time, or they’re traveling or working remotely in an RV and don’t want to set up and take down their home over and over.
WHY ARE LONG-TERM RESIDENTS TAKING OVER CAMPGROUNDS?
Housing costs and availability or people displaced from their homes by fire or other tragedies may be reasons for an extended stay at a campground. Living in a campground may be less expensive than renting or owning a traditional home in the area. A temporary job that spans weeks or months is another situation that may necessitate temporary housing. A campground offers amenities like a pool and maybe even a convenience store, making it very appealing to someone working long hours each day. They might have found a place they enjoy staying at or have made friends with other people who stay at the same park, so they don’t want to leave. Other people might stay in one place for an extended period of time because of their health. If an older person or someone who is disabled is traveling in an RV, they might not be able to keep setting up and taking down their home. Full-time RVing also allows you to travel with the season.
PROBLEMS WITH LONG-TERM RESIDENT CAMPERS
While it may seem like there are a few problems with long-term resident campers, there are some issues. Long-term residents can become very territorial of “their home.” Often they are not tolerant of weekend warriors who are on vacation. They can be rude and aggressive about your campsite, kids, and parking abilities. Full-time residents often accumulate more outside possessions, including furniture, flags, plants, and even fences that junk up the property. If you are lucky, you may get a primered vehicle on blocks for your neighbor. The lower cost of living and the nomadic lifestyle can sometimes attract a less desireable element to the trailer park long-term life style. If you end up at this type of park be sure and take care to secure your possessions.
Long-term resident campers can be a nuisance at RV parks, especially if they consume the majority of the campground sites and are intermixed with short-term visitors. If you’re going on a camping trip, you want to make sure that the site you’re going to has short-term residents who will leave after a few days or a week. If you’re looking for a place to go camping, you can check out reviews of different sites to see if there are long-term resident campers. You can also ask the site manager about the camper situation to know what to expect when you arrive. While park management may see long-term residents as an easy solution to cash flow, it will be at the expense of their reputation as a vacation destination. The atmosphere created by messy long-term residents and the shortage of campsites that it produces will be a problem for all campers looking for a clean and peaceful weekend getaway.
Have you stayed at a park with an uncomfortable amount of long termers? Let us know in the comments.
9/30/2022 08:10:39 am
I have never stayed at a campsite more than a week. That being said, I do not agree that long-term campers are a nuisance. When I get to a campsite (or make reservations) if the sites are all taken, I just move on. I won't begrudge those who have found a favourite spot and want to enjoy it. Yes, it may be a temporary annoyance not to get into that campsite but get over it. There are others, and nowadays there is the reservation websites to book ahead if you feel you need a particular spot. R.M.
9/30/2022 08:22:58 am
Very timely subject considering my recent experiences with a “full timer” resident in Plymouth. It was in the evening hours following the open house. An extremely intoxicated individual approached my parked wagon and asked what the car was. He could barely stand and was smoking, said he lived in the park and worked for the nearby market. After the exchange about the car, he literally “stumbled” off into the night. I do see a problem with full-time residents in parks and in campgrounds as well. It definitely takes away from the intended experience of the vintage trailer event.
9/30/2022 08:50:56 am
There is a need for both types of parks. I own an RV park that is now long term only, it works for us. We have a great mix of retirees and workers on temporary jobs that may last a few months. Since we screen our applicants we have a great little "community". We don't allow junk to gather or working on derelict cars, but not all park owners care (they should to attract good tenants). There is a very big demand for long term sites, we typically have a waiting list. That said, there are other nice parks in our area that are only short term, in fact newer parks are restricted by our county to two weeks max.
10/1/2022 05:24:12 pm
Those laws concerning 2 week limits you mention for newer RV parks will become more and more the norm as local communities across the country continue to the legislate/limit short-term RV park owners from renting long-term through zoning, codes and local business license requirements.
9/30/2022 08:51:32 am
Not to belabour the subject, but I'm sure from time to time you might also encounter short-timers who abuse alcohol. If that's how you judge the situation. I won't be posting again, I've had my say.
9/30/2022 09:17:40 am
After reading the article I can see both sides to this issue. My solution would be dividing the park into two areas, one for long term resident campers and another for short term campers. This way hopefully everyone is happy.
9/30/2022 10:08:44 am
We live in NE Fl. This is a hot topic for all of our camping friends. We own a 64 Shasta Airflyte and love going to local state parks for rally’s. We usually only do state and National parks. We rarely are able to book space in the parks from September - April because of the number of campers that book the same spots year after year. Friends are all lamenting availability in these parks. More and more, RV resorts are being built that are often pricier than good hotels plus they encourage long term residents. We believe that this is a topic ignored by most media to promote sale of campers and motor homes. Even though they often promote the idea that camping is an easy way to leave your troubles behind, more and more owners are finding it difficult to find a spot without booking a year or more in advance.
9/30/2022 11:11:35 am
I agree it is often necessary to book a year in advance for even a regular campsite. When we started trailer camping over 30 years ago, we could take off in the summer and find a spot on the way. I’m not sure you could do that any more.
9/30/2022 11:41:28 am
They have forgotten several considerations.
9/30/2022 03:04:18 pm
Allowing long-term renters in a RV park is a quick and easy way for a park owner to avoid the problems, building codes, zoning and public anger over trying to build or become a properly licensed long-term trailer park. Going long-term for rentals provides income during the lean months yet at the detriment of their overall facility appearance. Overall is has been shown time after time that short-term rentals are far more lucrative overall than long-term rentals in virtually any rental market where short-term rentals exist. Long-term renters are PIGS!
9/30/2022 04:50:31 pm
I avoid RV parks as a rule. I like to camp at state parks and US Forest Service campgrounds. With a little planning it is fairly easy to get a campsite. Most limit stays to 14 days. I know it's not for everyone but you don't the issues of longer term residents.
9/30/2022 05:34:04 pm
I was camping with my daughter and her family (2 young granddaughters with us) and the police showed up at a KOA we were staying in and hauled away one of the long term tenants in handcuffs. He was only 2 campsites away from us. Very disturbing when you have children, we wondered how many of these parks may have child molesters living on site. Do they even screen for that? We we’re afraid to take the girls to the pool and left the very next day.
10/1/2022 05:03:37 pm
Very cynical article. We are seniors and long term renters. Our parks constitutes are wonderful and interesting people. We have stayed at many KOA'S where the drunkenness is rampant and the police have been called to remove the problem campers. The majority of problems are caused by the weekend warriors who come in 2 or more trailers and more guests to have a loud drunken party and disregard all the rules and the other campers rights. The nice campers we love and enjoy. We have added ASTRO turf, drip irrigation and flowers which only upgrades the site. Our retro trailer gets lots of compliments is a conversation starter. We financially support our park all year, not just on the weekends. We would expect more positive articles from VCT than this. But then after reading many articles in the magazine they seem very superficial.
10/1/2022 09:51:15 pm
One thing I haven't quite figured out with the long term residents is the bright LED lights hoisted up in the air glaring into your campers. Also, the decks, sheds, picket fences and they seem to like feeding the wildlife, including the feral cats, one of which managed to find its way into my tow vehicle and sprayed the interior!! Another "resident" came right in to our campsite and started throwing duck food around attracting a mass of ducks pooping all over our campsite. When asked to get out, she lost it and began screaming at us saying she had the right to feed her "babies" and we had no right to be there with our "old trailers". Of course we complained to management. Never saw her again. I know this is a business, but either run an "RV Resort" or a "Mobile Home Park." Pick one, or restrict the number of "long term" residents to a reasonable number.
10/2/2022 04:00:12 pm
Not exactly the same, but I live in a Tiny House community that started out as a full time community of owners. Little by little, it has morphed into an overnighter one because more money is to be made from them than from full timers.The lifestyle has changed to a more transient group, a loss in my opinion.
10/3/2022 09:23:01 am
After a few of our recent vintage rallies have been squeezed down in capacity because of long term residents, I feel having separate long term parks, like Larry H mentioned, would be the best solution. We have met several long term residents, and all were pleasant and had different reasons for camping long term. In this day and age of extreme homelessness, I'm glad there is an option for some like this. However, I have seen many scenarios that were more indicative of a suburban neighborhood, such as allowing one's dog to take a dump on another's campsite "yard", and feeding feral cats that also came into our classic car and peed in it. I LOVE animals, we travel with our cat. That said, this isn't a "neighborhood", it's a campground. I would appreciate it if I didn't have to worry about my neighbor's dog or cat wandering into our "yard" to eliminate all over it. I would appreciate others respecting their neighbors no matter what their situation is.
10/4/2022 11:24:23 am
And on the other end of the spectrum are those short-term campers who project such entitlement as to become the most annoying folks on the park. I own and operate a park that welcomes all RV'ers short and long-term, and the worst problems have come from overnighters who thought they were extra-special compared to everyone else. I wonder if the author is one of these...
10/9/2022 10:58:40 am
This article has been bothering me for days and I think I should comment. In Northern California last summer and again recently, forest fires have displaced many people. Living in an RV has been the solution for many. I realize that there is an unspoken difference between “campers” and full time residents. I think it is reasonable to be exceptionally understanding given the current situation. Public space is open to all, paid space can have all kinds of restrictions and still follow basic civil rights.
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