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Expert Advice

Go Seasonal Camping in an RV

Check out these seasonal camping tips from Janine Petit, founder of Girl Camper Media!

Sometimes, while doing a campground walkabout after dinner, I have looked at seasonal RV sites with a sense of curiosity. What would it be like to join the ranks of seasonal campers and settle on a favorite campground for a season? This year I decided to give into the idea of going seasonal. For those who have also been curious about seasonal RVing, here are some of the reasons I have for putting down some RV roots.

Location, location, location. Real estate is soaring and owning a weekend home is a stretch for most people. A seasonal site is a great way to get that home away from home at the shore or in the mountains without breaking the bank. Most seasonal sites rent annually for less than the taxes you’d pay on a sticks and bricks house in a resort area. The fact that the site likely comes with a pool you don’t have to maintain, play equipment for kids and grandkids and campground amenities like weekend entertainment, food trucks, camp stores and built in likeminded neighbors is all a bonus.

Time with loved ones. In this busy world of constantly going, going, going, time with loved ones can be hard to come by. An RV that can hold a crowd and offer respite to your weary family and friends is a win in most people’s books. Put it at a campground near things you love and it’s even better. It’s a great way to get families to gather more often. Children and grandchildren can spend more time with parents and grandparents; cousins can make memories together of their outdoor adventures. If you choose a campground with rental cabins, you can book out weekend reunions for college buddies, club members, and for girlfriend getaways. More bonding, less travel planning.

Camper storage. There are a lot of neighborhoods and HOAs that will not allow RV storage in a homeowner’s driveway. Conversely there are lots of campgrounds that will store your seasonal camper on site which offsets the cost of the seasonal site. I called a few campgrounds and asked what the off-season storage fee was for seasonal RV’s stored there after the close of camping season and was pleasantly surprised to learn that there was no additional charge. The seasonal fee included winter storage. That is a winning combination– leaving your RV on your own site in a locked and gated facility is a ‘yes’ for me.

Easy weekend getaways. One of the things most people love about camping is that feeling of being checked out. Campfires, nature sounds, moonlight, lightning bugs, and babbling brooks lure us into getting the RV out of storage, bringing it home to pack it, hitch it up, and tow to the campground. It’s all worth it but sometimes life is just busier than normal and that can seem like a big effort. The temptation to just stay home is real. Having a seasonal site in which the RV is already there, leveled, and full of your clothes and food is a beacon of relaxation after a long work week. All you need to do is get yourself in the car and drive to it. With a seasonal site, your chances of more weekends around the campfire are going to soar.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. As David Bowie once famously sang, “time may change me, but I can’t trace time.’’ Life will change and it’s a good idea to adjust to the changes rather than stop doing something you love. Many RVers share that when their children hit high school and have summer jobs, camping weekends became harder to pull off. A seasonal site close to home is a good remedy for that problem. Kids can come after work shifts and enjoy part of the weekend while the rest of the family gets to continue weekend getaways. For me, with three new grandchildren under the age of 24 months, the idea of lengthy road trips has lost its appeal for now. What is appealing to me is a site close to home that the kids and grandkids can enjoy whether I am with them or not. Seasonal camping is a change that can keep you in the camping groove.

Mobility matters. It’s a big world out there with so many places to go and things to do. Having an RV that you use as a weekend home allows you to shake it up and change locations without having to list, sell, pack, and unpack your home. You can spend a few seasons exploring your favorite mountain towns and then become a beach camper for a while. You can also camp close to loved ones in the summer season and then tow your RV to a sunny spot for the winter season. As the memes like to remind us about RVs– they go where they’re towed.

Bonus room. An added perk to a seasonal site near your home is that it is your personal AirBnB. When the family is in town, the RV can function as a guest house. When someone is under the weather, they can quarantine and recover in the RV. If you work from home and need to remove yourself from distractions, head to the campground and work there. An RV at a seasonal site is set up and ready to go– just add people!

Janine Pettit

Girl Camper

Janine Pettit is a lifelong lover of camping who took a 25 year sabbatical when she married a “resort” type guy! She discovered that camping was still in the cards for her when she stumbled onto an article about a women’s outdoor adventure group that travels around the country in RVs, meeting new friends, checking off bucket list adventures and doing things she had only dreamed of. Janine has become an Ambassador for the Girl Camping movement and encourages women to go places and do things in her blog and podcast.