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Old 07-19-2016, 02:44 PM   #1
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Are campgrounds new low cost housing?

As I travel around to small, private campgrounds, and in some cases chain campgrounds too, I can't help but notice a growing trend in long term residents in these campgrounds. I recently stayed in one just off I-95 in Ga, which was affiliated with a nation wide chain, and was assigned a site next to a run-down old trailer that had evidently been there for some time, which had old pieces of furniture around the site, empty beer cans and a large, not very friendly acting, dog chained up but the chain was long enough for it to get halfway onto my site. Just stayed for the night, luckily. They returned later that night to the site and commenced to sit outside til very late drinking beer and talking loudly, very uncomfortable with wife and grandkids on board. Mentioned to management next morning on way out and told them I would not be returning, in spite of it being a very practical location for our annual Disney trek. At $40 + per night, not what I expect. Had a similar event occur on recent trip to SC too.

I understand the owner's desire for high occupancy, but I also do not stop to camp in "trailer parks". The name "camp ground" implies short term rental of campsites to me. I know many state, county and municipal parks have very strict limits on how long you can stay there, and even some large camping resorts as well. This trend seems to be growing in areas just outside large, urban cities.

Wonder what you all think.
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Old 07-19-2016, 03:09 PM   #2
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I couldn't agree more. Seems like that is the case in most private campgrounds anymore. Maybe when we call ahead for future reservations we all start asking if that is the case, and if it is just say" never mind, we don't like staying in trailer parks, and are looking for a campground" we will look somewhere else.
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Old 07-19-2016, 03:15 PM   #3
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I think the first time I ran into long term seasonal rentals was in the late 1960's. Friend of the family belonged to a family that maintained an old trailer in a local park with a swimming pond. That way anyone in the family who wanted to go to the campground to swim or spend the weekend could use the trailer if the were paying their share and the schedule permitted. There was a limit on the number of folks on the site at any one time but a deal for holiday weekends.

I have seen many such setups since with or without the extended family. All the local campgrounds around here have a load of seasonal rentals with units that have not moved in years and probably could not move but are used the same way with or without the extended family option. They form the backbone of the cost structure for the campground because they need little service and often do their own maintenance or help out when there if needed.

This time of year they will have retired folks or seasonal workers like teachers in residence unless somebody can commute to work from them. Also common to see grandparents with a load of grandkids all over the place.

What we did notice as we travel is that some places have a newer section that seems to be just transients and probably family overflow for the holidays. Just look back in the woods if you think long termers are not there.

All that said the places in the NE are seldom all year operations. Most close from mid October to mid April because they shut off the water. They are mostly empty when school is in session and full from the end of June to Labor day weekend so we mostly avoid them then. That gives us a nice shoulder season to travel and mid week stays at the local state parks where the weekends are usually booked well ahead. I would assume you ran into something like that.
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Old 07-19-2016, 03:18 PM   #4
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Saw a lot of permanent "campground" residents near the oil fields from Texas to North Dakota.
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Old 07-19-2016, 03:29 PM   #5
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It would seem that if parks are going to allow semi-permanent residents they would allocate an area to accommodate them and not have them with the people pulling in and out every one to three days.

We have run into the same situation and don't necessarily have a problem with a well kept site.
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Old 07-19-2016, 03:29 PM   #6
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I stayed a month in a private CG in central NY.

I would wager that 75% of the sites were full-time. Large propane tanks, decks, tree mounted satellite dishs and sheds full of outdoor stuff.

Maybe 20% of them were full-time occupied and the rest were weekend use. There were even some park model trailers, with the tongues removed.

It was our first time in a private CG. We were house shopping the area, so it was OK but if traveling, we will stick with the Federal, State and County CGs we always use.
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Old 07-19-2016, 03:35 PM   #7
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I agree, the CG's are getting more and more overrun by people living in them and saying they are "Full timers". There are a lot of people that have chosen this living arrangement over buying/renting a home/Apt. This creates two problems, lack of availability for those who are RV'ing on vacation or truly full timing, and a general downgrading of the RV park itself. Nobody goes out camping to camp next to someone living there and leaving all their stuff/trash sitting around like you describe. We go away to get away from all the regular day to day activities and see the great outdoors. They should just go and stay in a mobile home park if that is the way they want to live, as mobile home parks are built/designed for that type of living arrangement.

We have seen CG's that were once nice places to go, now 90% occupied by people living there, and nobody who is truly RV'ing wanting to stay there anymore. Yes they may be keeping near full occupancy but in the long run they will ultimately lose money. And when they try and raise their rates if there is no time limit for stays they will lose even more money trying to evict tenants for whatever reason. These "Communities" will eventually become just like any other problem neighborhood over time and ruin it for the owner if neglected. Just look up the "Broken Window" theory for why neighborhoods/Communities deteriorate to the point where people no longer want to live/visit in them.
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trode View Post

I know many state, county and municipal parks have very strict limits on how long you can stay there, and even some large camping resorts as well.
Perhaps you should start using places that have a limited stay. It's possible, you know.
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:40 PM   #9
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Not really anything new going on. Been traveling in an RV for over 20 years and it been like that since I can remember. There is a 5 star RV resort in Newport Beach, CA that 20 years ago had people that were pretty much full timers. They had a stay limit but only had to leave for a few hours and then you come come right back and stay another 90 days.
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:44 PM   #10
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You guys are confusing fulltimers with slobs.

If campers are permitted to have junk strewn about and chained dogs whether they're staying a couple of days or a couple of years then they're simply slobs and the CG operator is at fault for not making or enforcing rules about such things...and that CG will eventually go under.
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Old 07-19-2016, 05:08 PM   #11
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Hence the reason some campground have adapted the 10 year old or new RV rule. To keep their facilities look nice and inviting, and to cut down on vagrants.
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Old 07-19-2016, 05:17 PM   #12
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It's not just the private campgrounds. Take a tour of some of the membership campgrounds and you will see the same thing. We are Thousand Trails members and the number of short term sites has diminished considerably since ELS bought them out. Nowadays it is hard to even get a decent site in many of the Thousand Trails parks what with seasonal and long term/full time rentals.
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Old 07-19-2016, 05:58 PM   #13
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I have seen many itinerant workers at campgrounds. They usually work for highway construction companies. In the summer, they can have their families with them. I have also seen 3 large travel trailers pull in to a cg and provide housing for 3 guys in each trailer. The trailers were set up as dormitories inside with a kitchen and living 3 bedrooms. These folks are working stiffs like many of us used to be.
And then you see the older people who have a really hard time making enough money to live on or whose social security is $500 a month and that's their only income. Lots of those in CGs in the south.
I've seen quite a few posts on IRV2 by people trying to figure out how they're going to exist in an old beat-up class B or C because they can't afford rent of an apartment.
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Old 07-20-2016, 07:57 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
I stayed a month in a private CG in central NY.

I would wager that 75% of the sites were full-time. Large propane tanks, decks, tree mounted satellite dishs and sheds full of outdoor stuff.

Maybe 20% of them were full-time occupied and the rest were weekend use. There were even some park model trailers, with the tongues removed.

It was our first time in a private CG. We were house shopping the area, so it was OK but if traveling, we will stick with the Federal, State and County CGs we always use.
FWIW I know of several folks with two campers. One in NY as you describe and one in Florida in a similar situation. The people move with the season, the campers have been in place for many years. I'm not saying none are year around but I will say it is seldom done because of the issue of freezing water lines. If it is permanent it is more likely owners or their family.
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