What is Seasonal Camping? Is It for You?

Are you looking for a way to enjoy RVing without the hassles of packing, towing, and setting up? If so, seasonal camping just might be for you.

Do you search for a convenient weekend retreat to spend quality time outdoors? Consider a seasonal getaway or yearly vacation tradition at a campground or RV resort near you. Seasonal camping is a great way to enjoy your favourite destination and activities time and time again.

What is seasonal camping?

A seasonal campsite is just like a regular campsite rather, rented for a long term. As the name suggests a seasonal is generally over the whole camping season which typically runs from the months of April to October in many northern campgrounds. Head south, and you’ll find campgrounds and RV resorts offering seasonal sites on a three-month, six-month, or year-round basis.

Ultimately at any location, seasonal RVers tend to leave their camper right on-site for the extended duration versus routine travel. This gives couples, solo travelers, or camping families an amazing place to retreat to, similar to a second home, getaway cottage, or vacation rental but with their own RV parked on their own piece of paradise.

Some seasonal campers choose a campground close to home while others snag a spot at a favorite destination even if it is a bit of a drive. Your trailer or motorhome will be parked for the season and you can come and go as you please.

Ambassador RV Resort is a popular seasonal park in Caldwell, Idaho © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Is seasonal camping for you?

Seasonal camping might appeal to you if:

  • You like to head to the campground at the last minute: If you find yourself deciding to camp on short notice, you may have trouble finding open campsites. Having a seasonal spot means no more making reservations.
  • You dislike the weekend camping hustle: By the time you get off work on Friday, get home, and get hooked up and packed up, you are exhausted when you arrive at the campground. You face the same struggle when you get home on Sunday. Having a seasonal spot means you can load up the essentials and head to the campground with much less hassle.
  • You are paying for off-site storage: If you have a HOA or other reasons for not storing your RV at home, you might find a seasonal campsite that costs only slightly more than paying for storage.
  • You would like to be part of a community: Some campgrounds have a lot of seasonal campers and you may enjoy socializing at the campground (of course, you may discover you don’t like this aspect!).
  • You’d like an affordable vacation home: If you’ve considered getting a vacation home near one of your favorite destinations, a seasonal campsite would give you a similar experience while also allowing the flexibility to take your RV offsite for trips.
Monte Vista RV Resort is a popular seasonal park in Mesa, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Why choose seasonal camping? There are many advantages.

  • Camp more often: Seasonal camping allows you to camp more often because you don’t have to worry about searching for and booking a different campsite every time you want an adventure. If your seasonal spot is close to home weekend getaways are even easier.
  • Less stress over packing: With a seasonal campsite your RV and belongings are already set up for you when you arrive after a long workweek. You can spend less time packing and more time enjoying your weekend.
  • Make last minute decisions: If you find yourself deciding to camp on short notice, you may have trouble finding open campsites. Having a seasonal spot means no more making reservations.
  • Meet other campers: You are able to easily meet and make new friends with the other campers at the site. Seasonal camping allows you to be a part of the community at your specific campsite.
  • Save money: This value can vary greatly due to family size, location, and other personal preferences. So, if you plan on camping often, becoming a seasonal camper can save you money.
Sun Outdoors Pigeon Forge is a popular seasonal park in Sevierville, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sounds good? Before you decide seasonal camping is for you, here are some things to consider:

  • Find a place that you love: Consider your favorite campgrounds and decide if you’d be happy to stay there for an entire season.
  • Do your research before committing: Talk to other campers in the park and see if they are having a good experience. If you decide to stay for more than a few days at a time, can you get the supplies you need easily? What is the storage situation? What is the campground’s policy on guests? Are there activities and attractions close by? What about shopping? Location is important!
  • Give it a try first: Rent a spot for a couple of weeks. Leave your RV and see how you like the experience of coming and going. Ask yourself if the drive is too long. Be sure to include a holiday camping weekend to see how much the atmosphere changes.
  • Calculate your costs: Does the cost of a seasonal spot fit your budget? Will it be worth your while in the long run? Understand what is and what is not included (for example, some campgrounds charge extra based on usage for electricity or water on seasonal sites). Find out the exact dates that are included. Some seasonal sites can be rented for the whole year while other parks offer shorter seasons. Find out whether you have to pay the fee upfront or is it there a pay-by-month option. Ask about cancellation fees if you decide the park isn’t for you.
Settlers Point RV Resort is a popular seasonal park in Washington, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tips for finding the perfect seasonal campground

Here are five tips for finding the perfect seasonal campground.

1. Find a place that you love going back to again and again

Lots of campgrounds are just fine for a night or two but how enjoyable is the campground for repeat visits? Think about the location, the amenities, the campsites, and the overall atmosphere as you consider how often you’d like to camp in a particular park.

2. Do your research and ask the right questions

There are a lot of elements to consider when you are looking at a long-term spot. Are other seasonal campers happy with their experience at this park? Will you be surrounded by other seasonal campers or overnighters? Can you get Amazon deliveries? Can you store stuff outside of your RV? Try to think about all of the items that contribute to a great experience and think of things that make the long-term experience different from a short-term stay.

3. Check out the surrounding area

If you are returning to the same campground again and again, chances are you will also be exploring the local area. Does it offer the kinds of activities, restaurants, shops, and amenities you will need and enjoy? As with buying a home, think location, location, location.

4. Do a trial run of weekends

Try out the seasonal camping experience by renting a spot for a couple of weeks. Leave your RV and see how you like the experience of coming and going. You’ll soon figure out how far of a drive works for your situation. Be sure to include a holiday camping weekend to see how much the atmosphere changes.

5. Calculate your costs

Does the cost of a seasonal spot make sense for your budget? Sure, it will cost more but if you get out camping more, the cost could be well worth the experience.  A seasonal sites may cost anywhere between $2,000 to $10,000 per year. Make sure you understand what is and what is not included (for example, some campgrounds charge extra based on usage for electricity or water on seasonal sites).

Find out the exact dates that are included. Some seasonal sites can be rented for the whole year, while other parks offer shorter seasons. Ask whether you have to pay the fee upfront, or is it there a pay-by-month option. Also, you may want to check into any cancellation fees if you decide the park isn’t for you.

Worth Pondering…

This is not another place.

It is THE place.

—Charles Bowden

Rainy Day Camping Activities for Adults

Don’t let the rain ruin your camping trip. Here are the best rainy day camping activities for RVing adults.

Rain, rain, go away,

Come again some other day,

We want to go outside and play,

Come again some other day,

Even as an adult, that nursery rhyme always pops into my head whenever it rains. Especially when we are camping and all we want to do is go outside and recreate!

But with over 25 years of enjoying the RV Lifestyle and lots of rainy (and a few snowy) days, we’ve learned how to keep ourselves entertained on days when the weather is not cooperating with our original itinerary.

I’m going to offer numerous ideas on how to spend a rainy day while camping plus some links to help you make the most of these ideas.

I’ll start easy but don’t expect all of these activities to be lounging activities—they’re not! Sure, rainy days are a great day to relax but that doesn’t mean you have to be completely inactive.

Savannah is the setting for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Read a good camping book (not just any book)

Now I know you may think this isn’t original advice but reading a book is a go-to rainy-day camping activity for good reason. There’s something about the pitter-patter of rain that helps you immerse yourself in the pages of a good book.

I will point out, too, that I said you should read a good camping book. Not just any book! 

A good camping book will transport you to another world while keeping you connected to your current travel experience. It will help inspire and motivate you to get out there and enjoy the great outdoors as soon as the rain lets up. That’s why I highly suggest you keep at least one of these great books to read while camping at the ready on every road trip.

Here’s a few to get you started:

  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived by Ralph Helfer
  • Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • Into the Wild by John Krakauer
  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
Historic Route 66 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Watch a good camping movie (again, not just any movie)

That’s right, not just any movie—a good camping movie. As I said about books, you should choose a movie that keeps you immersed in your travel experience. That way, you still get a taste of adventure even if confined to your RV. 

To make it easy for you, I’ve made a list of 10 Iconic Road Trip Movies. This list includes a WIDE RANGE of movies bout life on the road. I researched the history of road trip cinema and chose 10 of the most iconic films in which people drive across the U.S.

Speaking of movies, I have posted articles on film-making in various regions of America. Here’s a quick sampling:

Lakeside RV Park, Livingston, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Invite camping neighbors over

No matter the size of your RV, you could always invite fellow campers over. Whether you squeeze inside or tuck under your awning, it’s always nice to gather together on a rainy day.

Plenty of campers will agree that one of the best rainy-day camping activities is playing games. So, invite some people over and have a game night! Or, rather, a game rainy day!

This brings me to my next rainy day suggestion…

4. Host a championship game day

Forget game NIGHT. Host a championship game day! Whether you invite your camping neighbors over or play at your travel party, games are always fun on a rainy day.

But don’t get stuck playing the same game for hours. Instead, organize an impromptu championship series where you play various games to determine an ultimate winner.

Since every person has different strong suits, this style of game day levels the playing field. Each player can pick a game and then the person who wins the most games is the champion.

You can pick standard board games or card games or you can get creative with different challenges. 

There should definitely be a prize for the champion, whether it’s a silly homemade trophy or an inexpensive gift for RVers.

Truth BBQ, Brenham, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Cook up some comfort food

Comfort food and rainy days go hand in hand! Whether you’re curling up to a good book or movie, doing crafts, or playing games, comfort food is the perfect complement to all the activities on this list.

6. Camping puzzles and adult lego

What can be more relaxing than working on a puzzle while listening to raindrops hit your RV roof? If you think it’s not practical to do puzzles in a bumpy RV that you move from campground to campground, you’d be (happily) wrong!

You can use a roll-up puzzle mat to preserve your progress until you finish!

And I’m a big fan of crossward puzzles. As well as a rainy day activity, it helps to keep ones brain active as we age.

And on that same note, what about 3-D puzzles? Yep, I’m talking about Lego! Lego aren’t just for kids anymore.

Like the puzzle mat, you can use an organizer box to stay tidy. As an RVer, you might consider the following:

  • Lego Volkswagen Camper Van
  • Lego Wildflower Bouquet
  • Lego Birds Model
Journaling © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Journaling and scrapbooking

Another great rainy day camping activity is journaling and scrapbooking. It’s the perfect time to sit down and catch up on your recent experiences on the road.

If you want to be prepared for such a rainy day, you can check out my Guide to Journaling.

Some of the journals have prompts, while others give you plenty of space to write freely. 

8. Unique crafts and related activities

Doing arts and crafts is one of the best ways to keep yourself busy while being stuck inside on a rainy day. You can draw, paint, knit, quilt, leatherwork, carve, or even color. You can also enjoy many different activity books from crossword puzzles, sudoku, and miscellaneous games.

Okefenokee, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9. Plan your next RV road trip

There’s no time like the present to plan your next RV trip especially if rain is keeping you from enjoying your current one. If you’re stuck inside, you might as well make good use of your time and start planning your next adventure whether it’s reworking your current itinerary or starting a new one.

I have lots of articles about planning a great trip but I recommend starting with The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Cross-Country Road Trip.

Or, you can take the opportunity to review some of my tried-and-proven road trip guides. That way you only have to decide where to go next rather than plan the whole trip yourself.

Bernheim Forest, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Go out in the rain

Just because it’s raining, doesn’t mean you have to stay inside! It doesn’t mean you can’t hit the trail or enjoy what you had planned for the day regardless. (As long as there’s no thunder storm, of course.)

Rain is just water, after all. You’re not going to melt. Like they say, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. 

So, whip out your camping poncho, put on your Tilleys hiking hat, and slip on your waterproof shoes. Get out there and see how the world looks different under its cover.

Jump in puddles if you will, turn your face up to the sky, and enjoy the rain!

Worth Pondering…

The blizzard doesn’t last forever; it just seems so.

—Ray Bradbury

20 Tips for Making Friends While Camping

Don’t make the mistake of getting out there in the camping world only to hide away in your RV. Here’s how to make friends while camping with some practical icebreakers.

Going to a new campground can feel like going to summer camp as a kid. You’re excited about all of the things to do but might be really nervous about the social aspect. 

Are the other kids going to like you? Are you going to make friends? Or are you going to write home to mama to pick you up asap?!

Hopefully, your summer camp experience is a happy memory, but no matter what, your next camping experience can be!

Here are some great tips on how to make friends while camping.

Camping at Cave Creek Regional Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Why you need to put yourself out there

One of the main reasons people join the RV lifestyle is to see the world. They want to visit all kinds of places and see new things. But don’t forget that people can truly take your experience to the next level.

What’s so great about RVing is you get to visit one place but can learn about so many places through the people you meet. Best of all, you can see how people from all over the country and even the world share a lot in common with you. 

Getting to know some locals will give you more insight than any travel guide could give you, too. A quick chat with your campground host or grocery bagger can teach you things about the area you’d never know otherwise. Gaining a glimpse into local life is interesting in its own right.  

And that’s the mindset you need to adopt. A friendship when camping is probably fleeting. In most cases, you’ll never see or hear from them again. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. You may, in fact, meet lifelong friends but even small friendly interactions can make a huge difference! Getting to share stories, relate to strangers, and lowering your guard can teach you a lot about the world and even yourself.

Not to mention, many studies have shown that social interaction improves your mental and physical health.

Camping at the Lakes Golf & RV Resort, Chowchilla, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s easier to make friends while camping

Making new friends can be nerve-wracking but you actually have two big advantages when camping. Embracing these two advantages can make the whole idea of meeting new people easier for you.

Advantage #1

The first advantage is you never have to see these people again. I bet you didn’t expect that! But that thought is actually very freeing. You don’t have to worry much about whether they like you or you like them because, if not, well, you move on. 

Some people can be nervous about meeting the neighbors at their brick-and-mortar house because they’d be stuck with them if they didn’t like them. But, don’t have that fear with their campground neighbors. The worst that could happen is an awkward conversation. 

The opposite is true, too. You may be more nervous that they won’t like you. Guess what?! Even if they don’t, they’re not stuck with you either! So, embrace the short-term stakes.

Camping at Harvest Moon RV Park. Adairsville, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Advantage #2

The second advantage is you’re among your people! There’s a very good chance they like doing the same thing as you because they are doing the same thing as you. 

Plus, campers tend to be friendly people. They know how to sit back and relax and enjoy the moment. They’re curious about new places and things, and that usually includes you!

Many will even take the first step and strike up a conversation with you. So, you just need to be prepared to not shy away from it. Return their greeting or question and see where it goes from there.

Camping at Terre Haute Campground, Terre Haute, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How to make friends while camping: 14 tips and icebreakers

Saying you want to make friends and knowing how to make friends are two very different things. So, here are some tips and icebreakers to help you along your way.

1. Look for long-term campers that have been there or are staying more than a few days. Weekenders and larger groups tend to just want to focus on their fun and their families since they’re limited on time.

2. Smile and wave at everyone. Some will take it from there for you! They’ll strike up a conversation and you just have to participate.

3. Let your dog be your wingman. Take your dog for a walk around the campground or park him beside you in your outdoor area. People will come to your dog and then to you. 

4. Let your kids be your wingman. Kids usually don’t have the same reserves we do about meeting new people so let them loose (within reason)! Let them play with other kids and then you can meet their parents.

5. Let your travel companion be your wingman. Chances are, one of you is more sociable than the other. Don’t hold them back! Don’t say, “You shouldn’t bother them or maybe they don’t want you to…” Let them do their thing and if it works out, great! If it doesn’t, that’s on them!

Camping at Whispering Hills RV Park, Georgetown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Limit your first conversation to 5-10 minutes. Campers are very friendly people and often over-polite. They may be in the middle of something or on the way somewhere but they don’t want to interrupt you. So, try to keep the first conversation short and then swing back by or invite them over another time.

7. Set up extra chairs around your fire pit. You can invite people over, offer s’mores to passers-by, or even put a sign up that says “free campfire stories” or “campfire songs“.

8. Get involved in activities. A lot of campgrounds host group activities like card games, sports matches, or meet-and-greets. Join in!

9. Place your chairs at the front of your campsite facing passers-by. Smile and say hi to everyone and see where that goes.

10. Set up a snack station. Have a portable table for coffee or snacks and invite people to stop by. 

Camping at Lakeside RV Park, Livingston, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

11. Ask them about their RV. RVers love to talk about their rigs! 

12. Offer help. If you see them lugging gear or setting up, offer to help. Some may decline but others will appreciate it.

13. Ask for help. Whether you need to borrow a tool or need help backing up, asking for help is a great way to break the ice.

14. Host a game night. Walk around the campground and let people know you’re having a game night and anyone’s welcome to join. Camping games and board games are a great way to interact without having to rely on conversation.

15. Listen more than you talk. When you’re talking to someone new, it’s important to listen more than you talk. Not only will this make the other person feel valued but it also means you’ll learn more about them and what they’re interested in.

Camping at Sea Wind RV Resort, Riviera Beach, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

16. Make an effort. To make friends while camping you must put in the effort. This means being the one to initiate conversations, inviting people to do things together, etc. It can be scary at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s well worth it!

17. Ask questions. When you’re talking to someone new, ask them lots of questions. This will show that you’re interested in them and make it more likely that they’ll want to be friends with you.

18. Walk around. Taking a stroll through the campground will provide you with a great opportunity to meet new people. Start by introducing yourself and your family members. Compliment something you like about their campsite.

19. Be yourself. It’s important to be genuine and authentic when making new camping friends. Jjust be yourself and the right people will take notice.

20. Take an interest in your fellow campers by asking them questions about themselves. People love talking about themselves so this is a surefire way to make a friend.

Camping at Sun Outdoors Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Share your tips

We’d love to hear your tips and advice on how to make friends while camping. Please share your advice and experiences on Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin.

Worth Pondering…

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

―Marie Curie (1867-1934), physicist and chemist