One of the things that makes seasonal camping so special compared to traveling in an RV and visiting campgrounds for only a few nights is the opportunity to make your campsite like a home away from home. Here are a few tips for setting up your seasonal campsite.
Choose The Right Campground
Location, Location, Location!
When choosing a campground as a permanent home for your camper the most important thing is location. You want it close enough to be able to visit frequently but far enough away that it doesn’t feel like you’re camping out in your backyard.
If you can find a campground in scenic areas or close to attractions you enjoy then all the better but sometimes a quiet campground away from all the hustle and bustle is just as good. It really just depends on what you enjoy more. Families with kids often like having a campsite near theme parks or other attractions while older couples might like the peace and quiet.
My advice is to pick a campground that has access to all the bells and whistles. While all should have water and electricity at every spot, not all have sewer hookups. Having to take your waste to a dumping station or paying someone to take it occasionally can be quite a burden. Having a permanent hookup is worth the little bit of extra expense it may incur.
Food and Amenities
Having easy access to food, whether groceries or restaurants is also something to consider. Is there a grocery store nearby or a well-stocked campground store? Are there restaurants in the area for those days you just don’t feel like cooking? Do you have convenient access to a laundry mat, a gas station, a pharmacy, and a hospital?
These are all things you should take into consideration when choosing a campground where you will be spending a lot of your time. Sure, some of these things you could probably compromise on but there are some you may not be willing to.
In this modern age, you have to consider access to the internet. Whether it be for work, keeping in touch with family, or just entertainment; it’s always nice when a campground has you covered and you don’t have to jump through the hoops of supplying your own internet access.
That being said, WIFI access supplied by campgrounds usually isn’t on the same level as having your own setup. Speed, security, and constant availability are common struggles with the public WIFI in a campground.
What a campground does and doesn’t allow can certainly be a bonus or a dealbreaker. I find there is a delicate balance in a campground having loose enough rules to allow you to make your campsite relaxing and feel like home. You also don’t want a campground that allows anything and everything.
An example of this might be a campground that allows you to build a deck or put a shed is fantastic as these things can make your seasonal camping experience more enjoyable and home-like. However, a campground that has no rules might allow building projects that look trashy or allow loud music and parties all night long.
If you want more than just sitting around a campfire at your campground then look for one that hosts a whole list of activities throughout the year. Many campgrounds make this a major part of their attractions by offering meal gatherings, games for kids and adults, contests, etc… Some even go as far as putting on large events like concerts and firework shows.
Beyond events, you should also just look at what the campground has to offer. Do they have a lake for fishing, a swimming area, a playground, a miniature golf course, and hiking trails? Being able to leave your campsite for further entertainment is a real bonus at a campground
Pick A Spot You Love
So you have found a campground you love, now what? You need to find a campsite spot you really love because you are going to make your home away from home there. Here are some things to consider when picking that perfect campsite.
Balance Of Shade and Sun
If possible, finding a location that has a mix of sun and shade is a plus. If you can only pick one, shade is usually better. It really feels good to kick back under the shade of a large tree on a hot day when there is a bit of a breeze. I personally love to relax in a spot like this with a good book and a glass of iced tea.
Plenty of Room
Get a large spot if you can. This is a big deal when seasonal camping versus a temporary campsite. Having neighbors you can develop lifelong friendships with is great but it’s nice to have a little room to set up a comfortable outdoor living space and not feel crowded. Usually, campgrounds have a variety of spots available of all shapes and sizes so choose wisely.
This is something that can be hard to determine when choosing a spot in a campground but there are things you can look for. If you’re bothered by messy sites then look for signs of that. Do they have children that can play with your kids or are you looking for peace and quiet?
It doesn’t hurt to say hi to them and tell them you are looking at this spot next to them for your seasonal site. That conversation may go a long way in helping you make a decision.
Level and Stabilize Your Camper For The Long Term
There are a host of reasons to make sure your RV is level and stabilized from health and sleep quality to the proper function of the camper’s water and septic systems. This becomes even more important when the RV will be sitting long-term.
Make Sure The Ground Is Firm
If the ground underneath the wheels and levering jacks is soft the camper won’t stay level and stable for long. You may need to add gravel or put down a platform before backing in.
Tools or Supplies You May Need
If the ground where you will be parking is uneven then you may need to have some leveling blocks. If you will only be spending a season in the spot you might be able to just use some pressure-treated ground contact lumber to put under the wheels and jacks. If you will not be moving the RV for the foreseeable future you may want to invest in leveling blocks
It’s also important to chock the wheels on your RV. Even if the ground looks relatively level it’s always better to be safe and secure the wheels properly.
How To Level and Stabilize Your Camper
Create Your Outdoor Living Space
This is where the big difference between seasonal camping and RV traveling really shows. When you are a seasonal camper you get the opportunity in most campgrounds to make your campsite your second home. There are many things you can do and add to make this happen.
Build A Deck If You Can
Many people who seasonal camp choose to make long term additions to their campsite, one such addition can be a deck at many seasonal campgrounds. This is certainly something to avoid if you will be moving your camper more than every few years but for those committed to their campsite it can be a wonderful addition.
Find The Perfect Spot For A Fire Pit
Many campsites will already have a firepit location but if you get to pick then make sure the spot is convenient and safe. Have plenty of room around the fire foe sitting and enjoying but also make sure it is a safe distance away from anything that could catch fire from the heat or hot coals that pop and escape.
Awnings and Gazebos
While most campers will have a sufficient awning attached. Having another awning or gazebo on your lot can be a great place to gather, eat meals, play games, escape the rain or provide extra shade if your campsite is lacking trees.
Campsite Outdoor Furniture
Make sure to have plenty of seating for your family and visitors. Having nice comfortable chairs, an outdoor swing, tables for drinks and eating, and a way to kick your feet up will make your space much more enjoyable.
Having plenty of lighting around your campsite will make for a wonderful ambiance and well as making it safe to walk around at night without tripping over things. Outdoor string and rope lights are a great option for this and they can really add something special to your sight at night.
Sheds and Storage
Having some storage options for your campsite will be a great option as well. Many campgrounds will allow you to put up a shed on your campsite that can house all your supplies, games, bikes, and perhaps even be a place to park a golf cart. Having ample storage will keep you from having to take things back and forth to the campground, making it much more convenient to go camping whenever you get the urge.
Hopefully, this has given you some insight and a little inspiration for setting up your seasonal campsite and truly making it a place to enjoy for a quick weekend getaway or an extended stay.