Explore America's Campgrounds
RV travel is an exciting and affordable family travel option. Purchasing an RV or travel trailer to live in at the beach for an extended period of time, and the permanent site to vacation at, is similar to purchasing any other vacation or seasonal piece of real estate. Renting expensive condos on a favorite beach or leasing pricey seasonal housekeeping cottages on that favorite lake shore can add up and weigh down a travel budget. A permanent campsite can be both an economical alternative and a sound vacation investment.
Do the math. Make sure it is feasible to be gone from your main dwelling and any local work or community commitments. Plan out the supporting resources necessary to ensure they are available to the traveler and solidly reliable and take into consideration how often you will be in residence at your newly purchased campsite and living unit.
Decide on the type of unit you will be placing on your permanent campsite. In addition to RVs and travel trailers, many established long-stay RV beach communities have park model units available for sale along with the site purchase, and you can choose from varied floor plans. Take into account, if moving your own unit onto the purchased site, whether you prefer a full-drive unit RV or a large pull-behind travel trailer.
Research the pros and cons of purchasing a permanent campsite in an established campground/community catering to long-term stay or winter retiree residency. Choose this investment route compared with simply purchasing beachfront property to set a campsite up on independently and experience easier move-in and better cost efficiency. Benefit from a managed park's amenities such as security and maintenance provided. Save money purchasing a move in ready park site by not having to independently pay for utility systems to be approved for permit and dug to the property, such as electrical, phone, water and septic.
Figure in a working yearly budget plan to ensure funds are available to support this beach property ownership after the initial investment (see Resources for sample budgets for travelers who permanently RV travels). Initial investment of the lot itself will range from $20,000 to much higher for beachfront property and extra amenities while living unit (dependent upon what it is) can average from $10,000 basic pull units to deluxe motor carriages on wheels custom designed to prices as high as $250,000. Basic budgeting for both residences should be considered as well as any unique tax specifications called for by, if applicable, dual residency. Higher-end parks with homeowner associations often have yearly dues.
Rent for one season first if choosing a long-stay campground or RV community park. Settle on the geographic location for the permanent beachfront campsite property and purchase the RV/travel trailer unit, then spend a "test run season" (such as three months during summer or for the entire winter) at the location. Experience the quality of the community and note any issues uncovered by living there firsthand for an extended period of time. Base the final decision to purchase or to pass on a permanent campsite at the particular community or park by this experience.
Be versed in the policies of the long-stay campground or RV park beach community. Find out who pays the property taxes and how extensively the property can be landscaped, exchanged or added to before signing on the contractual line. Get written documentation of what the policy on pets is within community and who pays the utilities. These communities often offer myriad activities, especially "snowbird" properties, so check to see if they are all-inclusive or if additional fees are required.
- camping image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com