Thinking of buying a campground? Read this first!

By Bruce Hakutizwi

Thinking of Buying a Campground? Read This First.

Camping is a national pastime all over the world, and especially in the United States, where vast expanses of land have been set aside to be enjoyed by all. Millions of families head into the great outdoors every year to pitch tents, rent cabins or RVs, and explore the wilderness.

Owning a private campground may seem like they type of business that runs itself, but current campground owners know that it takes a lot of work. There’s a lot to consider when thinking about buying a campground. They can, however, be a great investment for those who love the outdoors, as well as the hospitality industry. Here are a few things to think about from those who have made the plunge already.

1) Stay on top of cleanliness and maintenance. If a campground has advertised bathrooms, guests will have high expectations of cleanliness. That means daily cleaning and stocking up on paper. Chances are, if a guest has booked a reservation on a private campground, a clean bathroom is likely one of the things they’re after. With bathrooms likely comes the added responsibility of a septic system, so be prepared for expenses related to that. It would also be helpful to consider living on-site for any emergency issues that may arise.

2) Make sure to provide amenities. Think about a campground from your potential customers’ point of view. Chances are, people who choose to book a campsite through a company as opposed to camping on public land want a more relaxed, resort-style experience. That includes amenities such as showers, activities, and possibly a pool, if weather appropriate. Planning fun activities for your guests is a good way to generate repeat business, but it takes a lot of work. One current campground owner remembers his first summer as a campground owner, planning multiple large dinners for all of his guests, including a “Christmas in July” celebration. By the end of the season, having recruited friends and family members to help prepare dinners, the entire family was “wiped out.” One way to up your potential for added income is to offer rentals for commonly used camping equipment, such as camping stoves, tents, and more. Many people might not have space to store a large amount of camping equipment, which can deter them from going camping in the first place.

3) Consider the location and future development. Where is the campground located? If there are no amenities on the property, are there any nearby? What are the future plans for the area surrounding the property? Will there be noisy developments in the near future? Changes to the roads and access? These are important things to ask before buying a campground. For example, if a planned road addition will block convenient access to the campground, or change the remote feel of it, it could affect future business.

While many campground owners report being happy with their choices, most will acknowledge that it can be hard work. However, for the right person or family, and for those who enjoy spending time outdoors, it can end up being a fulfilling and rewarding career or family business. Just make sure to thoroughly research your potential business before making a final decision. Explore the many US Campgrounds for sale.

Bruce Hakutizwi is the U.S. and International Business Manager for Businesses for Sale.

Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt has been a writer/editor for more than 25 years, working in law enforcement, aviation, supply chain and the RV industry. She's not a stranger to RVs, however. She grew up camping, and still camps as many weekends as she can every year. She is the owner of In Good Company Communications and can be reached at

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  • Captn John says:

    Hard work and a big investment that certainly looks to have a good ROI. This looks like the best time ever to consider a CG. I’d be more into building than buying. Not tiny sites but good size, a pool, club house, pull through sites, minimum of a weekly activity, and not be afraid to charge a premium.

  • Ellen says:

    We’re heading into our tenth year of full-time RVing, so we’ve been guests in hundreds of RV parks and campgrounds over the years. Bruce hits some key points here, but there’s something else that goes beyond everything he mentions: you have to have the personality for it. You have to understand RVing/camping — if not having been an RVer or camper yourself — to be successful at this.

    We’ve been in plenty of places we’ll never return to because the owners didn’t understand the nature of camping/RVing. We’ve been made to move sites twice after driving a long day to get to the RV park (after they’re third mistake and request we go to a third site, we left), have had sewer hoses shredded by careless lawn mowing, had to explain what filling the fresh water tank was all about to someone who didn’t understand why we were running a hose from the potable water faucet to our rig… the list goes on!

    It’s a lifestyle, running an RV park or campground: you can’t do this half-way. You have to love it. It’s more than a simple business decision.

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