How to Start a Campground Business

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Father and daughter walking through an RV campgrounds.
Father and daughter walking through an RV campgrounds. (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

A campground can be as simple as a primitive backcountry area or it can be acres of paved roads with pads for recreational vehicles, full hookups and a range of activities from miniature golf to volleyball. A primitive campground doesn't need more than a bathhouse and sites. Big RVs need plenty of room to maneuver. Once you've decided what sort of campground business you want to operate, customize the following guidelines to suit your guests' needs.

Things You'll Need

  • Hookups
  • Fire rings
  • Picnic tables
  • Cabins
  • Bathhouse
  • Residence, camp store
  • Dump station
  • Website
  • Marketing material

Prepare the campground. Level tent and RV pads, supply water, sewage and electrical hookups for some of them, and leave a screen of foliage between them for privacy. If you're creating a large campground, make some of the sites pull-throughs so RVs don't have to back into sites.

Set aside a separate section for tent campers. Provide a fire ring and a picnic table at each site. Outfit some tent sites with electricity and water. Consider building a couple of primitive cabins for people who don't have camping equipment.

Build a bathhouse for guests without RVs and an owner's residence/check-in/camp store. Create a dump station where RV owners can empty their tanks away from the campground.

Provide amenities like a game room, swimming pool and picnic pavilions. Build a fishing pier if you're located on a lake or river. Offer fishing gear for sale in your camp store. Stock the store with necessities like groceries, RV repair parts, charcoal, bottled water and toilet paper.

Create an Internet presence. Maintain a website with a map and directions to your campground. List your rates and keep them current. Make a reservations page and place your contact information prominently on the website.

Make sure other websites that list campgrounds, like city directories, tourism bureaus and local towns have a link to your website. Sprinkle keywords throughout your website that will cause it to appear high in search engine rankings.

Place ads in accommodations magazines that are given out at rest areas on highways. Publish a flyer that can be placed at tourist information stops and service stations near your campground.

Offer incentives like a rewards program or a discount for guests who return to your campground. Provide golf carts for guests with mobility issues to get around large campgrounds.

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