Why would long term campsites not want vans?

I’m considering long term campgrounds as a cheaper alternative to living in an apartment.

I questioned a local campground about what types of rigs they allow for long term camping (more than a week).

I got an interesting answer: motorhomes, pull-through trailers, 3rd wheel truck campers. NOT van campers.

(I suspect by trailers and 3rd wheel campers, they specifically mean ones that have their own toilets and showers, with fairly large holding tanks, but am not sure.)

First of all, how typical is that of campgrounds?

Campers, especially women and families, often look for safety, and campsite operators of course, try to accommodate them. And campsite operators want to avoid trouble in general, and don’t want dangerous people, or people who will be perceived as dangerous. Is there some reason camper vans are viewed as associated with more dangerous people?

Some camper vans are quite a bit more expensive than small pull trailers and typical 3rd wheel camper units. So it can’t just be cost.

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They want what they want, if you’re looking for a cheaper way to live get an RV to live in and keep the van for driving around & trips.


Thanks for the suggestion.

Of course, the hard part would be finding a place to park an RV that costs less than an apartment.


You might be looking for a monthly campground rather than an RV park. These days many RV parks require rigs with full hookups, vs. campgrounds where even a tent will work. Campground prices are usually cheaaper too, usually well under half of what an apartment would cost.


"Old school, cheap, simple, reliable, and easily replaceable for the win!" ~ Traveler@Heart

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Oh. I didn’t realize there are tent site campgrounds that allow long term camping. And I want a legal address that mail can come to - for some purposes, a post office box or UPS box won’t do. Unless I said I was homeless…

Part of the reason I’m looking into this is that my current vehicle, a station wagon, isn’t very large, can’t carry much weight, and can’t tow anything, let alone a travel trailer, nor is there really space for a toilet or shower. It’s not a suitable habitat.

I guess one advantage of (non-primitive) tent camp sites is that they have bathhouses with toilets and showers.


Campgrounds may or may not let you use their address… Generally what I do if I need one is pick a church or a vacant lot to use as my residence address, then list a separate mailing address at a private post office box place that will open my mail, scan it in, and sent it to me via email.

Campgrounds typically have toilets & showers, but you can also get a pop-up shower tent and a portable toilet/shower. That way you have your own clean & sanitary facilities right at your site. Bucket style toilets are cheap and easy to make, and so are weed sprayer showers.

There are places around the country, that you can stay at for up to 2 weeks at a time for free. Normally BLM land, forests, Corps of Engineers sites, some water & utility sites too.

You didn’t mention where you’re at or whether you need to be close to a job etc… That info can get you help more specific to your area.


"Old school, cheap, simple, reliable, and easily replaceable for the win!" ~ Traveler@Heart

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I’m currently using a P.O. Box as a mailing address. But some government agencies and insurance companies don’t allow that - and can detect it, even if the PO Box has “street addressing”. And some send some documents to my street address anyway.

I’m retired, so I’m not theoretically tied to this area (Maryland, near DC). But at least for the moment, there are issues which tie me to this area. Some of those issues require me to have a Maryland legal address, so campsites in the nearby parts of VA aren’t options.

Some of the people whose lifestyles I’ve admired most are sponsored athletes (like some whitewater boaters I’ve known) who are paid to travel from one competition to the next, all over the world. That at least looks like fun. :slight_smile: But I’m not athletic enough to do that.


I’m now signed up for “paperless” on everything, email only. My last street address was a vacant lot that I was parked at for about 6 months. I could, with the owner’s blessing, receive both mail and packages at that address. I used it for everything, drivers license, vehicle registration, insurance, banking, everything, and never once recieved a piece of mail at that address, instead they sent everything to my mailing address, a private postal box service clear across the country. Since changing all my preferences to paperless, everything comes to me via email.

The time before that, I asked at the Mom & Pop convenience store if I could use their address for a physical address, & they agreed, no mail ever sent to it, just my mailing address.

Over the years, I’ve used churches, gas stations, laundromats, C-Stores, restaurants, and you name it. All the mail still went to my mailing address, not the physical address I was using.

In some states they put my vehicle license number or my drivers license number as my physical address, and a couple used the address of the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) that I was at to get a new DL & registration.

Q: What’s your current address?
A: I live in my vehicle, which is currently parked in your parking lot. [Big Friendly Smile!]
Clerk: Oh… Okay, no problem…
Q: Mailing address?
A: Your mailing address.

It really is that simple, there are tons of full timer retiree’s out here, traveling workers, and of course homeless people who have no regular physical address. Maybe it’s all in how you present your case. I’ve been a nomad living on wheels for 65 years now, and never had a problem. Had driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations, insurance, and bank accounts in dozens of states.


"Old school, cheap, simple, reliable, and easily replaceable for the win!" ~ Traveler@Heart


Wow. You’ve really worked out how to do this.

Were you a professional trucker, or just a wanderer?

I’ve been reading in the news how many towns and counties and maybe even states are passing laws against people living in or even parking vehicles that could be lived in, because it’s become so common.

E.g., my current city, and those around it, bans parking any type of camper (including conversion vans and camper shells), or box van, or anything with dark tinted windows, for any length of time.

Are there typically less restrictive rules, and is it easier to make arrangements like you’ve made, in rural unincorporated areas without zoning ordinances?


For about 30 years I was a traveling construction worker, helping people rebuild after hurricane’s, tornado’s, floods etc. Same company the whole time, and often having to work during the heat of the summer, or the frigid cold of the winter.

After 30 years, my body decided enough was enough, and I was forced to change directions. I wasn’t ready to quit traveling, and times had changed. Suddenly there was laptops, cell phones, & the internet. A whole different world than I had known before. It was like moving the whole library, newpapers, magazines, trade shows, and a phone booth into my rig. A truly amazing time.

I had a good amount of money saved up, but without working every day, I was terribly bored. I got invited to a camp out, so I attended. They had workshops on many things, and at one of them I learned multiple ways to make money online. That gave me something to do, and very quickly I was making good money.

I could then travel without ever having to worry about running out of money. I’ve always been mainly a city dweller. That’s where the jobs, entertainment, food, & supplies were. I loved camping too, but was still mainly a city dweller.

It wasn’t practical to drive cross country every year to renew my vehicle license, so it was cheaper & easier to just change my official residence to wherever I was at the time. Now I can just choose paperless for everything, but they’ll still mail my vehicle tags to my mailing address, who will then forward them to wherever I am.

As far as them outlawing us, it has had very little impact on me so far. When questioned, I’m a tourist, and they don’t really want to do anything to deter tourism. When necessary I will go shopping, or the park or somewhere every 3rd day before returning at night. It’s a hassle, but I always remain within the law. If nothing else works and I really need to stay somewhere, I will usually rent a cheap motel room with off street parking, or go to an RV park. I usually prefer the $50-$75/week motels to the RV parks, they’re cheaper & I don’t need the hookups. I don’t normally use the rooms unless I’m expecting visitors, I just camp out in the parking lot.

Many of the Mom & Pop motels will let you stay for a week for a single nights rate if you ask. You just don’t get daily maid service. Some are actually very nice & clean places with spectacular views, and there’s usually restaurants, fast food, and shopping nearby. If the need ever arose, I could live in those permanently for cheap rent while still traveling, or even just staying stationary.

While Bidenomics and it’s associated drugs, crime, inflation, ridiculous laws, loss of freedoms, homelessness etc. etc. really sucks, we’re fortunate enough to live in the land of opportunity. We may have to search longer & harder to find what we’re looking for, and make necessary adjustments & adaptations, but at least it’s still possible. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Even if that means blazing a new trail.


"Old school, cheap, simple, reliable, and easily replaceable for the win!" ~ Traveler@Heart