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Campground as a Retirement Business

When I retired, I didn’t want to sit around in a condo all day but I also didn’t want to go to work for someone else. I started thinking about opening my own business but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I found out a campground in my area was for sale.

I knew a little bit about camping from my scouting days and I was used to doing light maintenance on my house and yard, but I knew almost nothing about RVs (other than they were big) and the campground was 30 acres, significantly larger than my yard. Should I buy a campground when I know little to nothing about running one, I thought. The answer was probably no. Still, the idea of owning and running a campground was interesting to me so I decided to check it out.

Even to my amateur handyman eye, I could tell the campground was run down. The grass needed to be weeded, the trees needed to be trimmed and the picnic area looked haphazard and thrown together. And that was just the area around the campground office. But even in its current state, I could tell with a little sprucing up, it could be a really great campground.

It took almost five months of daily work to get the campground into good shape. And it was expensive: I had to hire contractors, pay for permits, get inspections. But at the end of the five months, the campground looked like a 5-star operation. We opened just in time for summer vacation and within a month, we were receiving a steady stream of bookings.

I didn’t expect to run a campground as a second career but now, I can imagine spending my retirement any other way.