Camp Hosting

Camp Hosting is one of the most enjoyable ways to enjoy full-time RV living! It’s a win-win opportunity for everyone included and the main focus is making sure campers have an enjoyable experience. 

While camp hosting you’ll provide a vast array of services, which almost always depend on the facility and location you’re confirmed to work at. This could include checking in campers for their reservations, making new reservations, light housekeeping and maintenance as well as enforcing park rules and regulations and making recommendations for place to go and things to see in the surrounding areas!

As a Camp Host delivering excellent customer service is your number one objective! This post will include the basic information you need to know about camp hosting including the answers to the following questions: 

Interested in Camp Hosting? You’re in the right place! 

Let’s get started!

camp hosting two rangers
Camp Hosting Jobs

What Is A Camp Host? 

A Camp Host (or campground host) is an RVer who lives on-site and provides services to the campground’s guests to ensure they have an enjoyable stay. A big part of the workamping community, camp hosting is actually the very first workamping job! 

Long before there were websites requiring paid memberships for job ads there were camp hosts in the state and National parks as well as National Forests and historical sites throughout the country. These folks were usually retired couples and singles, who took to the open roads to travel and work in exchange for a free RV site. 

Many of the campgrounds were able to offer host specific sites, which would range from primitive sites without any hook-ups to full hook-up camp sites based on location. Camp hosting duties could be any combination of tasks ranging from cleaning restrooms to administrative duties. 

Evolution of Camp Hosting

Camp hosting started off as an easy way to grab a free site, while working a few hours around the campground for a government agency, and it continued that way for years! 

Afterall, if you could retire to an RV and travel throughout the country with free places to park- wouldn’t you? Exactly! 

So that’s exactly what thousands of retirees did. 

Eventually RVers began to find more work opportunities with additional employers like the Corps of Engineers and private campgrounds who also thought a work trade for RV site was a great deal!

And while private campgrounds offer camp hosting, it sometimes looks a little different for legal reasons, where doing straight trades are not available. 

So, while camp hosting can be done for both private and government run parks, for the purpose of this post, when we refer to camp hosting, we’ll be speaking specifically to the opportunities that are available at government entities where the work is mostly trade based. 

Let’s continue!

Camp Hosting Duties
Camp Hosting Duties

What Do Campground Hosts Do?

A Campground Host is a campground volunteer who is actually the on-site point of contact for guests. You’re kind of like the liaison between guests and the park staff, and you’ll do a tremendous amount of customer service as the face of the campground! 

Depending on the actual park, the duties may be vastly different. Camp Hosts can do anything from actually running a small campground to working the visitor center, helping with site clean-up, spending a few hours doing administrative work, collecting fees, working on special projects, park tours, or even maintenance if you have the experience. 

Many campground host positions will ask for you to take care of the basic needs of the campground you’re hosting at.

This can include: 

  • Cleaning Campsites
  • Maintaining clean restrooms and shower houses
  • Checking campers in and out
  • Answering questions and providing information.

Campground hosts who have special skill sets, certification or extensive experience may be able to take on additional roles such as helping with special projects, providing public tours, and possibly higher level maintenance jobs. 

What Are The Duties Of A Camp Host? 

Camp host duties & responsibilities will vary based on the entity you’re working for, as well as the state, and sometimes the park itself. It’s always best to make sure you have your agreed upon terms and in this case the camp host duties laid out in writing before confirming your arrival.

Here is a list of common camp host duties:

  • Cleaning campsites and fire rings after guests have checked out.
  • Maintaining clean restrooms and shower houses for all guests to use during their stay. 
  • Checking campers in and out at the Ranger Station. 
  • Collecting camping fees for unpaid reservations or walk ups.
  • Answering questions and providing information to guests about the campsites, campground, amenities, activities and the surrounding area.
  • Helping guests with issues that arise during their stay. 
  • Patrolling the campground to ensure all guests are complying with the rules and regulations set by the campground. 
  • Emptying trashcans and picking up trash throughout the campground. 
  • Fixing and providing small repairs where needed throughout the campground. 
  • Lawn mowing and weed eating. 
  • Planting flowers and removing weeds in flower beds and along roadways. 
Camp hosts salary park rangers
Camp Hosts work with Park Rangers

How Much Do Camp Hosts Make? 

The idea of being a Campground Host is that you put it a few hours of work a day and in return, you get a free stay in an awesome location. The majority of the time, the campsite comes at absolutely no charge and many will include electricity, water and if you’re lucky sewer! 

Sometimes this is your only form of payment. 

Camp hosting is not an incredibly lucrative job. The abundance of state parks offer mostly volunteer positions where RVers trade about 20 hours of work each week for their site and amenities. 

Your work schedule is usually quite flexibly allowing for couples to work either opposite shifts or same shifts and most always have the same days off. 

Still, some camp hosts will be paid am monetary amount usually comparable to the states minimum wage. If you need to be paid, please make sure you discuss this with the campground manager before accepting a position.

How Do You Become A Camp Host? 

Confirming a camp hosting position was once as simple as contacting the campground manager of make arrangements to trade your summer work for a free spot to setup camp. 

But that has since evolved into a system of trade for work that RVers rely on season after season, and as a result, for many camp hosting positions you’ll need to find the main point of contact, fill out an application, possibly a background check as well as confirm the daily tasks you’ll be providing.

Different parks will have different guidelines and requirements for you to volunteer as a host. 

Some parks will require a 40-hour work week, and some will only require 24 hours worked between you and your spouse. Some parks will have paper applications and others will have online applications. Some parks will want an individual application for each person, others will accept one application for a couple working together. Use this list of contacts for each of the State Park systems to get started!

It really all depends. So do your homework and start with the research!

Many camp hosting jobs will run a seasonal schedule of Memorial Day to just past Labor Day. This could be considered the peak season in destinations like the Pacific Northwest, Maine and other desirable summer states, and you’ll need to apply early. 

Think 4-8 months ahead and leave plenty of time to get your current position closed up, account for travel delays, and hopefully some fun stops along the way!

camp hosting jobs
Camp Hosts are needed at state, national and private campgrounds.

9 Tips for Getting Camp Hosting Jobs

  1. Do your research: Always make sure you take the time to do your research. This means searching the web for everything you can find on the camp hosting program you’re interested in and reading it thoroughly. 
  2. Apply early: One you’ve made your decision and have a few destinations in mind, it’s time to apply. And while it’s best to give plenty of lead time, there will always be a chance you snag a great camp host job at the last minute, so it never hurts to send a resume of application. In general, you’ll want to give yourself 4-8 months to get your application turned in, line up 1-2 phone or video interviews, possibly complete a background check, and then make plans to travel. 
  3. Ask plenty of questions: Once you apply and have an interview lined up- it’s best to make some notes on things you’d like to ask. This should include pay/benefits, what the site amenities include, where the site is located in the park and in relation to the other campers, what your daily duties will be, if you’ll be on-call overnight, and what the area is like. Make sure to ask about phone and internet services, the closest grocery store, gas station, hospital attractions!
  4. Be flexible: Flexibility is about compromise. You might not get everything you hoped for, but maybe you can still make it work because they’re able to offer additional benefits or lessen the required hours. Being flexible in camp hosting is a great character trait, that many campground managers will appreciate!
  5. Set realistic expectations: Make sure your expectations are in check for the job you’re signing up for. This isn’t a glamourous position, it’s camp hosting and it’s not always fun or pretty. You’ll be cleaning, working outside, taking out trash, and interacting with the public. You job is to make sure the campers have a great stay in a park that’s up to par. 
  6. Get it in writing: Don’t move in an inch until you have the details in print! Make sure everything you’ve discuss is listed in an emailed contract or word document that both you and the campground manager have signed. It’s only right! And it’s smart to protect yourself. Lining up a job 4-8 months in advance leaves lots of time for details to become blurry and if you don’t have the papers to back up what you’ve originally agreed to, you might catch yourself in an awkward position. 
  7. Stay positive and be friendly: You are the face of the campground and you’ll need to make sure you keep a positive attitude and a friendly disposition. Campers should feel comfortable coming to you with their questions and concerns. Customer service plays a big role in camp hosting, and you’ll want to make sure you’re delivering the best experience possible!
  8. Enjoy the time you have: Don’t forget about enjoying yourself. Just because you’re working doesn’t mean you can have fun both inside the park and out. You should make time to take day trips, explore the surrounding area and to utilize the amenities that are included in your stay! 
  9. Get references: Don’t forget to get a reference or two from each camp hosting job! They’ll be very valuable down the road when trying to line up your next gig, and can help you build up a workamping portfolio to grab paid positions in the future!
paid and volunteer camp hosting jobs
Camp Hosts can be both paid and volunteer positions.

Where to Find Camp Hosting Jobs?

When you are RVing, you might already have your eyes set on exploring many different state parks. Why not work at the actual state park for a few hours a day to save some money?

So before we wrap up this host on camp hosting, we’d like to offer a few resources you to help you find information on camp hosting jobs that are currently available!

Apply for Camp Hosting Jobs:

Camp Hosting Job With The National Park Service – The National Park Service has a volunteer program called “Volunteers-In-Parks.” There is a huge variety of opportunities through this database. There are opportunities from all over the United States, including pacific and Caribbean locations. There are general volunteer programs and ones that require certain specifications. Visit their website

https://www.nps.gov/getinvolved/volunteer.htm

In recent years, the following state databases had the best volunteer programs in regards to hours, opportunity, perks, and longevity. These databases include all parks, national and state. 

Camp Hosting Jobs in California– California has 280 state parks with over 100 that you can look to for volunteer programs. The environment and climate in California make this a great state to camp at. In this state, the most common volunteer duties are working the visitor center, staffing visitor centers, and general cleaning and maintenance. The average amount of hours worked by the camp hosts is 20 hours. California requires an application to be sent to the specific camp you want to volunteer at. Visit their website for the application and specific parks and volunteer opportunities.

Camp Hosting at California State Parks

Camp Hosting Jobs in Idaho 

Volunteers have been helping to bring the Idaho State Park Host Program closer to its mission of providing quality recreation opportunities to guests for about 50 years. Each volunteer, regardless of their position, plays a critical part in allowing the program to meet its goals on day to day operations as well as specialized programs. In most cases, the volunteer hosts live and work onsite in recreational vehicles, although sometimes additional accommodations can be made. Learn more about these opportunities!!

Camp Hosting Jobs in Idaho State Parks

Camp Hosting Jobs in Georgia– Camp hosting is the most popular volunteer service in Georgia’s state parks. Georgia has a system that requires you to register as a volunteer with the state of Georgia, in order to be insured and cleared by a criminal background check. This in turn makes the application process for different campsites easy. Georgia’s programs offers a free campsite with utilities in return for at least 24 hours a week. They have a minimum stay of 2 months and a maximum of 6 months. Georgia’s hosts are a vital part of their state parks.

http://www.gastateparks.org/Volunteer

Camp Hosting Jobs in Maryland– Maryland has a great volunteer program, and probably one of the most diverse. You can find a little of everything in Maryland state parks when it comes to camp hosting. Many parks offer different hours, different time stays, different bonuses. But in Maryland, the most common duties as a camp host are greeting hosts, cleaning and maintenance, and customer service. They also have many jobs for certain skills like electricians, plumbers, receptionist, and computers. 

http://dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/pages/volcamphost.aspx

Camp Hosting Jobs in Michigan– Michigan looks for real campers for their camp hosting programs. They screen applicants based on knowledge, experience, special skills, and availability. Michigan is perfect for full time RVers who are taking a long leg in the state. In Michigan, hosts are required to work 30 hours per week, 5 days a week. Job duties include answering camp questions, planning events and activities, and general cleaning and maintenance. This camp require a paper application and liability waiver to be mailed to the specific camp you would like to volunteer at. Visit their website for the application and a list of Michigan’s state parks with hosting opportunities.

http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10365-27524–,00.html

Camp Hosting Jobs in Texas– Texas has a huge need for camping hosts. They have many state parks and an huge wildlife presence in almost all of them. Hosts’ duties include customer service, administrative duties, fee collections, litter collection, activity planning, and cleaning and light maintenance. In Texas, your reward for volunteering is a free campsite with electric and water, but also includes park training for free. Texas has an online application specific to the park and opportunity you are interested in. Visit their website for a list of all the hosting opportunities in Texas. 

https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/help-parks/park-host

Camp Hosting Jobs in Washington– In Washington, camp hosts are required year-round. Duties include greeting visitors, lawn maintenance, litter pick up, event planning, and general cleaning. Washington parks have a stay length of between 1 and 3 months. Washington state parks put their hosts at the entrance of the park to show how many people volunteer to be a part of the park. There is a applicant process that requires a federal background check and a finger print verification. Please visit their website to learn how you can be a volunteer.

https://parks.state.wa.us/275/Hosting

What’s Next

If you enjoyed this post about camp hosting, you’ll love my book! Check out out Live Camp Work: A Beginner’s Guide To Workamping and learn all about how to get started workamping and employers you can work for!