How to open a campsite

Update: January 2, 2024

By: Tom Macken

How to open a campsite

The campsite industry has established itself as a thriving market, surpassing a valuation of $22 billion. The escalating demand for outdoor recreation and sustainable tourism contributes to its profitability. Discover comprehensive information on initiating your campsite business in the guide provided below.


What is a campsite business?
8 tips for opening a campsite business
Training needed to open a campsite business?
Regulations for opening a campsite business

What is a campsite business?

A campsite business is an outdoor hospitality venture that provides camping facilities for individuals or groups seeking temporary accommodation. Facilities typically include designated areas for tent pitching, RV parking, and options for renting cabins or yurts.

Sites can be found in various locations, including public parks, forests, or privately-owned properties, and offer an array of amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, and occasionally swimming pools and recreational activities.

Revenue for campsite businesses primarily derives from fees charged to campers for nightly or weekly stays. Additional sources of income include the sale of firewood, ice, and other camping supplies whilst some campsite businesses may also provide rental services for camping gear or bicycles, as well as organize guided tours or outdoor educational programs.

8 tips for starting a campsite business

1. Form your Legal Business

When setting up a campsite business, you’ll need to think about what business structure will work best, including registering your company with the appropriate authorities, both locally and nationally. 

Many would-be company owners struggle to make sense of the differences among an LLC, a sole proprietorship, a partnership, and other business structures, much alone settling on one. 

A company incorporation service can help you determine the best business structure for your  campsite based on factors like the level of liability protection you require, the laws of the state in which your company will operate, tax filings requirements and the type of license you will need to legally sell your service and products. 

In the case of campsite businesses, we advise you to choose one of these legal forms:

  • An LLC might have a single owner or several owners.
  • A corporation

In the U.S, limited liability companies (LLCs) are favored over sole proprietorships because their owners are shielded from personal liability for corporate debts and obligations.

Naming your campsite business

The process of naming your campsite enterprise may be a lot of fun. Create a list of terms that best describe your company’s values and goals. Then, put those words to use in creating new, meaningful two-word and three-word combinations. 

Try mixing and matching words that signify the same thing to hear what you come up with. Last but not least, check online to see whether the company name you want to use has already been taken.

2. Setup your Business Bank Account 

Depending on your needs and the amount of money you want to deposit, there are different kinds of business accounts you can set up for your campsite business including:

  • Checking Accounts: The most typical form of business bank account. Opening a company checking account is simple and provides a number of advantages. Having a bank account means you may quickly and simply add or remove funds as your needs change. You may use your checking account to pay bills and vendors by writing checks.
  • Savings account: With the return you may receive on your savings, it’s a terrific way to build up a rainy-day fund for your campsite company. Savings accounts, on the other hand, may have withdrawal restrictions and provide lower interest rates than checking accounts.

Before deciding on a bank account, it’s a good idea to do a comparison of different business banks for features and fees, including FinTech banks with very competitive benefits of no monthly fees, no minimum balances and an unlimited number of transactions compared to traditional high street bank offerings. 

3. Organize Your Accounting, Taxes & Credit Card reader

Accounting & Taxes

Setting up a reliable accounting system will allow campsite business owners to keep tabs on all kinds of financial transactions from sales (income & invoicing), purchases (expenditure), liabilities (bank loan funding) to taxes due to the IRS or similar. 

The books for your campsite business can be organized in a few ways:

If you choose to handle things on your own, pick a system that is intuitive and simple to use. When your accounting system is ready, you can begin recording your earnings and spending. If you want to save money, you can now see exactly where it’s being spent meaning future budgeting is simplified as a result.

campsite business owners should be careful to maintain a consistent schedule of accounting maintenance. This calls for putting time in your calendar on a regular basis to check your books and make any necessary changes. While this may appear to be a lot of extra effort, it will ultimately save you time and energy.

Credit card readers

Campsites will of course need to take payment for the services and products they provide. Having access to a low-cost POS card machine is essential to ensure your business can take payment from your customers in a quick and easy manner. 

A card reader such as the Payanywhere Smart Terminal offers a simple pricing model, next day funds in your bank account, integrates with your Quickbooks accounting software and can also provide valuable data insights into sales trends, inventory management and customer behavior.

4. Launch your campsite website & social media

A stunning site for your fresh campsite company can be created very easily via:

  • DIY building the business website yourself using a Page Builder or
  • Hiring a qualified web designer to build effective landing pages that can drive new leads for your business using high-quality photos, videos, and other visual components that are in keeping with your brand’s aesthetic.

Having a slick, mobile-optimized website has numerous benefits for any business including: 

  • Attracting new customers 24/7, showcasing your services and products at any time 
  • Credibility, making it easier to attract and retain customers 
  • Online presence for Google searches actively looking for campsite services in your area
  • Customer engagement by helping to engage with customers regarding business info, photos, videos, feedback forms as well as contact forms
  • Branding A website can help businesses establish and reinforce their brand identity, by incorporating their logo, color scheme, and other branding elements into the design.

Marketing & Social Media

Social media including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Twitter are powerful tools for a campsite business as they can increase your business visibility, ability to engage with customers, establish and reinforce brand identity, and gather valuable data insights to improve marketing strategies.

Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook alone have billions of active users, providing a  campsite business with an opportunity to increase its visibility and reach a wider audience.

Direct Marketing can also be used in the form of Facebook and Google online ads on these platforms to market services and products to potential customers. campsite businesses can use targeted ads to reach specific demographics and interests and use the campaign data to make informed decisions about your next marketing campaigns to drive more sales.

5. Create a Brand Identity for your campsite

To differentiate your company from your competitors, you’ll need to take some time to prepare and concentrate on how you want your consumers to feel & develop a unique personality for your campsite business. From the logo’s design to the brand’s color scheme, there is a lot to think about. 

A unique and memorable logo for your business can be professionally created by a talented Graphic Designer from a Logo Design service. 

Hiring a logo design service can save a business time and money by eliminating the need to spend hours researching and creating a logo and a high-quality logo can be designed quickly and efficiently.

The steps to think about include: 

  • 1). Establish the vision and values that guide your campsite company. What are you hoping to accomplish with your company? When people consider your campsite brand, what do you want them to feel? 
  • 2). Go with a color palette that conveys who you are as a business. Colors say a lot regarding a product or service. If you’re stuck for inspiration, research competing products in your field to discover what colors they’re using.
  • 3). Create a distinctive logo for your campsite line. This is the first thing that customers will associate with your brand, therefore it has to be striking. Get in touch with an expert designer to develop a logo that captures the essence of your company while also looking great.
  • 4). Make sure your branding is the same across all platforms. This should include your website banners to your business cards, your logo and color palette are always consistent with your brand. As a result, your brand’s identity will be strengthened and your company’s name recognition will increase.

Making a name for your campsite company is unlikely to be as difficult as you would think. Creating a brand that sticks with consumers requires zeroing down on the company’s raison d’etre and core principles. A distinct identity for your campsite business may be developed with some forethought and imagination. 

6. Develop a Business Plan for your campsite

A well-developed business plan is a crucial tool for any entrepreneur looking to start a successful business. The plan should include your campsite company’s mission and vision, target audience, product offerings, marketing and sales strategies, and financial projections. 

The business plan should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that the business is on track to meet its goals.

A business strategy should cover the following:

  • Market Analysis: An in-depth look at how the market for bricklayers is doing now and how it could grow.
  • Business Summary: A description of your new campsite business, including its purpose, goods or services, and target market.
  • Business Strategy: A thorough plan that explains how the business is going to reach its goals.
  • Financial Strategy: How much money you expect to make, spend, and need for cash.
  • Marketing Plan: How the business will sell itself and what strategies and methods will be used.
  • Operations: This is an account of the business’s working methods and practices.

7. Get Financing for your campsite business

For your campsite business, you can use personal savings or decide to use financing solutions for your new venture and you’ll have different options to consider which may work best: A bank loan, crowdfunding, investors or something different. 

A clear, detailed, and comprehensive business and financial strategy is usually expected by banks or other partners from whom you seek for funding. To launch a firm, you could require funding from a bank, credit union, or the Small firm Administration (SBA). 

In general, it is difficult to provide an average figure for the amount of money required to start a campsite business. However, according to some industry estimates, starting a small independent campsite could require an initial investment of between $10,000 to $50,000. 

The costs may include purchasing or leasing land, constructing campsite facilities, such as roads, parking, campsite pads, water, sewage and electrical systems, bathhouses, and recreation areas. Additionally, equipment and supplies like tents, sleeping bags, camping chairs, grills, and campfire pits may need to be purchased or rented.

It’s important to note that ongoing operational costs such as maintenance, staffing, utilities, and marketing will also need to be factored into the overall investment required to start and run a successful campsite business.

8. Business setup essentials

There are a number of different considerations which campsite businesses should keep in mind when setting up including: 

Location and land acquisition

Choosing the right location and acquiring land are pivotal considerations when establishing a campsite business. It is advisable to select a location that is easily accessible and in close proximity to popular tourist destinations, ensuring it attracts campers. Additionally, prioritizing safety and security is essential, along with ample space for camping sites, parking, and recreational activities.

Acquiring land for the campsite necessitates verifying that it possesses the necessary zoning and permits for a campground. This includes obtaining environmental, health, and safety permits. Conducting thorough research and adhering to all local and state regulations regarding land use and camping facilities is crucial.

The site should provide adequate facilities, such as restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities, as well as power and water supplies to accommodate campers. It should also offer sufficient space for recreational activities, such as hiking trails, fishing, and swimming.

When considering land acquisition, it is imperative to factor in the costs associated with land, development, and maintenance. Furthermore, assessing the potential revenue generated from the campsite business is essential to ensure a profitable investment.

Permits and licenses

The initiation of a campsite business necessitates acquiring various permits and licenses. The specific permits and licenses required may vary based on the campsite’s location, local regulations, and the services provided.

Here are some commonly required permits and licenses for commencing a campsite:

  1. Business License: Obtaining a business license from the local government agency is mandatory to operate the campsite within the jurisdiction legally.
  2. Land Use Permit: A land use permit is essential when using land for commercial purposes. This permit ensures compliance with zoning regulations and environmental laws.
  3. Health Permits: Health permits are necessary to maintain cleanliness and safety at the campsite. These permits ensure adherence to food handling and sanitation guidelines.
  4. Building Permits: Building permits are necessary for new constructions, modifications, or renovations of structures like restrooms, shower facilities, cabins, and other relevant buildings.
  5. Environmental Permits: Environmental permits cover waste disposal and the management of natural resources. This includes permits for wastewater treatment, garbage disposal, and water usage.
  6. Fire Safety Permits: Fire safety permits guarantee compliance with fire safety regulations. They encompass fire suppression systems, fire extinguishers, and smoke detectors.

It is crucial to consult local and state authorities to ascertain the specific permits and licenses required for launching a campsite business. Failing to obtain the necessary permits and licenses may result in fines, penalties, and legal complications.

Campsite design and layout

Design and layout play a pivotal role in establishing a thriving campsite business. Meticulous planning is necessary to optimize the available space and create a comfortable and safe environment for guests.

Campsites should incorporate well-defined areas for tents or RVs, accompanied by clearly designated paths for vehicles and pedestrians. The site should also include appropriate amenities such as picnic tables, fire rings, waste disposal stations, water, electricity, and sewage hookups. The design and layout should be visually appealing and complement the surrounding environment.

Campground equipment and amenities

To ensure a successful campsite business, offering a variety of equipment and amenities that enhance the camping experience for guests is crucial.

  • Camping gear rental: Since not all guests may possess their own camping equipment, providing rental options for items like tents, sleeping bags, and camping chairs can be a valuable service.
  • Campfire pits and grills: Designating fire pits or grills at each campsite allows campers to cook over an open flame, enhancing their experience.
  • Picnic tables and benches: These amenities provide campers with areas to dine and socialize.
  • Restrooms and showers: Maintaining clean and well-maintained restrooms and showers is essential to ensure guest comfort.
  • Trash and recycling bins: Ample trash and recycling receptacles contribute to a clean and environmentally friendly campsite.
  • Playground and recreational equipment: Offering a playground, hiking trails, or other recreational equipment can provide entertainment for families with children.
  • Electricity and water hookups: Providing electricity and water hookups at each campsite can enhance the convenience of camping for guests with RVs or trailers.
  • WiFi: In today’s interconnected world, offering Wi-Fi access can be a desirable amenity for certain guests.

Marketing and advertising plan

Developing a robust marketing and advertising plan is essential for the success of a campsite business. The following elements are crucial to include in your plan:

  • Website: Creating a user-friendly website that highlights the campsite’s amenities, activities, location, and pricing is key. Optimizing the website for mobile viewing and incorporating a booking feature is also important.
  • Social media: Establishing profiles on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allows for regular engagement with potential customers. Utilizing targeted ads can effectively reach the desired audience.
  • Review sites: Encouraging satisfied campers to leave positive reviews on popular platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google Reviews helps build credibility.
  • Local directories: Listing the campsite in local directories, including tourism boards, travel guides, and maps, aids in reaching a wider audience.
  • Events: Hosting events that showcase the campsite and its amenities, such as open houses, guided tours, and family-friendly activities, can attract potential customers.
  • Partnerships: Collaborating with local businesses and organizations to offer package deals and cross-promote services is mutually beneficial.
  • Promotions: Offering promotions and discounts, such as special rates for off-season bookings or longer stays, can incentivize new customers and retain existing ones.

By implementing a comprehensive marketing and advertising plan, the campsite’s visibility can be increased, attracting more customers.

Online booking and reservation system

An online booking and reservation system is a vital component of running a campsite business, as it simplifies the booking process for customers and minimizes the risk of double bookings. Selecting a suitable software platform that integrates with the website and provides necessary features for managing bookings and reservations is paramount. This may include availability viewing, specific site or cabin selection, and secure payment processing.

User experience is a crucial aspect of the online booking system. It should be easy to navigate, provide clear information on available campsites, rates, and amenities, and include photos and descriptions of each site or cabin to assist customers in making informed decisions.

Alongside the technical aspects, establishing clear policies regarding cancellations, refunds, and booking changes is essential. These policies should be communicated clearly to customers during the booking process and included in confirmation emails or receipts.

Customer service plan and staff training

Delivering exceptional customer service is vital for any successful business, including campsite operations. Campers expect a welcoming and accommodating atmosphere, and a well-trained staff can significantly enhance their experience.

A customer service plan should outline guidelines for staff interactions with guests, including greetings upon arrival and providing assistance as needed. Additionally, a system for addressing customer complaints or issues promptly and professionally should be established.

Staff training should cover topics such as campground policies, emergency procedures, and conflict resolution. They should be knowledgeable about on-site amenities and activities, capable of answering questions, and able to provide recommendations to campers. Training staff on proper hygiene and cleanliness practices to maintain a safe and healthy environment is also crucial.

Regular training sessions and ongoing communication with staff ensure they are equipped to handle any situation that arises, fostering positive camper experiences. A well-trained and friendly staff contributes to a positive campground reputation, encouraging repeat visits from satisfied guests.

Safety and emergency preparedness plan

Implementing a safety and emergency preparedness plan is paramount for a campsite business. The plan should include procedures for responding to emergencies such as severe weather, medical incidents, fires, and unexpected events.

The plan should also outline evacuation protocols for campers and staff if necessary and provide clear instructions for communication with local emergency services.

Staff members should receive comprehensive training on safety and emergency procedures, ensuring familiarity with the location of emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers and first aid kits. Regular safety inspections should be conducted to ensure compliance with regulations and maintain all equipment in good working condition.

Furthermore, the plan should incorporate measures to prevent accidents and injuries. This may involve adequate lighting in walkways and common areas, regular maintenance of equipment and facilities, and enforcement of rules and regulations related to amenities like swimming pools and playgrounds.

Training needed to open a campsite business?

Starting a campsite business necessitates specific knowledge and skills, which do not necessarily require formal training or education. However, possessing experience in camping or outdoor activities, as well as understanding hospitality management and customer service, can be advantageous. Additionally, obtaining certifications in outdoor recreation, first aid, and emergency response can provide a competitive edge and enhance credibility within the industry.

Familiarity with the regulations and laws pertaining to campsites, including land use, zoning, sanitation, and safety requirements, is crucial. Attending workshops, seminars, or conferences related to the camping and hospitality industry can offer valuable insights into these regulations and best practices.

Moreover, having knowledge in marketing, business administration, and financial management is essential for the success of your campsite business. These skills can be acquired through courses, books, or online resources. Seeking guidance from a business mentor or advisor with experience in the camping industry is also recommended to provide valuable support throughout your startup journey.

Regulations for opening a campsite business?

Regulations governing the establishment of a campsite business differ based on the country, state, or province. Generally, campsite businesses must adhere to a variety of local and state regulations aimed at ensuring camper safety and comfort.

To begin, it is necessary to acquire the relevant permits and licenses from the local government. These may encompass permits for land use, zoning, and construction of structures. If you intend to offer food or beverage services, you may also require a health permit.

Compliance with fire and safety codes is essential to safeguard campers. This entails providing fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and adhering to electrical and gas connection standards. Adequate waste management facilities, including trash and recycling bins, must be provided, and sewage disposal permits may be necessary.

Moreover, environmental regulations often apply to campsites. It is imperative to avoid harming the surrounding ecosystem and potentially obtain permits to safeguard vulnerable areas such as wetlands or wildlife habitats.


Is owning a campground profitable?

Operating a campground can be a lucrative venture, with campsites generally yielding a profit margin ranging from 10% to 30%. The specific percentage of profit depends on several variables, including the campground’s location, available amenities, and the extent of services provided.

How do you set up a campsite?

Creating a campsite involves several essential steps: identifying an appropriate site, acquiring the required permits and licenses, procuring equipment and supplies either through purchase or rental, designing and organizing the layout of the campground, and developing an effective marketing strategy.

What makes a campground successful?

A thriving campground usually boasts a favorable location, appealing amenities, well-kept facilities, amiable and supportive personnel, efficient marketing approaches, and a commendable reputation among its visitors.

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