RV retirement communities are booming, and they’re not full of shuffling older adults as you imagine.
Current RV retirement communities cater to adults 55 and over, with the average age of guests getting younger each year as interest in RVing grows.
Retirement RV parks are different from your average campground. They are an ideal solution for long-term or seasonal RVers looking for plenty of activities and community with like-minded adults.
To help you wade through the different types of RV communities out there for retirees, stick around and check out the information below!
What Is an RV Retirement Community?
An RV retirement community is a place with strict rules regarding who can rent or own a lot, with the most prevalent being you need to be 55 years of age or older for consideration.
Most RV retirement communities aren’t guarding the gate, forbidding entrance to those younger. But, there are governmental guidelines guests and owners must adhere to for the community to maintain legal status.
Many RV retirement communities have a mix of guests who drive their motorhome, fifth-wheel, or travel trailer to the location and park it for months on end or leave it there permanently.
Often, guests who want the most comfortable RV living in retirement switch their standard camper for a park model and leave it on-site at all times.
A park model RV is the most spacious type of camper and looks more like a small home. A park model’s bonus is travel can be less stressful by flying or driving to the community instead of worrying about hauling a recreational vehicle, which becomes more difficult as you age.
Another key element of an RV retirement community is the location, with the most popular being in tourist hubs with pleasant weather all year, such as the southwest, Gulf Coast, and Florida.
There’s plenty of communities all over the US if a more remote and laid-back RV retirement is on your bucket list.
Golfing, swimming, biking, crafts, music, games, and other pursuits are another draw that appeals to the RV retirement crowd. Having on-site or nearby activities available every day increases the reason to choose one park over another.
Older adults who have the RV bug find that retiring to a community of fellow road travelers provides an instant connection with their neighbors, giving them many things in common.
Is Restricting RVers Based on Age Discriminatory?
The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development denotes an exemption for 55+ RV parks from the Housing for Older Persons (HOPA) rules designed to protect residents from discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or familial status.
The exemption states that, at minimum, 80 percent of units must have one occupant who is 55 years of age or older.
You may interpret that to mean that the other 20 percent of RV spots can hold people under 55, but this isn’t true.
Once RV retirement communities get this HOPA designation, they don’t want to lose it, along with any incentives they may receive from the federal or state government.
Parks can set their rules anywhere between 80-100 percent of their spots as 55+ only, and most like to keep things simple to avoid guests pulling the “well you let them have a spot, so now you must let my child or friend have one too.”
For example, they may allow a 52-year-old single or couple RVer if there’s space available, but not a 52-year old couple with children. They may choose not to let anyone under 55 in the park.
As a full-time RVer a few years under the 55 threshold, I’ve had no luck getting a reservation for even one night at any 55+ park in South Florida, and now I understand why.
Things to Consider Before Choosing an RV Retirement Community
Before you decide on a specific RV park for your retirement goals, you must first ask these questions:
What Is Your Budget?
RV retirement communities come in all shapes, sizes, and costs. If you want to live modestly or enjoy complete luxury, you can find a 55+ RV community to fit your style.
The key is knowing that the RV lot’s cost isn’t the only monthly expense, so you need to plan accordingly.
You can stay at a $700 a month RV park, like Texas Trails, or buy an RV lot and still need to pay monthly HOA-style dues.
For example, Escapees SKP Co-op retirement communities allow guests to purchase a lifetime lease on a campsite for as little as $12,000 in some of their outlying parks.
Guests must then pay a reasonable monthly fee for services like trash collection and road maintenance to avoid default.
A high-end RV retirement resort community that caters to Class A motorcoaches, such as the Desert Shores Luxury Motorcoach Resort in California, can run up to $500K for the site, with monthly dues running around $700. For the money, you get a villa on your lot, lush landscaping, tons of privacy, and access to all the entertainment you desire.
You may need to pay property taxes on some RV lots depending on the purchasing agreement and state, adding even more to your monthly budget requirements.
You’ll also need to remember to add these costs to your monthly campsite budget:
- Food and Medications
- Gas and maintenance for car (and RV)
- Auto, health, life, and RV insurance
All RV parks for long-term snowbird vacations will meter your electrical or gas use and charge you separately for that amount.
Some also add on charges for internet, water, and trash collection if the park provides the service, while others require you to set up and pay for cable and internet directly with the company of your choice.
The point is that you can find an RV retirement community that will fit a $1000-a-month budget or find one that the sky’s the limit.
Knowing all the extras you’ll need to pay for when picking an RV retirement campsite will help you stay within your budget.
You’ll want to relax in your retirement, not stress over money!
What Is Your Retirement Vibe?
What do you envision during your retirement years?
Do you plan to use the RV retirement community as a permanent home base or check out new locations every year or two?
Do you prefer solitude over socializing?
Neighbors inviting you to daily happy hour may get on your nerves, or it could be just up your alley.
Think long and hard on this, as some RV retirement communities can be a blast, while others bore you out of your mind.
Some parks have very easy RV access in and out of campsites. Other parks pack in so many park models or plant so much foliage that moving your camper is challenging and stressful.
In general, most pay-by-the-month retirement RV parks will have a more standard campground feel and easy to maneuver campsites as the guests, in general, are more transient.
These parks usually either offer fewer amenities or add an upcharge for certain activities.
Other RV parks want you to purchase your RV site and pay a monthly or yearly fee for upkeep and may offer free activities as part of your dues.
Some Escapees SKP Co-op RV parks are bare-bones with only a clubhouse, while others offer a pool, pickleball, clubs, or other fun.
Always check potential retirement RV community websites for an events or activities calendar to get a feel for how much guest participation is normal.
If there are daily activities or lots of clubs, you can be sure the park is hopping, while a single monthly potluck and bingo session tells its own tale.
Do You Plan to Have Family or Friends Visit Often?
Maintaining regular visits with family or friends when you move to a retirement community for RVers can create issues.
Never bypass getting the specific rules on visitation before committing to any park. You don’t want to find yourself telling one of the kids they can’t see you this year because three of your other kids already used up your available days.
You’ll rarely encounter issues having under-55 family members visiting you due to their age, but most age-restricted communities do set a time limit on lengths of stay for the younger crowd.
Some retirement parks may keep visitations to two weeks, while others allow 30-90 days per year.
Surprisingly, most RV retirement parks enjoy kids in moderation and offer playgrounds or separate pools for family time fun.
Adults-only parks want to avoid the constant distractions of children playing, yelling, splashing at the pool, riding bikes on the roads, or even teenagers speeding through in their cars.
In most instances, any kids under 19 will require adult supervision at community buildings, pools, or sports areas to avoid any mishaps.
If you’re all about family, you’ll need to find a retirement RV park with lax visitation rules.
Are There Medical Facilities Nearby That Mesh With Your Needs?
Many RV retirement communities aren’t necessarily near medical facilities that will take your insurance or have specialists that deal with your particular health needs.
Even those on Medicare may find problems getting affordable care in some regions.
The Hartford insurance company points out that retirees on Medicare Parts A and B can receive medical and hospital care for a major illness anywhere. If you have Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C), you may only get coverage for emergency or urgent care since your plan may state that you can’t see providers outside your network.
It’ll take time to weed through your insurance coverage and then pair it with an RV retirement park that has doctors or hospitals close enough for your comfort that accept your policy.
Unfortunately, the topic of insurance or medical needs doesn’t get the attention it needs before you hit the road.
Often, guests at retirement-age RV parks who didn’t pre-plan end up driving hours to reach their required facilities. Don’t let this be you.
Best RV Retirement Communities
If you’re ready to look deeper into specific RV retirement communities, check out these highly-rated parks that might be a perfect match to your RVing style.
Caliente Springs RV Resort is an oasis located in Desert Hot Springs, California, that will keep you active while enjoying the dry heat and proximity to Palm Springs.
The sites have large patios and can fit big-rigs with ease, and all enjoy views of the San Jacinto Mountains. Enjoy hot mineral pools, spas, tennis and pickleball courts, a
library, and a chapel on site.
Weather: Annual daytime averages 69°-108°F
Monthly rates: $870-$1,375
- Pool aerobics and games
- Bocce Ball
- Creative Clubs and Classes
- Local golf and hiking
About Our RV Spaces at Caliente Springs Resort (Video)
This vast, resort-style RV park in Surprise, Arizona, packs in the activities and is ideal for retirees who desire a healthy lifestyle.
You can purchase a park model site that fills most of this park, but RV sites are available with full hookups. The park boasts a salon and spa, pool, tiki bar, fitness center, internet cafe, dog park, music room, and so much more.
Weather: Annual daytime averages 66°-107°F
Monthly rates: $5810-$1200
- Bocce ball & Horseshoes
- Classes of all kinds
- Ping Pong
- Dance classes
- Massage Therapy
- Water exercise and games
Sunny Acres is in Los Cruces, New Mexico and guests appreciate this quiet, affordable, well-kept, and friendly park that welcomes visits from the grandkids.
The sites are wide and open (some come with a carport), for easy access even large Class A motorhomes or fifth wheels can handle. There’s no pool but a decent community room for gatherings of residents.
Weather: Annual daytime averages 57°-97°F
Monthly rates: $525-$575
- Movie Nights
- Coffee & Donuts
- Farmer’s Market
RV Living | Review of Sunny Acres RV Park (Video)
If retirement in Florida is on your list, Water’s Edge in Punta Gorda becomes more affordable the longer you stay. The 12-month rate is around half the cost of a monthly rate, which puts more money in your pocket for fun.
The resident-owned park offers a pool, jacuzzi, a 20-acre lake, rec hall, and proximity to the Gulf beaches and golf courses. The sites are pretty standard in size, with a large selection that rings the lake for beautiful water views.
Weather: Annual daytime averages 76°-92°F
Monthly rates: $620-$1180
Activities: (Nov-Mar) with special activities all year
- Water Aerobics
- Line Dancing
- Bible Study
Lakewood RV Resort is located in gorgeous Flat Rock, North Carolina amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers quiet, shady RV campsites, park models, and apartments to their 55+ guests.
The large RV sites (many are pull-through) include a concrete patio, picnic table, and Wi-Fi. It’s the clubhouse, heated swimming pool, fully-equipped gym, dining hall, catch and release fishing pond, and tons of local attractions that keep residents here happy and active.
Weather: Sunny/ 48°-84°F Annual daytime averages
Monthly rates: Must call for monthly rates/weekly rates are $295-$325
- Dancing and Live Bands
- Dining events
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Retirement doesn’t mean it’s time to give up your RV lifestyle but maybe instead decide to expand your horizons by choosing from any of the hundreds of RV retirement communities all over the US.
I hope the information above helps clarify what to expect at an RV retirement community and helps you plan your future RVing life.
With more and more RV parks catering to the 55+ crowd, you’ll have no problem finding the ideal location to set down retirement roots for a single season or for years to come!
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide