Park Your Tiny House In Extended Stay

by andrewodom on January 9, 2013 · 22 comments


rv-1-lgSounds inviting, yes? Being allowed to take your beautiful tiny house to a well-manicured, utilities included, pavement padded, spot in a community friendly RV park. Well, before you start packing you might want to become a bit more familiar with what these extended stay RV parks truly allow. I found out first hand this weekend as we were traveling from Georgia to North Carolina with our tiny in tow.

We chose to split our travels into two days stopping in Lexington, NC overnight to rest and to give highway traffic a break. It was well worth it! When we pulled in about 11am on Saturday the associate behind the desk first complimented our rig, asked quite a few questions about how we built it, and then added that we would not be able to stay long term in their park should we want to. I quickly asked, “Why?” The answer I got was, “I’m not sure.” So I decided I need to know more. I asked about manufactured RVs, park models, DIY trailers, etc. I was told that in order to stay long term you had to have a manufactured RV, trailer, motor home, or bus. That was good enough for me at the time because I was tired and was ready to just get to our site and set up.

I woke up the next day vowing to find out more. So I put together a list of some rather large RV parks situated across the United States to ask the same questions about the same topic: can my tiny house stay long term in your park!

Barnyard RV Park
Lexington, NC

The only rule for extended stay is that the unit must be manufactured, have a valid VIN number, be registered in a state, and be self-contained. There is no formal inspection but by signing your contract you grant permission for an inspection to take place under suspicion.

Destin West RV Resort
Fort Walton Beach, FL

A member of the Good Same chain, Destin West RV Resort is situated on the beach, offers long-term stays, and even includes Ramada Inn amenities (pool, spa, workout facility, washers/dryers, etc) to guests. However, their personal park rule is that they prohibit long term stays for pop-up campers, tents, park models, or home made RVs. They also don’t allow campers built prior to 1989 for aesthetic reasons. To be considered for extended stay a unit must be manufactured, have a valid VIN number, be registered in a state, and be self-contained.

Maple Grove RV Resort
(just North of Seattle, WA)

While they would fully consider a tiny home or a smaller park model they do maintain a certain standard of appearance wherein Maple Grove RV Resort has a limitation on vehicle age for extended stay guests. Without prior management approval, RV vehicles manufactured before 1989 are not permitted on an extended stay basis. (NOTE: Not sure what is so magical about 1989 although I think it has to do with that year being the first to offer commodes/showers in pop-up campers)

River Road RV Park & Horsecamp
Chapel Hill, NC

While they have no real rules for extended stay they do close their bath houses and restroom facilities from December to March which means that an extended stay camper would need to have its own facility. And this is where it all started making sense!

The Shoreline RV Park and Campground
Crescent City, CA

And here is where the answer came to light.

Shoreline is a city owned and operated RV park situated about 20 miles south of the Oregon state line. They welcome extended stay campers but have both private rules and state mandated rules. By state law (California) no RV may be inhabited more than 190 days in succession or may remained parked in any one spot other than private or residential. The reasoning? Well, that is a bit more shady. It then falls into disaster relief and emergency responder protocol. For an RV to be considered for extended stay the unite must be 100% self-contained. It must have a minimum of a 150-gallon water holding tank. It must have a grey water and black water system. It must have an emergency generator. And it must be full functional and approved by the states department of transit. The city figures that if an emergency were to take place and utilities were to be lost all persons should have some means of self-sufficiency. This extends into the RV world.

IN CONCLUSION 

I think it is safe to say that while tiny houses are not yet standard for extended stay RV resorts or communities they would be welcome provided the owner spoke with the campground owner or manager and provided a sort of proposal including photos, schematics, and insurance information.

  • mizacy

    Good to know! Thanks!

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      It was pretty interesting to me. I think a lot of the time we (tiny housers) fancy ourselves on the same level as park models but we aren’t even that in the American subconscious. I think more tiny house folks should make a point to stay at a campground for a few days/nights to expose folks to our homes. We entertained no less than 11 people’s questions and handed out a multitude of business cards.

  • Kristie Wolfe

    I had a hard time finding a spot initially, I called an RV/Mobile park that was close to downtown (where I wanted to be) and had to explain what my house was to several people over the phone and sending pictures to be approved. I drove down there the next day and it was a complete slum! Ha I couldn’t believe that they had any requirements & more so that the city hadn’t been shut down.

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      Oh man. That is priceless Kristie. You should have been vetting them instead them, you. AHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

  • Kevin Riedel

    Kristie- I had looked into RV parks near the city too and found that they were 1. in terrible condition, and 2. were $450+/month, which is more expensive than renting a nice room in my area! I have noticed that ones in more rural areas seem to be in better condition as well as cheaper though.

    Andrew- Another factor for a lot of states is the size of the unit. Manufactured housing is considered to be of a size acceptable for extended living, while RVs aren’t…I stayed in a pop-up camper at a rv campground for a month. When I asked if I could stay for a year, they said sure, they just have to turn off the bath house in the winter so that the health department doesn’t suspect there being people living there full time…like you said, talking with individual park owners is probably the best route.

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      Absolutely. Thank you for your experience comment Kevin.

  • Rowan

    I have a 5acre property in Washington State and I would welcome a tiny house to stay long term. So far I have housed a schoolbus for 6 years and a yurt for 2yrs.

  • premier208

    We have a gorgous 34 foot travel trailor which is generally on a seasonal site all year.($1800-2400 yr) It is self contained but only has a 40 gallon fresh water tank. Black and grey tanks seperate…so the
    The Shoreline RV Park and Campground
    Crescent City, CA
    requirements stumped me lol I am here to say…a tiny house is most likely made better since we did the work ourselves. People will tend to “over build” when we are making a tiny home. We want it to last. It takes a manufacturer 1 and 1/2 days to completely assemble a travel trailer…

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      What a happy bunch y’all are. Great photo! As I said in a few other responses I am hoping he said 50 gallon on the phone and I either misunderstood or took bad notes. I am going to chalk that up as editor error.

  • http://www.facebook.com/meghan.h.schultz Meghan Hamilton Schultz

    Were you in Lexington, SC? I think you were in my neck of the woods. I would have loved to see your tiny house!

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      I was. We weren’t sure that was where we were staying and to be honest we wouldn’t have been much company. We had been up since about 4am and were just plumb tired! We will pass back through with a tiny house again sometime. I am most assured.

  • mike fitz

    NUMBER 1 WHO HAS A 150 GAL.FRESH WATER HOLDING TANK,, MINE IS THE BIGGEST YOU CAN GET AND ITS 136GAL. IN A 38′ 5TH WHEEL TOY HAULER THOSE PEOPLE ARE NUTS…

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      As for the 150 gallon I am hoping he said 50 on the phone and I either misunderstood or took bad notes. I am going to chalk that up as editor error. Thank you for your clarification Mike.

  • Ned Bulken

    I used to travel for a living as a photographer. I lived several years out of hotels, and then wised up and bought a 5th wheel camper. While on the road, I quickly learned to be selective of the campgrounds I would frequent. I couldn’t afford, and generally didn’t need a Resort destination, but I tried to avoid ones where there were a lot of long term residents… with the look of a semi-permanent and run down trailer graveyard. With a TTT (tiny travel trailer) or a Tiny House, you have a superior structure vs most stick and staple RV’s, but you just don’t fit in with their view of the world.
    I suspect as well, that if you did show the management how well your house is constructed there wouldn’t be an issue, but would you Really want to stay there long term after getting that flack?

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      GREAT point Ned. GREAT POINT! Who would want such?

  • http://twitter.com/jo0oanne JoAnne Leonard

    The logic seems silly to a point. I’ve been through a lot of long term campgrounds that remind me more of a shanty town so there does have to be some guidelines but I don’t think they have the right guidelines. Besides the obvious to us at least that a homemade unit shouldn’t always be an issue (I’ve seen some scary ones) but prior to 1989, really? There are some incredible vintage units out there that would do wonders for their aesthetics! There are some 1990’s models maybe not so much. And who in the world has a 150 gallon holding tank?? There are more and more land owners (one posted below) that are offering up their land for rent that love tiny house people. Hopefully sooner than later parks will start to take a better look at what they will and will not allow in the near future because the tiny house movement doesn’t look like it’s planning on fading away anytime soon!

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      I agree with you JoAnne. I think the art of vintage is lost to many. However, I think the grounds are concerned that while the year may be vintage the folks may not have done the restoration work that I know you have in mind. The pre-1989 however is more about self-sufficiency within the unit. A number of pre-1989 units do not have proper water storage, generators, etc.

      As for the 150 gallon I am hoping he said 50 on the phone and I either misunderstood or took bad notes. I am going to chalk that up as editor error.

      And I don’t think there is an issue with private land owners allowing tiny house folks to rent. It is within the city or county ordinances that either do or do not allow certain spaces for habitation.

  • Tiny Houses Hankerings

    wow, if not being allowed to live within city limits wasn’t bad enough, you also have to contend with RV parks who don’t allow tiny houses. bummer

  • Stephanie

    I am considering leaving my apartment at the end of September. What should I do, then, if Tiny House admission is a real concern? I’m in Texas, and I was thinking about buying a travel trailer and stripping the inside down to the wooden frame and replacing it stick-by-stick by picking a starting point along the wall, taking the wall paneling off, replacing each stick somehow with sturdier wood and using something like tongue-and-groove wood for the walls and ceiling (I need to look at the construction method in order to determine how to replace the frame without taking it all down and building anew). All the outgassing stuff will be OUT OF THERE! The idea is replacing everything inside with no evidence of the work being done just from looking at it other than the occasional import of lumber and stuff and the export of RV stuff from it.

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      Then I personally think you will be golden. No one is going to inspect your rig.

    • Adam Smith

      RVs are put together from the outside in. There will not be an easy way to replace each “stick.” stripping the inside and doing bead board should be doable, but just be aware that even cabinets and interior walls are attached from the outside…

  • lisa

    new to your blog, but wish i’d known when you were in crescent city, california, would love to have stalked your abode! trying to convince a youngling that it’s doable is easier when you can say, “look, this is what it could look like!” shoreline can be a bit controversial when it comes to regulations. it’s actually owned and operated by the city of crescent city. i don’t live in a park, but i’m aware that because of how rural the area is, there are other parks where regulations are very different. shoreline is likely the most restrictive in the area only due to the owner/operator situation.

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