Anytime you camp at a campground there is usually a host on-site to answer any questions and provide assistance. You may have seen campground hosts and wondered about the people working in this role.
Being a campground host is a unique job and many people don’t know that much about it. If you thought it might be fun to be a campground host yourself, you may not even know where to start.
In this article, we will answer some of the common questions about being a campground host. Do they get paid? If so, how much? What are the benefits? What are the responsibilities?
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What is a campground host?
A campground host is someone who lives on-site at a campground for a certain duration of time and is responsible for that campground and for helping visitors. A campground host could be at a private campground or inside a state or national park.
These positions are great for retirees or adventurous people who love the outdoors and do not have a lot of commitments and responsibilities. This allows them to travel around and stay at a campsite for several weeks or even months at a time.
The time commitment varies depending on the location but you may be able to create a flexible schedule and work at multiple campgrounds every year. It is a flexible position and you can commit for a single season just to see if it is a job you enjoy.
Do campground hosts get paid?
Some campground host positions are not paid while others have some compensation. Often campground hosts are volunteers who love camping and being outside in nature.
If a campground host position is paid, the salary will usually be quite low at around $500-$800 per month. Most state and federal lands do not pay the campground hosts but private campgrounds may provide a monthly salary.
There is usually a minimum hour requirement that campground hosts must work each week to receive compensation.
Some campgrounds may be unable to compensate you for your time but, depending on the availability of funding, might reimburse you for some expenses. Some common expenses include fuel such as propane or any money spent to fulfill the uniform requirements.
What are the benefits?
One of the biggest benefits of being a campground host is receiving free campsite for the duration of your stay. You must bring your own lodging in the form of a tent, trailer, or motorhome though.
Most campground hosts will live in a trailer or motorhome and, in addition to a free campsite, are also provided utilities or hookups free of charge. However, the amenities vary depending on the location and all sites may not have full hookups.
As a campground host, you get to be a part of a team and work alongside park rangers or other management to provide services to the campers. You may also get to see how the campground or park works behind the scenes and have access to areas that would otherwise be off-limits.
You may be able to drive a golf cart or other utility vehicle as part of your job. You will also receive training on the rules and regulations of the campground, as well as processes and procedures that are part of your duties as a campground host.
If you love meeting new people, the social aspect of the job will be a huge benefit. You will meet people from all over the world and get to help them which can be a very satisfying experience.
Spending time together while camping usually means making a lot of new friends and there can also be locals or regular campers that get to know you throughout the season.
Depending on the location of the campground, you may be living in a very beautiful place and have incredible views of nature. Just steps from your home there could be lakes, mountains, and forests.
You may get to see wildlife up close and, on your days off, you can enjoy your surroundings by going hiking or participating in other outdoor recreational activities. Most hosts have relatively flexible schedules and may not have to work every day so there is often plenty of time to take advantage of the location and explore locally.
Campground hosts will usually receive a uniform that can include various pieces of clothing like a shirt, sweater, jacket, and hat. You may simply receive a name badge though and will be required to wear it when working in an official capacity.
What are the responsibilities?
The main responsibility of a campground host is to act as the face of the campground and ensure a positive experience for the campers. This usually means greeting guests, answering their questions, and assisting with the registration process.
The responsibilities of a campground host vary depending on the location and the campground. Some may be required to perform routine maintenance and housekeeping duties such as cleaning the bathrooms and campsites.
If the campsite has flushing toilets and showers, you may be responsible for cleaning these facilities. Stocking supplies in the bathroom such as soap, paper towels, and toilet paper may also be one of the responsibilities.
Around the campsite, you could have the task of making sure all sites are taken care of and clean. Duties can include picking up trash and litter, raking and grooming campsite pads, disposing of ashes, cleaning fire rings, grills, and picnic tables.
This can mean maintaining each site before a new camper occupies it and doing an inspection each time someone departs. Maintenance of the campground and outlying areas may include trimming or weeding, reporting damage, helping to do repairs, monitoring for garbage and downed trees or branches.
The hosts must be observant and keep an eye on things at all times. If something needs attention but it is outside their duties, they should report it to whoever is in charge so it can be taken care of promptly.
Other locations may ask the campground hosts to do other tasks around the campsite or park. This may include staffing the visitor center, museum, or ranger station, working at concessions or in the campground shops.
You may be required to sell firewood and ice to campers at set times when services are made available. You could be asked to help with educational and interpretive programs that are offered at the park.
You may work at the registration office collecting payments and giving out information to campers, distributing maps, copies of the rules and regulations, and brochures on local attractions. Other sites may require you to inform campers about the rules and remind them to register but restrict you from collecting and handling money or fee transactions.
Campground hosts must be available on weekends, holidays, and peak camping seasons to assist campers. You may be on call 24 hours a day and visitors may contact you or ask for help at all hours of the day or night.
Some hosts are expected to provide information to guests, answer any questions they might have, and solve problems. This can require extensive knowledge about trail conditions, points of interest, hiking, fishing, programming, backcountry camping, and other resources available to campers.
It is helpful for the host to know about local services such as gas stations, grocery stores, and medical facilities. You should know about proper food storage regulations and provide this information to campers.
Campgrounds that are located in bear or mountain lion country will require the campground host to provide information and safety advisories to campers. You will work with park staff, rangers, or other management to report wildlife sightings or other safety concerns.
Hosts are often not required to enforce rules or perform law enforcement. Instead, they should report any problems or rule-breaking to the proper authorities if there is a problem or emergency.
Moreover, campground hosts are responsible for setting a good example for the other campers. They should follow all the rules and regulations while also keeping their campsite clean and tidy.
Some campground hosts may be asked to provide reports on revenue and attendance while others may not even be allowed to handle money. You may be provided with a radio and expected to use it to communicate with rangers and other staff.
All of the work that will be performed by a campground host takes place outdoors where temperature and weather varies. However, even in inclement weather, you will be required to go outside to make rounds and perform various jobs.
Some hosting jobs may require you to have First Aid or CPR certification. Even as a volunteer, you will have to pass a criminal background check and requirements vary by location. If you will be handling money, you cannot have any previous convictions related to theft.
Although a free campsite is provided, campground hosts are expected to bring their own tent, trailer or motorhome to stay in. Some campgrounds may provide a cabin for the host which may or may not be fully furnished.
Anyone interested in a campground hosting job should be able to perform manual labor and be okay with a lot of contact with the public. You will meet people from all backgrounds, ages, and cultures and should enjoy sharing your knowledge and helping people.
You must be friendly, outgoing, responsible, and able to get along with a wide variety of people. The ability to remain calm when in stressful situations and maintain a courteous and professional attitude at all times is also essential to success.
If the particular position requires you to enforce campground rules and regulations, you must be comfortable confronting people. You should also be able to speak to people politely, with a smile, yet be firm when enforcing campground restrictions.
Campground hosts must be flexible because working conditions and weather can change at a moment’s notice. They should adapt to changes easily and have an awareness of the local terrain and environment. Being able to read a map and deal with extreme environmental conditions is also useful.