Over the past year or so, the RV community has become very interested in how to find and buy RV property. While the buying part is pretty straightforward, the finding part is where the big challenges lie.
In terms of multi-acre RV properties where you can camp whenever and for however long you want, hunting for the perfect spot can be very daunting.
There just aren't that many places available where you can do what you want with your RV property.
In Episode 431 of the RV Podcast, we talk with a representative of the company behind one of the most successful and popular RV property developments anywhere in the country- the Woodlands at Buffalo River near the Mid-Tennessee town of Linden.
That's where Jennifer and I own 5 acres that we've turned into our own private RV retreat. We bought there in Nov. 2021. After the interview, we also share in the podcast our personal tips for finding RV land.
To view a video version of the entire podcast on our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel – which also includes the RV News of the Week, New Travel Tech tips, and your RV Lifestyle questions – click the box below.
If you just want to listen to this Podcast episode, its available on your favorite podcast app or through the player below:
Tips on How to Find and Buy RV Property
Our special guest on this episode of the podcast is Cree Ham, the sales manager for Tennessee Land and Lakes, the development company behind the 5,300-acre Woodlands at Buffalo River project, which will hold a one-day sale on Feb 4, 2023, for lots in the final phase of the development.
Jennifer and I will attend that sale, hanging out with shoppers and sharing our personal experience of being RV property owners. You can get information on it at https://MyRVLand.com.
“Finding multi-acre properties that you can camp on in your RV without restrictions is very hard,” Cree told us. “There are not that many places in the country like we have at the Woodlands where you are not required to build in a certain timeframe or restricted in how long you can camp there. At the Woodlands, you can camp in your RV, build if you want, or just keep it for hunting, or ATV use or whatever you want.”
Among things RV land shoppers would look for, said Cree, are:
- Easy Access to the property – Make sure the property is not landlocked. Each of the parcels being sold at the Woodlands has a road right in front of the property.
- Water – Can you drill a well? Is there good water? The Woodlands sits atop an excellent aquifer that produces clean water.
- Electricity – How hard will it be to get power onto the property? The Woodlands has electric lines right on the road running past each lot.
- Septic – Will local officials allow septic tanks? Perry County inspects and authorizes septic systems on the Woodlands properties.
- Local Contractors – Are there local tradespeople and contractors available to do things like clear trees, build driveways, grade the land, dig wells, and wire electrical pedestals? The Woodlands provides a list to each buyer of recommended local contractors who know the area.
- Internet – With so many now working remotely, what kind of Internet connectivity is available? At the Woodlands, the local electric co-op has installed fiber optic cable on the utility poles running past the property.
- Shopping, healthcare, and medical services – How far do you have to go for these services? Linden, voted one of the most charming small towns in Tennessee, is just a few minutes from the Woodlands.
- Recreational opportunities – At the Woodland, there's kayaking and fishing on the Buffalo River. Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River is just a short drive away with excellent boating and fishing. There's excellent hunting and hiking throughout the region and the Natchez Trace is a half hour away.
- Big City Fun – When you want entertainment, what's nearby? The Woodlands is just 90 miles away from Nashville, with all its dining, entertainment and cultural opportunities.
Mike and Jen's Tips on Finding RV Property
As Cree noted, finding RV property is not easy.
Jennifer and I found ours after seeing a website for the Woodlands. We contacted the company and set up an appointment to tour the development.
A contractor they recommended, Johnathan Stacy, immediately started work on our property, clearing trees and helping to develop it into the RV retreat we envisioned.
If you are looking for land, Jennifer and I have three websites that can help.
- LotFlip -This site lists lots of all kinds of property for sale, including lot auctions, lots for lease, and lots for sale by owner across the United States and abroad.
- LandCentury – This site lists land for sale and has a mobile home and RV lot category
- RV Lots for Sale – These are lots listed for sale by private owners.
Something else that will help. Use the Zillow website. If you have an area of the country you are listed in, use the search features to return the specific features and amenities you want.
And if you have a specific region of the country you want to buy in, contact a local realtor and explain what you are looking for. They'll then email you whenever a property matching your description comes online.
How we found, bought, and developed our RV property
Since we bought our property, we have done many stories and videos chronicling the RV Land trend. Here are several:
- We just bought our own RV Property in Tennessee
- How to Live in an RV on Your Own Land
- Why RVers are Buying Land
- Building a Private Campsite on our Own RV Property
- One Year Later: Our RV Land Ownership Experience
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RV News of the Week
A website called Travel Lens ranked the top 10 U.S. national parks based annual visitors, park fees, proximity to a city and number of reviews where it is described as “beautiful.” The results were surprising.
Top place was the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, followed by Cuyahoga Valley in Ohio, Olympic in Washington, Biscayne in Florida, and Hot Springs in Arkansas.
Next came Glacier, Zion, New River Gorge, Grand Teton, and Indiana Dunes.
The group chose to include entrance fees and proximity to a city because each influences the number of people who could easily visit.
Highway 1 north of San Simeon but south of the Big Sur remains closed indefinitely as state officials continue to monitor for mudslides happening daily.
The iconic road that hugs the Pacific Ocean is one of many places throughout California affected by massive amounts of rain.
While the rain has stopped, clean-up is continuing, and many popular places for campers throughout the state remain closed as officials deal with downed trees, flooding, mudslides, and more.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks suffered extensive damage from the rain, with pictures surfacing of upended bear boxes and picnic tables, downed trees and mud everywhere. (See one story here).
If you are heading to California, be sure to check conditions ahead of time. To see our story on staying safe in extreme weather, click here.
About 300 campers were trapped at Arizona's Catalina State Park for at least five days last week after heavy rain caused flooding and mud so thick and gooey no one could drive out without sinking.
The mud was so bad, stabilizing a road out took longer than expected, leaving some RVers saying what they hoped would be a nice vacation getaway turned out to be a nightmare.
Some campers were running out of food, propane, even vital medications, and others were trapped, unable to return to work causing problems with their employer. Eventually camp officials were able to free campers, but it took almost a week.
The flooding was caused by unusually heavy rains.
A man whose travel trailer was stolen apparently found it in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and notified the police.
Police accompanied the man to his trailer where he saw his belongings being used outside the trailer, the VIN number spray painted, a lock that had clearly been tampered with and a missing license plate. Police received a search warrant and ended up arrested the man and woman living inside it.
The man had his camper and belongings returned to him. Unfortunately, we could not find any more information on the story.
Registration is underway for FMCA's 106th International Convention & RV Expo March 15-18 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, Georgia.
The event has camping on site, though it is beginning to fill up. The convention offers educational seminars, shopping, live entertainment, socializing opportunities and a general celebration of the RV life.
The FMCA is the world's largest non-profit organization for RV owners, with about 130,000 members. For more information, click here.
New Travel Tech – Finding Public Restrooms
The “app that rules them all” is Flush Toilet Finder & Map. This app has a simple map and list display of over 200,000 public restrooms around the world. You can click on one of the nearest toilets, and the app will direct you from your current location using your phone’s default GPS. There is the free version and the paid Flush Pro version. There is no significant difference feature-wise; they both give you the same information. The only differences are the pro version is ad-free and includes Apple Watch support.
The second bathroom-finding app we suggest is:
IEXIT INTERSTATE EXIT GUIDE tells you what’s at upcoming exits on the highway, including gas stations, rest stops, restaurants, and hotels. It also has a nice search feature where you can search for specific chains, like a Peet’s Coffee shop, or a specific amenity, like WiFi.
Unlike Flush Finder, IEXIT does display a rating system. It’s linked with one of the best systems for user-generated ratings: Yelp. You can see the Yelp star rating of each location that you can then click on for more information. That rating display and clickability help you determine which nearest public restroom is the cleanest.
And our third bathroom finding suggestion is good old Google Maps.
Did you know that you can search specifically for toilet types, like “accessible restrooms” or “clean public restrooms near me.”
To take that one step further, you can search specifically for places known for clean restrooms!
Here’s a quick summary of those places.
CLEANEST TRUCK STOPS
CLEANEST GAS STATIONS
CLEANEST FAST FOOD JOINTS
RV Lifestyle Questions of the Week
Question: “We saw your video of the test drive in the all electric RV. You clearly said it was a prototype but we’re wondering when such a campervan will be available. We plan on buying a van next year when my husband retires and an “e RV” would be nice. Your thoughts, please?” — Kristy and Randy.
Answer: Our eRV test drive at the Tampa RV show was a lot of fun, but we wouldn't advise putting off your RV campervan purchase until one is available. Unless you don't mind waiting as long as five years. So much has to be done before all-electric RVs are available. They need better range (the one we test drove only got 108 miles per charge), and the charging infrastructure has to be built out. The Winnebago eRV2 we test drove was just a prototype.
Question: “Settle this question for us as we consider our next camper. Bumper hitch or Fifth Wheel. What’s the easiest? For some reason, a Fifth Wheel scares me a little.” – Jake
Answer: We've hauled both. We bought an Arcadia Fifth Wheel in April 2022, and in our book, it's easier to tow than a bumper pull.
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RV Lifestyle recommends Harvest Hosts and CampersCard
We LOVE Harvest Hosts! It’s a membership program that connects RVers with unique places to stay overnight for free, such as farms and wineries. Members pay an annual fee and can stay at any of the participating host locations for one night at a time.
In exchange for the free overnight stay, members are encouraged to support the host location by purchasing products or services. This is a great way to save money on camping reservations while experiencing unique and memorable locations.
The Harvest Hosts CampersCard is a NEW discount program we’ve already benefited from. You can see in the video above how we used it while camping out at an incredible hidden gem campground.
CampersCard members get benefits, including early check-in, late checkout, and discounts on nightly rates.