Want to hit the road and bring your love of music with you? Here are ways to jam and play live music while camping, for free and for money.
Not too long ago, one of our RV Lifestyle Facebook members asked a question about playing music while traveling.
He has spent the last 15 years as a working musician. Prior to that, he was also involved in the music industry. Let’s just say, music is in his heart and life.
He and his wife are planning on traveling full-time soon. He asked our RV community if there are any music opportunities while living the RV lifestyle.
The answers were very informative and interesting! Some even surprised me!
Where to Jam or Play Live Music While RVing
From open mic nights to paid gigs at assisted living facilities. There are many opportunities for musicians on the road! This is what other RVers recommended in the RV Lifestyle Facebook post.
Just remember to always communicate with the campground staff and to respect your neighbors and quiet hours.
1. Resort Style Camping
Many resort-style campgrounds offer amenities. Some of those include nightly activities like Bingo or game nights to live music.
If the campground does not already have an open mic night or live music set up, then a musician could suggest it to the camp host.
One commenter, SC Acosta, said that many of these campgrounds already have these nights set up, and that an open mic night or karaoke would be a “big hit!”
2. Campground Jam Sessions
Some campgrounds offer a jam session one night per week. If they have a community room, gazebo, or park area, they set up one night for any musicians in the park to come and play music.
These musicians often times set out a bucket for donations and can make a little money.
3. Harvest Hosts
A few different commenters said that another option is to check with a unique camping club called Harvest Hosts. Harvest Hosts matches campers with unique places to stay, all across America. They are linked with farms, wineries, and breweries to name a few.
Jackie Renna said that music might “dovetail nicely” with the Harvest Hosts camping club. Especially since live music and wineries, breweries, and certain types of farms pair well together. Pun intended!
4. Check with Local Restaurants
An excellent suggestion was to check with local restaurants in the towns you will be visiting. Many local restaurants and bars are always looking for musicians to entertain customers.
If you know where you are traveling to, then you can easily look up popular local restaurants and give them a call.
One commenter, Geaux Dat Simpson said that “our hometown has live music every weekend” and I think that’s true of towns of all sizes.
Many of these same places may also have open mic nights with other artists.
5. Long-Term Care Facilities/Assisted Living Places
This one surprised me! I have never thought about a long-term care facility or assisted living facility to be a place to perform live music.
But it makes sense! It is a great way to keep the patients active and joyful!
Some long-term care facilities hire musicians to play weekly or monthly live shows for the residents.
In fact, one commenter named Julia Dryzga said that she is “doing jams and making money performing at long term care facilities and assisted living places.” Who would have thought?
6. Local Music Festivals
You could look for local music festivals to help steer your traveling. Many different cities and towns host local musical festivals. Let that steer where you travel to!
Here are the 7 Best Camping Music Festivals in the USA.
7. Check Craigslist
Another member suggested checking craigslist for ads looking for local musicians. You could easily check craigslist before you leave and again from the road to find out if any opportunities align with your travel schedule.
8. Speak with the Chamber of Commerce
Some cities have local open-air venues. You can check with the Chamber of Commerce to see how you might be able to get onstage. You can also inquire about local busking regulations.
9. Campfire Songs
Many different commenters said to have fun and just play in different ways. That is because folks gravitate towards music. Perhaps playing around a fire or just putting on a solo act can drum up your own audience.
Dave Allen commented that he has “met and played my guitar with some amazing musicians in campgrounds while traveling in our motorhome from Calgary to Chicago to Arizona and beyond.”
If jamming is what you’re after, and not necessarily making money, then start by playing and see what musicians come up to jam with you! Here's a list of 30 of the Best Campfire Songs.
Or play a solo gig.
Anne and Bob Thomas commented that at the Great Fall KOA, “a couple played for tips in the community gazebo. It was scheduled and announced in the campground office and many campers really enjoyed it.”
If the campground you are staying at does not offer this already, it would not hurt to ask!
Several commenters are like-minded and very involved in the music scene.
Kent Schwemmer said that “folks gravitate to a guitar.” Playing guitar fireside is one great way to attract an audience for your music.
Another commenter said that her husband frequently finds other musicians in campgrounds to jam with.
A fellow musician named Jeffrey Barrett commented that he is in the “same boat.” As a drummer/percussionist he has been hoping to find more places to play while traveling.
Shane Orfas took his reply a little deeper. He encourages any musician to look within himself since the “music is in you.” If you let it happen naturally, something will come out of it. In other words, play when you can, and opportunities will come.
So, the consensus is, be open to freely sharing your music at a campsite. Just be sure to be respectful of neighbors and quiet hours.
Bonus Tip to play music while camping: Model Other Traveling Musicians
Finally, another commenter suggested modeling other traveling musicians, like Status Crows. They are a traveling musical duo!
The duo, Chuck and Michelle, travel full-time in an RV. The book gigs ahead of time, and then travel to perform.
They host a website with their tour schedule listed on the home page. Then they have other tabs that include their music, information about their musical duo, and a blog.
They also have their videos on the website and sell their own merchandise. So, they can be a good model for creating your own traveling music business.
Another commenter has made a business out of booking long-term care facility gigs. He has called local places and speaks with their activities director, and puts all of the information onto a spreadsheet. He said it is lucrative and he does not have any trouble getting gigs!
He was kind enough to share his website to give an idea to others that might like to get into it: mikesmusicforseniors.com.
Do You Play Music While Camping?
We'd love to hear more suggestions in the comments. You can also join the conversation and many more like this in our RV Lifestyle Facebook group.
Mike and Jennifer's Favorite Places in Florida – all 3 ebooks!
We RVers may wander far and wide but it’s true for most of us that we end up with some favorite “Go-To” places – places that draw us back again and again.
Florida is one of those places for us. And we know it is for many RVers looking to get away and explore during the winter.
That's why we've created three guides, covering Florida's Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, and the Keys.
Each of these guides is a seven-day guided exploration of one of the coasts. And each stop is a curated view of the best things that we’ve enjoyed on this trip and want you to experience.
Altogether these guides are over 300 pages of content!
FAQ's about Florida Gulf Coast beaches of interest to RVers
What is the weather like along Florida's Gulf Coast?
The weather along Florida's Gulf Coast can vary depending on the time of year and the specific location. In general, the area experiences hot, humid summers and mild, pleasant winters.
The Panhandle region can be quite cool in January. It is seldom below freezing, but daytime highs are typically in the 50s. It warms up about 10 degrees each month.
You can also generally add about 10 degrees for every 150 miles you travel south down the Florida peninsula.
By the time you hit Naples, daytime highs in January are in the comfortable 70s.
Are there any websites that can help me get a reservation for a Florida beach campground?
One of the best resources we can recommend is called Campnab. This service monitors parks for cancelations and sends you an alert when an opening matches your criteria. That said, it isn’t magic. The app doesn’t create availabilities.
The service works – but it is not free.
Campnab offers two ways to use the service. The first is individual pay-per-use scans. These watch for vacancies at a specific park for a specific date. These work well if you know exactly when and where you intend to camp. Pay-per-use scans cost $10 – $20, depending on how frequently you want them to check availability.
The second way to use the service is through a membership. These typically run monthly and are tailored to those who camp more frequently or are looking to maximize their chance of finding a site. Membership allows you to scan multiple parks and/or dates simultaneously. With memberships, you pay a monthly recurring fee ($10, $20, $30, or $50), depending on your needs.
Are there places in Florida where you can literally camp on the beach for free?
Not many. And they are very pricey. If you want to sleep directly on the sand in an RV, you'll have to stay at a developed commercial campground like Camp Gulf on the Emerald Coast or an RV resort like Big Pine Key Resort in the keys. Some state parks like the Gamble Rogers State Memorial Recreation Area in the Atlantic Coast or Bahia Honda State Park in the keys or Fort Desto State Park near St. Petersburg have beachside sites, too.
But are there free, unrestricted RV beach camping spots in Florida?
Sorry, none that I know of that would work for RVs.
There is unrestricted camping on wild beaches on a couple of islands, but you need a boat to get there, and it is for tent camping only. If you want to sleep directly on the sand, there is Anclote Key offshore Tarpon Springs, and Shell Key in Pinellas County. Another favorite is Keewaydin Island between Naples and Marco Island but that area remains pretty devasted from Hurricane Ian.
Did Hurricane Ian destroy many beach campgrounds on the Gulf Coast?
While it severely damaged almost two dozen RV parks and campgrounds, about 8-10 campgrounds in the Naples-Ft. Myers area were completely destroyed. Most of the damaged campgrounds have been repaired and reopened.
Check with the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds if you have questions or concerns.