Studies suggest that the average RV owner spends around 23 nights a year in an RV park. And many of these are in microbursts of 2 to 3 nights at a time. Studies have also found that the average RV owner goes on a weekend trip that is roughly 4 to 5 hours from their home –a radius of roughly 150 to 250 miles. So this makes the population within a 250 mile radius an important issue to consider.
Some markets have huge potential in this regard
One of the top RV parks in Missouri is Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Six Flags. While this property has the logical magic of being next to one of the Midwest’s top attractions, it also has a secret weapon: it is only 5 hours from seven major U.S. cities. These include St. Louis, Kansas City, Des Moines, Chicago, Memphis, Indianapolis, and Louisville. This makes the population within four to five hours insanely high – over 23 million people! You can imagine the potential that this gives this RV park, which is one of the highest occupancy parks in the U.S.
And some have nearly none
Billings, Montana has virtually no population within a 4 to 5 hour drive – although it has some pretty scenery and Yellowstone National Park within a short drive. To some buyers, this would create a greater element of risk than Jellystone at Six Flags, as the reliance is completely on one large destination attraction but no short-hop weekend adventurers. However, that one giant draw can make an RV park in Billings successful, it’s just potentially riskier.
Covid-19 may help further explain the difference
Beginning in roughly mid-March of this year, National Parks shut down to the Covid-19 pandemic. And so did Six Flags. However, many saw their RV as a way to amuse themselves while maintaining social distancing. And others saw their RV as a better way to quarantine than their house. As a result, RV parks with large populations surrounding them within four to five hours still had good occupancy, while RV parks near National Parks were virtually empty. And with the potential for Covid-19 potentially returning this Fall, the risk may be with us for a long time.
But it’s just one more item to consider
There are many factors in deciding if an RV park is a good investment or not. Having a large population within four to five hours is just one of these variables. Can you succeed without it? Absolutely. But you’ll need something equally attractive to offset that fact. RV parks are complicated to analyze, and you can’t break them down into only one or two features.
To learn more about RV park investing you should consider our RV park Investing Home Study Course. It reviews and explains the hundreds of pieces of knowledge you need to be aware of to make a good decision regarding buying and operating an RV park. And it’s all written and recorded by Frank Rolfe and Dave Reynolds who are the 5th largest owners of RV & mobile home parks in the U.S. with over 20,000 lots in 28 states.