Things We Have Learned While Being Camphosts At a State Park

Being camphosts is pretty much a 24/7 position. If you want an actual day off, leave the park. While you are there, people will approach you asking for information. Being a good camphost, you will answer them with a smile, whether you are on duty or not.

If you are lucky enough to have another couple take your place during your time off, be sure they know what you have been telling people about specific things so that the campers do not get conflicting information. Most of the time, this is not a problem. But there are a few things that are sometimes open to personal views, and that can be a problem.

Campers will remember you and your campground, especially

  • clean or dirty restrooms, stocked or unstocked toilet paper, etc. Be sure they remember you for the right reason.
  • campsites – again whether the campsite is well maintained; if there is litter on the ground; if the table is clean; and if the grills and fire rings are cleaned out and ready for use. You want to be the one they remember as a good camphost.
  • your smile or lack of one. Always try to greet all campers, whether they pay you directly or pay at a central location or drop box. Try to take a moment to speak with each one and see if there are any specific needs. See if they are interested in special places and activities. This can go a long way toward making their visit a pleasant one and your campground as a good place to stay.

Playgrounds or other public areas need to be clean. If your campers have dogs, be sure they know to clean up after them and where to deposit the bags afterward.

In many cases, it is the little things you do that are not part of your regular duties that are remembered most. We live and camphost in an area that has many hiking trails and ATV/dirt bike trails. We offer free copies of the trail maps in our office. We get the copies printed at the main park office and they are always welcomed.

After a large rain my husband went to the nearest creek crossing and checked it out. He knew there was a scout troop out on a hike that would be returning that morning. That simple act of showing them where they could cross more easily and throwing a few extra rocks into the creek to make it easier for them meant a great deal to the scouts and their leaders. So much so that a letter was written to the park and recreation department thanking him for his actions.

Remember that you live here, too. If you would not want your front yard looking like that then clean it up. Because we live in a pine forest, thousands of pine needles fall to the ground frequently. When there is a heavy dew or rain these pine needles make everything a bit more slippery than usual. My husband has a leaf blower he uses to "sweep" the pine needles off the paved areas and especially off the walkway into the office. Makes the area look much neater and it's safer too.

If allowed, take the time to decorate a bit for the holidays. Small garden flags, a wreath on the door, or flowers in baskets outside are much more welcoming to campers and makes your trailer a "home" not just a place to stay. We also decorate the office area with colored lights and other outdoor decorations whenever possible. It is lots of fun and the campers seem to enjoy it too.

Most of all, remember to treat your campers the way you would want to be treated if you were in their place. Some of our campers have made me think of every blonde joke I ever heard but…I just smile and answer their questions.

We have been very lucky and have had no major problems with any of our campers. We have a lot of large groups who come to our park, especially during the fall foliage season. Usually, simply asking them to turn the radio or music down, or slow down when riding their motorcycles through the park, is all that is required.

Camphosting at a state park can be fun and rewarding, and can easily turn into a long term or returning position It takes just a little effort on your part. Have fun and enjoy the experience.


This article was written by Mary Keyser, who, with her husband Harald, are award winning camphosts at Talimena State Park in Talihina, Oklahoma. As full-time RVers, the Keysers have worked for a private campground, as well as for state parks. Besides camphosting, Mary is an independent rep for several companies and an avid crafter.

See more articles about working at campgrounds.

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