My definition of a full hookup (FHU) site is, at minimum, one that has a water outlet, a sewer hookup and a 20A/30A electric outlet. The price the campground charges is generally arrived at in one of two ways.
1). An all inclusive rate.
2). A base rate with a separate charge each utility you’re using (water, electric, sewer)
One variation I experienced on the above two methods was a campground that charged a base rate that included only water and sewage. For the electric, they had an electric meter on each campsite. A campground employee read the meter before you hooked up your electric and read it again when you disconnected it to leave. Then, they calculated your electric charge based in a kilowatt/hour charge.
Beyond this, any other amenities can be:
- Included in the FHU price
- Available at an additional charge
- Not available
- Still (but gradually becoming less and less) F-R-E-E
What extra charges might you encounter at check-in time? Here’s a list of some of the extra charges I’ve either seen or encountered. Please note that this list is nowhere near all inclusive.
- 50A Service
- Telephone hookup
- Cable TV hookup
- Extra vehicle(s) (Most campgrounds charge if you bring more than one RV and one vehicle into the campground)
- Extra person (usually adults are charged more than children)
- Air conditioning and/or electric heater
- Hot water heater (if run on electric)
- Premium campsite (for example, a campsite with a scenic or waterfront view)
What amenities are available and the extra charges associated with them varies with each campground. Even the number of people camping on a site that are included in the nightly rate varies. And one new extra charge that is popping up at more and more campgrounds is a pet fee.
Campgrounds are beginning to be more like banks and airlines with all these little extra charges that literally "nickel and dime" you to death for things that used to be "free". At some campgrounds, you could stay at a cheap motel by the time you add all the extra charges to the site fee. How expensive can this get? Here's an example.
A full lookup site- $35.00/night. Sounds reasonable and probably very reasonable to many. The rate is for based on two adults on the site (you and your significant other). You have three children (child extra person charge of $3.00/ea./night) and brought along your mother-in-law (adult extra person of $5.00 ea./night). Your mother-in-law followed you in her own car to the campground because your TV will only hold five passengers (extra vehicle charge of $2.00/night). It's going to extremely hot while you're camping and you want to run your A/C (A/C charge of $3.00/night). Lastly, you brought Fido with you (pet charge of $3.00/night). So, what's your total cost per night? Do the math. I come up with a total of $57.00 and you might not be done yet. There could be any number of state, county, and local taxes on top of this that have the potential to make this a $60 or more per night adventure.
Here’s a list of some miscellaneous charges/costs to consider if you use any of these amenities while at the campground.
- Honey wagon service- (having your full gray/black water holding tanks pumped out when you don’t have a sewage hookup on your site)
- Showers (Yes, there are campgrounds that have coin operated showers in their shower house(s))
- Swimming pool
- Miniature golf
- Laundry services (washers/dryers)
- Planned campground activities (during the summer season)
- Dump station fee (Historically, this has been free. But I'm starting to see campgrounds now imposing a charge for this too.)
Ahhhhhh… this can become an expensive hobby. Can’t it?