Planning To Buy Land, A Campground, Glamping Business Or Camping Site For Sale?

Have you been searching for land or a camping business with the idea of updating it into a glamping site? Have you been spending your evening searching Google for 'campgrounds for sale by owner near me' or searching Craigslist or Rightmove for your perfect camp business for sale? Well, before you start the process of buying land for a campsite there are a few checks you need to make first when looking for those camping sites for sale.

This is one of several growing trends and ideas for campsites to make them more profitable and relaunch tired facilities to a new market segment, attract new customers and boost the overall income from those campsites. So if you are wondering how to start a camping business or how to set up a campground and turn it into something more profitable, then read on.

How To Start A Camping Business Or Campsite

Starting a campsite from scratch can be particularly challenging. This is why it is a clever idea to look for sites that already exist but that might be run down or are currently unused making it easier to achieve zoning permissions and permits.

Glamour camping, also known as glamping, is one of the best ways to turn an old camping ground into something new and exciting that gets attention and more guest bookings. Glamping combines the nature-loving properties of camping with modern comfort and style. It’s an activity that people of all ages can enjoy, no matter where they’re from and it's becoming popular around the world.

Buying a campsite and converting it into a glamping site is a very sensible idea. This is one of the easiest ways to set up a new glamping business because you won't need to go through the lengthy process of seeking planning permissions and obtaining the necessary zoning. Alternatively, when starting from scratch and buying land for camping, it can take years to obtain the relevant permits. An existing campsite will also have the amenities and structures you can repurpose into the ideal service you are aiming for.

The key is assessing the land and judging if it will suit luxury camping before you decide to purchase it. So before starting a camping business or asking Google for 'campsites for sale near me' in the UK, USA, Canada, Europe or anywhere else in the world the following assessment will help you make the right decision about the campground you are considering. 

Land Feasibility And What To Look For When Buying A Camping Site For Sale Uk, USA, or Worldwide

If you’re thinking of buying and running a campsite or campground for glamping, here are some essential steps for you to follow.

1. Investigate existing structures in the camping sites for sale

The current infrastructure in the camping ground can either help your glamping site or become an additional expense. You should first check the status of the existing structures in the camp. Pay particular attention to whether they are owned by others with a ground rent paid to the campsite owners. These may be in the form of buildings or static caravans and you will need to assess if you can or will need to upgrade or demolish them. If any of the materials are not fit for use, you will have to deconstruct these and this may incur additional funding.

2. Check utilities like electricity and water

The glampsite will need to have water and power, although many of these can be off-grid. If the site doesn’t have an existing water or electricity connection, you will need to set a budget for these. Sewage facilities and electricity can be particularly expensive if the right systems are not in place. 

3. Assess roads and paths to the site and on-site

The streets and highways are crucial to the experience of your clients and maintaining your emergency access to fire and health regulations is essential. Make sure that you check the paths leading to the area before buying an old camping ground. No matter how beautiful your development becomes, you will lose out on potential glampers if the roads are inaccessible. 

4. Quality check recreational facilities

If there are swimming pools or hot tubs you will need to check for evidence they have been maintained and there are no major leaks or maintenance issues. If you identify issues these will need to be included as conditions to be fixed in the sale. Never underestimate the time, effort and money it takes to keep these facilities safe and legal for your guests.

5. Be aware of local issues

While in your land feasibility assessment stage,  of buying any camping site for sale, you must investigate any local issues that will impact your services. This could include drainage, protected flora and fauna, issues with insects and so on. A camping resort business plan will help you go through the relevant assessment criteria to make sure you have everything in place.

6. Investigate star ratings and reviews

Before you purchase existing camping sites for sale, which have at one time been fully operational even if it isn't right now, it is wise to pay attention to any existing reviews. Star ratings usually take into consideration the number and type of facilities you have on-site and if you want to improve these then you will be able to increase this in the future. This may not be as easy for reviews and is something you will want to consider when planning your marketing and business re-brand.

7. Ask to see the income revenue and profits from the campsite

Even if the campsite is no longer trading, there will be a historical record of the income it previously generated together with its profits after costs have been deducted. This will help you to assess if the asking price is worth it. Although checking the income from the campsite is an important step, don't feel too negative if it's not quite what you hoped for. With the right service, branding and guest attraction marketing you will soon be able to generate an increase in the campsite income, especially if your land feasibility assessment is looking positive. The key here is to spend time on your business plan, set up costs and complete a 3-year cash flow to assess if you can make the campsite work in terms of future income.

8. Know the existing market and competitors

The primary purpose of buying the camping ground is to transform it into a glamping business, so it’s essential to know if there is a demand for it. Aside from knowing the kinds of people who would be interested in glamping at your site, you also have to know if other places in your locality offer the same type of experience.

Your target glampers and your glamping competitors are important things to consider before buying a campsite. If you purchase land where there are too many competitors, you might have to spend more to develop a unique service that is already offered nearby and to attract attention quickly when you launch.

9. Develop a campground business plan

When you have more of an idea about what you want from your lifestyle camping business, that is the time to start pulling together your business plan. There are several myths surrounding the activity of business planning, which we recently highlighted. From our perspective, a good campsite business plan will help you make vital decisions with the many camping business ideas going through your head. It will help you save time and avoid costly mistakes so it's a valuable use of a few hours of your time.

For more support with your glamping business plan template PDF, set up costs and cash flow forecast or to see some business plan examples, click here for the start-up guide.

Try The 'Camp Site For Sale Near Me' Research

When you start your research to find a campsite for sale nearby, there are several ways to discover potential opportunities. First, find online platforms which offer real estate listings, such as commercial property websites and specialised marketplaces, which can give you valuable leads to find camp sites for sale near you.

Exploring your local networks and talking to community members can also help to find opportunities before they go onto the open market. This can include real estate agents, business associations, and fellow entrepreneurs who are involved in campsite services. All these contacts can give you inside knowledge and access to hidden gems in your area that you might not be aware of.

Drive around your area regularly and keep your eyes open for the 'for sale' signage. Also, read local publications and bulletin boards for potential listings that may not be widely advertised online. Attending industry events, trade shows, and work gatherings can also help to connect you with others who might know about potential camp sites for sale near you.

Finally, make sure you make the most of the search engines online. The best way to do this is to regularly search for 'camp site for sale near me' and add a Google Alert that sends an email to you if a camp site comes up for sale in your area. By using this approach that combines online research, local networking, and attending relevant events, you increase your chances of finding the perfect location to launch your new campsite, campground or glamping business venture.

Land For Sale With Planning Permission

If you can not find a camp site for sale and decide instead to search for land for sale with planning permission already in place for a campsite to be developed, here are some steps to help you in your search:

Online search: As with the above, start by searching online real estate listings on platforms specialising in land sales or commercial properties in your area. Land and property auctions often have unexpected options. Use specific keywords like "land for sale with camping permits", "land for sale with planning permission" or "land with planning permission for a campsite." Websites like, Zillow, LoopNet, or specialized land listing platforms may have relevant listings. This will help you uncover hidden gems.

Local Authorities: Contact the local planning department or municipality for the area you are interested in and ask about areas zoned for camping and outdoor recreation. Many sites with planning permission already in place are not using it for that. This can be for many reasons, such as retirement, illness or lack of funds. Owners of these parcels of land with existing planning permission may be interested in a rent or purchase agreement with you if you approach them.

Real Estate Agents: It is a good idea to work with a local real estate agent who specialises in commercial properties or land sales. They may have access to listings that haven't been publicly advertised yet and can help you navigate the process of purchasing land that already has campsite planning permission in place.

Due Diligence: Once you have a list of potential properties, be sure to do your due diligence. This means reviewing the zoning regulations, planning permissions, environmental considerations, and any restrictions or conditions attached to the planning permission for the campsite. This will help to increase your chances of finding land for sale with planning permission for a campsite and move closer to realising your dream camping or glamping business.

For more about what to look out for before you buy land or a campsite, visit our guide:

Camping Sites For Sale - What To Check Before You Buy

Project Feasibility Of A Campground Or Camping Sites For Sale By Owner

Buying land for a campsite or an already existing campground and developing it into a glamping business is a big decision so you should take all necessary steps and precautions to make sure your investment will get a good return on investment.

As with every business that operates from buildings and land, you must complete a thorough feasibility study, which will give you confidence in your purchase. Your next task will be your camping business plan, set up costs and cash flow projections. Businesses that neglect these essential elements will experience problems further down the purchase path, so it's worth putting the time in here.

With the right planning and business choices, you can turn that tired old campsite into a luxurious glamping site and if you play your cards right, you could have a great tourist destination in your hands and a lifestyle business you can be proud of.

If you are considering purchasing a camping site for sale and you are curious about your next steps or how you can turn a failing campground business into a profitable one, contact us for more support. We are happy to point you in the best direction for extra help or we can help you with your business development ideas and planning to make sure you choose the best camping or glamping business model. To find out more please get in touch.

What to Check When Buying A Camping Site For Sale

For more inspiration about what to check before you buy a campsite that's for sale, please read our article here 'What To Check When Buying A Camping Site For Sale'

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