Some people love to stay in caravan parks – and others hate it. But even if you are completely self-contained, you will need to occasionally stay somewhere that has water and electricity to replenish your supplies. And caravan parks often have some of the most scenic and best spots to stay in a town.
Caravan parks also offer convenience. They provide access to facilities that can make your camping travels more comfortable. Stopping in a caravan park gives you access to things such as toilets and showers, water, power, camp kitchens, laundries, barbeques and kiosks or shops.
You might think that due to all these facilities that you don’t need to take as much with you on your camping trip, but there are a few essentials you should always have, even when staying at the most luxurious caravan park.
Things to take with you to a caravan park
Caravan park facilities can be quite extensive these days. Some caravan parks even have water parks! But no matter how basic or fancy the caravan park you are staying at is, there are a few things that you will need to bring with you (as well as all your usual things), and some things that will make your stay a whole lot easier.
Most caravan parks have a camp kitchen or bbq area which your can use for cooking. Some of these are quite extensive and can include fridges, toasters and microwaves. However it is still a good idea to bring your own kitchen tools. Things like tongs, sharp knives, plates, cups, knives, forks, spoons etc you want to be bringing from home. While some caravan parks do have a few things around, most only provide the cooking facilities, not what you need to cook with.
This is possibly one of my favourite items to take camping. Most shower stalls in caravan parks aren’t huge. They are big enough to comfortably have a shower, but the bench most give you for your stuff tends to be close to the shower and all your stuff ends up wet.
A shower bag is a mesh bag with handles and pockets that you can put all the stuff you need for a shower into and hang it up to prevent anything from getting wet. Hang it up on the hook on the shower stalls as far away from the water as possible and bingo! No more wet clothes. It also has pockets to hold things like shampoo and conditioner and the one I have even has a key holder. Being made from mesh, if the bag itself does get wet, the water can’t get trapped and it dries easily. I got mine from Amazon here.
If you’re staying for an extended period, or if you’ve been free camping for a while, you might want to do some washing. Most caravan parks have a laundry where you can pay for the machines to do your washing, but if you don’t have laundry powder, they will also charge for that (and I’ve seen it as much as $4.00 for a tiny package that will do one load). Add that onto the couple of dollars the machine charges and that can become an expensive load of washing! To save yourself a few dollars, just take a small container and put in some washing machine powder (or liquid if you have a very good container).
Power cords and adapters
One of the good things about staying in a caravan park is the ability to get a powered site and power anything you might want to bring. You can generally get powered sites as ‘caravan’ or ‘tent’ sites. You need to remember that most caravan parks are set up with 15AMP power, which connects to caravans as they generally also have 15AMP power. If is useful to bring extension cords with you as you may find that the power pole you plug into might not be close to where you want to set up.
The power you have at home is 10AMP and occasionally you might find a caravan park that also has 10AMP power. This means you will need to have a 10AMP to 15AMP adapter as a 15AMP power cord will not plug into a 10AMP socket. This is also the case if you’re wanting to charge your camper or caravan at home, without installing a 15AMP power point. Adapters like this one can easily be purchased.
This one may be a personal preference but we always shower with thongs on at caravan parks. Simply because you have no idea how many people have used the showers since the last time they were cleaned and I don’t like showering stepping in sand or dirt if they don’t drain fantastically.
Bike locks and padlocks
This is useful for any camping, not just at caravan parks, but if you are leaving things outside it’s a good idea to bring a few bikelocks and chain things like bbq’s, kids bikes, chairs etc to your camper. If you have a tent, a simple padlock on the zip can stop opportunistic thieves while you’re not at the site.
Top tips for caravan park etiquette
Unlike some bush camps, caravan parks tend to have a lot of people camping together. This can lead to a few frustrations, but if everyone adheres to a few unwritten rules then the caravan park is a great holiday for everyone.
- Tone down the noise at night – you might think the music you’re playing is the greatest ever, but others may not agree with you. Keep the noise down, especially at night time.
- Slow down – speed signs are there for a reason. Caravan parks have lots of kids enjoying the facilities and going slow means you can see what is happening around you better.
- Don’t walk through other people’s campsites – even if it’s a shortcut to where you want to go. You wouldn’t like people walking through your backyard would you? And remember if you’re using a torch to shine it on the ground, not around onto other people tents and campgrounds.
- Leave without a trace and don’t litter – leave every campsite how you found it, clean and tidy. Pick up all your rubbish and make sure you’ve taken everything with you when you go.
- Keep an eye on your kids – most caravan parks are family friendly, but your kids are your responsibility. Teach them about campsite etiquette and to not annoy other campers. Ensure your children are respectful of other campers and share the amenities provided.
- Be considerate of local wildlife – it’s fine to take photos but leave most wildlife alone. Never feed the wildlife and always put rubbish in a bin, hang it up high or leave it in the boot of your car or caravan as the smells can attract animals such as possums, goannas or dingos to the your campsite looking for scraps.
- Keep your things on your side – be mindful of barriers and where your campsite ends. Think about where the entrance to your tent, camper or caravan is located, as well as the ropes attached. Stick to your assigned space.
- Be patient, be friendly, be considerate – If you’re respectful and friendly to other campers they will often stop for a chat. You can also find great tips on local attractions or things to do this way too. Remember to treat other people as you would have them treat you and your family.