Buying a mobile home at a campsite: good or bad idea?


After the confinement of 2020, many French people realised the importance of nature and having an outdoor space. Some have chosen to invest in a second home at a campsite by the sea or in the mountains. It's true that for camping enthusiasts, buying a mobile home can be an interesting solution: we tell you all about the reasons for the success of second homes on campsites!

Is it a good idea to buy a mobile home at a campsite?

Owning your own mobile home at a campsite you like means you can spend your weekends and holidays in your own pied-à-terre, going there as often as you like, every weekend if you can, at a cost that's all the more attractive the more often you go there.

There are several options for buying a second home on a campsite. In general, mobile homes are the most popular choice, although some people also opt for a chalet or bungalow. Read this article to find out all about mobile homes on campsites.

As with any investment, there are advantages and disadvantages to buying a mobile home at a campsite to use as a holiday home, or buying a mobile home to rent out. Let us guide you to find out all you need to know.

Where can I buy a mobile home at a campsite?

Land used for residential camping

Many campsites or Parc Résidentiel de Loisirs offer residential pitches, i.e. rental of the plot and mobile homes for sale. This is the case at the Village Resort and Spa Le Vieux Port campsite **** in the Landes, the PRL**** Sole di Sari campsite in south Corsica and the Domaine de la bergerie campsite ***** in the Var.

The campsite's mobile homes are set in shady surroundings
The campsite's mobile homes are set in shady surroundings© Domaine de la Bergerie ***** (83)

To help you make your choice, take a look at the list of all the campsites that offer mobile homes as holiday homes all year round. Be careful, though: demand is very high and not all campsites have pitches available for mobile homes. So you'll need to contact the campsites to check whether they have any plots available, and whether they sell mobile homes. If a site is of particular interest to you, it may also put you on a waiting list.

If you already have an idea of the region in which you would like to buy a mobile home for the year, you can already consult the list of plots:

The difference between campsites and residential leisure parks

  • Types of accommodation: the PRL will essentially offer light leisure accommodation (HLL) such as chalets or mobile leisure homes, such as mobile homes. The campsite will be able to offer these types of accommodation, but will also allow holidaymakers to book a bare pitch for their tent, motorhome or caravan.
  • Size of pitches: for a PRL, the surface area of a plot must be greater than 200m². For campsites, the average plot size is between 100m² and 160m², depending on the campsite's classification.
  • Opening period: a campsite is usually open seasonally for part of the year, particularly during the summer season or from April to October. In contrast, a PRL is generally open all year round. The reason for this is that campsites are only open to a transient clientele, who often only come for weekends or family holidays. PRLs can accommodate not only holidaymakers, but also owners who have a second home on site.
  • Another notable difference concerns entertainment and services: PRLs favour the calm of second homes. You'll find fewer services (shops, etc.), less entertainment (shows, children's clubs or aquagym classes) and fewer facilities, such as water parks, than on a traditional campsite. It's up to you to decide whether you want to experience the atmosphere of a family camping holiday in this campsite residence, or whether your mindset is to enjoy the peace and quiet and nature as often as possible...
  • The Sole Di Sari Residential Leisure Park and its pitches
    The Sole Di Sari Residential Leisure Park and its pitches© SOLE DI SARI **** (Corse Sud)

A low-cost second home

Buying a second home on a campsite combines pleasure and investment. It gives you a second home close to home or in your favourite region. Campsites are often equipped with swimming pools, water parks, entertainment and security services... So there's everything you need for a pleasant break, alone or with the family!

Mobile homes, cosy holiday homes
Mobile homes, cosy holiday homes© DR

How much does a mobile home cost at a campsite all year round?

The cost of a mobile home installed all year round on a campsite or in a PRL (Parc Résidentiel de Loisirs) will depend on several factors:

  • The purchase of the new or second-hand mobile home (or bungalow, depending on your choice), depending on the model or options of the mobile home.
  • The rent for the plot (i.e. the campsite pitch on which your mobile home is installed)
  • Depending on the case, entrance fees
  • Tourist tax
  • Energy consumption costs (water, electricity)

The price of a new mobile home

For a new entry-level mobile home, expect to pay between €15,000 and €30,000. This price can rise to €50,000 or even €70,000 for a new top-of-the-range mobile home. So the cost of a mobile home is considerably lower than that of a traditional second home. This purchase is also relieved of the tax charges usually associated with the purchase of a house, such as property tax and council tax.

Buying a second-hand mobile home

Finally, you should be aware that some campsites and PRLs (Parcs Résidentiels de Loisirs) sell second-hand holiday homes installed on their plots. If the site owner offers to buy a second-hand mobile home that is already on the pitch they are dedicating to you, the cost of the purchase will depend on the size and general condition of the mobile home.

Apart from the sale price, which will be lower than for a new mobile home, there are two important points to bear in mind:

  • Age requirements: a campsite or Residential Leisure Park applies age requirements to mobile homes and other mobile homes installed on their site. Without talking about the lifespan of a mobile home, be sure to check the constraints imposed by the campsite manager so that the age or condition of your mobile home is not a bone of contention in the future.
  • Pre-purchase inspection: as with the purchase of a traditional residence, check the condition of the mobile home before you buy it... (The Fédération Française de Camping-Caravaning (French Camping and Caravanning Federation), which is the national federation for users of open-air accommodation in France, gives you specific examples of points to check in this article).

What does it cost to rent a mobile home at a campsite?

To the price of the mobile home, however, you must add the annual cost of renting the plot from the campsite (in the form of rent), which can vary between €2,000 and €6,000 a year, depending on the region and the campsite's services. When you're not using the mobile home, you can also 'sublet' it to make a profit on the purchase and rental of the plot.

Finally, if you buy your mobile home from a previous owner, you may have to pay entry fees ranging from €1,500 to €8,000: this simply means that in order to become a new owner and benefit from the advantages and facilities of the campsite, you must first pay these entry fees.

Finally, you will be billed for the water and electricity you use.

What taxes are payable on mobile homes?

As a mobile home is not considered to be a building, you are exempt from a number of taxes, including property tax, council tax and planning tax. However, because they are temporary or seasonal leisure vehicles, you will have to pay tourist tax, which is determined by the town in which your campsite is located (generally between €0.20 and €0.60 per person per night, but this will depend on the standard of the campsite or PRL).

Please note that these exemptions do not apply to holiday homes such as chalets or bungalows (which are not mobile by definition).

The possibility of subletting your mobile home

If you don't plan to use your mobile home all year round, you may want to earn some money by renting it out (although this is known as subletting, because as the owner you already rent out the pitch to the campsite). This solution allows the owner to break even.

If this is your aim, you should be aware that even if you own your own mobile home, some campsites do not accept 'sublets' of mobile homes, while others give a conditional guarantee.

Finally, you can also invest in a mobile home with a view to renting it out all year round: if your aim is to buy a mobile home at a campsite and rent it out, you need to make sure that the site you have chosen will be suitable for sub-letting.

What are the disadvantages of buying a mobile home at a campsite?

If you buy a new mobile home off-campus (for example, from a dealership), you will have to pay extra for transport by special convoy. This is a factor not to be overlooked, as it can represent 15-20% of the price of the mobile home. We therefore advise you to buy the mobile home directly from the campsite if you don't want to pay these transport costs. This also ensures that the accommodation meets the requirements of the campsite.

And don't forget that when you buy a mobile home and put it up on a campsite, you do become the owner of the mobile home, bungalow or chalet you buy, but you are still renting a pitch or plot on the campsite. This means that you will be subject to rules laid down by the campsite manager, which may relate to the cleanliness of the pitch, the style of mobile home purchased, the opening dates, and so on. But read on to find out more!

What you need to know before buying a mobile home, chalet or bungalow at a campsite

Choosing a campsite and checking the rental contract

Before buying a mobile home, we recommend that you first choose your campsite. This is a strategic decision.

Before you think about the location, the entertainment on offer or the price of the pitch you have reserved, we strongly advise you to find out about the plot rental contracts offered by the campsite to suit your objectives. This will enable you to find out about the rights and duties of both parties, and in particular your obligations and authorisations as a campsite pitch tenant: being able to invite a relative or sub-let, for example. And don't forget to consult the campsite's internal regulations.

Check when the campsite is open

The aim of a future mobile home owner is often to enjoy their new campsite all year round, but not all campsites are open all year round.

You should therefore check the campsite's opening dates to see if they are suitable for you. For example, if the campsite is closed from November to April, you won't be able to enjoy your mobile home on those dates. On the other hand, in some establishments you can have access to the campsite for longer thanks to an extended opening period, which is specially designed for residential owners. Good to know: the opening period of a campsite or PRL varies little from one year to the next.

So it's vital to study the plot rental clauses in advance so that you can make the most of your second home on a campsite, and avoid disappointment or problems.


See all my campsites consulted