Camping on Your Lake Lot


With more and more buyers looking at vacant lake lots, we’re fielding some recurring questions about what a person can do, once they get their hands on a special place to get away and enjoy. One of those topics has to do with camping.

Camping is a great way to get to know your spot – to understand what trees should be spared when it comes time to build, get a feel for the terrain and how a structure would relate to it. Plus, it’s just so darn exciting when you’re finally a member of “the club” that you want to plant your feet on the ground and stake your claim! “I have a place on the lake!”


Go directly to the nearest camper dealer. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. The next step in building your empire is to pull a camper on your land holdings and bring in some juice. (The electric kind. What you keep in your cooler is your business!)

It only seems like the American way, that once you own a property that you can enjoy it in your own special way. Right? Well…well…it’s just not that easy. Sure, you can find countless examples in the area of people camping, even glamping on their lake lots. Some have been doing it for years! They just go about their merry business and no one around them seems to quibble about it. So, in practice, that may be the case. But if you’re a “go by the book” person or at least want to know the rules before you break them, be aware that it’s not a free-for-all when it comes to Shoreland Zoning.


Here’s the gospel, according to the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance: “No camping unit shall be located within shoreland areas except in a permitted federal, state, town and county camp, a private campground or planned unit development, except that a camping unit may be placed on a private lot for not more than 30 days in any one calendar year without a land use permit for a private camping unit or a conditional permit…Camping units on private parcels cannot be issued a land use permit on parcels that have an existing dwelling or other structures for human habitation.”

If your wheels are turning with creative ideas on how to punch holes in and circumvent the aforementioned, you’re not alone. Just hold on to your “Get Out of Jail Free” card. – Wanda Boldon