RV Parks Cropping Up in Calif.’s Wine Country

July 25, 2013 by · Comments Off on RV Parks Cropping Up in Calif.’s Wine Country 

RV parks are becoming a prevalent part of the landscape in California’s wine country, according to a press release.

“The recent opening of another RV Park in the Paso Robles area is no surprise,” said Grapeline Wine Tours owner John Kelliher. “Each of the three wine regions we serve has bustling RV Parks, and in our experience, proximity to the wineries is the primary draw.”

An article on titled Baby Boomers Create RV Travel Boom stated, “Ultimately, the affordability of RV travel, combined with the comfort, convenience and personal freedom it offers, makes an RV vacation irresistible to many people, including a growing number of Baby Boomers.” This travel trend has benefitted many tourism-based towns, including those in the wine industry.

Bonnie Noble, General Manager of the new Vines RV Resort that opened in Paso Robles in April of 2013, says “Vines RV Resort is a much needed, upscale resort in the Paso Robles area. It was built to accommodate the growing tourism in the area and add a “touch of class” to guests staying here.”

Guests often book wine tours with local companies rather than driving their RV around to different local wineries. This option not only provides a designated driver, but also a chance to socialize with like-minded individuals. According to Grapeline Wine Tours General Manager, Emily Falappino, there has been a substantial rise in the number of weekday guests being picked up at RV parks in Paso Robles. “Many of these riders are senior citizens who prefer not to drive their RVs down narrow winery drives and through difficult tasting room parking lots.”

In My Itchy Travel Feet- The Baby Boomer Guide to Travel, author Donna Hull writes that Paso Robles wine country is an ideal stop for the RV lifestyle. With so many of the elements that seniors desire, Paso Robles wine country offers RV campers a destination “where wine, food, history and ranching culture combine to make a western blend of wine travel fun.”

Grapeline Wine Tours began in Temecula in 2002, and expanded to Paso Robles in 2004 and Santa Barbara in 2007. Serving more than 25,000 wine tasters annually, it is the largest wine tour company in Southern and Central California, and also the top rated wine tour company on popular user-review sites Yelp and TripAdvisor. Grapeline offers daily wine tasting tours and picks up guests from all local lodging establishments, including RV Parks.

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Sun Communities is Expanding RV Footprint

April 26, 2013 by · Comments Off on Sun Communities is Expanding RV Footprint 

Armed with $60 million in cash and $300 million in “additional liquidity,” Sun Communities Inc. is quickly expanding its footprint in the RV park and manufactured housing community industry.

Gary Shiffman, Sun’s chairman and CEO, briefly touched on the company’s expansion plan during an earnings conference call Thursday (April 25), following release of its first quarter financial report. In that report, Sun announced revenue of $103.38 million, and earnings of 93 cents per share.

Woodall’s Campground Management reported that Sun beat Wall Street’s expectations, a positive sign to shareholders seeking high growth out of the company. The stock closed Thursday at $48.77 per share, down 6 cents, on volume of 171,707 shares.

“The company has grown dramatically while operating metrics continue to set new standards and records with each passing quarter,” Shiffman stated.  For example, compared to the end of 2010, Sun’s holdings are up by 48 properties or 45% to 184 properties in 25 states, compared to 17 at the end of 2010, Shiffman noted.

“When we also consider the successful efforts to strengthen the balance sheet, we see a transformed company. Our primary goal now is to bring performance to the bottom line through 2013 and 2014,” he said.

Its RV park acquisitions over the past 18 months have fueled much of the company’s growth, Shiffman noted in the news release and later during the conference call monitored by more than 20  investors.

Sun has invested over $250 million in the acquisition and quality enhancements of RV communities in 18 months, the bulk of them coming in purchases from Morgan RV Resorts.

“Recent acquisitions have served to diversify the company geographically into new markets as well as to expand our commitment to recreational vehicle properties,” Shiffman stated in the news release. “While formerly limited to seasonal operations during the months of December through April primarily in our Southern Florida and Texas RV communities, our geographic footprint now extends north to Wisconsin and the Eastern Seaboard up to Maine where the RV season is opposite of the South, running from June through October. We’ve created a year-round business with complimentary northern and southern seasons which will provide more efficient and effective use of our staff, marketing and RV systems.”

In addition, just last week (after the quarter had ended), Sun paid $9.8 million for the Jellystone Park of Western New York, its first resort in New York state.

Based in Southfield, Mich., Sun is branding these destination resorts as “Sun RV Resorts” which will operate over 30 communities from Arizona to Maine to Wisconsin to Florida.

To read the entire article click here.

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Louisiana Parish Ceases RV Park Development

February 8, 2013 by · Comments Off on Louisiana Parish Ceases RV Park Development 

Louisiana’s St. James Parish Council ordered a six-month halt to construction and development of recreational vehicle parks and campgrounds.

The council voted 6-1 for the moratorium on Wednesday (Feb. 6) after opposition developed to plans by a property owner to build a new RV park near Grand Point, The Advocate, Baton Rouge, reported.

Councilman Jason Amato said that although the parish planning commission recently denied the property owner’s request for a permit to build the RV park because his plans did not comply with the parish campground ordinance, opposition from Grand Point residents prompted the Parish Council to reexamine the ordinance.

Some Grand Point residents had expressed “conflict” over the possibility of an RV park opening for business near their homes, Amato said.

The proposed five-acre RV park could handle 100 recreational vehicles or trailers, Amato said.

The parish campground ordinance currently regulates campgrounds for mobile homes, but does not say where RV parks or campgrounds can be built, Amato said.

Officials want to look into creating language in the ordinance to guide future RV park development by adding such things as buffer zones near residential neighborhoods and requiring the parks to have asphalt or concrete roads, Amato said.

Council legal adviser Bruce Mohon suggested he and parish Director of Operations Jody Chenier study RV park ordinances from nearby parishes and report back to the Parish Council with their findings.

Mohon stressed the moratorium imposed Wednesday did not have to last as long as six months and that the council could shorten it if need be.

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Super Bowl Creates Huge Demand for RV Sites

February 1, 2013 by · Comments Off on Super Bowl Creates Huge Demand for RV Sites 

A year ago, when Glenn Maurer, his wife Joan and two other couples were planning their 14-week, multi-destination RV excursion, they decided to make the host city for Super Bowl 2013 their first stop. Planning way ahead, they booked three sites at the French Quarter RV Resort, which over the next few days will experience its second busiest weekend on record. Here’s to planning ahead.

The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, reported that the retired Los Angeles firefighter and his group secured a coveted spot at the RV park located less than a mile from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

“I’m from California, I’ll be rooting for the 49ers,” Maurer said as he prepared for a bicycle ride through the city.

Two slots over, another retired firefighter, Maryland resident Randy Cowan and his wife Tina, relaxed in the morning sun in front of their 43-foot RV, which sports a giant sticker featuring Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. By Sunday, the famous “brotherhood among firefighters” mantra could be put to the test.

While one of the former first responders’ team will finish second in the big game, both the Cowan and Maurer entourages are winners in the lottery to find RV hookups in the New Orleans area this weekend. Lots throughout the area are packed with Ravens, 49ers and non-partisan road warriors who just want to be where the action is.

“We’re completely filled,” said Katie Muller, assistant manager of the French Quarter RV resort, which has hookups for 52 RVs. “It has really been crazy.”

Muller said she has a waiting list of about 50 people who are hoping a last-minute cancellation might allow them access to the $84 a night lot right across Rampart Street from the French Quarter. In addition to hookups for water and electricity, the RV resort features a pool, hot tub, workout area, laundry and wifi. In terms of demand for slots, this weekend ranks right behind the melee that preceded the January 2012 BCS championship football game between LSU and Alabama.

To read the entire article click here.

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Study: Parks Will See 2.4% Annual Growth to ’17

January 28, 2013 by · Comments Off on Study: Parks Will See 2.4% Annual Growth to ’17 

Editor’s Note: The following information about the future of RV parks and campgrounds and the RV industry appeared in a news release from Wert-Berater Inc. For more information call (888) 661-4449 or visit

Industry Outlook

Recovery for the campgrounds and RV parks industry has arrived. After fighting through declines, industry revenue is expected to perk up in 2012 and 2013. Wert-Berater Inc. forecasts that revenue will increase at an estimated annualized rate of 2.4% to $5.4 billion over the five years to 2017. Furthermore, industry revenue will increase 2.6% to $4.9 billion from 2012 to 2013.


Travel spending is expected to increase over the next five years. In 2013, domestic travel is projected to increase 4.1%, while inbound travel will rise 5.4%. Increased travel rates will benefit campgrounds and RV parks, which have felt the pinch as people canceled and delayed their trips. Over the five years to 2017, domestic travel is forecast to increase at an average rate of 3.3% per year, while inbound travel will increase at an average annual rate of 5.3%.

The industry will also benefit from the economy improving, unemployment rates declining and people spending more money. Consumer spending is expected to increase 1.2% in 2013, and some of this renewed spending is expected to go toward trips and travel. Over the five years to 2017, consumer spending is anticipated to increase at an average annual rate of 3.3%.

Changes in the relative price of domestic and international travel also play a large part in determining travel patterns. Over the past five years, the U.S. dollar has depreciated, which has encouraged domestic travel by making foreign travel relatively more expensive. This factor has also encouraged foreigners to visit the United States. These trends benefit the campgrounds and RV parks industry by encouraging Americans to travel domestically while spurring an influx of foreign tourists. Other non-economic factors include the time available to travel, cultural and family links and the age of travelers. The price of gas is an additional factor that feeds directly into travel costs, especially in driving-dependent industries such as the campgrounds and RV parks industry.

RV sales

The performance of the RV dealers industry will improve through 2017. In 2013, its revenue is expected to increase 2.7% to $18.5 billion. Furthermore, revenue is forecast to grow at an annualized rate of 2.9% over the five years to 2017. However, RV sales will take years to return to their zenith, hampered by the lasting effects of wealth destruction on key customer markets’ ability to finance RV purchases. Current RV owners will also likely continue to choose domestic campgrounds and national parks over international tourist destinations because domestic travel remains a more cost-effective alternative to international travel.

The most promising case for long-term growth in RV sales is the aging Baby Boomer generation. The Baby Boomer population, consisting of people born from 1946 to 1964, numbers about 78.0 million people. This generation is expected to be wealthier and to live longer than any prior generation, making them prime targets for an RV lifestyle. Additionally, Boomers grew up during the height of the Boy Scouts’ popularity, resulting in an appreciation for the outdoors. According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), one-tenth of vehicle owners in this age group also own an RV.

Future trends

The industry is expected to resume expansion as the economy improves. Demand for on-site rentals of RVs and for the storage of RVs will rise. However, sales of used RVs are expected to accelerate over the initial part of the next five years until the arrival of more robust economic growth. Moreover, as revenue grows, industry profit margins are also expected to creep up slowly, making the industry more appealing for potential entrants. Over the five years to 2017, the number of enterprises is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 0.7% per year to 13,431. Employment is also expected to increase at an average annual rate of 1.6% to 47,140, though the industry will continue to use temporary employees during peak guest periods.

The progressive aging of the population, particularly of people aged 55 to 75, will continue to positively influence demand and industry revenue growth as the economic situation improves. Continuing strong growth in RV shipments will support this increase. There will also be an increasing trend toward the franchising of campgrounds, with operators being associated with chains and benefiting from joint promotional activities and access to online information and reservation systems for guests. Significant increases in direct online bookings by guests are expected.

Overall, increasing investment in improving facilities and amenities for guests will remain important, even in low growth periods. Such amenities include the provision of wireless Internet access and access to health and fitness centers. These will need to be supported by continuing industrywide and national promotional campaigns promoting the benefits of RV and camping activities.



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Developer Takes RV Park Battle to Higher Court

January 7, 2013 by · Comments Off on Developer Takes RV Park Battle to Higher Court 

The developer who proposed opening a recreational vehicle facility in Bradford, R.I., is asking the state Supreme Court to review a lower court’s ruling that derailed the plans.

The Westerly Sun reported that Associate Justice Brian Stern of Washington County Superior Court upheld a decision by the Westerly zoning official, Elizabeth Burdick, who said that the plans developed by Larry LeBlanc’s Exco LLC called for what amounted to a mobile home park, a prohibited land use in the town.

Stern’s decision in September overturned a decision by the Zoning Board of Review, which had found in favor of the developer.

Were the Supreme Court to take the case and ultimately rule in Exco’s favor, it could pave the way for the company to develop a 225-unit facility on 54 acres.

The request to the state Supreme Court comes as town officials are considering an amendment to the town zoning regulations to prohibit camps and campgrounds in the town’s Rural Residential-60 and Aquifer Protection Overlay zones, the only areas where they are currently allowed. The Town Council has scheduled a public hearing on the proposed amendment for Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. If approved, the amendment would not apply to Exco’s application because it predates the new zoning proposal, officials have said.

In a motion filed with the Supreme Court, Exco’s lawyer, Kelly Fracassa, argues that Stern and Burdick failed to properly consider and distinguish between state laws that define mobile and manufactured homes, and those that define recreational vehicles.

Exco “still intends to develop the property as an RV park, if possible, and if not, still intends to develop land in Westerly as an RV park,” Fracassa wrote in the motion to the Supreme Court.

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Oil, Gas Workers Turn Fairground into RV Park

January 3, 2013 by · Comments Off on Oil, Gas Workers Turn Fairground into RV Park 

So many recreational vehicles owned by those working in the oil and gas industry were parked at the Washington County fairgrounds in West Virginia from November 2011 to May 2012 that the fair board was required to declare the main parking lot a RV park.

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel reported that in a licensing and permit process that started in October 2011 and was completed recently, former fair board members worked to complete all necessary steps in the process.

Now that all permits, licenses and insurance have been received for the Washington County Midway RV Park near the fairground’s main entrance, the area can be used in multiple ways: as a RV park, parking lot and a midway for fair concessions, said Gill.

City and state licenses, permits and insurance were applied for and received including flood insurance that costs $100 annually; a RV park license costing $250 per year; and a one-time fee to the city of Marietta’s engineering department for about $150.

Now, the RV park is licensed for 50 camping sites, with 25 utility poles and hookups for two RVs per pole. Sites offer RVers full hookup including electricity, water and sewer.

“It’s a plus for an RV park to have full hookup,” said Sandra Hickey, fair board treasurer.

To read the entire article click here.



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ELS Adding Two More Texas Parks to Portfolio

January 2, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc. (ELS) acquired two properties, Victoria Palms Resort and Alamo Palms, in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, the company announced on Dec. 28.

The two properties contain approximately 1,765 sites on approximately 175 acres for a stated purchase price of $25 million. The company funded the purchase price with available cash.

Victoria Palms is an age-restricted, 1,122-site property with 270 manufactured home sites and 853 RV sites. Alamo Palms is an age-restricted, 643-site property with 293 manufactured home sites and 350 RV sites. The acquisition will compliment ELS’ South Texas portfolio of eight properties and 5,100 sites and further strengthen its presence in the market.

As of Dec. 28, ELS owns or has an interest in 383 properties in 32 states and British Columbia consisting of 142,679 sites. The company is a self-administered, self-managed, real estate investment trust (REIT) with headquarters in Chicago.


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Rio Grande Parks Adapt to New Demographics

November 9, 2012 by · Comments Off on Rio Grande Parks Adapt to New Demographics 

It’s no secret that RV parks and resorts in the Rio Grande Valley whose livelihoods depend on the annual influx of Winter Texans are facing several challenges.

Many of today’s winter visitors are younger and more mobile than their counterparts of years past, according to a news release from the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO).

“They may go to Arizona this year, Texas next year and Florida the next year,” said Kristi Collier, president and CEO of Welcome Home Rio Grande Valley, which markets 74 RV parks and resorts from Mission to South Padre Island.

Snowbirds who don’t have a history of spending their winters in the Rio Grande Valley are also more likely to be frightened by publicity about violence in Mexico, even though cities in the Rio Grande Valley have less crime than other popular winter resort destinations in other states.

Despite these challenges, RV parks and resorts across the Rio Grande Valley are finding that they can continue to grow their business base for the winter season if they offer lots of organized activities and continue to invest in new amenities for their parks, said Brian Schaeffer, executive director and CEO of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO).

These new amenities include walking areas and agility courses for people with dogs as well as special pet-related activities.

“Dog parks are a big deal,” said Jacqueline Gomez, who is the marketing director for Llano Grande Lake Park Resort & Country Club in Mercedes, Victoria Palms Resort in Donna and Alamo Park Mobile Home & RV Park in Alamo. She said each of the resorts has two, off-leash dog areas.

The dog park at Bentsen Palm Village in Mission has become so popular that the owners recently added a second park so that guests could have separate running and play areas for big dogs and small dogs.

“About 70% to 75% of our guests have dogs, so these kinds of amenities are important,” said Juanita Carvajal, Bentsen Palm Village’s general manager.

Of course, while pet friendly amenities are attractive to Winter Texans, that’s not the only attraction at Bentsen Palm Village. The 250-site resort recently set aside an open area of the park where its guests can grow their own organic fruits, vegetables and herbs.

“It’s like a community garden,” Carvajal said, “but we give each guest a 10 by 10-foot section where they can put a stake with their name on it. They often grow kale, peppers, tomatoes, onions and radishes. Sometimes, they grow so much they bring it into the office to share.”

Bentsen Palms also markets its proximity to the World Birding Center while also highlighting the rare birds and other wildlife that make their way into the park.

But while nature oriented activities are always popular, RV park and resort operators are finding that other types of organized activities are also critical for today’s Winter Texans.

El Valle del Sol in Mission offers more than 100 activities each week for its guests. “Winter Texans want to be active,” said park manager Irma Sanchez.

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Best Parks Adds Two New Affiliates to Network

November 8, 2012 by · Comments Off on Best Parks Adds Two New Affiliates to Network 

Best Parks in America has announced the addition of two new affiliated resorts, The Great Outdoors RV Resort in Franklin, N.C., and Emerald Desert RV Resort in Palm Desert, Calif. Heading into 2013, there are currently 68 affiliated properties in the Best Parks in America network, according to a news release.

“Best Parks in America is thrilled to add two new affiliates in these two outstanding vacation destinations,” said David Gorin, president of Best Parks. “The Great Outdoors RV Resort is the first Best Park affiliate in North Carolina and the addition of Emerald Desert brings the number of California parks to four including facilities in Anaheim, Palm Springs/Palm Desert and the northern California wine country around Plymouth.

“Adding Best Park affiliates in both of these markets is another step forward for the Best Parks network. Coming on the addition of four new parks in Connecticut, Florida, California and Arizona announced in late September, we hope these latest new Best Parks will catch the attention of park owners in other key markets.”

Owned by Ron and Mary Blake, The Great Outdoors RV Resort is their first RV park venture. Not new to hospitality, the Blakes have a long history in the industry having owned country inns in Australia and Vermont, winning accolades and awards for excellence.

Located in the western North Carolina mountains in popular Franklin, the resort earned recognition in the top 300 RV parks of over 12,000 inspected by Trailer Life in the U.S. The resort is known for its friendly staff and panoramic vistas of the beautiful Smoky Mountains and is big-rig, motorcycle and rally group friendly.

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Overflowing With RVs, N.D. City Taking a Stand

June 27, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

People living in campers in Williston, N.D., will have to get rolling, but they have a few months to find a new place to park.

The Williston City Commission on Tuesday (June 26) unanimously approved an ordinance that makes it illegal to live in an RV outside of a designated RV park, the Dickinson Press reported.

Campers in residential areas will have to relocate by Sept. 1 and RVs in commercial or industrial areas will have until Nov. 1.

The penalty for violating the ordinance is a $500 fine for each day of noncompliance.

Commissioners have said the hundreds of RVs around the city create health and safety hazards. In previous meetings, they have cited cases of people urinating outside their campers, inappropriately dumping waste and illegally hooking up to utilities.

Several RV parks in the Williston area are under construction to serve the oil and shale exploration workers, but what they will charge for rent is unclear. Mayor Ward Koeser said he’s heard rent may be $750 to $800 per month.

Paul Miller, who lives in an RV parked in a church driveway, said the rent is too steep for service workers like him and he expects many will leave town.

“I’ve come to say goodbye to the city if this law passes,” Miller said.

He told commissioners he wishes the city would have charged campers a weekly or monthly fee until the RV park rates came down to a reasonable amount.

Miller, who said his employer didn’t want him to say publicly where he works, plans to continue working in Williston this summer and move to Montana before Sept. 1.

He predicts that lines in restaurants and other businesses will only get longer as a result of the ordinance.

“It’s going to hurt this city of Williston,” Miller said.

Koeser said he’s received public comments on both sides of the RV ban, but an increasing number of comments have been concerns and frustrations about the RVs.

“I needed to protect our residents who have lived here, who pay taxes here,” said Koeser, adding that approving the ordinance was difficult for commissioners. “I need to protect the quality of life I think they deserve.”

Many of the construction workers building Williston’s permanent housing live in RVs at work sites.

The ordinance allows building contractors to apply for $200 monthly RV permits to accommodate those workers. That will be reevaluated in a year.

The ordinance does not affect people living in cars or other vehicles.

Williston Police Chief James Lokken said the department will determine how to enforce the ordinance. Officers may initially give out warnings.

“It’s going to be tough,” Lokken said. “We’re just hoping people will move on their own.”

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Best Parks Launches In-House Rating System

June 11, 2012 by · Comments Off on Best Parks Launches In-House Rating System 

Best Parks in America (BPA) has announced the introduction of a new rating system that will be used to evaluate RV parks and campgrounds that wish to join the national Best Parks network of highly-rated, premium RV parks and campgrounds. According to a press release, the Best Parks board endorsed the new system at a meeting on June 6 and agreed to implement the measuring system immediately.

“As Best Parks continues to build a new market segment and create a niche audience that seeks higher end, premium parks to enjoy, every effort must be made to assure consumers that parks affiliated with BPA stand out and truly are the best. Continued reliance on the Trailer Life and now Good Sam ratings is no longer appropriate and doesn’t provide a valid measuring tool on which to judge parks for inclusion in Best Parks,” said BPA board member Mike Gurevich, owner of Cherry Hill Park, College Park, Md.

“It’s imperative that Best Parks continue to raise the bar as it creates a new industry segment. Every park in the network reflects on every other park and the goal is to come as close as possible to universal agreement among consumers that each park in the network has earned and deserves the recognition and brand as one of the Best Parks in America. This new rating system is an important development in this direction,” said board member Randy Packard, owner of Pine Acres Family Camping Resort in Oakham, Mass.

The new system scores 110 elements on a scale of 1 to 4. Initially, parks that attain a score of 225 or higher can be considered for Best Parks affiliation. The system takes into account the diversity that exists among parks in different geographic areas, among those serving various demographic groups, and the value of the overall consumer experience at the park.

“Just as KOA, Leisure Systems and other companies have their way of evaluating the properties in their group, Best Parks will now have in place a way to assure that each park in the system will meet the high standards expected by its target consumers and is of the highest quality in terms of guest experience, facilities, amenities, hospitality and service,” said BPA President David Gorin.

Established in 2003, Best Parks in America currently consists of 66 affiliated facilities nationwide.


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ARVC’s National Issues Day Under Way in D.C.

May 8, 2012 by · Comments Off on ARVC’s National Issues Day Under Way in D.C. 

The National Issues Conference sponsored by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) got under way today (May 8) in Washington, D.C.

ARVC retained McDermott, Will & Emery, a leading Washington, D.C., law firm, registered lobbyist and powerful partner on Capitol Hill, to assist in the event. Some of the issues that will be focused on include:

• Ensuring that members of Congress appreciate the importance of tourism and travel to the overall health of the American economy, and that travel and tourism accounted for 7.5 million jobs in 2010.

• Fighting for a transportation infrastructure bill, which is vital to connecting tourists and travelers to their destinations; and

• Seeking clearer guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations covering swimming pools and spas.


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KOA is Taking the ‘Rough’ Out of ‘Roughing It’

May 2, 2012 by · Comments Off on KOA is Taking the ‘Rough’ Out of ‘Roughing It’ 

Jim Rogers, KOA CEO

Those of you who wiggle out of family camping trips by claiming you’re just not into roughing it will have to find another excuse.

A range of camping options and innovations have made it far more comfortable to eat, sleep and otherwise spend time in the Great Outdoors.

“’Soft rugged’ is what so many Americans are seeking in their outdoor experience today,” says Jim Rogers, chairman and CEO of Kampgrounds of America, or KOA, which runs about 500 campgrounds around the country. So much so that he now refers to the camping industry as “outdoor hospitality.”

KOA has beefed up some of its campgrounds to include both basic and luxury cabins – the latter being the kind more often equated with family resorts than places to pitch tents. Rental costs $100 to $150 per night. Some sites offer coffee carts, pancake breakfasts, kids’ activities and entertainment.

Campers who want things a bit more – but not much more – rustic can browse the equipment lining the shelves at well-stocked outdoors stores (although some of the fancy new goodies may hike the price of that simple camping trip).

Take, for instance, REI’s Kingdom 8 tent, which is big enough to sleep eight. For $529, the tent is not just waterproof and bug-proof but also has moveable room dividers to create separate spaces with private entrances. Fill it with cots, airbeds and perhaps a ceiling fan created for tents, and you’re bound to get in a good night’s sleep. Toss in another $100, and you can add to it a “garage” to store food or gear — or use it as a place for the family dog to sleep.

Nifty outdoor stoves and cooking gear have made campfire-cooked canned beans and hot dogs moot, unless you really like them.

REI’s camp kitchen, for example, is a folding trove of food-prep workspace and storage – all of which can be carried around in a zipper bag. It even includes hooks for hanging up spatulas, and windproof screens so the elements don’t mess with your cooking.

Coleman, one of the biggest manufactures of camping gear, sells a camping oven that fits handily onto one of the company’s two- or three-burner grills.

To view the entire article click here.

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RVC Destinations Acquires Colo. Campground

May 1, 2012 by · Comments Off on RVC Destinations Acquires Colo. Campground 

RVC Outdoor Destinations announced today (May 1) its expansion west with the acquisition of the Garden of the Gods Campground in Colorado Springs, Colo.

According to a news release, the roughly 200-site property is located near the entrance of the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center, with views of Pikes Peak, the most visited mountain in North America. The property has been the top RV and outdoor lodging destination in the region but has been under bank ownership since 2010.

RVC has begun stabilizing operations and will start renovating the property immediately. Renovations will include an overall upgrade of the property and its amenities, including enhancing tent sites and incorporating them into current on-property cabins for a unique camping experience, resurfacing pools, improving existing RV sites and adding eight new concrete RV sites.

In the coming weeks, RVC will rebrand the property from Garden of the Gods Campground to Garden of the Gods RV Resort, and will reflag it as an RVC Outdoor Destination by the start of 2013.

“The Garden of the Gods acquisition is a terrific addition to our portfolio of upscale outdoor vacation properties,” said Andy Cates, president of RVC Outdoor Destinations. “The upgraded camping experience we offer is resonating with guests. It fits with what a lot of people are looking for in a vacation these days because it is unique, affordable and allows guests to enjoy some of America’s most beautiful natural landscapes with amenities that truly make it a destination experience.”

In addition to its newly acquired Colorado property, RVC currently operates Outdoor Destinations and RV resorts in Arkansas, Georgia, Florida and North Carolina.

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