Growing Demand Fuels Rising Tide Of New, Expanded RV Parks

Real Estate

Across the nation, this past winter saw construction of more than 50 new campgrounds and RV parks, offering more than 15,000 new RV sites. At the same time, work has continued coast to coast on the expansion of many existing parks.

It’s all a result of record recreational vehicle sales, which gained a big boost from the pandemic-sparked drive to spend less time indoors and more in the great outdoors. Increased interest in the recreational vehicle lifestyle has also flowed from the ability of many to leave offices in the rearview mirror and work remotely from their RVs.

Among the wrinkles being seen in the newer RV parks has been the addition in many of rental accommodations. Reason: Many RV owners want to vacation at parks with family and friends who don’t own their own recreational vehicles.

The rental accommodations range from site-built cabins to furnished glamping tents, covered wagons, treehouses and a wide range of other distinctive lodging options. Among the newer twists is the offer of Yurts, also known as gers, which are circular structures that are both lightweight and portable and are held up without center supports. Ability of parks to offer lodging aside from RV sites can help the businesses claim distinct competitive advantages.

Color it crimson

To get a sense of the wholesale explosion of the RV park phenomenon, let’s take a look at the Yellowhammer State. Sure, stars fell on Alabama, but RV parks and resorts have descended on the state as well. The Heart of Dixie is seeing a substantial increase in new and expanded RV parks.

Among the newest parks are River Ridge Retreat in Guntersville, unveiled in autumn 2021; Red Coach Resort in Toney, opened earlier this month; and Gulf Shores RV Resort in Gulf Shores, whose first phase is slated to open in the third quarter of this year. Here’s a look at the trio, whose extras provide a glimpse of what’s trending.

Gulf Shoes RV Resort

This 128-acre park is destined to be popular with RV-ers and their guests who love fishing. Anticipated this summer, the park’s first 175 RV-level full hook-up sites encircle a quartet of stocked fishing ponds. Five rental cottages that can sleep up to six guests each will come online in Phase I. In addition to amenities considered standard at upscale resorts, Gulf Shores RV Resort will feature a pool and hot tub, as well as a pair of pickleball courts. Developed by Memphis-based RVC Outdoor Destinations, this park has the capacity to be expanded by as many as 500 sites.

Red Coach Resort

Lee and Joy Brady, owners of this brand-new park, haven’t yet advertised their resort, but earlier this year had a five-page waiting list of folks interested in availability.

At the outset, the park will have 47 sites that include 17 full-hookup RV sites and 30 “primitive” sites. At full buildout, the 60-acre RV park is destined to have 177 sites. Another 20 acres will be reserved for a horse farm, accommodating those who travel with horses.

The park stretches along a half mile of riverfront where park visitors will be able to swim, raft and kayak. Additional acres being maintained as a nature preserve overlooking the river may within the next couple years host glamping cabins, according to Lee Brady.

River Ridge Retreat

Situated next to picturesque Lake Guntersville, Alabama’s largest lake and one known for bass fishing, River Ridge Retreat was unveiled last fall in an area of natural beauty outside the Guntersville city limits. Originally offering 23 campsites and a dozen cabins, the park added 31 lakefront RV sites in March.

While River Ridge Retreat now features miles of biking, hiking and golf cart paths, its more than 570 acres of land offers plenty of opportunity for expansion as the RV lifestyle is embraced by ever more Americans.

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