Campgrounds Find It Pays to be Dog Friendly

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July 10, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

Let's face it, dogs are tolerated but aren't necessarily embraced in many public places. 

But campgrounds are a different story, especially at the Edgewater Resort in Kelseyville, Calif., which not only gives each dog a treat and their own nametag when they arrive, but invites them to swim with their owners at its private beach, which fronts Clear Lake, California's largest natural body of water. 

"There aren't many places where they let dogs swim, which is a shame since most dogs love to swim and play catch," said Sandra West, the park's owner. 

But Edgewater Resort's dog-friendly approach has made it a top destination for camping enthusiasts who travel with their pets. "At least half of the people who come here bring dogs," West said, adding, "We probably have 30 to 50 dogs here every weekend." 

Debbie Sipe, executive director of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC), said in a news release that private park owners are becoming more sensitive to the needs of dog owners in response to industry research, which has shown that large numbers of people travel with their pets. 

While over 90% of the RV parks and campgrounds listed on accept dogs, most have relatively limited amenities for pets, aside from a designated dog run. However, a handful of parks are investing in unique pet amenities and activities. They include: 

  • Benbow Valley RV Resort, Garberville: This park, which is part of the Benbow Valley Hotel and Resort, has its own "Salon de Soggy Doggy," an outdoor dog washing area that includes a raised platform and wash basin for easy access with a hose and shower nozzle with warm water. Toni Daily, the director of sales and marketing for resort, said the facility is popular with guests who want to "spruce up their pooch" as they travel or after letting their dog swim in the neighboring Eel River. 
  • Clio's Rivers Edge RV Park, Clio: This 220-site park recently added a 20- by 40-foot dog run, which it plans to equip with exercise and dog play features this summer. The park also allows owners to let their dogs swim the Feather River, which runs alongside the park. 
  • San Francisco North/Petaluma KOA: This park is investing about $200,000 in improvements this year, which include a 4,000-square-foot dog park. 
  • San Diego KOA: This park, located in Chula Vista, has just completed construction of a 7,800-square-foot dog park, completed with agility obstacles and ball play areas. 
  • Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park, Cobb: This campground has themed weekends and related special activities throughout the summer, including a "Pets Weekend" (Aug. 1-2), with a special activities involving animals, including a best dressed pet contest.
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