RV Parks Aim for Fall Shoulder Seasons
Now that Labor Day is behind us, privately owned and operated campgrounds across the country are rolling out their fall activities.
These include everything from apple and cranberry harvest themed weekends to Oktoberfest celebrations and pre-Halloween weekends, complete with costume and campsite decorating competitions.
Some campgrounds even have Halloween costume contests for dogs and German food boot camps, while others have carnivals and corn mazes. Meanwhile, other campgrounds are marketing themselves in conjunction with local events celebrating everything from the harvesting of wine grapes to apples and cranberries.
“The post-Labor Day period used to be a quiet, sleepy period in the nation’s campgrounds. It’s not so much that way any more,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), in a news release.
Indeed, while camping enthusiasts typically hit the road in smaller numbers after Labor Day, Bambei said campground operators have found that they can extend their seasons and even fill their campsites and rental cabins to capacity if they give people enough things to do.
“The challenge for us,” Bambei said, “is making these campgrounds easier for people to find.”
ARVC has done just that by recently overhauling GoCampingAmerica.com, its travel planning website, with significantly expanded search capabilities, which give people the ability to locate more than 3,000 privately owned and operated campgrounds that are close enough for weekend getaways as well as campgrounds near popular state and national parks and other scenic destinations.
Here is a sampling of some of the fall activities and special events taking place at campgrounds, RV parks and resorts, which can be located using GoCampingAmerica.com:
- Far Horizons 49er Village in Plymouth, Calif.: This park, which is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, has a “best scream” contest as well as Halloween costume and campsite competitions scheduled for Oct. 18, 19, 20 and 21 as well as Oct. 25, 26, 27 and 28.
- KOA campground in Hagerstown, Md.: This campground has Halloween-themed activities every weekend from Sept. 28 to Oct. 28, including a magic show every Friday night, pumpkin carving and a blow up maze for children. The campground also operates Terror at Creekside Manor, a haunted house inside a two story house on property next door to the campground.
- Lazy River at Granville, Granville, Ohio: This park will host an Oktoberfest celebration Sept. 21 to 23 with crafts, five stations of games, a DJ beer garden and German food, including brats, potato salad, apple dumplings and beer. The campground is also planning Halloween weekends, with campsite decorating contests, trick or treating and a haunted house on the weekends of Oct. 5 to 7; 12 to 14; and 19 to 21.
- Mountain Lake Campground and Cabins, Summersville, W.V.: This park will celebrate Halloween with costume and campsite decorating contests for people and for pets as well as trick or treating and scarecrow making on the weekends beginning Sept. 28; Oct. 5; and Oct. 12. The weekend of Oct. 5 will also include a “Monster Mash Dance.” A spooky haunted trail walk is also being planned for the weekend beginning Oct. 26.
- Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina in Newport Beach, Calif.: Special activities this fall include a Halloween party on Friday, Oct. 30, with a costume contest, music, games and dancing for people of all ages.
- Sky High Camping Resort, Portage, Wis.: This park will have Halloween costume dances and campsite decorating on the weekends of Sept. 14 to 16 and Sept. 21 to 23.
- Smokey Hollow Campground, Lodi, Wis.: This park will celebrate pre-Halloween activities, including trick or treating, costume contests, haunted wagon rides, a haunted pavilion and opportunities to make your own caramel apple on the weekends of Sept. 14 to 16 and 21 to 23.
- South Haven Family Campground in South Haven, Mich.: This campground will have an antique engine and tractor weekend on Sept. 7 to 9; a grandparents weekend on Sept. 14 to 16 and a series of Halloween-themed weekends every weekend from Sept. 28 to 30 to Oct. 19 and 21.
- Winston Salem KOA in Statesville, N.C.: This campground’s fall activities include a feast with a roasted pig on the weekend of Sept. 14 and 15. Campers are invited to bring side dishes and desserts while the park supplies the meat, slaw, paper plates and utensils. The park’s Halloween themed weekend will take place Oct. 26 to 27. The park is located next door to Midway Wicked Woods, a haunted themed attraction.
- Woodland Campground in Woodland, Pa.: This park will celebrate an apple festival on Sept. 22. An Oktoberfest weekend is scheduled for Sept. 29 with food, crafts and a flea market, while a Halloween themed weekend is set for Oct. 6 with a haunted hayride, a haunted party and a haunted house.
- Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park of Sioux Falls, S.D.: This park has a 7-acre corn maze as well as weekend activities through October, including a “Mutts in the Maze” event Oct. 7 when people will be allowed to bring their pets with them into the maze. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Sioux Falls Humane Society.