Award-Winning Texas Park’s Still Growing

May 20, 2015 by · Comments Off on Award-Winning Texas Park’s Still Growing 

TACO's Doug Schaeffer (left) and Don Temple (right) present the award to Texas Lakeside owners Dana and Doug Jensen.

TACO’s Brian Schaeffer (left) and Don Temple (right) present the award to Texas Lakeside owners Dana and Doug Jensen.

Occupancies continue to rise at Texas Lakeside RV Resort a three-year-old park that caters to guests who want a peaceful place to relax.

“Occupancies were up quite a bit this past winter. We had a large population of Winter Texans from November to March,” said park Manager Sheryl Roberge in a written announcement from the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO). “This was the first year our park seemed to be a destination for them. A lot of them came because it’s not Port Aransas. They wanted a more quiet, calm place to relax.”

Many were also enticed by Texas Lakeside RV Resort’s amenities, which include a beautiful swimming pool and hot tub, a dog park, a fitness center, a fishing lake with bass, bluegill, catfish and crappie as well as waterfront RV sites.

And soon, even more are likely to hear about the 97-site park, which received the Medium Size Park of the Year Award from TACO.

“That’s what we’re hoping for,” said Roberge, whose park also received TACO’s Rack Card of the Year Award.

Rack cards, which are used to promote RV parks and resorts and other tourist attractions, can be powerful marketing tools.

TACO’s Rack Card of the Year Award recognizes the visibility; appearance and content quality of the recipient’s rack card, as well as its readability; appeal; use of color; layout; effectiveness at promoting the park and area activities; use of maps as a directional aid; and ease in determining park contact information.

Roberge said the park plans to add more palm trees this fall and hopes to add another 48 campsites next year.

For more information on Texas Lakeside RV Resort, contact Roberge at 361-551-2267 or visit

TACO Redoes Site

August 19, 2014 by · Comments Off on TACO Redoes Site 

The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) has given a new look and fresh content in an effort to keep the travel planning website as an essential resource for camping enthusiasts across the Lone Star State.

“Visually, we wanted to keep things fresh, and I think we’ve accomplished that,” said Brian Schaeffer, TACO’s executive director and CEO, adding that the redesigned website has fresh photos, a new layout and special featured parks on its homepage.

“The consumer should have a much better experience and our parks should get much better exposure as a result of the website’s updated search engine optimization.”

The changes, which were completed in time for Labor Day weekend travel planning, also include a new link to, the heavily researched statewide travel planning website, which is jointly hosted by the Texas Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism.

“Our members will benefit from the synergies creating by linking and,” Schaeffer said, adding that also continues to provide prominent links to its gas card drawing promotion and its free printed camping guide.

Schaeffer also noted that the recently updated site was designed and developed by TXAD Internet Services, a division of Texas Advertising. “The project was completed on-time and under budget,” he said.

Texas Association of Campground Owners produces the RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas, a free, four-color glossy magazine that lists more than 375 campgrounds and RV resorts in Texas and surrounding states.

The 2014 directory also includes a separate section listing campgrounds with cabin and cottage rentals ( well as a listing of park model manufacturers. Schaeffer said almost a fourth of Texas campgrounds have cabin or cottage rentals. Many of the parks that offer cabin and cottage rentals also have sites for lease or for sale to park model owners.

RV and camping enthusiasts can order the nearly 150-page directory online by visiting The 2014 RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas is also posted on the website in digital page-turning format.

For more information about the directory or camping in Texas, call Brian Schaeffer at (817) 307-0129 or visit and

Some Texas Campgrounds Available July 4

June 30, 2014 by · Comments Off on Some Texas Campgrounds Available July 4 

Most campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across the Lone Star State are booked solid for July 4th weekend. But there’s a handful of parks that still have vacancy, according to Brian Schaeffer, executive director and CEO of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) in a written announcement Monday (June 30).

Several parks have notified TACO that they still have vacancy over the July 4 weekend. These include:

• Hill Country Cottage and RV Resort in New Braunfels: This park has RV sites as well as 83 vacation rentals, including 18 park model cottages that were just installed this spring. The park also has a new heated outdoor swimming pool, a recreation lodge and a kid zone. The lodge includes a shuffleboard table, two pool tables, couches and three flat screen TVs. “Our new lodge is really a hangout place,” said park manager Bryan Kastleman. “People can come and relax and play pool. We get a lot of reunion business. It’s a good place for people to gather, have meals and meetings.” Other amenities include a jumping pillow, a jump pad and a gaga pit.

• Pecan Park Campground in San Marcos: This 116-site park is gearing up to expand by another 30 sites. Amenities include a 9-hole Frisbee disc golf course, an indoor heated pool and hot tub, a kiddie pool, a children’s play scape. The park is located along the San Marcos River. Canoes, kayaks and tubes are available for rent. July 4th weekend activities include a “watermelon scramble at the pool” on July 4th, a scavenger hunt and movie on July 5th and homemade breakfast tacos on July 6th.

• Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort and Retama Village at Bentsen Palm in Mission: Spaces are available over July 4th weekend at this resort, which is seeing a positive upswing in reservations over the summer. The park is located in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley and next door to both Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park with the World Birding Center and the National Butterfly Center, which makes it the premier destination for bird and butterfly enthusiasts. Amenities include a swimming pool, a new pickle ball court, 15 miles of hiking and biking trails, and even excursions on the Rio Grande.

• Texas Lakeside Resort in Port Lavaca: This park has a private stocked fishing lake, a fitness center, a 4,000-square-foot clubhouse and an outdoor pavilion and swimming pool. “Our holiday business is much better than last year,” said park owner Doug Jensen. “We do have a few sites available for the 4th. We will be grilling for our guests and there will be a huge fireworks show on the beachfront.”

Texas Readies For TACO Spring Meeting

April 21, 2014 by · Comments Off on Texas Readies For TACO Spring Meeting 

The Texas Association of Campground Owners’ annual Spring Meeting and Trade Show will take place Sunday through Tuesday (April 27-29) with a powerful lineup of speakers, the association announced.

The three-day event, which takes place at Guadalupe River RV Resort and Inn of the Hills in Kerrville, will include a presentation by Sen. Glenn Hegar, candidate for Texas Comptroller, who is scheduled to speak during next Tuesday’s lunch meeting.

“Sen. Hegar needs your support so he can become the next Comptroller of Texas and support you,” said Brian Schaeffer, TACO’s executive director and CEO.

Current Comptroller Susan Combs has created favorable tax policies including sales tax rebates that have put hundreds of thousands of dollars back into the pockets of TACO members, Schaeffer said.

Other speakers include Kerr County Sheriff W.R. “Rusty” Hierholzer, who will talk about how he enforces RV park legislation that TACO has been instrumental in passing during the past decade. “If you want to know how to work with your local law enforcement to get the laws on the books enforced, you need to be here,” Schaeffer said, adding, “Rusty also needs to know how much we appreciate law enforcement helping TACO parks.”

TACO’s legislative consultant, Ron Hinkle, and the association’s attorney, Casey Erick, will also be in a booth at the TACO trade show to answer questions about legal and legislative issues involving Texas campgrounds.

“We need to know what legislation you would like to have passed or eliminated,” Schaeffer said, noting that TACO’s legislative affairs program is the association’s number-one benefit.

The spring meeting will also include a presentation by Kevin Sullivan of Popp Hutcheson, an Austin-based company that helps clients reduce their property taxes.

“RV parks in Texas have been hit with super-high property-tax bills,” Schaeffer said. “But some of our members have been able to reduce their property taxes and Sullivan will explain how they did it.”

The spring meeting will also include a discussion of the latest Wi-Fi and TV systems, which have become the most important amenity in campgrounds, RV parks and resorts, Schaeffer said.

The three-day event starts Sunday afternoon with a concert by Voice contestant Jared Blake, sponsored by TengoInternet and AGS Guest Area Guides. The concert will be followed by a full-scale casino night at Guadalupe River RV Resort’s River Rock Saloon, courtesy of Rowley Insurance. TACO’s annual auction is scheduled for Monday night with world class auctioneer Dan Kruse. For more information, click here.

RVIA: Million+ Snowbirds Head South

February 25, 2014 by · Comments Off on RVIA: Million+ Snowbirds Head South 

Sun-N-Fun RV Resort in Sarasota, Fla.

Snow in 49 of the 50 states is good news for the sun belt. Campgrounds in southern California, Texas, Florida and Arizona are seeing a boom in occupancy for December-March with travelers seeking a respite from this winter’s ravaging snow and plummeting temperatures.

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reports that more than one million RVers will use their RV this winter to head to warmer climates, spending on average 12 weeks at campgrounds throughout the sun belt, according to a press release from the RVIA.

“RVing has always been popular in the winter months but this year has been exceptionally successful for campgrounds. Every segment of traveler is discovering that RVing is affordable, easy and most importantly, flexible,” said Richard Coon, RVIA president. “RVers can stay at a campground for as long as they would like or travel throughout the season without worrying about any long-term commitments, an option not afforded traditional seasonal rentals. If you want a new view, just pick up and go.”

The most popular sun-belt state for snowbirds is Florida, with campgrounds seeing an ever-expanding demographic of travelers who will spend the winter months working while escaping the cold weather.

“We are at 100% occupancy for February and March and up 20% for April over last year. This winter has been great for us,” said Tim Deputy, general manager of Sun-N-Fun RV Resort in Sarasota, Fla. “We’re seeing the retirees that you would expect to be snowbirds, but also a growing number of younger folks who are telecommuting. With technology, you can really work anywhere, so why not spend the winter on the beach if you can?”

However, campgrounds are doing more than just relying on good weather and warm beaches to attract the competitive snowbird market. They’re adding amenities that rival traditional hotel resorts. Two years ago, Sun-N-Fun (which was profiled in January’s issue of Woodall’s Campground Management) opened an 18,000-square-foot spa and wellness center with an indoor swimming pool, infrared sauna and steam room. They also offer an onsite masseuse and sports therapist. Perhaps the most unique aspect of this campground is the Neurogym, equipped with computer programs and equipment that helps people learn how to reduce their stress and improve their mental well being.

“One of our programs is called Peak Brain Happiness,” said Deputy. “It’s designed for golfers and tennis players. We also have programs that help people quit smoking and reduce weight, too.” While such extensive health and wellness facilities may seem like extreme investments, Deputy said the resort is trying to be responsive to the needs of its guests, who range from single working professionals and families to empty nesters and retirees.

“Many of our younger guests are interested in physical fitness, while many of our older guests are looking for tools to help rejuvenate themselves, both physically and mentally,” Deputy said.

Services and amenities are increasingly more important for a campground to compete with other snowbird accommodations. The Golden Village Palms RV Resort in Hemet, Calif., has garnered a reputation for outstanding entertainment seven days a week with tribute bands, jazz performances and dinner shows. They also cater to the pet-friendly traveler with a dog park and weekly Bark & Wine parties.

A significant portion of the snowbird community has always been RV travelers but a new trend is growing. Park model RVs are cabin-like homes built on RV chassis and are perfect for people who don’t want to or can’t own an RV, but still want the luxury of a home-away-from-home for much less than a seasonal condo or apartment rental. Park models now outnumber other RVs at the Sun-N-Fun RV Resort, with 600 RV sites, 810 privately owned park models and 105 park-model rentals.

Kathi and John Volger have traded in their fifth-wheel RV and bought a park model that they keep at Sun-N-Fun. “We had snow in New Jersey before Halloween this year and it was dark by 4 p.m.,” Kathi Volger said. “We did a lot of sitting around complaining about the cold and couldn’t wait to get to Florida for the winter.” Because the Volgers own their park model, they can leave everything they want behind when they return home at the end of the season.

Arizona-based Carefree RV Resorts, which offers more than 10,000 RV and park-model sites throughout the sun belt, expects to see a 6% increase in revenue over last winter. “The snowbird business is stronger than ever. The convergence of a steadily recovering economy, the demographic bulge of baby boomers who embrace travel and leisure, the ease of connectivity for travelers, and the growing appeal of RVing as a vibrant lifestyle will likely fuel growth for decades,” said Colleen Edwards, president of Carefree RV Resorts. “What’s particularly encouraging is that the snowbird season is extending every year with many of our guests, who have traditionally checked out in March, staying through April.”

Texas has seen a particularly robust season this year as well, with parks from the central part of the state, known as the Texas Hill Country, to the southern border of the Rio Grande Valley reporting a year-to-year increase ranging from 5%-37%, that is credited to the severe winter weather in the north. But it’s not just the campgrounds that are benefiting from this winter’s frigid temperatures and record-breaking snow.

“According to a University of Texas Pan Am study of snowbirds, they spend nearly $100 a day when visiting Texas; so the economic impact to the whole community is significant,” said Brian Schaeffer, executive director and CEO of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO).

Helping fuel this boom is the strong performance of the RV industry that is surging back from the great recession. 2013 shipments hit a four-year high of 321,127 units – up 12.4% over 2012 totals and nearly double the amount of RVs shipped in 2009 at the depth of the recession for the industry.

TACO Helps in West, Texas, Rebuilding Efforts

August 1, 2013 by · Comments Off on TACO Helps in West, Texas, Rebuilding Efforts 

The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) is providing the city of West, Texas, with a free quarter page display ad in the association’s 2014 RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas.

“We wanted to do something to help the city of West as they try to rebuild from the devastating fertilizer plant explosion that took place last spring,” Brian Schaeffer, TACO executive director and CEO, stated in a news release.

The April 17 blast killed 15 and injured 200, while also damaging local water and sewer systems. Gov. Rick Perry has said the city sustained more than $35 million in damage. The city of West had been under a boil water order until mid-July.

Schaeffer said the free exposure on the 2014 RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas will help West as it tries to rebuild. TACO produces 250,000 copies of the free, four-color glossy magazine each year. The guide lists more than 350 campgrounds and RV resorts in Texas and surrounding states. An interactive version of the state guide is available at

The directory is broken up into seven sections, each representing a distinct region of Texas. Locator maps are provided at the beginning of each section, with numbered listings of the campgrounds for each region. Campgrounds are also alpha-indexed by city and park name.

Each campground listing includes a grid that lists the park’s facilities, services and amenities as well as driving directions, a miniature locator map and many parks have panoramic photos showing off what campers can experience. The directory also features a Texas Saver Card, which provides a 10% discount at participating parks.

The directory also includes a separate section listing campgrounds with cabin and cottage rentals as well as a listing of park model manufacturers. Schaeffer said almost 25% of Texas campgrounds have cabin or cottage rentals. Many of the parks that offer cabin and cottage rentals also have sites for lease or for sale to park model owners. To get more rental information visit

RV and camping enthusiasts can order the nearly 150-page directory online by visiting For more information about the directory or camping in Texas call Brian Schaeffer at (817) 307-0129 or visit


Hidden Valley Rebounding from May 25 Flood

July 8, 2013 by · Comments Off on Hidden Valley Rebounding from May 25 Flood 

Hidden Valley RV Park in Van Ormy, Texas, has been owned by the Coleman family and operated by family members Teri and Mark Blaschke for 40 years.

But the family business was almost completely destroyed May 25 when a flood swelled the Medio Creek into a raging river that buried the 25-site park under 12 feet of water, according to a news release.

“The flood waters completely uprooted the electrical utilities, including the poles that were set in the ground four feet deep,” Teri Blaschke said. “It filled the sewer lines and septic tanks with silt from the creek and gravel from the roads. Our water faucets were all cut off at the ground. Even our camping pads with gravel and other types of materials were destroyed.”

To make matters worse, the Blaschkes’ insurance was of no benefit.

“When you have a body of water on your property, getting flood insurance is close to impossible to obtain,” Blaschke said.

“I thought we might at least have insurance coverage on the RVs we rent out, but our insurance company wouldn’t even cover that because of the flood,” she said.

But despite the obvious financial hardship, the Blaschkes are rebuilding and hope to have Hidden Valley RV Park back in operation by the time the Winter Texans return to Hill Country in the fall.

“That’s what we’re shooting for,” Blaschke said, adding that construction will be underway as soon as they obtain the necessary building permits.

Despite the obvious hardship, Blaschke said the flood may have been a blessing in disguise for the park, which was founded by her father, Jack Coleman, in 1973.

The Medio Creek when not in flood stage.

“When he built the park, RVs were a lot smaller. Now, they are much larger and we need bigger campsites.”

And when the park reopens, it will have larger sites that are big enough for today’s RVs, an improvement that will make the park more competitive and better able to accommodate RVers with vehicles of any size.

Help is also on the way from the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), which is donating the company’s Silver marketing package to help them step up their marketing efforts as they rebuild.

The package, valued at nearly $3,500, includes 3,000 rack cards; 3,000 cooperative promotional placements in RV shows and other venues; a free link to their website at from; a free month on blogging on their behalf; plus 1,000 custom coupons and 1,000 car tags. Peter Pelland of Haydenville, Mass.-based Pelland Advertising (  has also offered to print the rack cards, which will be designed by Crowley-based Texas Advertising.


TACO Names RV Parks with July 4 Vacancies

July 2, 2013 by · Comments Off on TACO Names RV Parks with July 4 Vacancies 

Texas campgrounds are quickly filling up for the July 4th holiday weekend, but some campsites and cabins are still available.

“We’ve made a quick check with our members and identified several campgrounds that still have vacancy for the holiday weekend, some of which still have cabins available,” Brian Schaeffer, executive director and CEO of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), stated in a news release.

He added that campgrounds expect to be busier this year as more and more people take advantage of the rental accommodations that many campgrounds, RV parks and resorts now provide.

“It used to be that you had to have a tent or RV to camp, but that’s not necessarily the case any more,” Schaeffer said, adding that campgrounds are making a concerted effort to broaden their business base and attract more families who might otherwise stay in a hotel.

Campground operators also expect to see more business as temperatures cool off later this week.

To find campgrounds that still have RV and cabin sites available, please visit and, both of which have online booking capabilities.

The list of parks with vacancies includes Austin Lone Star RV Resort in Austin, Crockett Family Resort in Crockett, Farm Country RV Park in Bandera, Hill Country RV Resort in New Braunfels, Lake Medina RV Resort in Lakehills, Rayford Crossing in The Woodlands, Roadrunner RV Park in Johnson City and Travelers World RV Resort in San Antonio.



Texas Campgrounds Offer Diverse Activities

May 31, 2013 by · Comments Off on Texas Campgrounds Offer Diverse Activities 

Campgrounds across Texas are gearing up for a busy summer camping season, and many of them are offering more activities than they’ve ever had before.

“Each year they get better at providing their guests fun things to do as a family,” Brian Schaeffer, executive director and CEO of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), stated in a news release. “Campgrounds now offer everything from chocolate-themed weekends with chocolate tug of war and Slip N Slide games to music and culture themed weekends that celebrate everything from Hawaiian luau limbo events to Texas Ranger-style shootouts and lassoing contests. And if you’d rather go fishing or river tubing and kayaking or take in the sights and sounds of the east Texas bayou country, there are campgrounds perfect for that, too. We even have campgrounds that offer guided horseback riding adventures, chili cook-offs, barbecue competitions and other culinary competitions.”

Here’s a sampling of some of the activities taking place at Texas campgrounds this summer:

  • Twin Elm Guest Ranch in Bandera: Twin Elm Ranch is an all-inclusive Dude Ranch featuring horseback riding, three meals a day and other amenities. Four different types of lodges are available with 21 units in all. The ranch also offers primitive camping along the Medina River for those who prefer a less structured camping experience. Activities include hiking, canoeing, kayaking and horseback riding.
  • Backwater Jacks RV Park and Camp in Karnack: This park is very close to the Louisiana border, just south of Arkansas, in some of the prettiest bayou country in east Texas. The park itself is located on the scenic Big Cypress Bayou, just a short distance from Caddo Lake, a wetland maze of twisting narrow bayous and both expansive and shallow waterways.
  • Bluebonnet Ridge RV Park in Terrell: This campground has a five-acre fishing lake stocked with channel catfish, perch and largemouth bass. Many of the catfish are now over 8 pounds, while many of the bass are over 5 pounds, according to the park’s website. Other activities include swimming, sun bathing and working out in the park’s exercise facilities.
  • Coyote Ranch Resort in Wichita Falls: Built three years ago, Coyote Ranch Resort features 123 RV sites, 23 cabins and one yurt. The resort has two swimming pools, a fishing area, a playground and a large outdoor jumping pillow. The park is also adding a pizza kitchen this year and it plans to roll out an onsite activities program for families with children this summer.
  • Jellystone Hill Country in Canyon Lake: The weekend of June 7 – 9 will be a Texas Rangers Weekend with bluebonnet crafts; Texas Ranger shootouts; a lassoing contest; bouncy horse races; and contests for the biggest hat and best boots. The weekend of June 21 – 23 will also have a Western theme and will feature a best cowboy duds contest; bean spittin’ contest; and ropin’ events. On the weekend of July 19 – 21 this park will have its worst Hawaiian shirt, Hula Hoop, limbo and sandcastle making contests. There will also be poolside Karaoke and Lei making crafts. Campers will be able to see Yogi do the Hula.
  • Jellystone Park at Whispering Pines in Tyler: This park will have a Hawaiian-themed weekend June 21 – 22. Guests are invited to wear grass skirts and coconut bras and compete in the best Hawaiian costume contest. There will also be Hawaiian-themed games and crafts as well as a luau bonfire and a Hawaiian dance Saturday night. On the weekend of July 12 – 13 the park will have chocolate themed activities, including a chocolate tug of war, a chocolate Slip N Slide and other chocolaty activities.
  • Mill Creek Ranch Resort in Canton: This park includes RV sites as well as fully furnished park model cabins. Activities include hayrides and live entertainment every Friday night. Amenities include two swimming pools and a spa, a children’s playground, a nine-hole disc golf course, a nature trail, horseshoe pits, and basketball and volleyball courts. Bicycles are also available.
  • Rusk KOA in Rusk: The big Labor Day weekend event at this park is its annual Potjie Festival, the largest South African-themed event in the U.S. The Potjie Fest, which celebrates the three legged cast iron pot, is a family event with cooking competitions.
  • South Padre Island KOA on South Padre Island: In summer, children and adults typically cook marshmallows over the campfire and make yummy s‘mores on Friday evenings. On Saturdays, they enjoy a variety of activities including games, crafts, kite flying, ice cream sundae parties, and movies under the stars.
  • Texas Wine Country Jellystone in Fredericksburg: This park has a heavy schedule of activities throughout the summer, including a ‘60s English rock icons parade and dance on the weekend of June 7 – 9; a Father’s Day parade and dance on Father’s Day weekend; and a ‘70s disco icons parade and dance on the weekend of Aug. 2 – 4. Wine tastings are also scheduled throughout the summer, including tastings by Pedernales Cellars on June 28 – 30; Texas Hills Vineyard on July 26 – 28; and William Chris Vineyard on Aug. 23 – 25.
  • The Vineyards Campground & Cabins in Grapevine: The 93-site campground, which also has 13 park model cabins, occupies 52 acres of an 850-acre mostly wooded scenic area encircling Grapevine Lake. Kayak lessons will be offered several times throughout the summer. Other activities include outdoor movies, Segway tours, stand up paddle board lessons, candy bar bingo and fireworks every Friday night.

Based in Crowley, the Texas Association of Campground Owners is the trade association that represents campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across the Lone Star State. The association’s 2013 RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas highlights the fact that Texas is a birders paradise and includes detailed information on campgrounds, RV parks and resorts, as well as old Western style maps. RV and camping enthusiasts can order the nearly 150-page directory online by visiting 2013 RV Travel & Camping Guide to Texas is also posted on the website in digital page-turning format. For more information about the directory or camping in Texas, please call Brian Schaeffer at (817) 307-0129 or visit and



TACO: Rental Accommodations Expanding

May 29, 2013 by · Comments Off on TACO: Rental Accommodations Expanding 

Camping used to be synonymous with staying in a tent or RV.

But campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across the Lone Star State are finding they can accommodate bigger groups and introduce more people to camping by making park model rental accommodations available to them, according to Brian Schaeffer, executive director and CEO of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), in a TACO news release.

“We’re seeing a dramatic increase in the number of parks that offer rental accommodations,” said Schaeffer, whose organization launched a separate website called to help people find campgrounds with park model rental accommodations.

Park models are 400-square-foot, factory built units that are built on a chassis, like a trailer, but look like cabins or cottages. They come fully furnished with beds and kitchen appliances. Some even have lofts for the kids.

“We’re adding a dozen of them to our park this year,” said Steve Stafford, manager of the North Texas Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Burleson, Texas, outside of Dallas.

Hill Country RV Resort & Cabins in New Braunfels is also adding 11 more park models this year, according to Bryan Kastleman, the park’s managing partner.

Meanwhile, La Hacienda RV Resort & Cottages in Austin is adding seven more park model cabins this month, and will likely add more in the future as demand for rental accommodations in RV resorts continues to grow.

“The park model cabin business has truly been a pleasant experience for us,” said park developer Ken Butschek. “I am experiencing about 15% annual growth on RV site rentals, but 30% on my park model rentals. I’m probably going to need 10 more next year.”

The 400-square-foot units, designed and built by Champion/Athens Park Homes, are sought after by families and Winter Texans as well as people on temporary work assignments in the Austin area who don’t want to commit to a six-month lease in an apartment.

“The park models give these people much more flexibility,” Butschek said, adding that Winter Texans who do not have motorhomes or towable RVs also rent them out during the winter season. “This past winter, of my 30 park model cabins, I think I had 15 of them rented out for one to three months by Winter Texans,” he said.

Major campground chains like Jellystone Parks and Kampgrounds of America (KOA) have joined independently owned and operated campgrounds across the country in adding park model RVs as rental accommodations for their guests. Government run campgrounds are also investing in park model RVs, including The Vineyards Campground & Cabins in Grapevine.

The 93-site campground, which also has 13 park model cabins, occupies 52 acres of an 850-acre mostly wooded scenic area encircling Grapevine Lake. But while the park has undergone significant upgrades in recent years, including a $2.25 million expansion that included construction of 23 new campsites and the installation of seven new park model cabins, park General Manager Joe Moore.

Park model suppliers, such as Champion/Athens, have seen their business continue to grow in recent years. “We have sold to 49 different campgrounds and resorts here in Texas,” said Dick Grymonprez, director of national park model sales for Champion/Athens, adding, “We do a lot of business with campground owners and a lot of them continue to buy from us each year.”


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