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What Makes a Campground Great?
It takes the right combination of location, amenities, and, of course, exceptional customer service to make a campground stand out above the rest. Just ask the experts. Each year, the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) honors four campgrounds with its prestigious “Park of the Year” award. Here are the winners for 2019, chosen for the extraordinary guest experience they deliver. Once you learn more about them, you just may want to add one or more of them to your camping plans for 2020:
Small Park of the Year
This family-owned campground will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2020. It’s hard to beat its location–it sits on the banks of the Little River near the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This secure, gated campground offers large back-in sites overlooking the river as well as level, pull-through premium super sites and RV storage. The campground is family- and pet-friendly and includes a splash pad, playground and fenced dog park, and guests are treated to real “mom and pop” hospitality from the owners, the Johnson family. They even wish their guests happy birthday!
Learn more about Big Meadow at Bigmeadowcampground.com
Medium Park of the Year
It’s hard to resist a campground where employees are trained and reminded that their job is to make guests happy. And if you check Shelby/Mansfield KOA’s reviews, you’ll see that they succeed. There’s a lot to love about this campground, starting with the wide choice of accommodations that include RV sites, tent sites, deluxe cabins and glamping tents and yurts. There’s plenty to do onsite, including mini golf, pedal karts, fun boats, playgrounds, horseshoes, basketball, sand volleyball, Gaga ball, a jumping pillow and swimming in the heated pool. And many attractions, such as Cedar Point Amusement Park, Amish Country, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Summit Motorsports Park, are within an hour’s drive.
Learn more about Shelby/Mansfield KOA at Koa.com/campgrounds/shelby
Cave City, Kentucky
Large Park of the Year
This campground’s location just minutes away from Mammoth Cave National Park makes it easy to explore that natural wonder. And there’s plenty to do at the campground, too, including a jumping pillow, a 300’ waterslide, mini-golf, two pools, a splash pad and a 2.3 acre lake with a sandy beach. A favorite lake activity for guests is racing in Corcis, small boats that look like upside-down Frisbees. For accommodations, the campground offers RV, camper and tent sites along with 94 air-conditioned cabins. The owners are continually adding improvements to the park and they welcome suggestions from guests on ways to make their family camping experiences even more enjoyable.
Learn more about Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Mammoth Cave at Jellystonemammothcave.com
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Mega Park of the Year
You might think that campers could get lost in the shuffle of a campground described as a “mega park,” but nothing could be further from the truth at Lakewood Camping Resort. Somehow, this spacious park that covers a square half-mile of beachfront property manages to create a small community feel. It’s something that keeps its loyal base of customers coming back again and again. And, of course, the campground’s jam-packed list of amenities and activities keep them coming back, too. They include a half-mile beach, a full-sized water park, two pools, an 18-hole mini-golf course, biking, pedal boats, canoeing, kayaking and much more. For accommodations, Lakewood offers approximately 1,300 full hookup sites for RVs, tents and trailers. The park also offers the convenience of a Play & Pay wristband system, which uses lightweight neoprene wristbands and RFID technology to allow guests to access all the free activities Lakewood offers. It also acts as a wallet, making it possible for guests to enjoy a completely cashless experience. They can simply use the wristband to pay for any “extras,” from food and drink to souvenirs.
Learn more about Lakewood Camping at Lakewoodcampground.com