MENTION RESORT-STYLE caravan parks on this blog and you’ll get a chorus of complaints from readers, about how they don’t need the swimming pools, playgrounds and bouncing pillows – all they want is a slab, power and clean amenities at a reasonable price.
That’s fair enough. Times are tough and there’s no point in wasting your travelling dollar – in fact, the idea is to stretch it as far as possible and enjoy more time on the road.
But the fact is that these "upmarket", often five-star parks with all the bells and whistles aren’t catering for such travellers.
They never intended to.
They’re aiming their product, after investing millions of dollars, at a different segment of the market –
namely, the RVers who enjoy the high standards of these parks and, more particularly, families.
And that’s fair enough, too.
Park owners can’t cater for everyone, no matter which end of the spectrum they’re operating at.
KIDS IN PARADISE
Our kids are all grown now, but I can still remember our early family vanning days when finding a park with a pool and a playground meant the kids were in seventh heaven. It also meant that my wife and I had a chance to relax.
Even though we were still on supervisory duty, it was nice to sit back and enjoy a cold drink and a breather while the kids swam and played.
Of course, these days a pool and a basic playground wouldn’t cut it with most ankle-biters.
Today’s resort-style parks boast an amazing range of activities and facilities to entertain the billy lids.
Multiple pools, water parks and slides, jumping pillows, mini-golf, outdoor movie theatres, pedal carts… the list goes on.
One parent told me they chose a resort park because there was so much to do on site that they could stay at the park for a week and not hear the dreaded, "I’m bored"!
Of course, you’ll pay for your peace, as site fees and accommodation rates are well above the average for such a
park. That said, paying to entertain the kids outside the park will be often prove even more expensive.
AND FOR THE GROWN-UPS
These top parks aren’t just catering for the kids – they have to keep the parents, grandparents and other adult travellers happy, too.
Whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple or with the whole tribe in tow, you’ll probably appreciate the immaculate gardens, well-maintained amenities, ensuite sites, high standard of accommodation, aqua aerobics, snorkelling lessons, tennis courts, barbecues, courtesy bus, tour bookings, 24-hour reception, mini-mart, fuel bowsers, restaurant, licensed bar…. and so on.
You’d have to say that, like the kids, it’s hard for adults to get bored in these parks. Resort-style parks can provide a fun holiday experience for the whole family at, when you consider what you’re getting, a pretty fair price.
If you don’t want or need a water park or jumping castle, that’s fine.
I’m tending that way myself, now that my wife and I are childless travellers, and in most places, I don’t find there’s a shortage of more basic caravan parks.
However, I also enjoy a little luxury from time to time, and I don’t think we should begrudge families or other RVers this style of holiday, if that’s what they are prepared to pay for.
Have your say below.
WORDS AND PICS Steve Farmer
Written exclusively for Caravan World Online