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Author Topic: UK Campgrounds v US Campgrounds  (Read 3548 times)

UK-RV

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UK Campgrounds v US Campgrounds
« on: June 01, 2006, 12:42:29 PM »
Hi Guys

Whilst starting to think about the location for our full-timing when we return to the UK, it reminded me of the difference between CGs in the UK and the US/Canada.

A large percentage of CGs in the UK offer a wide range of facilities, so you don't really need to leave the CG and will 'hopefully' spend all your money at that location.

Whilst the majority of US CGs seem to offer the basics - even the resort types dont tend to offer much other than an empty meeting/communal room, horseshoe pits, pool table, swimming pool (rare north of California) and tiny (understocked) store.

Prices in the US seem to average $25-$30 a night for a basic CG (with Resort-style upto $120 a night), whilst the UK is $10-$20 for a basic CG and $15 to $30 for the full-service CGs, with much larger discounts for 'off season' than those offered in the US.

Here are a few UK CGs located within 5 miles of each other, around 20 miles from where we previosuly lived.

http://www.hru.co.uk
http://www.northamfarm.co.uk
http://www.homefarmholidaypark.co.uk

Several of them offer hard-standing for RVs (yes, only 16amp) for between £70 and £100 ($120 - $180 per week) including electric, water (shared) and sewer access.

Why is it that US CGs dont offer a full service - restaurant, bar, nightly entertainment, etc ?

Just curious.
Paul


« Last Edit: June 01, 2006, 12:47:03 PM by UK-RV »

Carl L

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Re: UK Campgrounds v US Campgrounds
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2006, 01:33:27 PM »
Quote
Why is it that US CGs dont offer a full service - restaurant, bar, nightly entertainment, etc ?
Some do.  For instance our favorite desert spot in  Borrego Springs, CA:  http://www.palmcanyonresort.com/index.html

With US cgs, the facilities depend on the location.   Borrego Springs is a itty bitty town in the middle of nowhere.  If one is going to attract customers one must provide a lot of facilities.   Thus two swimming pools, two hot tubs, a bar, a restaurant, and a small convenience store.   They have tie ins to jeep tours.

 If on the other hand, one is near a lot of facilities why try to compete?   An example is our favorite High Sierra spot in Bishop, CA, Highlands RV Park.  The place does not even have a website.   Its facilities consist of 70 full hookup sites, showers, and a lawn with a creek running by.  That is it.   It sits at the edge of a town with a dozen restaurants, the normal complement of shops, and even an Indian casino.  It sits at the foot of the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains with their hikes, climbs, sight seeing and some of the finest trout fishing in America.  There are even a number of natural hot springs and spas within a 30 minute drive.   Its customers, largely repeat, only need the barest of trailer facilities.  They find their fun elsewhere.

There is a further thing to consider.  The USA is the national home of the backyard barbecue.   Americans regard crouching around a bank of glowing embers at dusk, cremating pieces of raw flesh on a grid as great fun and a traditional part of Camping And Being Out of Doors.  One could oppose that to the British tradition of pubs and indoor sport.     I have said many times that Brits get drunk in pubs, Americans get drunk in backyards -- weather permitting of course. US rv resort bars and restaurants must compete with that tradition.    ;D

« Last Edit: June 01, 2006, 04:16:47 PM by Carl Lundquist »
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

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Tom

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Re: UK Campgrounds v US Campgrounds
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2006, 02:59:09 PM »
Why is it that US CGs dont offer a full service - restaurant, bar, nightly entertainment, etc ?

Some do Paul and some have even more "entertainment". The UK "resorts" you linked to appear to be the "bring the family for the summer holidays" kind of zoo that we stay away from. We have friends and relatives who own or rent static caravans in such places in the UK, but they're not the kind of place we'd want to spend our time. I suppose that, if our kids were 30 years younger, we might feel differently.

When we're travelling around the country, our needs for an overnight stop or even for several days, are quite different from those folks with kids who might stay in one place for a 2 weeks holiday/vacation. Unless they have lots of sightseeing in mind, they might need entertainment for the kids during the day and the parents in the evening.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2006, 04:19:31 PM by Tom »
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Kenneth

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Re: UK Campgrounds v US Campgrounds
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2006, 04:04:49 PM »
Paul,

There out there,you just have to look for them  ;D

Here's one close to the house, prices are ok too.

http://www.golfyachtrvresort.com/html/rv_resort.html
Kenneth H, from League City TX, currently in Lakeland Florida !!

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: UK Campgrounds v US Campgrounds
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2006, 05:19:24 PM »
I can think of some places in the New England region that are like Paul describes (any coinciidence?) but there aren't a whole lot of them.   Folks come and set up, the adults go one way and the kids another and nobody gets back togeher until its time to depart for home.  I also see that sort of all-inclusive facility where a large number of people are either seasonal or actually own sites (condo-parks). Destination resorts catering to the family trade also tend to offer more onsite facilities, e.g. movies, food and snacks, pplaned activities, game rooms, etc.

Why don't more parks do all that? My guess is because in most areas the extra facilities simply haven't been all that successful.  In some cases there are already a lot of restaurants and other facilities in the area.  And its expensive to operate a restaurant, bar, etc., in terms of licensing and insurance as well as inventory and staff. Plus, as Carl says, outdoor cooking is an American tradition.  :P
Gary
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Ron

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Re: UK Campgrounds v US Campgrounds
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2006, 05:35:33 PM »

Why is it that US CGs dont offer a full service - restaurant, bar, nightly entertainment, etc ?


My guess is that we do not need or want to be entertained since we seem to be able to keep ourselves busy. Now some folks that travel with children would probably enjoy having lots of things available for the kids to do.  For us that are retired and are not traveling with children we tend to do our own thing.  The campground we are at right now has a couple movie nights each week but we have no interest so will not attend.  At moab for example I don't think they could get 5% of the park to attend a movie or such.  But the RV Forum as a group have  outstanding activities that we plan and do.  Well maybe not so much planning since a lot of things are spur of the moment.

I guess as adults we have grown out of having everything planned and made available to us by a campground or such. ;D ;D
« Last Edit: June 01, 2006, 08:48:42 PM by Ron »
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UK-RV

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Re: UK Campgrounds v US Campgrounds
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2006, 08:18:16 PM »
Thanks Guys.

I totally accept that different people have different expectations - just like the UK, there are CGs that offer a pleasant overnight stop-off or a place for a week or two, without all the fuss.

But my point is that MOST of the CGs in the US fall into that category - there are very few which appear similar to our "holiday parks".

Surely there are a huge number of US families out there with everything from tents to Motorhomes.

They cant ALL just want to sit in a circle and burn food together  ;D

I guess my observation comes from eating at restaurants during our travels :-

We like to go for a meal and enjoy a bottle of wine and a few beers - something our wait staff insist is rare in the US - you all seem to want to get in and out as quick as possible.

That is fine and you CAN travel a few miles from your CG to get to a restaurant and safely (sober) drive back to the CG.

Obviously, when we eat out we have to get a cab or walk back to the CG - that's why I asked the initial question.

To be honest, my legs are killing me with all this walking back from bars and restaurants.  ;D ;D

Paul



Tom

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Re: UK Campgrounds v US Campgrounds
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2006, 08:51:17 PM »
Paul,

Part of it might be supply and demand. If more people wanted the all-singing, all-dancing resorts, there would be more of them. Having said that, I suspect that there are more of them in the U.S. than in the UK. When you've asked for campground recommendations, I don't believe you've asked for anything like a holiday/theme park or the RV equivalent of Butlins holiday camps (you might be too young to remember those in the UK).

Quote
you all seem to want to get in and out as quick as possible.

That's quite a generalization given the short time you've been in the U.S. After 10 years of travelling to the U.S. (from the UK) and an additional 25+ years of living here, including 20+ years of RVing here, I don't think I would make that statement.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2006, 09:33:32 PM by Tom »
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Carl L

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Re: UK Campgrounds v US Campgrounds
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2006, 08:59:10 PM »
Quote
But my point is that MOST of the CGs in the US fall into that category - there are very few which appear similar to our "holiday parks".

There is a bit of a sampling problem here.   As you have found out by now, the USA is really, really large compared to the UK.  You were looking to transit a lot of our landscape as opposed to going to Camp Runamuk for four weeks.   Thus you tend to bias your sample to transit parks and sites near famous attractions.    You hit the Bishops as opposed to the Borrego Springses.  

Furthermore, compared to the UK, land is cheap.  An outfit can make a lot more return on investment with just a simple RV park.  Therefore, we wind up with a lot more basic parks.

Quote
We like to go for a meal and enjoy a bottle of wine and a few beers - something our wait staff insist is rare in the US - you all seem to want to get in and out as quick as possible.

Again that depends on where you are at.   We have a whole raft of restaurants that have a leisurely clientele.  However, they are not the type of restaurant that caters to the transient population.  Those folks go to Dennys, Country Kitchen, Shoeneys, etc..   Burger, fries, Coke, and back on the road.


Quote
To be honest, my legs are killing me with all this walking back from bars and restaurants

Now you know why we get drunk in our backyards.    ;D
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

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Tom

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Re: UK Campgrounds v US Campgrounds
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2006, 09:32:27 PM »
ROTFL Carl.
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UK-RV

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Re: UK Campgrounds v US Campgrounds
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2006, 12:03:24 AM »
Tom

My comments arent intended to offend - apologies if they have.

I made a simple observation that CGs are different and I wondered why. Hence the question.

I dont mean to suggest that US CGs are 'lacking' by not offering the bar, restaurant, cabaret, etc - I just couldn't understand why there were so few that did - a search on Woodalls, Trailer Life etc doesn't show many at all.

Of course different generations want different things, but I would have thought there would be a huge demand from families for the "kind of zoo" you stay away from.

The restaurant observation is just that - 40 different restaurants (not burger-types) across States from Florida to Alaska, giving a sample of US life.

Paul

Carl L

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Re: UK Campgrounds v US Campgrounds
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2006, 01:56:55 AM »
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My comments arent intended to offend - apologies if they haveI made a simple observation that CGs are different and I wondered why. Hence the question..

Not to worry, they have not. 

Quote
I dont mean to suggest that US CGs are 'lacking' by not offering the bar, restaurant, cabaret, etc - I just couldn't understand why there were so few that did - a search on Woodalls, Trailer Life etc doesn't show many at all.   Of course different generations want different things, but I would have thought there would be a huge demand from families for the "kind of zoo" you stay away from.

Again you have differing national tastes.   When my family was young we tented and stayed in National Forest and National Park CGs with no services whatsoever -- just alpine lakes, mountains, and fire rings.   We have an awful lot of such places.   I believe that I mentions Borrego Springs.  Well it is a town lying inside a California state park, Anza Borrego Desert State Park.   ABDSP is the largest state park in the USA -  625,000 acres (252,930 hectares, 977 square miles).  In that park, folks can simply drive off the road, out on to the desert and camp.  No services, no roads even.  Just desert.   About half of those listings in Trailer Life are just such public parks:  Forest Service, Park Service, and state, county, and municipal parks.

Quote
The restaurant observation is just that - 40 different restaurants (not burger-types) across States from Florida to Alaska, giving a sample of US life.

Well maybe, but my own observation is that transient folks eat in different places than local folks.   I mean I have toured the UK on four different auto trips.   My impressions of UK restaurants is heavily influenced by Little Chefs.  That has got to be a misleading bias....right?  Right?   ;D

Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

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Tom

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Re: UK Campgrounds v US Campgrounds
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2006, 03:31:12 AM »
No offense taken whatsoever Paul; Just commenting on your limited sample of observations.
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Chet18013

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Re: UK Campgrounds v US Campgrounds
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2006, 06:10:01 AM »
I think the point that has been missed in this disussion is the fact that we have so much more to chose from. The US campgrounds provide the place to stay, and realize that there is usually so much to chose from in the surounding area, that they don't feel the need to try to compete. Usually when we drive to an area, it is for the attractions and activities in the area. Why should we go just to stay in a campground?

Chet18013
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Mick & Pat

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Re: UK Campgrounds v US Campgrounds
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2006, 07:54:23 AM »
Paul,

Don't forget the majority of CGs in France & Spain also offer on site facilities such as bars and restaurants.

Having said that the two biggest UK clubs, Caravan Club,The Camping & Caravanning Club (with the exception of one or two 'new' sites) don't offer any more faculties than what you say the US CG have.
Regards Mick & Pat Podmore.

UK couple who toured USA / Canada. Oct 2007 - Aug 2009

2005 Fleetwood Discovery 39S,Cat C7, Freightliner XC Chassis  2008 Jeep Liberty Ltd 3.7 .

 

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