The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) named this year’s best parks at the 2020 Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo (OHCE), held Nov. 2-5 as a virtual conference. The Park of the Year Awards are a signature part of ARVC’s Awards of Excellence, which are presented annually to the standout parks and individuals in the outdoor hospitality industry, according to ARVC officials.
“The parks that receive the Park of the Year honor are at the pinnacle of the industry,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of ARVC. “These parks are not only wonderful destinations with fantastic amenities but more importantly the owners and staff at these parks continually provide over-the-top customer service. Even in a difficult year, these parks still found a way to go above and beyond in efforts, by providing world-class amenities, experiences and customer service!”
The ARVC Park of the Year Awards are presented to ARVC member-parks or campgrounds that deliver an extraordinary guest experience as a result of all-around excellence in operations, professionalism, marketing, customer service and industry involvement. Awards are given in four categories: Small, Medium, Large, and Mega. This year’s recipients for Park of the Year were:
Small Park of the Year
Beaver Dam Campground, Berwick, Maine
Beaver Dam Campground earned rave-reviews from guests and judges about its spacious and well-maintained campsites, most featuring waterfront views. It is the perfect park for vacationing families to escape to in Maine, whether camping in a tent or in a 40-foot RV with slide-outs. What really separates it from other campgrounds, according to several judges, was the attention to the details. One noted that the park “seems to have guest experience running like a well-oiled machine!” Details like clean and modern restrooms; a well-stocked camp store; entertainment and planned events that appeal to campers of all ages; and a staff that is friendly are what made this campground the best in the country. This is Beaver Dam Campground’s second Award of Excellence, previously winning in 2015.
Medium Park of the Year
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Kozy Rest, Harrisville, Penn.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest has consistently been one of the nation’s premier parks and continues to stand out from the crowd in 2020. After starting as an independent park with just four employees, the park has grown to a staff of 50-plus and joined the Jellystone family, growing into a park that has now claimed this award five times. Judges gave this park top marks across the board, including one perfect score, and noted, “Kudos to you and for all you do for your campers and the industry. You are, and will always be, winners in more ways than you know.” Featuring virtually every amenity and activity guests are looking for, and constantly upgrading and adding new features, this park is both family-friendly and Plan-It Green Friendly, also claiming that award in the Small/Medium category, for the third consecutive year.
Large Park of the Year
Evergreen Campsites & Resort, Wild Rose, Wisc.
Evergreen Campsites & Resort is a family-oriented campground that has been growing every year in a steady climb on the path to the top of the industry. Judges praised the park for its “Campers First” philosophy that comes through in every action, spearheaded by management that is “very proactive and involved in the industry, which is reflected in the park.” The park also stands out as a leader in the Plan-It Green Friendly Park program, winning that award for the second time this year, and creates valuable connections with campers and the community. Not content at just being one of the best, Evergreen Campsites & Resort has put in the extra effort, amenities and processes to earn its first designation as ARVC’s Large Park of the Year.
Mega Park of the Year
Myrtle Beach Travel Park, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Despite its impressive size, Myrtle Beach Travel Park still manages to embrace camping culture and create a small community feel. As one judge said, this is “a mega park with a mom-and-pop ethic for your guests, campers and community.” Guests were especially impressed with the park’s natural beauty, amenities and activities. Judges appreciated the industry-leading marketing, disaster planning and sanitation efforts, especially in the face of a challenging year. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Myrtle Beach Travel Park earned its first ARVC Mega Park of the Year award.
Plan-It Green Friendly Park
(Small/Medium Category): Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest, Harrisville, Penn.
(Large/Mega Category): Evergreen Campsites & Resort, Wild Rose, Wisc.
Other award winners this year include:
Stan Martin Award
Bobby Cornwell, Executive Director, Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds and Alabama Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds
ARVC’s highest honor, this award recognizes industry leaders whose tireless commitment to the RV park and campground sector of the outdoor hospitality industry is evident in their involvement, leadership, creativity and dedication.
Erv Banes, longtime owner of Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Frankenmuth, Mich. Recognizes early industry leaders and visionaries whose groundbreaking efforts have contributed through the years to the growth and success of the RV and campground sector of the outdoor hospitality industry.
Supplier of the Year
CampLife, Tyler Duffy, President, Mt. Juliet, Tenn.
CampLife has been committed to the outdoor hospitality industry for years and is the winner of the Supplier of the Year award for a second consecutive year. Everything CampLife does is focused on the needs of its customers, delivering unmatched levels of service. The company strives to educate those in the industry, and as one judge noted, “This team has always been a visible part of the campground industry. Their concern and ability to listen to their customer, and even those who are not their customers, and react specifically to the customers’ needs, is a quality that lacks in a lot of businesses today.”
Campground Partner of the Year
Kim Huskey, Vice President of Government Affairs, Cherrystone Family Camping Resort, Cape Charles, Va.
State Leadership Award
Matt Rose, state executive for the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council, Indianapolis
State Directory of the Year
Small Association Category
Louisiana Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (LARVC)
Medium Association Category
Ohio Campground Owners Association (OCOA)
Large Association Category
Maine Campground Owners Association (MECOA)
2020 Herb Strauss Educational Impact Award
Kelly Jones, The Jenkins Organization, Houston
ARVC Foundation Above and Beyond Award
Marshall & Sterling Campground & Hospitality Insurance Program, Monticello, N.Y.
OHCE2020 is a four-day virtual event held annually by ARVC. This year’s event includes more than 25 educational seminars, a trade show with more than 80 vendors, Takeaway Tours, ARVC’s Awards of Excellence dinner, a Reservation Management Panel, the ARVC Foundation Silent Auction and more. Visit arvc.org/ohce for more info.
OHCE2021 will take place in Raleigh, N.C., from Nov. 8-11, 2021.