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Yonder Escalante

A fire ring serves as a gathering place. Credit: Kim & Nash Finley.

A few years of road trips made it clear to Charles Tate just what most RV parks lacked. “Primarily, clean bathrooms,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Tate, a longtime financier, investor and dedicated traveler, became interested in RV parks after a family member opened one in Pagosa Springs, Colo., put up a simple website, and was quickly booked 12 months ahead.

“Six or seven years ago,” Tate says, “I thought, ‘I’ve never really heard of a business like that — with no advertising, you open, and your entire capacity is booked a year in advance.’ ”

He started researching the industry. “My son James and I took a real interest in it, bought a 1977 Airstream and started taking trips,” Tate says. They got a feel for what worked and what most assuredly didn’t — like those nasty bathrooms. The result is Yonder Escalante, a camping/glamping resort that opened this spring between Bryce Canyon National Park and the town of Escalante in Utah.

The 20-acre resort has 67 RV sites, 22 custom cabins and 10 vintage Airstreams. It grew out of Shooting Star RV Park, which Tate purchased in 2018. Some of the Airstreams, as well as the movie screen and some of the vintage cars that provide the “drive-in movie experience,” were already there.

“It had a really nice feel to it,” Tate says. “It created an emotional reaction beyond just a place to park.” Tate would add the aspects of glamping, the more “glamorous” version of camping.

“The whole glamping industry, which was a relatively new idea five years ago, has evolved,” Tate says. “RV parks really are just a place to park an RV overnight. We wanted to offer amenities to augment the customer experience, a better overnight stay than some of the hotels and lodges and B&Bs that exist outside the entrances of national parks.”

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