Campground and RV resort operators across South Carolina are reporting strong demand for campsites, with some parks being nearly sold out for Memorial Day weekend, according to a press release.
“People just want to get outside and spend quality time with their family,” said Dee Witting, executive director of the Carolinas Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, which hosts CampingCarolinas.com, the travel planning website for camping enthusiasts.
“We’re really looking forward to camping, to getting away and being surrounded by something different,” said Trina Robinson, a North Carolina-based middle school teacher who plans to spend Memorial Day weekend with her husband, Mike, at Myrtle Beach Travel Park in Myrtle Beach, where they camp every year.
“It’s always good to go on vacation, but especially now since we’re not getting out much” she said. “This will be a return to normalcy for us, which is to be in our own camper and see the lifelong friends we’ve made at the campground.”
Like parks across the Carolinas, Myrtle Beach Travel Park has a meticulous plan in place that takes into consideration Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control guidelines to keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I feel they have created a safe environment,” Robinson said, adding that she’s looking forward to taking walks along the beach and enjoying quality time with friends.
Myrtle Beach Travel Park is offering new activities for families with children for Memorial Day weekend, including a campsite decorating contest and family sandcastle building competitions as well as a fishing tournament and “socially distant barrel train rides.”
Myrtle Beach Travel Park is nearly sold out for Memorial Day weekend. “We are at around 95% capacity for Memorial Day weekend. We are pleased to say it appears this weekend will likely be as busy as last year,” said Hunter Tresnicky, who handles public relations and marketing for the park.
He said many people who were unable to visit the park during the past couple of months have rescheduled their visits for the summer months. “The outlook for the remainder of the summer is looking very positive for us as well,” he said.
Other RV resorts and campgrounds are similarly upbeat.
“We will be nearly full this coming weekend,” said Barb Krumm, director of marketing and public relations for Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach. “We already have a good crowd in the park now, and we are taking lots of reservations for the summer camping season.”
Ocean Lakes’ indoor and outdoor swimming pools, the Adventure River and interactive play features in its Splash Zone will be open, with their team working to follow the recommended guidelines throughout their operations. With Gov. Henry McMaster’s announcement late Thursday (May 21) afternoon, they are implementing plans to reopen many other Ocean Lakes recreational amenities, services, and activities as soon as possible while remaining in accordance with the Governor’s timeline and recommendations. Details are posted on the Ocean Lakes website at https://www.oceanlakes.com.
While many campground and RV resort operators have struggled with the imposition of stay-at-home orders in recent months, many are reporting a surge in business levels as state and local officials to begin to relax the previous leisure travel restrictions.
“Overall things are looking really good considering the circumstances,” said Vickie Fuller, administrative management for PirateLand Family Camping Resort in Myrtle Beach. “We are practically full for Memorial Weekend — the same as last year — and we have been experiencing triple our normal call volume when compared to the same time last year since reopening for short term rentals on May 1. As an average, the projected occupancy for June is around 10% less than it was at this point last year, but we each day we are making gains. We are making almost double the amount of reservations each day, and the majority are for this summer.”
Kimberly Drake, who manages the front desk for the Charleston KOA Holiday campground in Ladson, S.C., said her phone has been ringing off the hook this past week.
“Over the weekend, we received a ton of reservations,” she said. “People are anxious to get out again.”
Drake added that she has been receiving many reservations from people who live within an hour of her park who simply want to have a change of scenery. While her park currently offers RV camping, she said she will be able to offer tent cabin and cabin rentals starting June 1.
Many campground operators across South Carolina are also offering unique activities that comply with social distancing guidelines.
For example, the Point South/I-95 KOA Holiday campground in Yemassee offers nightly wine tastings by reservation only to limit the number of participants. The wines are from nine local and regional wineries, said park owner Jennifer Mason. The campground also offers locally roasted coffees and Hunt Brother’s Pizza, which can be ordered for takeout or delivered to the campsite, and microbrewer amber ale that’s custom-made for the campground by Salt Marsh Brewing Company in Bluffton, S.C., she said.
Travelers frequently use the Yemassee campground as a base camp for visiting area attractions, including the historic cities of Beaufort, S.C. and Savannah, Ga. as well as the plantations outside of Charleston.