RV parks across the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys in California are experiencing higher occupancies this spring, with some parks reporting record levels of business for this time of year, according to an announcement from the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC).
“2017 is shaping up to be a very strong year for campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across California,” said Debbie Sipe, executive director of CalARVC, which hosts Camp-California.com, the travel planning website.
“Last year was our best year ever, but this could be our best year yet. It’s been really busy,” said Patrick Stone, who co-owns and operates Mountain Gate RV Park & Cottages in Redding, which he opened 14 years ago.
Stone said his business was up 15% to 20% last year and that so far this year he’s already running 10% to 12% ahead of last year’s figures.
“We’re running 80% to 90% occupancy on extended stays and for our overnight spots we’re running about 40% to 45% occupancy every night. Normally, at this time of year, it’s about 20% to 25%,” he said of his park, which has 122 sites, including two rental cabins and one rental travel trailer.
Stone attributed the increasing business in part to stronger snowbird traffic as well as more tourists coming up to northern California following the winter rains and snows, which have filled area lakes and reservoirs to their highest levels in years.
“We’re starting to see a lot of people come up to go fishing,” he said, adding, “The fish are biting, the bass are biting. We’re pretty optimistic up here.”
Farther south, the 197-site French Camp RV Park Resort in Manteca is keeping busy with foreign travelers as well as people who were flooded out of their homes during the recent rains and need a place to stay while they rebuild or repair their homes.
“We’re seeing a lot of foreign travelers from Germany, Japan and the U.K. They stop here on their way to Yosemite,” said Mary Harris, a French Camp RV Park employee.
Meanwhile, The Lakes RV & Golf Resort in Chowchilla is also seeing a dramatic increase in its business.
“During the first quarter of this year, we were up about 23% over the first quarter last year,” said Steve Huarte, the park’s manager, adding that the Canadians “came down in droves” this past winter.
“A lot of people stop in here because we have complimentary golf when you stay here,” he said, noting that the park has an 18-hole championship golf course. “We have some Canadians that stay here for a month or two at a time.”
The 87-site park also accommodates numerous snowbirds from Oregon and Washington as well as travelers heading to and from Yosemite National Park, which is less than two hours away.
Huarte said his park is busy until July 4th and then business dies down as the valley heats up. But business picks up again after Labor Day when temperatures begin to cool off once again.
“We have a pretty good clientele in construction as well as traveling nurses,” Huarte said. “They help us get through the summer months.”
The 111-site Merced River Resort in Delhi, for its part, is also staying busy this spring. “We have travelers and we have the worker bees come to work jobs in the area for three to six months,” said Kelly Spratling, a park employee.
Several RV parks in the Bakersfield area are also reporting strong business levels this spring.
“These past six months, we’ve been busier than ever,” said Ashley Canaliz, assistant manager of the 100-site Bakersfield RV Travel Park in Bakersfield.
While the park mainly caters to long-term guests, it maintains 12 campsites for overnight travelers and “they’ve been full,” Canaliz said.
The 215-site Bakersfield RV Resort in Bakersfield has also been super busy, according to Danielle Pearce, a park manager, adding that the park has long-term guests as well as travelers heading up and down the state.
The 123-site River Run RV Park in Bakersfield is also reporting an uptick in business this year. “This year so far has been real strong,” said park co-owner Ryan Uhles. “We’re enjoying it.”