We are fresh back from a quick spring back trip to Carolina Lines in Conway, South Carolina and we had an amazing time and thank goodness–some very good weather! We made a last minute decision to head south for spring break and thankfully, we were able to find an available spot using Campspot. Jeremy is currently working as a Campspot ambassador and has been making reservations near and far using their online booking service. Our trip to Carolina Pines got us thinking about what qualities make an RV Resort a RESORT. A lot of campgrounds throw the word “resort” into their names when they really have no right to do so. Offering a pool and full hook up sites does not make a campground a resort.
So what makes an RV resort a resort?
Our trip to Carolina Pines inspired us to make a list of qualities that an RV resort should have. Partly because Carolina Pines is, in so many ways, a model for what an RV resort should be. To be clear, we don’t think that a campground needs to have all of these things, but it should have most of these things! Maybe 10/14 qualities listed below. Carolina Pines has 14 of these things! Try to guess which one they don’t have while you are reading! I’ll answer at the bottom.
Our friend and contributor Bill Sferrazza reviewed Carolina Pines last summer. To listen to his review on The RV Atlas podcast click here and then click on the media player at the top of the post.
To listen to Jeremy and Stephanie talk about their trip to Carolina Pines and to hear them talk about what makes an RV resort a resort–subscribe to The RV Atlas podcast wherever you get your favorite shows. Or click on the media player above.
One Magnificent Pool or Multiple Really Good Pools
From what I could see while we are there, Carolina Pines has three pools. Two were open during our stay, but one was in the water park area and was not opening for a few more days. The two pools that were open were nicely heated and really nice. We spent hours in the pool each day!
2. At Least One Hot Tub. (If you don’t have a hot tub–you are not an RV Resort:)
Carolina Pines had a really awesome hot tub. I want to be back in that hot tub right now instead of writing about it!
3. Water Park Features If You Are a Family Friendly Resort.
A waterpark is not a necessary feature for an RV resort–unless you are specifically billing yourself as a family friendly RV Resort. Carolina Pines could subtract their water park and still call themselves a resort, but at that point they would not be a family friendly RV resort. At least in my book.
4. Pool Must Have a Snack Stand
An RV Resort should have a snack stand that offers more than hot dogs and burgers–throw me a tuna wrap or a chicken Caesar salad and we are good and you will win my heart.
5. On-Site Food Service that Provides Breakfast Lunch and Dinner.
When I am spending RV Resort level prices I want the option to “eat out” without leaving the campground. Especially if I am staying in a cabin or rental unit and don’t have my own RV Kitchen.
6. Adult Beverages Should Be Available at a Resort.
We think that an RV resort should offer adult beverages to be enjoyed responsibly near the pool or in the common areas. For many RV owners its nice to have a drink on-site and not have to worry about driving back to the campground–instead you can just walk back to your RV.
7. A Resort Should Have Multiple Sports Courts
We think an RV Resort should offer outdoor “sports courts” such as basketball, pickle ball, volleyball, Ga Ga ball, shuffleboard, etc. These courts should be appealing to both kids and adults–and perhaps split into different areas for each.
8. Awesome Common Areas
A real RV resort needs terrific common areas for relaxing and meeting your neighbors—with a communal fire pit or multiple fire pits and games like corn hole and bocce ball. Carolina Pines has the best common area we have ever seen. We loved sitting around the fire pits at night and playing corn hole. We even had dinner delivered to the fire pit on a few occasions!
9. RV Sites for the BIG BOYS
If you do not have sites to accurate the biggest of big rigs you should probably not call yourself an RV Resort–and you probably won’t get that resort customer anyway. Carolina Pines had large pull through and back in sites that could fit all of the big boys easily. Getting in and out of your site is easy peasy at this Resort–as it should be.
10. Majority of Sites Should Have Full Hook Ups
If most of the sites at a campground only offer partial hookups, like electric and water–that screams RUSTIC not RESORT in our book. Its full hook ups all the way if you are an RV Resort. I don’t want to spend $100+ a night on a site and have to wait in line to dump my black tank on the last day of my vacation.
11. Camp Store Needs to be Bangin’ With All Kinds of Goodies
12. Hand Scooped Ice Cream Must Be Available:)
Pre-packaged camp store ice cream (like chipwich, ice cream sandwiches etc) are among life’s great delicacies when enjoyed at the campground. But if you want to be an RV resort you need to offer hand scooped in a variety of prices.
13. Cabins, Glamping Tents, RV Rentals for Those Without RVs
Alternative accommodations like cabins, glamping tents, and on-site RV rentals are awesome for non RV owners that want to try the lifestyle out. But offering them is also (in an indirect way) a service provided for RV owners so they can vacation with friends and family that do not own RV’s. We booked a cabin using Campspot for this trip, because taking the RV was not possible because of other commitments. We are able to check out pictures online and find a cabin that was perfect for our family.
14. Golf Cart Rentals
RV resorts tend to be large and have different amenities and activities in different places. I don’t think I have ever really been to a small RV resort. With this in mind–we think that RV resorts should offer golf cart rentals. They should also enforce rules in relation to those golf carts that keep every camper safe.
So which of these fourteen qualities did Carolina Pines not have? As far as I can tell that did not offer hand scooped ice cream. If I missed this somehow please let me know in the comments below!