Campgrounds and RV Parks: On-line Lesson
An important part of any outdoor recreation experience and the most
popular family vacation in the U.S. is camping. As with other recreation facilities, the
recreation experience will be determined in a large part by the design of the facility or
area. Is it crowded and noisy or is it planned to provide for a variety of experiences?
well designed campground, according to Hutsman, Cordell, & Hutlstman (1998), will
include the following design considerations:
Have approximately 200, minimum of
125 to break even, camp spaces & RV sites,
Have a single entrance/exit with
safe ingress and egress,
The entrance control station has
enough distance from the highway to safely accommodate all traffic,
Entrance control station has at
least tow entry lanes which extend at least 200 feet before the control station,
A double sewage dump station should
be located near the entrance control station,
Have a minimum of four loops,
Have at least two bathroom/shower
structures and two toilet structures,
Maintenance complex is located near
the entrance control station and out of sight, and
Recreation amenities would be
located outside of any camp loop and near the day use area.
Campground Design Don'ts
carping use. It's OK to design recreation
areas with day- and overnight-use areas but don't mix them.
Don't put amenities (such as beaches, shelters and tot lots) or
toilets/showers inside of camp loops.
Don't locate amenities in or on the edges of camp loops.
Don't move traffic from one camp loop into another and another.
Don't mix family campsites and seasonal campsites on the same camp loop.
Don't call your loops A or B, or 1 or 2- name them.
Don't assume engineers or landscape architects or planners or foresters
or consulting firms or college professors or other rascals know how to design campgrounds.
It is quite likely they don't!
Don't locate your primary road between camp loops and the main attraction
(lake or stream).
Don't (if at all possible) utilize many existing roads and
facilities in a major renovation of a campground.
Don't make "third-class citizens" of campers by keeping
them away from the lake or stream attraction, or by (unless shoreline acreage is quite
limited) having them cross or move through day users to get to the attraction.
Don't design "overuse" impact potential into your campground.
Don't waste your land base by designing big fat loops.
Don't (if you are a designer) ask others (managers, maintenance folks or
programmers) how they want you to design something; ask them how they want the design to
function for them and users.
Campground Design Dos
- Don't use too much road. Many private and public campgrounds have far
more roads than are needed.
- Don't mix day use and
campground then design for those users.
Do think big, plan big, and build big.
Do consider (if this is a public area) the possibility of public-private
Do design your campground so construction can be phased logically.
Do build the amenities with the first phase.
Do spend considerable time on site before you draw two or three
alternative designs. Then, when a master plan is acceptable, field design your
camping units and roads.
Do (in area rehabilitation) use sections of existing roads, toilet/shower
structures (if they are in good condition) and other existing features if-and that's a big
if-they enhance your design.
*reference: Hultsman, J., Cottrell, R. L., and Hultsman,
W. Z. (1998).Planning Parks for People (2nd ed.) State College, PA: Venture Publishing
- Do seek input from managers, maintenance personnel, planners, engineers,
users, persons with disabilities, and other available specialists.
- Do decide early on who you want to beckon to your
Basic Loop Design
|The fundamental campground design is a loop. The number of camp units
on each loop will be determined by the type of users. The size and length of the loop will
be determined by the planner and available space. Some basic loop dimensions are:
|Camp loops should be between 100' and 120'wide, (unless it is a fat
peanut which is 175' wide).|
|Length of camp RV's a minimum of 55' to 60 ' (includes the RV and the tow
|Intersite zones should be at least 20' between sites.|
|Loops should be a minimum of 100' apart.|
|Total camp units per loop should be around 55.|
|Single lane roads should be 15' wide with a clearing limit of 22' (5' on
each shoulder) and an overhead clearance of at least 16'.|
|Double roads would have a width of 20' with a clearing limit of 30' and a
minimum of 16' height clearance.||
Peanuts or Hot Dog Designs
Both the peanut and hot dog loop designs conserve space. They also move
people down the roadways instead of through the camp areas. Loops can be varied in size
depending on the space available and the mixture of camp unit types.
|10 to 12 sites per acre|
|single site 30' by 75' - 80'|
|one-way roads width 15' (minimum)|
|two-way road widths 20' (minimum)|
Types of Sites
|Back-in All sites be
entered from a slant of 60 degrees (no 90 degree entry)|
is the preferred site type) All sites be entered from a slant
of 60 degrees (no 90 degree entry)|
|Pull-in (Not recommended for any
|The passenger side door should face
an easterly direction when possible. So RV's will enter the site from
the North or South.|
|The awning side of the RV should
not be facing the prevailing winds. |
Site Dimensions (suggested)
|25'(slickside) / 30' - 35' (RV /w
slide-outs) wide by 70'-80' long |
|3' minimum from adjacent lot line;
1-4' for slideout; 10' parking pad; plus 13' to next lot line = 30' wide
Hardening A Camp & RV Site
Hardening a camp site means to replace the existing soil with a surface that will
withstand heavy use and erosion. Common materials used to harden a site are marble dust,
small gravel, or concrete. Areas around picnic tables, grills, ramadas, amphitheaters, or
tent sites should be hardened.
RV Park Surfacing
|parking pad (concrete)|
|roadways (gravel or asphalt)|
RV Park Amenities
Most RV Parks now offer an amazing array of amenities for it's guests.
On-site services include:
|convenience store & laundry|
|recreation programs for kids/adults|
|clubhouse/meeting rooms w/kitchen|
|electric (30; 50 or double 50 amp)|
|internet connections (wi-fi)|
|sewer (double sewer inlets using 3" pipe)|
|sport courts (volleyball, basketball, shuffleboard, horseshoe pits)|
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