Campground Designs: Exploring the Trends of Outdoor Accommodations

Katie Thompson
Last Updated: July 30, 2023
Campground design

Have you given any thought on what is the most desirable campground designs? Is the campground a destination or just a place to stay overnight? What are some key consumer behaviors of camping enthusiasts and how does that apply to your campground development? Across Alberta, RV parks and campgrounds have surged in popularity as more people vacation at resorts. Building a desirable and profitable RV park, campground, or camping resort requires a deep understanding of consumer behavior, land planning, including ideal site layout and usage. The campground design is also a balanced blend of conserving wildlife and vegetation and maximizing the camper experience. There are many innovative rv park layout trends have emerged, revolutionizing the way we camp and connect with the great outdoors. Let us dive into some of the key trends in campground development.

Top Reasons Consumers Select A Campground Destination

According to the Canadian Recreational Vehicle Association, the top five reasons consumers select a campground are the following:

  • 56% selected a campground for its atmosphere.
  • 22% selected a campground for its location.
  • 44% selected a campground for the quality of the campsites.
  • 12% selected a campground for the type of sites that are available (power, water, etc.)
  • 12% selected a campground for the availability of wi-fi.

These percentages are a reflection of trending consumer values such as authenticity, experiencing natural environment, and sustainability. A pleasant low maintenance camping experience that includes recreational amenities, vegetation, green spaces, larger campsites, and privacy are attractive for the camping enthusiast.  Spring Lake RV Resort, which is located 30 minutes west of Edmonton is a great example of a well-designed campground with plenty of vegetation, fishing, kayaking, kids play spaces, etc. 

Wilderness Village at Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

Trends in Campground Development

Maximizing your land’s natural amenities such as creating bike paths or fishing docks will maximize your return on investment. Here are some other trends that are revolutionizing the campground design:

Glamping: Redefining Outdoor Luxury

One of the most significant trends in campground development is the rise of glamping, which combines the tranquility of camping with the comfort and luxury of a hotel. Glamping accommodations often include fully furnished tents or cabins equipped with amenities like private bathrooms, air conditioning, and even gourmet kitchens. These upscale camping experiences have gained immense popularity among travelers who desire a more refined outdoor experience without sacrificing the beauty of nature.

Themed Campgrounds: Creating Memorable Experiences

Themed campgrounds have become increasingly popular and are designed to cater to various interests and preferences. From rustic western-style ranches to space-themed campsites, themed campgrounds create immersive experiences for campers. These campgrounds often feature themed accommodations, decorations, and activities that allow campers to fully immerse themselves in a particular theme. The aim is to make camping an exciting and memorable adventure beyond the traditional outdoor experience. Wilderness Village campground located near Rocky Mountain House, Alberta has mastered creating memorable experiences for families. With horseback riding, a quirky animal farm, unique ice cream flavors and a pool, families continue to return every year to create those experiences.

Unique Accommodation Options: Embracing Innovation

Campground developers are constantly innovating by introducing unique accommodation options to attract campers seeking something extraordinary. Treehouses, yurts, and Airstream trailers are just a few examples of alternative camping accommodations that have gained popularity. Treehouses provide a unique perspective of the surrounding nature, yurts offer a cozy and traditional experience, and Airstream trailers incorporate a retro-chic aesthetic. These unique accommodations allow campers to choose a camping experience that aligns with their individual tastes and preferences.

Sustainable Building Materials: Protecting the Environment

In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on using sustainable building materials in campground construction. Developers are exploring eco-friendly alternatives like reclaimed wood, recycled materials, and energy-efficient infrastructure. Sustainable practices not only help minimize the environmental impact but also showcase a commitment to preserving the natural surroundings. Additionally, campgrounds are implementing energy-saving measures such as solar panels, rainwater harvesting systems, and composting toilets to further reduce their carbon footprint.

Wilderness Village at Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

Development Planning and Civil Design

Developing your campground in Alberta usually requires extensive planning and collaboration with government bodies, investors, communities, and a civil engineering team.  In addition to this guide, the Alberta Camping Manual can also provide guidance on the level of service, life cycle of the campground, design and implementation of your future campground development.  

Here are some items that go into campground development:

The first step to a campground development is a site inspection by our civil engineer. We then investigate all aspects of the site, providing the client with an in-depth feasibility study. This includes reviewing climatic, geographical, historical, legal, and infrastructural needs for the site. For example, a soil analysis may reveal that additional clay and gravel must be brought in to accommodate heavy RVs during the initial development process.

Next, a site layout can be prepared that shows site sizes, locations, road alignments, etc. in an effort to create a plan that uses the property amenities and conditions to their maximum benefit. Once a site layout has been created, cost estimates for construction, servicing, and permitting requirements can be prepared to ensure a reasonable development budget.

With a plan and budget in place, the next step is to begin the permitting process with the local municipality. Development and Building Permits will need to be acquired, along with any regulatory approval requirements (i.e., Alberta Environment approvals, wetland approvals, Roadside Development agreements, etc.) prior to any construction proceeding. Depending on the type of campground and location, this process can take several months to complete.

Once all permits are issued, construction and development of the campground can begin.

Half Moon Lake Resort is located 10 minutes outside of Edmonton, Alberta. There is no shortage of activities including a heated outdoor pool, pickle ball courts, mini-golf, beach, volleyball court and a jumping pillow.

The Future of Outdoor Accommodations: Blending Comfort with Nature

The campground development industry continues to evolve, driven by the demand for unique and immersive camping experiences. From glamping to themed campsites, innovative accommodations, and sustainable construction, the industry is constantly pushing the boundaries to cater to the diverse needs and desires of campers. As more people seek a connection with nature, these trends in campground development will undoubtedly shape the future of outdoor accommodations, providing unparalleled experiences that blend the comforts of modern travel with the beauty of the natural world.

Bolson Engineering and Environmental Services has designed and developed a variety of campgrounds over the years. Our campground design services will maximize your land usage and transform the guest experience. We will help you improve, expand, or develop an entirely new campground or RV park. Together, we will create an exceptional camping experience that is also a profitable business venture for you. Contact us to discuss your vision.

About the author

With more than 12 years in human resources, Katie brings important process management skills to the table. Her direct experience with senior management in the construction industry helps her understand your engineering project goals. Her creative forward-thinking propels Bolson toward exciting new business opportunities.

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