How to Make Your Campground Family-Friendly
For campgrounds, families are a huge demographic and can mean big business and return customers. But families also have unique needs different from other target demographics. To attract families to your campground and keep them coming back, take some measures to make your campground more family-friendly. Below, we’ll cover some of the basics of running a campground business and give you lots of great ideas to make your campground more appealing to families.
How to Run a Campground Business
If you’re just getting started in the campground business or are thinking of opening a campground, you have a lot to consider. Campground businesses are directly tied to the huge travel and tourism industry and can be a dream come true for many outdoor-loving entrepreneurs. For more about how to run a campground business, follow these helpful tips:
- Learn about the industry: Before you even get started, it’s a good idea to do your research and learn as much as you can. You may also want to consider shadowing another campground business or talking with other campground owners about their experiences.
- Create a plan: Starting a campground is much like any other small business, and having a business plan right from the start is an absolute necessity. Your business plan should include an estimated budget and things like your target market, an analysis of the competition, your marketing plan, licensing, startup needs and more. Include an estimate of the rates you plan on charging, as well. Do some research to find out what you can reasonably charge.
- Stick to your budget: Start with the estimated budget you created in your business plan, and adjust as you go to reflect the actual costs. Remember to include business supplies, marketing costs, utilities, equipment, employee wages and other regular business costs. Come up with an accounting plan, and consider using accounting software to make things easier.
- Choose your niche: Plan out what you want your campground to be and what niche you want to position yourself in. Will you have cabins, space for motorhomes and tent camping or a combination? Do you want to attract families, seniors, motorcyclists or another specific market? Do you want more short-term campers or long-term ones? Also consider the extras you’ll offer, like swimming, fitness equipment, nature trails, playgrounds or boating.
- Choose your location: Understand the campground market for your area of the country. Campgrounds in the North tend to get most of their business in the summer and attract more short-term customers, while campgrounds in the South see far more business in the winter and more long-term customers. Consider if your campground should be close to certain things like major highways, other businesses, lakes, parks or other elements of nature. You may also want a location with room to expand in the future.
- Plan for staffing: The larger you plan on your campground being, the more staff members you may need. Plan for those needs, and start the hiring process to find quality employees.
- Select a solid name and logo: Choose a name for your business that reflects your unique location, niche and personality. Have a professional logo created to use on signage and advertising materials.
- Market your business: Once all the details start coming together, you can properly market your campground. Choose the right advertising channels to reach your target demographic, and don’t forget about low-cost and free advertising options, like social media. Promote the special attributes that make your campground unique.
- Participate in the campground community: Campground owners are a tight-knit and fun group of people. They can be invaluable resources for you as you get your business up and running. Join local and national organizations and attend events and trade shows. You’re likely to meet other campground owners and find plenty of support.
How to Make Your Campground Family-Friendly
A large percentage of today’s campers consider family-friendly or kid-friendly campgrounds to be an important factor in choosing where to stay. Over 50% of campers have kids, so they’re all looking for suitable places to enjoy the outdoors.
Camping is a great bonding experience for families and an easy and affordable way to travel. If you want to tap into the family-friendly camping market, there are a few things you can do to make your campground more enticing to families with kids. Check out these family-friendly campground ideas:
- A playground: One of the easiest ways to make your campground more family-friendly is to add a playground. Young kids love to play on the swings, slides and other play equipment, and parents will appreciate the fun activity available right at your campground. The possibilities are truly endless for play space options, as you can create customized layouts, include elements for different age groups or go all-out with a fun themed playground to upgrade your campground.
- A swimming pool: Most kids love swimming, and a pool is sure to attract families of all ages. A swimming pool is a nice touch to make your campground feel more like a resort. Consider adding in other pool amenities such as a diving board or waterslide and lounge chairs. A separate kiddie pool, hot tub or splash pad make nice add-ons, as well.
- Beach or lake activities: If you’re lucky enough to have your campground situated on the coast or near a lake, you can promote additional water activities like swimming and boating. Consider adding in docks with ladders for swimming, inflatables or waterslides. You could also offer rentals for canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and other gear.
- Activities: Consider offering some planned activities for families like guided nature walks, scavenger hunts or craft sessions. Bring in an expert to teach about the local wildlife, the night sky and other family-friendly educational topics.
- Events: Create a sense of community and provide fun events the whole family can enjoy. Think bonfires with s’mores, outdoor movie nights, pancake breakfasts, ice cream socials and other fun events. Consider holding holiday celebrations, like Fourth of July fireworks or a Memorial Day picnic. These events encourage your patrons to socialize and may attract more business around the holidays.
- A convenience store: Many campgrounds have a few items for sale in the main lobby, which is a huge perk for families. Stocking a few staples like first-aid and hygiene supplies, sunscreen, insect repellant, snacks and pantry foods, camping supplies or swimming gear can be practical and bring in extra revenue. Think about commonly needed items that may be forgotten when packing for a camping trip. Have a few branded items like bumper stickers and T-shirts with your logo so families can advertise your campground wherever they go!
- Technology: While many people go camping to escape technology, others still want access to creature comforts like cable TV and internet. It can be a huge perk for families to have these options available at your campsite. Supplying Wi-Fi internet and cable tv hookups means families can tune in or tune out whenever they want.
- Laundry facilities: Families, especially those with young kids, go through lots of laundry. Having some laundry facilities on-site will add convenience for families, especially those staying long-term.
- A lending library: If you have some space in your lobby, you could offer a selection of books, movies, board games, outdoor toys and other fun surprises for guests to borrow during their stay.
Once you’ve added any of these family-friendly ideas to your campground, don’t forget to promote your new amenities and market them to families. Create colorful brochures highlighting your fun, new features and distribute them to local visitors’ bureaus, RV dealerships and travel events. Try targeted email campaigns and other online marketing to spread the word and attract your target demographic. Make sure your business is listed in local directories and national travel directories.
Benefits of Attracting Families to Your Campground With Play Equipment
Families are a key demographic for campgrounds and can be critical for your business. Adding a play area to your campground is one of the top ways to attract families. Play spaces are scalable and customizable, so no matter what size your campground is, there’s a playground that’s right for you.
Large resort-style campgrounds can add in a much larger playground area or even several smaller playgrounds. And for smaller campgrounds, even adding in a small play area or a few pieces of fun playground equipment is a huge perk for families staying with you.
Playgrounds themselves offer many benefits to families, including:
- Emotional: Playgrounds help children build self-esteem and confidence and work on complex emotions. It’s also a great way for children to bond with parents and caregivers and lower anxiety.
- Social: Playing on the playground can be a social activity and a wonderful place to make new friends — both for kids and parents. Children also learn how to play with a group and collaborate or play independently, which is an equally essential social skill. They’re working on listening skills and how to navigate social situations.
- Mental: Children at the playground also work on critical thinking skills, attention span and leadership skills. A break at the playground can help improve focus for other activities, too.
- Physical: The playground is an excellent place to work on motor skills and physical fitness. Playing outside also contributes to a lower risk of obesity and a strengthened immune system. And lots of outdoor play time helps children fall asleep earlier and sleep better — a huge perk for camping families!
Playing at a playground is a chance for the whole family to get in some sunshine, fresh air and exercise. And having a play area at your campground is an ideal way to provide fun recreational opportunities for kids of all ages. Offering these recreational options for families at your campground will result in happier campers. You’ll also see benefits to you as a campground owner — repeat business and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Importance of Adding Attractive Playground Equipment to Your Campground
You can add many amenities to your campground to benefit families, and a playground is one of the best. Many families will go out of their way to find a play space or stay at a campground or resort that includes one. Play areas are a huge perk to families with young children, and a quality playground will attract plenty of families to your business.
Good marketing that features your new playground is sure to bring in new business from families looking for a place to stay. Be sure to feature your play equipment prominently in any brochures or advertisements.
Today’s playground options include imaginative pieces and unique new styles designed to delight families and inspire creative play. These modern play areas go far beyond the simple structures of the past and have plenty of fun elements that make kids want to keep coming back. Your campground could become a go-to destination for family fun in your area with the right playground equipment.
Campgrounds have different needs in play equipment and design from other common playground sites like schools. A campground is a place for families to come together, not a location where parents drop off kids and leave. The most successful and exciting playgrounds for campgrounds take this into account and appeal to the whole family. Camping itself may already be a fun and exciting adventure for kids, so the playground equipment here needs to seem fresh, fun and exciting.
How can you create a next-level, fun-for-all-ages playground that’s ideal for your campground? It starts with smart design, quality equipment and special features and amenities for all ages. Be sure to include play elements for different age groups of kids. And install equipment that adds extra fun, like themed pieces, musical, interactive and creative equipment.
A playground designed for campgrounds also considers parents and caretakers, featuring site amenities like shaded areas, benches, picnic tables and trash receptacles. But it can also include specialized fitness equipment designed for adults and older kids. These features ensure even the adults are comfortable and entertained at your campground’s play area. These elements promote inclusivity, engagement and family togetherness. They also help create a top-quality playground that families will keep coming back to.
Start Building Your Campground Playground Today
Ready to get started with an amazing new playground for your campground? Miracle® Recreation is ready to help. We understand the unique needs of campground clients and can help you design a playground that’s sure to wow your guests and keep them returning year after year. Browse our selection of unique and creative playground equipment online, and contact us to request a quote!