GREENVILLE, S.C. — Business is returning to normal at many campgrounds and RV parks in North and South Carolina, particularly as road conditions improve in the wake of Hurricane Florence.
“Business is picking up again,” said Barb Krumm, director of marketing and public relations for Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C., which has 859 campsites and 300 beach house rentals.
While Ocean Lakes’ occupancy declined in September as a result of Hurricane Florence and flooded roadways near the SC coast, much of the floodwater has receded to the point where roads are reopening and allowing travelers to reach the park again.
“A lot of the roads are now open. I-95 opened last week,” Krumm said, adding that the latest road reports for South Carolina are available at https://www.scdot.org.
North Carolina road reports are available at https://www.ncdot.gov/Pages/default.aspx.
“September was rough for the Carolinas, especially along the coast, and the flooding has really impacted many local families and businesses – for many, life has a new ‘normal’ – we all want to keep them in mind,” Krumm said.
Ocean Lakes had previously scheduled three “Hallo weekends” this month, with holiday themed contests for pumpkin carving, site decorating and costumes (including pets), a family festival, a Monster Mash Ball, and trick o’treating, but has added a mini-Halloween weekend Oct. 5-6 to boost business and morale, Krumm said.
Other parks near the coast are also seeing a gradual return to normalcy.
“Things are starting to improve for sure. We’re looking forward to having a great October,” said Vickie Fuller, administrative manager for Pirateland Camping Resort in Myrtle Beach, which has 1,480 sites, including 650 annual sites.
Fuller said Pirateland has many activities planned in October, including two Halloween-themed weekends with a magic pumpkin patch, “trunk or treating,” Halloween crafts and a haunted house.
Pine Ridge Campground in Roebuck, S.C. is “pretty full” and has a waiting list for its Halloween-themed weekends, according to park operators Brad, Cecilia and Evan McGalliard, who also said they have snowbirds both staying at the park and passing through.
Many campgrounds not only weathered Hurricane Florence, but have provided campsites and rental cabins for evacuees, particularly in the inland and mountain areas of the Carolinas.
“We were able to provide safe harbor for many evacuees in the days leading up to and during the storm,” said Michael Way of the Greensboro KOA Journey campground in Greensboro, N.C.
“We are continuing to operate as normal, providing a safe place to stay for those passing through as well as many insurance adjusters making their way into the Carolinas to assist in our recovery.”
The Boone KOA in Boone, N.C. also took in evacuees, according to park managers, who added that all park activities are on schedule.
Mike Gast, vice president of communications for Billings, Mont.-based KOA, said all KOA campgrounds in the Carolinas are open and operating normally, with the exception of the New Bern KOA Holiday in New Bern, N.C., which sustained flood damage to its cabins and other structures. But the campground’s RV sites are full.
Several campground operators noted that most of the floodwaters associated with Hurricane Florence were near the coast.
“Everybody went into panic (before the storm), but there was no flooding in our area. We were unscathed,” said Jane Emirbayer, co-owner of the 16-site Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Asheboro, N.C., which is in the process of expanding to 41 campsites.
“The flooding was in the lowlands, not the mountains,” she said.
Emirbayer said the North Carolina Zoo is a popular attraction that brings lots of people to Asheboro in the fall. Many also come to enjoy the Halloween-themed weekend activities at Jellystone Park, which include campsite decorating and costume contests.
“We’re sold out for our three Halloween-themed weekends in October,” Emirbayer said, adding that she plans to add eight new rental cabins to her park in November.
Further to the West, the 51-site Valley River RV Resort in Marble, N.C. is also ready for business.
“We had no damage during the storm. Just a lot of rain,” said Jean-Marie Harrison, of Valley River RV Resort, adding, “Our roads are clear.”
The park features RV sites with concrete slabs, 30 and 50 amp electrical service as well as a bathhouse and laundry and pet wash station. The park accommodates nightly and weekly as well as monthly guests.
“While some of our member parks did sustain flood damage during and after Hurricane Florence, most of our affiliated campgrounds and RV parks got through the storm OK and are trying to get their businesses back to normal as quickly as possible,” said Dee Witting, executive director of the Carolinas Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CARVC).
Here’s a sampling of reports the association has received from other campgrounds across the Carolinas:
— Broad River Campground in Winnsboro, S.C.: Open.
— Camp Clearwater in White Lake, N.C.: Open.
— Camp Hatteras RV Resort & Campground in Rodanthe, N.C.: Open.
— Carolina Country Campground, Salisbury, N.C.: All campground activities are proceeding as scheduled. Snowbirds are expected to arrive during the winter months.
— Carrollwoods RV Campground & Vineyard in Tabor City, N.C.: “Carrollwoods is open with business as usual and we’re looking forward to the snowbird season,” said Christine Carroll.
— Crosswinds Family Campground in Linwood, N.C.: Open and operating as usual.
— Cypress Camping Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C.: Park is tentatively set to reopen Oct. 18.
— Dan Nichols Park in Salisbury, N.C.: Open.
— Fort Tatham RV Resort in Sylva, N.C.: Everything is proceeding normally at the park, according to Resort Manager Paula Russell, who noted the park closes Nov. 1 for the winter season.
— Great Outdoors RV Resort in Franklin, N.C.: “Everything is proceeding as planned,” said Polly Gamblin. “Hurricane Florence did not rear her ugly head here at all.”
— Green Acres Family Campground in Williamstown, N.C.: Open.
— High Rock Lake Marina & Campground, Lexington, N.C.: Open and operating as usual.
— Iron City Campground in Blacksburg, S.C.: Open and ready for business.
— Lazy Acres Campground in Fayetteville, N.C.: The park is “open, cleaned up and full,” according to park managers.
— Magnolia RV Park & Campground in Kinards, S.C.: Open.
— Myrtle Beach Travel Park in Myrtle Beach, S.C.: Open.
— Norwood Camping in Norwood, N.C.: Operating normally with its usual activities.
— Oasis of North Carolina in Marston, N.C.: Open.
— Southern Point Campground in Chocowinity, N.C.: Open.
— Willow Tree RV Resort in Longs, S.C.: Open.
— Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Daddy Joe’s in Tabor City: Open with Halloween-themed weekends planned every weekend in October.
Based in Greenville, S.C., the Carolinas Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds is the trade association representing campgrounds, RV parks and resorts in North and South Carolina. The association produces free printed campground directories and hosts https://campingcarolinas.com, the travel planning website.
SOURCE: Carolinas Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds