It’s not too late for a great stay-cation
September is a great time to roll out the RV in Illinois
by Alexandra M. Newbern
Double J Campground and RV Park is owned by Jerry and Jeri Francis. The park is located off exit 88 on Hwy 55 near Glenarm, Ill. Jerry Francis and his dog Max take a ride on a golf cart looking for campers who might need assistance.
Pack it up and hit the road! It’s not too late to take a camping vacation or weekend getaway.
Picture a family in their car, driving down the highway. The anticipation builds mile by mile as their goal approaches – get to the campground for a mini-escape of reality.
Finally reaching the campground, the family parks and sets up their RV. An afternoon of barbecuing, playing with their dog and relaxing by the pool are the next things on the family’s to-do list. After that, they might socialize with other campers, go for a bike ride or head into town to take in other tourist attractions. The possibilities are endless.
While times are hard and the economy is the worst it has been in years, people are still finding ways to vacation. RV camping is affordable without sacrificing any of the fun or relaxation synonymous with a vacation. It’s one way to “stay-cation” – a vacation that happens close to a person’s home or within the state the person lives. Because of stay-cations, RV parks have seen a rise in the number of people who visit campgrounds. Every year, each RV park in Illinois draws thousands of people during the peak season of May 1 through Sept. 30.
According to Shari Weber, owner of the Geneseo Campground in Farmers Mutual Electric Company’s territory, “People are choosing to use campgrounds for vacations and they are spending more time there … We are seeing more people from a 200 mile radius and more people from Illinois [camping here at Geneseo] … We are definitely seeing a rise in customers.”
Weber also noted another trend in clientele – people who want to reconnect with their family members. “We’re seeing a lot of people in their 30s and 40s camping with [their] families. They want to reconnect with their children by getting them away from the hustle and bustle of today’s lifestyle. The people who are traveling today,” said Weber, “are people with children – whether they are their children or their grandchildren.”
Some notable Illinois campgrounds in cooperative areas include Hi-Tide Recreation (Leland), Lena KOA Campground RV Park (Lena), LaSalle KOA (Utica), Geneseo Campground (Geneseo), Allison Campground (Galesburg), D & W Lake Camping RV Park (Champaign), Double J Campground (Chatham), Kentuckiana Kampground (Mackinaw) and Lake Campalot (Percy).
President Kent Kafer of Pontiac RV, one of the largest RV dealers in the Midwest, said, “The trend right now is to buy a smaller RV – under 30 feet and lightweight. A variety of vehicles are able to tow these smaller, light weight RVs. Some can even be pulled by minivans!”
“Sales have been growing since the first of the year ... it is a more economical way to travel,” said Kafer.
Because of the high volume of sales during the “travel season”, the best time of the year to get a deal on an RV is in the spring and early summer. The three most popular types of RVs are travel trailers, fifth wheels and motor homes. Prices for a new RV can run between $10,000 – 35, 000; $15,000 – 60,000 and $55,000 – 240,000 respectively. Prices for used RVs on average are under $10,000; $20,000 and $40,000 respectively.