ARVC Parks of the Year, Awards of Excellence Announced

Awards highlight the best-of-the-best in the outdoor hospitality industry

The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) named this year’s best parks at the 2019 Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo (OHCE), held November 4-7 in Knoxville, Tenn. 

“The parks that receive the Park of the Year honor are at the pinnacle of the industry.” says Paul Bambei, president and CEO of ARVC. “These parks are not only wonderful destinations with fantastic amenities, but more importantly the owners and staff at these parks continually provide over-the-top customer service.”   

The ARVC Park of the Year Awards are presented to ARVC member-parks or campgrounds that deliver an extraordinary guest experience as a result of all-around excellence in operations, professionalism, marketing, customer service and industry involvement.    

Awards are given in four categories: Small, Medium, Large and Mega. This year’s recipients for Park of the Year were: 

Small Park of the Year 

Big Meadow Family Campground in Townsend, Tennessee 

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Big Meadow Family Campground has been owned by the Johnson family since 1994. Located at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this park’s excellent customer service stood out, with real “mom and pop hospitality” being cited by the judges, along with special touches like wishing customers happy birthday and sending them Christmas gifts.  Big Meadow also stood out by offering a secure park in a beautiful location, with family and pet-friendly amenities and RV storage.

Medium Park of the Year 

Shelby/Mansfield KOA Resort in Shelby, Ohio 

In addition to their top-notch amenities and a great location, most notable to the judges was Shelby/Mansfield Koa Resort’s customer service. Employees are trained and reminded that their job is to make guests happy, and this park has gone above and beyond to create, as one judge put it, “A top notch park with a nurturing environment.” Park reviews continually praise Shelby/Mansfield KOA Resort and its staff for going the extra mile. This year, the park switched to an all-inclusive model for activities, a move that secured more families visiting, along with better camper satisfaction.

Large Park of the Year 

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Mammoth Cave in Cave City, Kentucky 

Family time, family entertainment, family memories, that’s the recipe for Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Mammoth Cave, and it works! Located in a small community, this park pulls out all the stops to attract visitors. It does an amazing job partnering with local groups and authorities on events all year long, and the owners are constantly improving the park and marketing efforts to extend their season—from spring Spruce Up weekends to a full month of Halloween activities. Across the board, this park received great marks from the judges, especially for having great plans and making them happen.     

Mega Park of the Year 

Lakewood Camping Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C. 

With a goal to give every guest all the amenities and excitement of a world class resort, coupled with the family culture that comes with camping, Lakewood Camping Resort is truly all about the camper and the camping experience. Despite its impressive size, this park still manages to embrace camping culture and create a small community feel. Judges were especially impressed with the park’s innovative use of technology to create a safe and relaxed environment, along with its outstanding marketing efforts to build a loyal base of returning customers. As stated by one judge, “What more can be said, I want to visit.”    

Other award winners this year include: 

Plan-It Green Friendly Park 

(Small/Medium Category): Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest in Harrisville, Pennsylvania 

(Large/Mega Category): Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve in Santee, California    

Pioneer Award 

Paul Hagen, owner of Pride of America Camping Resort, Pardeeville, Wisconsin 

Recognizes early industry leaders and visionaries whose groundbreaking efforts have contributed through the years to the growth and success of the RV and campground sector of the outdoor hospitality industry. 

Supplier of the Year 

CampLife, Tyler Duffy, President, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee 

Campground Partner of the Year 

Lenny Ammerman, of Treasure Lake Resort in Branson, Missouri 

State Leader of the Year 

Bev Gruber, state executive for the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association (PCOA) 

State Directory of the Year 

Small Association Category - Connecticut Campground Owners Association (CCOA) 

Medium Association Category - New Jersey Campground Owners Association (NJCOA)  

Large Association Category - Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (FLARVC) 

Stan Martin Award 

Deb Carter, owner of Buttonwood Beach RV Resort in Earleville, Maryland  

ARVC’s highest honor, this award recognizes industry leaders whose tireless commitment to the RV park and campground sector of the outdoor hospitality industry is evident in their involvement, leadership, creativity and dedication. 

OHCE is a four-day event held annually by ARVC. This year’s event in Knoxville, Tenn. included more than 40 educational seminars, a trade show with more than 140 vendors, Takeaway Tours of local campgrounds, ARVC’s Awards of Excellence dinner and ARVC Foundation auction. OHCE 2020 will take place in Daytona Beach, Fla. From Nov. 2-5, 2020. 

For more information about OHCE or to register, visit