Jellystone Parks Target The Family Reunion Market With Extra Large Cabins And Bunkhouses
The largest units, which typically sleep 12 to 14 but in some cases as many as 28 people, are highly sought after by families who develop traditions of camping at the same park every year
Most campground cabins sleep four to six people, either with one big bed and a couple of bunk beds for the kids or a big bed plus a loft where the kids can roll out their sleeping bags.
But growing numbers of Jellystone Parks are taking the rental concept a step further by providing their guests with bunk houses and other large multi-room cabins and ranch style houses. Most of these larger units can sleep at least eight people, while many sleep 12 to 14 people.
“Whenever our franchisees install extra large cabins and bunkhouses, they have no problem keeping them rented because families want to rent these units for family reunions or to celebrate anniversaries, holidays or other special events,” said Michele Wisher, vice president of marketing for Milford, Ohio-based Leisure Systems, Inc., which franchises Jellystone Parks across the U.S. and Canada.
“Our biggest cabins are in very demand,” said Shelly Spear, who co-owns the Jellystone Park™ in Estes Park, Colo., whose largest cabins sleep 8, 12 and 14 people.
“Every weekend is booked for the whole summer for all three of these cabins,” she said, adding, “We could double what we have and they’d still be full.”
Spear said one family that recently stayed at her park had 50 people. They not only rented the park’s biggest cabins, but also had a few people who came in RVs. But everyone was able to gather inside the big cabins to socialize and to cook meals.
Many large families come back year after year and rent the same cabins, said Jackie Boone, assistant manager of the Jellystone Park in Pelahatchie, Miss., whose 42 rental accommodations include a three-bedroom lakefront house that sleeps 12. Boone added that families like to have reunions not only during the summertime, but during the winter holidays as well, including Christmas.
The biggest cabin in the Jellystone Park network is a cabin-style home in Waller, Texas that can sleep 28 people. It has two large living room areas, a large kitchen and four bathrooms, plus several bedrooms. As large as that unit is, it is booked every weekend until October.
The Jellystone Park in Tabor City, N.C., for its part, has two extra large cabin units that can each sleep 20 people.
But while many of the largest cabins in the Jellystone Park network are already rented on weekends throughout the summer months, not every large unit is booked every weekend at every park. Many parks also have vacancies during the middle of the week.
“It’s worth it to call the park directly to see what kinds of vacancies they have,” Wisher said, adding, “The key is to plan ahead and reserve the cabins you need as far in advance as possible because demand is very strong for our largest units.”
Here’s a listing of Jellystone Park locations that have exceptionally large cabins or bunkhouses for rent:
— Amboy, Illinois
— Canyon Lake, Texas
— Estes Park, Colorado
— Gardiner, New York
— Kerrville, Texas
— Luray, Virginia
— Madison, Florida
— Missoula, Montana
— Quarryville, Pennsylvania
— Tabor City, North Carolina
— Waller, Texas