RV’s hit the Northwest golf road

Updated: June 1, 2010

The Pacific Northwest, like the rest of the nation, is experiencing the popularity of recreational vehicles and the opportunity to park them right at the golf course

Retirees may be the best-known recreation vehicle (RV) enthusiasts, but the RV traveler is getting younger—from an average age of 67 a few years ago to less than 50 now—the average age of today’s typical RV owner is just 49.

According to a 2001 University of Michigan study, baby boomers own the most recreational vehicles.

Another study showed that one in five people (surveyed) have expressed interest in buying an RV within the next five years. The strongest interest is among younger age groups with 30 percent of those age 18-34 and 16 percent in the 35-54 age group.

RV sales, leases and rentals are at an all-time high and growing at 30 percent annually.

This growing market has not gone unnoticed by golf courses across the country and in particular, the Northwest. Many courses are scrambling to incorporate RV camping into their facilities.

Mirroring the surge in RV ownership over the past decade is the growth in RV clubs. These groups like to travel together and have the potential to fill a golf course or at least fill the campsites, and they tend to stay for a few days and play more than one round of golf. This is certainly good news to golf courses who have already made the investment in RV accommodations.

Many golf courses around the Pacific Northwest have either upgraded their RV lots or added spaces for recreational vehicles. And these are not just any ordinary spots, these are full hookups with cable television, wireless connections for laptops and more.

These days, RV parks are becoming even more user-friendly, with cable or satellite television hookups, shower and laundry facilities, restaurants and more – Mallard Creek in Lebanon, Ore. has a real upscale landscaped park adjacent to the golf course and restaurant, and they give you the morning paper on your doorstep each morning.

Deer Park, north of Spokane, can handle 127 RV’s, and includes a pavilion, a swimming pool and hot tub, a pavilion with a pool table and flat-screen TV and much more.

“We really cater to the golfers traveling in their RV”s and want to take care of them,” said Deer Park General Manager Craig Schuh.

Horn Rapids RV Resort in Richland, Wash., is across the highway from the golf course and is a five-star park with activities like shuffleboard, horseshoes, and volleyball. They also provide a large swimming pool and hot tub spa. Another nice touch is a pet wash area.

From the coast to the inland deserts and mountains RV travelers are discovering golf courses around the Northwest.

Some courses extend special rates to campers as there are plenty of stay-and-play packages available, and if you have the time, many will offer weekly, monthly and seasonal rates.

One of the benefits of traveling to distant golf courses in the Northwest is the opportunity to stop at the many attractions along the route or just enjoying the terrific scenery that we are so fortunate to have. It’s easy for RV travelers who are on an extended drive to incorporate several courses in their trip, especially if they are traveling between major Northwest cities like Seattle, Portland, Spokane and Boise.

Fuel prices don’t seem to be a deterrent for RV travelers. Most RV owners plan ahead and budget for gas expenses. A recent survey of over 400 RV owners showed that most RV owners plan to use their RVs more the next spring/summer than they did the year before despite higher fuel prices.

There are many reasons people take up RV traveling–the freedom to move from place to place at will, the ability to take more stuff with you on trips, the togetherness with the family or because it’s generally cheaper than hotels and restaurants.

Breaking into the RV life-style doesn’t have to be expensive as there are several good older vehicles on the market that allow first-time buyers a chance to limit their investment.

Whatever the reasoning, once you own an RV it can easily become the main mode of transportation for nearly all of your vacation travels. One of the most popular uses of RVs is for weekend use, which generally are limited to about a 200-250 mile radius from home.

Wildhorse Resort in Pendleton is conveniently located at the base of the Blue Mountains, a perfect spot for travelers on State Route 84 to stop and spend a day or two. It is especially popular when traveling between Boise and Seattle or Portland.

Riverside Golf Course in Chehalis, Wash. recently added 26 RV parking spots, which sits right next to the first hole. In addition, the restaurant and clubhouse have recently been re-modeled.

RVers looking for a quiet spot to hold up for a few days of slow-paced golf will want to take a look at Royal City Golf Course in Central Washington. The parking spots are gravel but sit right next to the first hole. If you are spending more than one day and use their special stay and play package you can keep the golf cart right next to your RV during your stay. A nice convenience.

Sun Lakes Resort on the edge of Park Lake is another popular RV destination with several activities for campers, including water sports and a newly re-vamped golf course. If you are into hiking, you might want to check out the Lenore Caves. The Dry Falls is another popular sight for visitors. Grand Coulee is about a 45-minute drive away and a shuttle bus is usually available to take visitors to the dam to watch the lazer-ight show during the summer months.

Click for RV Golf Map – PDF