Interstate highways are deceiving. One of the best examples is the Interstate 5 stretch between Sacramento and Redding, California. Just 162 miles separate the two cities, but the drive appears to be flat and unremarkable. Most RVers get through it quickly but now there’s a reason to stop halfway and go camping in Orland, California: The Parkway RV Resort and Campground.
Camp for a Day, or Two, in Orland, California
Until now, camping in Orland was limited to Black Butte Lake, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project. People who wanted a more luxurious experience were out of luck and moved on to bigger cities along Interstate 5. But 12 years ago a family of eight from Folsom, California saw the possibilities in an old derelict campground located a half-mile from the interstate. After years of hard work, The Parkway RV Resort and Campground is more than a one-night stopover. It`s a great area to stay for a few days with its full service amenities, quiet grounds, and series of recreational activities.
So, when guests pull into the idyllic park they leave behind loud freeway noise and re-connect with nature. Mature shade trees, lush landscaping, and very spacious RV sites, greet road-weary travelers.
A lovingly painted office mural invites RVers to step inside and enjoy an amenity out of the ordinary, an on-site wine tasting experience featuring local selections and artisan cheeses.
“It’s changed a lot from when we bought it to today,” explains John Smutny, a retired techie from Intel. When he and his wife Marian bought the park it was in such bad shape that friends, family and even RV industry advertising reps asked them, “Are you nuts?” They weren’t. Something about the 10-acre property told the couple it was their destiny. “There was an energy, it was just kind of a beckoning,” Marian recalls.
A Family Affair
As RVers and savvy business executives, the couple spent years researching RV parks. For instance, they took cross-country family vacations that allowed John, Marian and their six sons to refine the family vision for their own park. Further, as the family went from coast-to-coast, each member explored campgrounds and reported what they liked and didn’t like about facilities, layout and amenities. Additionally, during their travels, the family went to several parks to discover certain aspects of what they didn’t want their park to be.
“Today’s sophisticated camper knows what they want,” says Marian. “They want to do something out of the ordinary.”
As a result, as more people learn about The Parkway, they discover that RV camping in Orland, California lives up to its promise.
Parkway Guests Keep Coming Back
What’s more, the Smutnys are thrilled with transformation and they’re equally as proud of how they run the property. Every family member has a personal investment in the happiness of guests.
“We’re not managers, we’re owners. We have a vested interest in this place and want to see it succeed. We want it to be different, a place that I would like to come to,” says Marian.
Consequently, if RV LIFE Campgrounds is any indication, The Parkway is the best reason to exit I-5 in Orland (exit 619). “We rely a lot on instinct and feeling. That’s why we bought the park. It was instinctive, it was energy, it was feeling” says Marian.
Especially relevant is the fact that their feelings are paramount in how they ensure all guests have a great experience. Considering the number of return guests, The Parkway is a great reason to visit this stretch of California’s Central Valley.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.