Recently, we visited southern Arizona, specifically the Bisbee and Tombstone, Arizona area. We discovered Desert Oasis RV Campground, a Good Sam campground. Let’s listen to owner Paul tell us about this unique, laid-back campground.
Paul Harrington: So, I came here for one week, actually four years ago last week, and I haven’t left. It’s been four years. And I fell in love with this place. I came here and I parked in that first site right there. And the people that were in charge of the park had broken-down lawnmowers and everything else was broken. And I said, “If I’m going to stay here, I want to clean this up. Can I borrow a lawnmower or something like that?” And they said, “Why would you do that?” I said, “Because I want it presentable if I’m going to stay here.” So, I started cleaning it up. And after awhile, they told the owner, “Why don’t you hire this guy as a work camper? And he’s probably going to be good.” So, I stayed on, and when the owner passed away, he left the park to myself and his sister-in-law. And I bought the sister-in-law out.
Michelle: What have you done since you’ve owned it? – Paul: Just painting. some of the buildings, and scraping them down, and cleaning up the debris, clearing out some of the mesquite so people can actually see the place now. It doesn’t look as run-down. This park basically opened in 2007. And they didn’t have any equipment here other than manpower and a little riding lawnmower. So, I’ve gone out, I’ve got a tractor now. I’ve got necessary equipment to make it a little bit easier so I can make improvements. And you know, the fences were there, but they were so dull and drab, they looked terrible. So, we started painting everything. We painted the sheds, we painted the cabins, the shed up here, the office, the entrance. Changed the sign, put a new sign up. So, people didn’t even know there was sites down at the front gate. I started trimming those trees and found out they were really in good shape, so now there’s shade trees there at the front gate. So, we’re trying to improve it. And if you look at my Ranger in the back, I actually have a little snip about this long of a mesquite that has needles on it that long. That’s what was at the front gate. So, if you went off the road at the front gate, you were guaranteed to have a flat tire.
Michelle: You’re a Good Sam member. When did that happen?
Paul: Two and a half years ago, we decided that– actually, January of 2015– this used to be a members only. And I said we got to change the direction of the park. The direction of the park then became it’s going to be a family park. So, how do you become a family park? You go to Good Sam. Good Sam does the review and the rating system all throughout the country. So, they came in here and they checked us out, and they gave us a very, very high rating. The one thing they nailed us on was we didn’t have a lot of trees. I’m thinking, well, we’re in the desert, you know? But you know, they gave us a good rating overall. And every year, we pass, and we’re very proud of that. Now, I understand that Woodall’s, Passport America, AAA, everybody uses. their rating system because everybody’s cutting down on cost, so they don’t want to send out another whole inspection to come up with the same conclusion. So, Good Sam, we’re very proud of it, and that’s why we’ve got this flag here. And they gave us new ones because that won’t even last three months with the winds. But yeah, that’s been. very, very helpful. So, online, people look for us on Good Sam.
Michelle: We found you online. The boys, especially, they actually have a camp. Shane and Landry and their mother have a camp back in Massachusetts on the lake, so they spend their summers in a campground on the lake. So they’re comparing you. to what they have there, and they love it at Kings Campground. So how do you feel about what you’re seeing here?
Shane: Much friendlier and more dog friendly. And just–the people are very welcoming.
And the reviews I’ve read about you were all very favorable.
Paul: Well, I took– I made a decision that dogs are gonna be allowed in the club house, except when we’re serving meals. And we have one service dog that comes in all the time. That’s Puru. But I decided that was it because they’re part of our families. Most people that travel, especially full-timers, have some kind of pets. And so I decided that was gonna be it, so my partner said, “Thank you very much,” because she had a Shar Pei and it was never allowed in here even though it was her brother-in-law. So that was actually the– that was, I think, what turned the tide and made us get better reviews and more people.
Then became, again, on the web, they understood that this is really a nice environment because 3 miles of trails, you can take dogs in that direction, up here,
you can go around. There’s 3 miles of trails. The perimeter trail that I made is 2 miles. And then you have the criss-crosses that go across and you can exit, like, over here, where you can come out or you can exit over there. You can enter, you can do a third of the park today, you can do a third tomorrow; you can keep going.
Michelle: We loved it. We’ve done it twice already. It was great.
So we are talking to Paul Harrington, who owns the Desert Oasis RV Campground in McNeal, Arizona. Just outside of Bisbee, Arizona. We highly recommend this campground.