What It’s Like to Own Dark Sky RV Campground: A Conversation With Britt Roth

Aug 19, 2022 | Campgrounds

What It’s Like to Own Dark Sky RV Campground: A Conversation With Britt Roth

Campground owner Britt Roth on starting a business with her family, opening doors, and digging for bones.

By Kendra Clapp Olguín

Some campgrounds get passed down through generations with family members working together and owners who remember growing up around the campground. Mom-and-pop campgrounds predate the hospitality conglomerates that now populate the camping industry. Enamored by the quaint Southern Utah town of Kanab, one family set out to create a business and camping experience of their own. 

As a multi-generational partnership, Britt Roth, her husband Jeff, and her parents Rick and Meryl combined their hospitality, marketing, and entrepreneurship backgrounds to develop a new kind of RV park where natural beauty meets luxury. We spoke with Britt about falling in love with RVing, opening doors, and what makes Dark Sky RV Campground stand out.

What path led you to start a campground, or more specifically, an RV campground?

Before we had kids, Jeff and I rented a Class C RV and drove up the Pacific Coast Highway into Canada, over Mount Rushmore, and back down. It was such a memorable experience for us. Fast-forward a few years, and we had two kids living in Austin, Texas. Jeff was let go from his job and I was a stay-at-home mom. We felt overwhelmed and wondered what to do with our lives. 

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I saw a YouTube video of a family, Less Junk More Journey, who sold everything and moved into an RV. The concept of getting rid of everything appealed to me, and I pitched the idea to Jeff, who was totally on board. Six months later, we had purchased a fifth wheel trailer and an F250, and rented our home out for a year. We just set off. It changed the course and trajectory of our lives and led us to where we are now. We traveled for 1.5 years across the U.S., into Canada, and Mexico. We fell in love with RVing, the lifestyle, the minimalism, and the people we met on the road.

four people sit on a red couch around a fire pit
Dark Sky RV Campground owners Jeff, Britt, Rick, and Meryl. | Photo courtesy of Dark Sky RV Campground

That passion shows in the way that you designed Dark Sky. How did your family go from RVing to creating a campground of your own?

We met up with my parents for my dad’s 60th birthday at Dinosaur National Monument and were making our way down Utah. We were passing through this really cute town that caught our eye, and as we were rolling through, the back door of our fifth wheel swung open. It was literally the door of opportunity opening because it gave us a moment to pull off and look around. This place had an energy about it.  

A couple of days later, we returned to Kanab. Within the first hour, we met two or three people that had just relocated from Austin. My dad walked down to the real estate office and met a woman who had also just moved from Austin. She later became the realtor that sold us the land for the RV park. It was a full-circle moment of opportunity.

We knew coming here that we had to create something ourselves, so we pooled our money and backgrounds in hospitality, marketing, and entrepreneurship together. Coming off of this RVing experience, it made sense for us to start an RV park because we felt there was a void in what we looked for. If we were looking for a campground similar to state or national parks but with the luxuries of a private campground, we felt we had to build it ourselves. The park became a manifestation of what we couldn’t find on the road and a reflection of everything we loved in our global travels. It’s also a representation of us and our love for this area.

an aerial view of a desert campground surrounded by red rock formations
The boutique campground has 18 pull-through sites and is surrounded by red rock. | Photo: Tyler D. Way

Can you share a little about the campground setting?

Dark Sky RV Campground sits on 40 acres; of that, about 10 to 15 acres are developed. We have 18 RV sites that are all full hookups and pull-throughs. Our sites are at least 75 feet apart, so you feel you’re among the sagebrush. We have 360-degree views of beautiful mountains and red rock, and we are a dark sky community, so the night sky is truly amazing. 

People often come here intending to get out daily with a packed itinerary. They end up saying, “I don’t want to go anywhere because it’s so nice and so quiet here.” You feel like you’re doing something by just being at your site. 

And you did not skimp on the amenities. What are some that visitors can anticipate enjoying?

There are two beautiful bath suites with indoor and outdoor showers, modern tiling, heated floors, big vanity mirrors, and lighting. It really is a luxury to come out of your rig, spread out, and have a little spa experience. 

We have a community open terrace with furniture and fire pits. There’s a market with beer, wine, coffee, tea, ice cream, and gifts. Everything is open 24/7, there are no set hours, and on the honor system. We have cash boxes, Venmo, and PayPal options. 

Striving for more convenience on the road, sometimes you don’t have change for laundry, so just Venmo us. You don’t often know when you might want late-night ice cream, so things are always open. We don’t have an office and do everything on our phones or online. 

a close up on a black-tiled shower stall in a bathroom
The campground has two bathroom suites with heated floors and indoor/outdoor showers. | Photo: Tyler D. Way

If guests have questions or need recommendations, we communicate from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and respond quickly. Customer service is paramount to us. You’re not just coming to an RV park and hooking up; it’s an experience when you come here, and I believe that’s one of the top amenities we offer. We also have fiber-optic WiFi, which is almost unheard of in a tiny town. We’re praised for our super fast internet, which is awesome for the RVing lifestyle. 

What are some of the campground features for kids?

We have a kid’s dig pit where they can dig for bones that we’ve found around here—namely cow or coyote skulls. Kids really love it. They can also dig for little stars and exchange them for ice cream. We have a 75-foot zip line as well. 

Guests have access to some rentals as well, right?

For adventurers that want to go off-roading, we have two off-road vehicles that guests can take to all of the sandy destinations in the area. We have e-bikes available to rent as well. We’re just 3 miles away from the center of Kanab, so we’re close to all of the town’s amenities.

an airstream trailer is parked under a dark sky dotted with stars
The campground’s name is attributed to its location within a dark sky community. | Photo: Tyler D. Way

What are some of the area attractions and destinations?

Kanab is considered within Utah’s “Grand Circle,” so we’re 1.5 hours or less from Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, the Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Lake Powell. Locally, we like to send people to Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon, Grand Chamber, and Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. There are local hikes where you can see dinosaur tracks—there aren’t many places in the U.S. where you can do that. Other destinations like South Fork Indian Canyon, Wire Pass Trail, and Buckskin Gulch have some incredible slot canyons and petroglyphs. I’ve barely scratched the surface—it’s a great place to do many different things depending on your interest and skill level.

What’s been your favorite part of creating, owning, and running a campground?

I’ve always wanted to do business with my mom because we’re both creative and bring unique skills to the table. It’s been great to work with my husband and create a business with my parents, Rick and Meryl. They’re our mentors and have always owned businesses. Them being a little older and us being a little younger, we all bring our different ideas and perspectives.

On the front end of owning this type of business, I’ve enjoyed this as a true passion project, building something out of nothing. We look out and see our slice of heaven. Then getting to share it with so many people, it’s super special that we don’t have it all to ourselves. We built something where people stay and love, and it never gets old hearing how beautiful it is.

Editor’s note: Some quotes have been edited for clarity. 

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