Parking Tips

Parking Tips for Camps & Retreat Centers

Have you ever driven through a maze-like garage or illogically laid-out parking lot and thought, “Who the heck designed this?” It is easy to underestimate the importance of mapping out practical parking and traffic flow until you have faced the inconvenience yourself. At Kaleidoscope, Inc., we help ease the stress of master site planning, which includes parking and roadways, by working with your leadership team, site planners, and architects to create plans that will be the ultimate tool for your program delivery. Our industry experts will help you transform your property and ensure that every piece of the puzzle comes together.

Since roads and parking areas make a substantial footprint in any site plan, they require thoughtful planning. Although not as fun as envisioning a brand-new shelter or recreation hall, these infrastructures are vital to the functionality of your camp or retreat center. Before we get into some helpful tips about parking and traffic management, we would like to highlight a few things you should avoid doing:

  1. Do not overcomplicate your traffic flow or parking regulations
  2. Do not make parking areas inconvenient or difficult to access
  3. Do not forget to include signage with directional information throughout your property
  4. Do not let traffic or parking areas block any entry or exit points
  5. Do not forget to leave enough room for vehicles to reverse and maneuver 

Helpful Parking & Traffic Tips

Create an entry portal

As guests arrive on site, they should transport from the “outside world” to the thrilling experience known as camp. Create a specific entry point with signage that invites guests inside while warning other traffic to keep out. A security gate at the entry portal is a great way to make a statement and add safety features. 

Plan for deliveries

Receiving deliveries should be a smooth process that does not interfere with programming. Ideally, trucks with large onsite deliveries should come through a separate entrance with plenty of clearance. This entrance should be close to where the driver unloads their haul and have plenty of room to back up, maneuver, and turn around away from campers. 

For smaller deliveries, provide a lock box outside the main gate for packages; this will keep additional trucks off the premises and limit extra traffic. Be sure to provide any drivers with the lock code and task staff with checking the box regularly. 

Provide separate staff parking

Have staff parking out-of-sight and away from programming and public spaces. A separate entrance for staff parking is also beneficial. This will keep the camp feel intact and traffic away from guests. Having staff park together can also improve safety when coming and going from work, making it easier to adopt a buddy system for staff members and volunteers. 

Have program-specific plans 

Day programming: Day camp requires pick-up and drop-off more frequently than overnight camp, so a loop can help accommodate the consistent flow of traffic. Have this loop away from any overnight camp areas and adjacent to where staff will welcome children. Designate pull-off spots where guardians can park if they need more time to organize their children or belongings before drop-off.

Overnight camp: Plan drop-off and pick-up times that don’t interfere with other programs, as it generally takes longer to get settled for overnight camp. Have plenty of parking spaces to accommodate the number of campers you are welcoming at one time. Keep the flow of traffic as consistent as possible, and have all vehicles enter and leave camp through different access points.

Retreat Season parking: Handle retreat parking differently than camp parking. Have participants have access as close to their living quarters as possible with space to unload supplies. After unloading, have guests move vehicles to parking lots to keep the main area less crowded with cars.

Including comprehensive parking and roadway logistics in your master site plan is imperative. We hope the tips above provide you with some guidance when constructing that plan or revamping your current operations. Should you need any additional assistance with site planning, contact us today to set up a consultation. We look forward to bringing your vision to life!

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