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June 18, 2019 | news

Open Air Resorts Upscales the Outdoor Experience


By their own admission, neither Joe Connors nor Joel Canfield spent a lot of time in RVs growing up. It wasn’t until they had children of their own that they began to appreciate the value in communal outdoor resort spaces. And so was born the idea for Open Air Resorts, a new upscale RV resort based in Spicewood, Texas.

 “I’ve longed for opportunities to get the kids away from computer screens and out doing things more in the open air,” Connors explains. While both men come from a background in real estate - they met years ago on opposite sides of a development deal - for them, the creation of Open Air Resorts was as much a lifestyle-driven creation as a commercial one. “The outdoor lifestyle has become much more popular,” Canfield adds, “and the freedom of flexibility in your lifestyle has become a real desire for a lot of millennials.”

 That’s why the two men built their outdoor resort with children in mind. “What we felt was needed was almost a summer camp experience for the kids,” Connors explains. “Swimming pool, yard games, biking, fishing... these are the kind of activities you would see at a summer camp, and most of the RV parks we went to did not offer that level of amenities.” Both men view these experiences as an essential part of what will make Open Air Resorts a destination for Austin families, not just those driving across the country. Providing families with a wealth of options would, as Connors puts it, make Open Air Resorts a place that “the kids are dragging the parent” out to see.

 With so much beautiful countryside present throughout North Austin, it may come as a surprise to some that Connors and Canfield decided to head west to open their resort. To hear them say it, though, they never considered anywhere else. “Frankly, the whole West Austin area is growing pretty rapidly right now,” Canfield explains, noting that this part of Austin was “under-served” for the kind of outdoor resort they wanted to create. But it wasn’t just numbers. “In our personal opinions, this is the prettiest area, too,” Canfield admits. “It lends itself really well to a ‘staycation’ weekend because, with state parks and outdoor activities, there’s a lot to do in this area.”

But why limit the fun to only families that already own RVs? With a variety of rental and camping options available to the public, the co-founders of Open Air Resorts hope their affordable in-house solutions will make everyone’s next vacation plans... well, a walk in the park. “We offer renovated Airstreams for people who don’t own their own RV,” Connors explains, noting that Open Air Resorts will also provide dedicated sites for people who would prefer to overnight in a tent. “We have 20 spaces for limited tent camping that are provided with electricity and an outdoor kitchen.”

 And none of this would’ve been possible without a financial institution with a little bit of vision. “This is an alternative [business], so it’s not just a simple, off-the-shelf, financing approach,” Canfield admits. “We were creative in how we approached Amplify, and they were willing to get creative with us. It’s been a really good partnership so far.” Thanks to a loan officer with a little bit of vision - and a lot of hard work - the co-founders of Open Air Resorts are ready for the first six months and beyond. “If this goes as well as we anticipate, the future is bright,” Connors hints. “We will consider expanding the brand.”

 In other words? Stay tuned for an Open Air Resort near you.