Before they were listed on Buzzfeed’s 20 RV Parks Across America, I sat down with two of the owners from Dark Sky RV Campground to talk about what led them to start an RV park, what makes their campground different from the rest, and what to do in area of Kanab, Utah.
Britt and Jeff, remember me when you guys are famous!
The Inspiration Behind Dark Sky RV Campground
Britt Roth: Hi, I’m Britt Roth.
Jeff Roth: And I’m Jeff, her husband.
B: We are one of the owners of Dark Sky RV Campground in Kanab, Utah, along with my parents, Meryl and Rick Kessel. Several years ago, before kids, the way we got into RVing, we took a three-week trip across–
J: 6 days and 5,200 miles from Austin up to Vancouver and back–
B: The specifics!
J: I remember exactly where we were, what nights.
B: And it was such an incredible experience, we just had a great time, and so that stuck with us, and fast forward to us with kids and all, and we’re in this routine that felt like a little bit of a rut in life.
J: I mean, things were fine, and we were comfortable, but it was stagnant.
B: I was a stay-at-home mom, and his department at the college he worked at shut down, so we were both in this space of “What do we do?” and I’d seen a Youtube video of a family who sold everything, moved into an RV and it stuck with me, inspired me, and we were talking a couple of weeks later of all the things we had to do, cut the grass, pay these bills and I’m like, “Let’s just move into an RV” and he’s the type of person that really takes things and runs with them, ha.
J: Yeah, you can’t give me an idea, or I’ll just go.
Life on the Road
Together: Six months later…
J: We bought a fifth wheel, a pickup truck, rented our house out in Austin, and left.
B: Hit the road and didn’t know what we were doing, but it seems like that’s the story with most people. You just don’t know what you’re doing, it’s scary, but you know that you’re onto something awesome and special. We full-timed for a year-and-a-half across the US, into Baja, Mexico, spent time in Canada in Banff. It was so beautiful.
J: Canada was incredible.
B: Along the way, we linked up with my parents, who are also RVers.
J: For Rick’s 60th birthday.
B: And he wanted to do all of the parks in this area. We had never been to Utah before, so we passed through this town, saw all of the cool things as you come in from the North: Moqui Cave, the dinosaur tracks, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, which is the largest sanctuary in the United States. So you learn all of these things, and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, what is this cute little place that we stumbled upon?”
J: And it is literally in the middle of nowhere. But we like it that way because it’s amazing. You’re driving, and then all of a sudden, Kanab appears out of the mountains, and before you know it, you’ve gone through several turns of the town, and then you’re gone. There’s nothing again for at least an hour in any direction, and it’s fantastic. So we were just like, what is this town in the middle of nowhere that just appeared and our bathroom door just swung open in front of Glazier’s, which is one of the grocery stores here, and we joke that it was the door of opportunity saying, “Hey guys, pay attention!“
B: Definitely. So then we spent a little bit of time here. We met people who had just moved from Austin, Texas. Some weird coincidences, right?
J: Well, your dad went to a real estate agent and met with Karen and was like, “I want to see properties,” and we were like, “What? Ok! Great!” I’m super glad we did because we ended up working with that realtor.
B: We all went home, sold our homes, sold pretty much everything we had, and then pooled our resources and found this piece of property which was the last one we saw on our exhaustive days of looking for property. It was out of our budget, but it all worked, and the universe came together. It has some of the most amazing 360 views of everything around us, and we all felt this special energy here. So yeah, we bought 40 acres in Kanab!
J: And you’re far enough away from town, so it feels like you’re boondocking with full hookups and a super fancy bath suite. Which is the way to boondock, right?
B: I’m really into design and aesthetics, and my mom is as well, so we are an awesome creative team. We pulled the things we loved from our travels across the United States and Europe and drew inspiration from the RV parks, hotels, and public spaces that we like. The energy and the vibe we wanted to create here came next. We love RV parks that all had pull-throughs, so we knew every spot would be pull-through to eliminate any stressors for people rolling in. These private bath suites that have outdoor showers and heated floors are probably nicer bathrooms than most people have at their homes, ha. We want to treat guests extra special. Whether you have your own RV that you love and want to be in and don’t ever want to leave, or you want to get out of it and experience some of the vibes we created here–
J: And that’s all Britt and Meryl. The vibe and the aesthetic that’s the two of them. They did an excellent job.
B: Thanks! We wanted to create a special place for people to not just park but also live and experience something unique, to experience Kanab.
Tell us a little about Kanab, Utah.
J: Well, Kanab is called the Golden Circle. It’s within 90 minutes of Zion National Park, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante. So we are right within five national parks, so obviously there’s that stuff to do. But there are so many other little things that can be done in the area, and we still haven’t done all of them.
One of my favorites is the Mansard Trail, which is a hike just up the road. It’s a six-and-a-half-mile round trip hike. And you go to the top of these mesas, and then there’s an area that’s 40 feet of petroglyphs. It’s amazing that you can be out there next to thousands of years-old carvings. There’s simpler stuff within the town, like the hike up to the “K” that looks over Kanab. It doesn’t matter what your skill level is. There’s something for you to do.
B: And there’s the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, which is beautiful to walk or sand board down them, which is really neat. And then Kanab has such a rich dinosaur history. So, if you’re into that, there are hikes where you can go and see those footprints in the sandstone. It’s unbelievable that you’re standing next to this dinosaur footprint. Where else is that even possible? There are ATV tracks everywhere, and we have a reservoir where you can canoe, paddleboard, or fish. So there’s really something for everyone. And dark skies! Thus, our name. If you’re into nighttime photography, the universe, stars, and the Milkyway, it runs right over us. It’s a really special place not to be overlooked.
J: Also, geographically, yeah, you’re here, and you’re in the desert, but you go 40 minutes north, and you’re in the pine trees, and it’s cold. Then you can head south for more desert or southeast for the Kaibab National Forest on your way to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. There’s just so much to do in the area. It’s awesome.
Dark Sky RV Campground Information
- Three miles away from downtown Kanab, Utah
- Campground sits on 40 acres of untouched sagebrush
- 18 premiere, pull-through RV sites with full hookups
- RV sites include: dining & cocktail tables, propane fire pit, and shade structure
- 10 primitive tent sites
- 2 private bathroom suites with outdoor showers and heated floors
- Community terrace with grill, firepits, coffee & tea bar, Berkey water bar, and more.
- Open-air laundry
- Fiber Optic Wifi
- Excellent cell phone coverage
- Propane refill station
- Propane tank rentals
- Kid’s dig pit and zipline
- 2 ROXOR off-road vehicle rentals
- E-bike rentals
For more information about Kanab, check out Campspot’s Guide on What to do in Kanab, Utah.