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During a daily instagram scroll I came across Roamstead. The images were enough to stop my scrolling and thirty minutes later I was still deep into learning about how this modern campground came to be.

But I still had more questions.

Gratefully, my DM was answered and I got to connect directly with the owner, Shannon

1326f355980104284f6af0afbf769461cf8dbcaf.pngConnolly, and learn how this twist on camping came to be. I know you’ll find Shannon’s story inspiring and perhaps it will motivate you to get going on a dream you have and maybe even visit Roamstead!

Shannon - why did you decide to create Roamstead?

We started camping with our kids in 2018 when they were just little. We loved the experience! In summer 2021, after spending more than a year cooped up after COVID, we decided to take our camper on a month-long trip through Colorado and Utah, visiting as many National Parks as we could. In planning for that trip, we were disappointed in the campgrounds we found — many of them are old, outdated, run down, dirty, or just nothing special. We love camping, but we also love staying in boutique hotels, and we just didn’t understand why there was such a gap between those two lodging experiences. When we got back from that trip, we began researching. We thought surely there were some campgrounds out there that matched the vision we had in our heads, but we didn’t find any. So we decided to do it ourselves.

Prior to taking on the building of Roamstead - how did you spend your days?

My husband has a background in real estate development, and got his start in the hospitality industry, so this wasn’t totally foreign to him. I, however, spent the last 10 years in sales analytics, so I spent most of my days behind the computer, building Excel spreadsheets and Powerpoint presentations to tell stories with my clients’ data. Quitting that career and moving into something totally different was a scary thought. It took months of consideration and lots of pro/con lists to finally make the move.

Have you experienced any setbacks with the opening of Roamstead? How did you handle them?


I think our biggest setbacks have been around finding the right property. We’ve been so close to purchasing several pieces of land or campgrounds over the last 2 years, and for one reason or another, they didn’t work out. It could be issues with zoning or septic systems or floodplains, but sometimes things just fall through. It can be so disappointing, especially when you’ve gotten your hopes up and started dreaming about what it might look like. But I have to remind myself that the right location will come along, and in the end, it will be just what we hoped we’d find.

I know the Roamstead mission is to “serve as a bridge to the great outdoors, creating an experience that feels safe and welcoming to everyone (not just those who’ve camped before).” Why is this mission so important to you?

At Roamstead, we want to make the outdoors more accessible. That means 2 things to us. First, not everyone grows up doing outdoor activities like camping. When we get older, it can feel intimidating to get started, because you need the right gear and the best location. And even then, you might be traveling with others who have varying levels of outdoorsy-ness. We want Roamstead to be the place that every type of camper, from those who do it all the time to those who don’t see themselves as


“campers,” can feel at home.

Second, we know there are groups who aren’t always well-represented in rural, outdoor spaces, like people of color, and those in the LGBTQ community. Campgrounds might not always feel like welcoming places. We want Roamstead to be a place where every camper feels at home.

The outdoors are for everyone. Being outside improves our mental and physical wellbeing. And we believe that the more people who get out and explore our National Parks and other outdoor destinations, the more people will care to preserve and protect them.

When people arrive at Roamstead how do you want them to feel? And when they leave?


When they arrive, we want them to feel warm, welcomed, excited, and surprised. We want this to be an experience that is unlike any previous camping experience they’ve had. When they leave, we hope they are rejuvenated, inspired, connected, and, hopefully, looking forward to their next Roamstead visit.

Any goals for the rest of 2023?

Aside from completing our first summer/fall season in business, our biggest goal for 2023 is to firm up location #2! We’re looking at property and existing campgrounds throughout the southeast, so we’re hoping to find the perfect one!

We have a lot of teens and young adults who read these articles, so we like to ask people this question - “Are you doing today what you thought you’d be doing when you were 16?”

I’m not sure I ever really had a career planned out when I was a kid. All I knew is that I wanted to be a “businesswoman” in a suit with a briefcase. But I think my vision was always more of climbing a corporate ladder — I would never have considered working for myself to be an option. Sixteen-year-old me (and even 22-year-old-recent-college-graduate me) would be so excited by all the things I get to do. I’m doing marketing, operations, human resources, public relations — a little bit of everything. I’m definitely putting all my business school courses to work!

Last but not least – how did you come up with the name? I can’t take total credit for


this one, as we had some fantastic help with the naming process. We hired a copywriter, Liza Behles, to help us come up with ideas, because we knew we needed to nail it. We wanted a name that felt inviting, modern, but with a touch of nostalgia. We wanted it to feel outdoorsy, but accessible. Roamstead was among a large list of potential names, but I knew instantly this was the one.

How can people connect with you and Roamstead?


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