This week’s Florida RV SuperShow may not draw as many people as it normally does because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But looks could be deceiving, according to officials from the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.
“Demand for RVs and the RV lifestyle is at record levels,” said Bobby Cornwell, executive director and CEO of the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (Florida ARVC), which hosts CampFlorida.com, the travel planning website that represents more than 400 campgrounds across the Sunshine State. “Even before the pandemic, park operators and developers were planning to add more than 3,000 new RV sites in Florida, both by building new RV resorts and expanding existing ones,” Cornwell said. “Pre-pandemic demand was being fueled by retiring Baby Boomers as well as growing numbers of Millennials.”
But after the pandemic hit, Cornwell said, demand for camping and RVing has become even stronger as millions of people have realized that camping and RVing is the safest way to travel.
“Even before the pandemic, we were seeing growing numbers of people in their 50s and 60s working from their RV and enjoying the snowbird lifestyle. Now, with the pandemic, even fa
milies are realizing they can take the kids and enjoy the RV lifestyle now. All of this is fueling demand for more RVs and more RV sites in Florida and across the country,” Cornwell said.
Indeed, ITR Economics’ inaugural forecast for the RV Industry Association’s quarterly RV RoadSigns report predicts RV manufacturers will ship 507,200 units in 2021, the highest shipment figures in the history of the RV business.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, for its part, estimates that more than 53,000 new RV sites will be built across the country this year. The estimate was based on a survey of 516 campground and RV park operators across the U.S.
All of this, of course, bodes well for Florida, Cornwell said, noting that Florida has always been one of the most attractive vacation destinations in the country.
Following are examples of several new and expanding RV parks and resorts across Florida as well as parks that are making significant improvements in addition to parks that have come online in the past couple of years:
Creekside RV Park in Punta Gorda: This park debuted its first 122 sites in 2018 and its 73-site second phase in December of 2018. Resort amenities include a 9,500 square foot clubhouse overlooking a lake with a wrap-around porch. The clubhouse has a dance floor, state-of-the-art acoustics, a stage for entertainment, an exercise room with commercial equipment, a kitchen, a card room, library and billiards room. Outdoor amenities include a beach to lounge on, a swimming pool and spa, a picnic pavilion, pickleball, bocce ball and shuffleboard courts as well as horseshoes, a golf driving cage and a putting green. Guests also enjoy a jam-packed activities program with organized activities and social events. https://www.creeksidervresort.com
Fiesta Key RV Resort and Marina in Long Key: A redevelopment of the west side of this resort was completed in early 2020, impacting 70 sites. Additionally, extensive renovations to 17 rental units were completed and are now available to guests. https://rvonthego.com/florida/fiesta-key-rv-resort/
Fisherman’s Cove RV Resort in Palmetto: More than $1.5 million in improvements have recently been made to this active lifestyle resort on Terra Ceia Bay. Improvements include brand new streets throughout the resort; the addition of eight new paved RV sites; a new asphalt storage area with water and electrical hookups; a new expansive dog park; a new large game room inside the clubhouse, which also features a remodeled kitchen; a new vacation rental villa that can be rented daily, weekly or monthly; and a new pickleball court. Park amenities include a waterfront heated pool and spa and fitness center. The resort is less than three miles from Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, featuring a nearly 2,000-acre oasis of mangroves, hiking trails, and waterways. https://myfishermanscove.com
Flamingo Lake RV Resort in Jacksonville: This park has added 127 sites in the past two years, including 60 sites in 2018 and 67 sites that were completed in August 2019, according to Ken Lloyd, the resort’s assistant general manager and vice president. “We filled up the first 60 new sites a month and a half after making them available,” Lloyd said, adding that the park has spent over $3 million in its latest improvement and expansion projects, which include paving gravel roadways in a portion of the park. https://www.flamingolake.com
Hidden River RV Resort in Riverview: This park is adding another 85 RV sites. Fifty-one sites have already been completed while the remaining 34, which are located along the river, will be completed between February and June. The park is also adding pickleball courts and an exercise facility after making other amenity upgrades. https://www.sunrvresorts.com/resorts/south/florida/hidden-river/
Holiday Travel Park in Holiday: The latest improvements at this park include a renovated clubhouse and a new outdoor kitchen area, new pool and patio furniture, resurfaced shuffleboard courts as well as new pool tables, bocce ball courts and horseshoe pits. https://rvonthego.com/florida/holiday-travel-park/
Keystone Heights RV Resort in Keystone Heights: Construction crews completed the first 193 sites of this park with the park opening in November 2020, according to developer Alan Wallace. The park’s amenities will include an 11,000 square foot clubhouse with a 2,700-square-foot swimming pool and spa, bathhouse and laundry facilities as well as pickleball courts. https://www.keystoneheightsrv.com
North Beach Camp Resort in St. Augustine: This 150-site park has embarked on a 70-site expansion, the first sites of which are expected to be ready by next winter, according to park co-owner Ken Usina. https://northbeachcamp.com
Pecan Park RV Resort in Jacksonville: This park has nearly doubled in size to 341 sites with the addition of 158 concrete RV sites. The new sites, which were completed in September, have concrete driveways, parking and patio areas and full hookups, including complimentary WiFi. Other improvements include the addition of seven vacation rentals, one ADA home, and six loft-style park model rentals that sleep six. The park is currently building a new state-of-the-art amenity center with basketball, horseshoe, pickleball, tennis and bocce ball, which is expected to be completed as early as May. The amenity center will also have a pavilion for live performances as well as a fire pit. http://www.pecanparkrvresort.com
Space Coast RV Resort in Rockledge: A 50-amp electrical upgrade project was recently completed at this park, which allows for 74 RV sites to receive higher amp service. https://www.rvonthego.com/florida/space-coast-rv-resort/
Southern Leisure RV Resort in Chiefland: A major expansion recently took place at this park, which opened in January 2019 with 218 sites. Work crews added another 279 sites, more than doubling the size of the resort, according to park owner Alan Wallace. The new sites became available for occupancy in November. The resort has many upscale amenities, including a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse with state-of-the-art acoustics, a stage for entertainment and a jam-packed activities program with organized activities and social events. Other amenities include a heated Olympic-size swimming pool, a bathhouse, a fitness center, as well as special rooms for sewing, quilting, cards and billiards. Laundry facilities and a post office are also onsite along with a large outdoor recreation pavilion for picnics, barbecues and other special events. Outdoor sports facilities include pickleball, bocce ball and shuffleboard courts as well as walking and jogging trails and horseshoe pits. Dog grooming and salon services are also available. https://www.southernleisurervresort.com.
Southern Leisure RV Resort of Ocala: Construction is underway on 185 RV sites at this gated resort, which is expected to open in the fall, according to developer Alan Wallace. Amenities will include a 7,000 square-foot clubhouse, an Olympic-size swimming pool and spa, bocce ball, pickleball and shuffleboard courts.
Splash RV Resort and Water Park in East Milton: This 62-acre, $20 million resort and water park, under construction near the corner of Interstate 10 and State Road 87, will initially feature approximately 351 RV sites as well as 34 to 40 park model cottages and six furnished Conestoga wagons, according to Marcus Lauren, the park’s general manager, adding that the park is expected to open this spring. Amenities will include two swimming pools, waterslides and a lazy river as well as bocce ball, pickleball and basketball courts. The park is being developed by Craig Kruse, who owns and operates Santa Rosa RV Resort in Navarre. The latest updates are posted on the park’s Facebook page. https://www.splashrvresort.com
Stage Stop Campground in Winter Park: This park’s roads and swimming pool have been resurfaced, most of the park’s buildings have new roofs and 70% of its sites now have 50 amp service. The park’s WiFi system has also been improved. https://stagestoprvcampground.com/desktop/.
Sunkissed Village RV Resort in Summerfield: This new 267-site luxury resort, developed by Evanston, Ill.-based Jennings Realty, opened in December 2019. The resort features spacious RV sites with water and sewer service and 50/100 amp electrical connections. Resort amenities include a large heated salt water swimming pool with a paver deck, a Tiki bar, a grill area and an outdoor gas fire pit; pickleball, bocce ball and shuffleboard courts; a winter activities program; and a spacious modern clubhouse with special event space, a commercial kitchen and a fitness center. Other amenities include a dog park and a dog washing station with hot water. https://www.sunkissedvillage.com
Sunlake RV Resort in Ruskin: Recent improvements at this resort include repaved streets through the entire property; remodeled restrooms; paved common area sidewalks; new laundry equipment; a remodeled clubhouse and heated pool. https://sunlakervresort.com/
Sunseekers RV Resort in Fort Myers: Fifty amp electrical service has been added to more than 240 sites at this park, completing a two-year upgrade plan for the resort that included improvements to the swimming pool, bathhouses, roads and the addition of a new pickleball court. http://www.sunseekersrvpark.com
Sunshine Village in Webster: This active lifestyle resort has gone through a $2 million expansion that included the addition of 50 supersites in 2018 and 2019 on a 9.5-acre site that was added to the property. The sites are 83 feet by 43 feet and include 72- by 20-foot concrete pads. https://sunshinevillageflorida.com
The Tides RV Resort in Palmetto: This new luxury RV Resort opened in January 2020 with 389 sites on a 95-acre site that includes a fully stocked catch-and-release fishing lake, heated resort-style swimming pools, a 15,000-square-foot clubhouse with kitchen facilities, a state-of-the-art fitness center, pickleball and shuffleboard courts, a dog park, and scheduled activities and special events. https://www.thetidesrvresort.com
The Waves RV Resort in Naples: Roughly $2 million in improvements are being made at this 383-site resort, the latest of which is the renovation of a 7,000-square-foot clubhouse, new landscaping and other cosmetic improvements throughout the resort. Last winter, the resort completed construction of a zero-entry resort-style swimming pool and added four new pickleball courts, several new bocce ball courts, putting green, new obstacles for the dog park, new fire pits and a tiki hut. https://thewavesrv.com
Thousand Trails Orlando RV Resort in Clermont: This park recently completed the development of a section that will allow for more than 160 new RV sites. Along with the expansion, a second pool area was completed, which included additional bathhouses and a new laundry facility that is currently being built with completion anticipated by the second quarter of this year. http://rvonthego.com/florida/orlando-rv-resort/
Torrey Trails RV and Golf Resort in Bowling Green: The first 158 RV sites at this luxury resort opened this winter, according to developers Amir Harpaz, Alan Wallace and Bill Harvey. The scenic resort is built on the site of an existing golf course, which features mature oak trees. Amenities will include a 9 hole golf course with a disc golf capability; a state-of-the-art fitness center with indoor and outdoor sections; tennis and pickleball courts; a dog park and doggie splash pool. A welcome center will open this winter and visitors will be able to tour the resort as it is being built. https://www.torreytrailsrv.com
Twin Lakes Camp Resort in Defuniak Springs: Campground co-owner Pat O’Neill and his five Millennial children are transforming this campground into a glamping resort that appeals to people of all ages. They recently complemented their campsites with nine glamping tents, each of which is furnished with a king-size bed with a large decorative 100-year-old sinker pine wood frame, fine linens, a full bathroom and a kitchenette with hot water on demand, a small refrigerator and microwave oven. The units also come equipped with heating and air-conditioning, ceiling fans, indoor and outdoor dimmable LED lighting, as well as a heavy gauge metal grill. The O’Neills also recently acquired a nearby lake house, which they are renovating and will offer as a rental unit, complementing their two other lake houses at the park. Campground amenities include boat and kayak rentals, an activity center with kitchen facilities, a swimming pool, and a beautiful bathhouse with wine barrel sinks with copper basins. https://twinlakescampresort.com
Upriver RV Resort in Fort Myers: This park completed a 57-site expansion in late 2019 along with many other improvements, which include new landscaping, a new bathhouse, new washers and driers and a new Wi-Fi system. https://www.upriver.com
Wildwood RV Village in Wildwood: This pet-friendly park, which is conveniently located along I-75 between Ocala and Tampa, opened 210 new sites in January 2020. Park amenities include a heated swimming pool with a sunning deck, a shaded dog park and picnic area, big rig friendly sites and free cable TV and Wi-Fi. https://www.wildwoodrvvillage.com
Winter Garden RV Resort in Winter Garden: This park is in the process of completing a 50-amp electrical upgrade to more than 40 RV sites, with expected completion by this summer after the installation of a new transformer. https://www.rvonthego.com/florida/winter-garden-rv-resort/
Additional RV site upgrades have taken place at other parks, including Pioneer Village RV Resort in North Fort Myers and Winter Quarters Pasco in Lutz, which include the replacement of concrete RV and picnic table pads as well as the purchase of new picnic tables, according to Randy Berman, a spokesman for Chicago-based Equity LifeStyle Properties, which owns and operates these and many other RV resorts across the Sunbelt.
Breezy Hill in Pompano Beach, Vacation Village in Largo and Peace River in Wauchula have also been equipped with new or refurbished pickleball courts, Berman said.
Information about the latest trends involving campgrounds, RV parks and resorts is available from the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, which markets privately owned and operated parks in Florida through CampFlorida.com, the travel planning website. The association also publishes a free printed camping guide, which can be ordered through CampFlorida.com.