Florida’s RV parks and resorts that cater to snowbirds are doing well this winter, despite the ongoing pandemic and the continuing Canadian border closure.
“Most of our members tell us they are very happy with their business levels this winter,” said Bobby Cornwell, executive director and CEO of the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, which hosts CampFlorida.com, the travel planning website.
“Our season is going strong,” said Amir Harpaz, a co-owner and developer of Torrey Trails RV Resort in Bowling Green, about an hour east of Tampa, which opened its first phase of 158 sites this winter.
“We are in line with where we wanted to be in terms of the number of leases and guests,” Harpaz said, adding that Torrey Trails recently broke ground on a massive new swimming pool. Harpaz and his business partners are planning to build another 210 sites next year.
“Our business is up,” said Mike Wood, who owns and operates Breezy Oaks RV Park in Bushnell, Lake Panasoffkee RV Park in Lake Panasoffkee, Travelers Campground in Alachua, and Wildwood RV Village in Wildwood. He said American snowbirds largely replaced the Canadians who were not able to come to Florida this winter.
While business levels vary by park, up and down the Sunshine State, most RV park operators say their business has been strong this winter. Some examples:
Bay Bayou RV Resort in Tampa and Sunkissed Village RV Resort in Summerfield: “Although we did experience a large number of cancellations and date changes due to COVID-19, we have been able to fill those reservations with shorter term stays,” said Darla Sinnard, who manages both parks for Jennings Realty. “Demand is strong for last-minute reservations for guests wishing to leave the cold weather in the Midwest and on the East Coast. Both resorts will be full for February and at 90% occupancy for March, so we are grateful.” https://www.rvparkflorida.com and https://sunkissedvillage.com
Caladesi RV Park in Palm Harbor: “This winter has pretty much been the same compared with last year,” Christos Kappas, park manager. “Despite the Canadians not coming, we are fine. Plenty of people are traveling to Florida. We are slightly less booked because of the uncertainty of the baseball spring training season, but without doubt, people will still be coming down to Florida.” https://caladesirvparkpalmharbor.com
Nova Family Campground in Port Orange: “Our business was down about 5.5% for 2020 compared to 2019,” according to Michael Ho-Lung, park manager. “We attributed this to the effects of COVID-19. The absence of our Canadian customers hurt our bottom line.” https://www.novacamp.com
Ocala North RV Resort in Reddick: “Our snowbird season has been huge,” the park said in an emailed statement. “Currently for the season, we are up 41 percent compared to last season. Our snowbird business has changed. With the Canadian borders being confusing, we have lost almost all of our Canadian business. But we have filled that hole through targeted Facebook ads in particular states. We focused our resources on states that we do the most business with historically.” https://www.ocalanorthrvresort.com
Red Coconut RV Park in Fort Myers Beach:
“Since this pandemic hit, we’ve been busier than we’ve ever been before,” said Fran Myers, who co-owns the 250-site Red Coconut RV Park in Fort Myers Beach with her husband, Tom. “For this winter, we are sold out completely,” she said. https://www.redcoconut.com
Ridge Manor Campground in Ridge Manor: According to park manager and owner Brad Winteroff, “We are as busy as the last few years during our normal season: December, mostly full. January, full. February, full. March, full, and April, mostly full.” https://www.ridgemanorcampground.com
Riptide RV Resort & Marina in Key Largo: “Some of our regular American snowbirds at Riptide did cancel, but we have kept busy with transient RV guests,” said Julie Rohan, resort manager. https://www.sunrvresorts.com/resorts/south/florida/riptide/
The Outpost RV Resort Park & Community in Winter Haven: “Although our park has a couple of open sites, we will be 100 percent full in February,” resident managers Jeff and Kathie Osborn said in an emailed statement. https://theoutpostresort.com
Yankee Traveler RV Park in Largo: “We have been able to fill our short-term sites that had been reserved by Canadian travelers with U.S. travelers. We might be 2-3% down, but nothing significant,” said Keith Bailey, owner and manager of the park, adding, “Since we charge more for shorter stays, we might even be a bit up money-wise.” https://yankeetraveler.net
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 though CampFlorida.com.