Dreamin’ n’ Driftin’ RV Resort in Lake City, Florida’s newest RV park, will have a soft opening on Oct. 1 for long-term guests with a grand opening on Nov. 1 for everyone else.
“We already have about 12 long-term sites reserved,” said Paula Miller, 59, a full-time RVer who is developing the 100-site park with her husband, Bobby Hester.
Developed on a 33-acre lot that includes eight acres of century-old live oak trees with Spanish moss, the resort features large, 80-foot by 40-foot RV sites with 30- and 50-amp electric service, a walking and workout trail, a community center and swimming pool, and a one-acre dog park. Fifty of the 100 sites will be long-term sites, with 25 sites being for seasonal and 25 for overnight campers.
Bobby and Paula decided to develop the park after taking a three-month, 14,000-mile RV trip across the country during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Paula, who had worked for many years running a private Christian school in northern Florida, said she loved the RV lifestyle. So did Bobby, who is fully retired and volunteers at the school.
“We literally did a perimeter trip of the U.S., from Florida to Texas, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and back to Florida,” Paula recalled, adding that they gained inspiration from Paula’s father and stepmother, who are also full-time RVers.
Of course, throughout their trip, Bobby and Paula got to experience a variety of campgrounds, RV parks and resorts, and they soon started thinking about developing a park of their own.
“We wanted to build a park with the amenities we wanted,” Paula explained, noting that many parks have lot sizes that are too small and lack other amenities, like dog parks and even swimming pools.
Bobby and Paula took a big step forward in pursuing their dream in February 2022.
“That’s when we sold our house and moved into our motorhome, a 2004 Winnebago diesel pusher,” Paula said, adding that they used proceeds from their home sale to purchase land and begin developing their RV park, which they have financed with a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan.
Paula said the desire to downsize was a key motivator in their decision to become full-timers.
“Before, when I would come home, I would think, ‘I’ve got to mow the lawn,’ ‘I’ve gotta take care of the pool.’ Sometimes a house becomes a burden,” she said.
But with their RV, she can clean it in 45 minutes and they can lead a much simpler life.
Paula said it only took one year to develop their park to the point where they could open. They still have to complete some of their amenities, including their office and community center, but they have enough infrastructure in place to open and start generating income. She added that while Hurricane Idalia delayed construction by shutting off power, their park is far enough inland that it didn’t suffer any hurricane damage.
Paula said she doesn’t anticipate any problems filling up their park during the winter season because of the continuing strong demand for RV sites.
“Our pricing is reasonable for our area,” she said. “I know we can charge more. But I don’t. I want a place I can retire at and be happy and have a community.”