Hurricane Idalia

Hurricane Idalia left a swath of damage in its path, with many parks reporting uprooted trees. Credit: Shutterstock

While a few of Florida’s campgrounds and RV parks suffered damage from Hurricane Idalia, most parks were relatively unscathed from the storm, which made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday near Keaton Beach, about 75 miles southeast of Tallahassee.

At least 10 RV parks in Idalia’s path were forced to close temporarily, mainly due to power outages, but most were expected to reopen over Labor Day weekend as electric power is restored, said Bobby Cornwell, president and CEO of the Florida and Alabama RV Park and Campground Association.

“It appears as though we were very lucky overall,” Cornwell said. “The vast majority of parks throughout the state were unharmed.”

Cornwell’s preliminary assessment was based on phone calls to parks as well as emailed updates from park operators across the state. However, as of late Thursday (Aug. 31), the association was unable to make contact with RV parks in Crystal River, Fort White, Inglis, Inverness, Keaton Beach, Lake City and Steinhatchee, apparently because of power outages.

“We did have some parks in the Fort Myers and Tampa areas that experienced some coastal or tidal flooding, but the water has mostly receded, and once power is restored these parks will be fine,” Cornwell said. “Other parks in the main path of the storm experienced some flooding, lots of downed trees and debris, but damages to actual buildings was minimal, and most of these parks will reopen once power is restored.”

The hardest hit area was where the Idalia made landfall in Taylor County near Steinhatchee.

Bobby Cornwell

Bobby Cornwell

Steinhatchee River Inn and Marina is reported to be underwater, but we haven’t been able to reach the park for confirmation of damages,” Cornwell said. “The Oasis RV Park in Taylor County in Keaton Beach, which was where Idalia made landfall, miraculously had no damage, is open and has sites available.”

However, significant wind damage was reported 55 miles north of Keaton Beach in Madison, Fla., a tiny town about a dozen miles south of the Georgia state line. Ragans Family Campground in Madison was forced to close temporarily due to fallen trees.

“We are not open because we have trees everywhere,” said Diana Beeter, a park manager.

Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA) said its Florida locations were relatively unscathed by Idalia.

“Most of our Florida campgrounds in Hurricane Idalia’s path saw minor debris and little damage from the storm. One location went into a limited operation mode to address damage, and we expect it to be fully operational over the weekend,” said Xenique McLeod, KOA’s director of public relations.

For its part, the Miami Herald published a report noting significant damage from fallen trees at Perry Cove Mobile Home & RV Park in Perry, about 22 miles north of Keaton Beach, while Fox 4 in Cape Coral, Fla. documented knee-deep water at Sun-N-Fun Mobile Home Village & RV Park in Fort Myers, one of many Florida communities that experienced coastal flooding.

Following are parks in Idalia’s path that had closed temporarily on Thursday, primarily due to power outages, according to information compiled by the Florida and Alabama RV Park and Campground Association.

Most of the parks listed below were expected to reopen over Labor Day weekend as power is restored:

  • Black Prong Equestrian Village in Bronson
  • Jennings KOA Holiday in Jennings
  • Madison RV & Golf Resort in Madison
  • Ragans Family Campground in Madison
  • Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak
  • Steinhatchee River Inn and Marina in Steinhatchee
  • Sun Retreats Homosassa River in Homosassa
  • Suwannee River Bend RV Park in Old Town
  • Suwannee River Hideaway Campground in Old Town
  • Suwannee River Rendezvous Resort in Mayo