Jason travels the country full-time with his wife Abigail, and three children.
Photo: The Resort at Canopy Oaks in Lake Wales is the largest new RV resort in Florida, having opened in December with 411 RV sites, and zoned for up to 1,000. The remaining 589 RV sites will be installed over the next 24 to 36 months.
By Jason Epperson
The RV industry is poised to sell more RVs this year than ever, at a time when those who already own them are using them more. Campsite availability is a major challenge for folks wanting to get out to a campground, especially during busy periods in popular RV destinations.
Florida is certainly one of the top three states that RVers head to, especially during the winter months, and if you’ve tried to book a site there recently, well, you know it’s a challenge.
Help is on the way says Bobby Cornwell, executive director and CEO of the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, which hosts CampFlorida.com, the travel planning website that represents more than 400 campgrounds and RV parks across the Sunshine State.
“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 families 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.
And as growing numbers of RVers hit the road, demand for campsites at RV parks and resorts continues to grow, adding more fuel to an RV park building boom that was already underway in Florida.
We estimate that more than 7,000 new RV sites will come online in Florida this year and next year.Bobby Cornwell, executive director and CEO of the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds
“We estimate that more than 7,000 new RV sites will come online in Florida this year and next year,” Cornwell said, referencing construction of several new parks, the expansion of existing parks, as well as plans for new RV parks by association members that have not yet been publicly announced.
The 7,000 site figure includes the nearly 5,000 new RV sites at 19 new Florida RV parks and resorts that have opened since December 2019 as well as the addition of nearly 1,500 new RV sites at 22 RV parks and resorts, Cornwell said. Additional RV parks and resorts with well over 1,000 new RV sites are being planned by Florida developers who are not yet ready to announce their projects, he added.
Following are examples the association shared with RV Miles of 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 since December 2019:
NEW RV PARKS AND RESORTS IN FLORIDA
— Cabana Club RV Resort in Auburndale: This family-owned resort halfway between Tampa and Orlando opens this month with 155 RV sites and 60 park model rentals. Amenities include a zero-entry, heated swimming pool, a nine-hole artificial turf putting course, a tiki hut and bar, a splash pad, and activities for all ages, including basketball, cornhole, and yoga. The resort also has separate dog parks for large and small dogs and a dog wash station. In 2022, Cabana Club RV Resort plans to add another 125 RV sites and another 65 park models as well as six covered or shaded pickleball courts and multi-use sports courts. https://cabanaclubresort.com
— Champions Run RV Resort in Ocala: Sunlight Resorts is building this park, which will open in January 2022 with 492 sites. Amenities include a full-service tiki bar, a large swimming pool and hot tub, a full fitness center, and pickleball courts. https://www.sunlight-resorts.com/resorts/champions-run/
— Coconut Cay RV Park and Marina in Marathon: This park, located in the Florida Keys, opened in June of 2020 with 25 sites. Amenities include a swimming pool, a bath and shower house, an exchange library, as well as bicycle and kayak rentals. https://www.coconutcayrv.com
— Fort Pierce KOA in Fort Pierce: Construction is underway on this campground, which will have 115 campsites and at least two deluxe cabins. The campground is expected to open by summer. https://koa.com/campgrounds/fort-pierce-west/
— Island Oaks RV Resort in Glen St. Mary: Construction is underway on this park 30 miles west of Jacksonville, which is expected to open in September with 385 sites. The park will feature waterways, a swimming lake, a pool and tiki bar, a fishing lake with a dock, paddle boards and kayaks, sports courts, and daily activities. Nature areas and ponds are also located throughout the park along with preserved wetlands. https://www.islandoaksrvresort.com
— 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.
— Madison RV & Golf Resort in Madison: This park opened in June of 2020 with 95 sites. Amenities include a recently renovated 9-hole golf course, golf cart rentals, lighted pickleball courts, a woodshop, and a swimming pool. Catch-and-release fishing is also available onsite.
— Palm Breeze RV Resort in Punta Gorda: This 439-site RV resort is expected to open in the summer of 2022. Amenities will include a full-service tiki bar, a large swimming pool and hot tub, a full fitness center and pickleball courts. The resort is being developed by Sunlight Resorts. https://www.sunlight-resorts.com
— Ponce de Leon RV Park in Ponce de Leon: This 60-acre park, located five minutes from Ponce de Leon State Park, opened in July of 2020 with 41 sites. Construction is underway this year on another 50 sites. Amenities include a swimming pool, a 5,000-square-foot open-air pavilion with picnic tables, laundry facilities and cornhole. https://poncedeleonrvpark.com
— Resort at Canopy Oaks in Lake Wales: This is the largest new RV resort in Florida, having opened in December with 411 RV sites. “We are zoned and permitted to do 1,000 RV sites total, so we are the biggest brand new park in Florida,” according to Tristan Farrell, the park’s president. The remaining 589 RV sites will be installed over the next 24 to 36 months, he said. Park amenities include several lakes; a tiki bar; a deli that serves sandwiches, pizza and salads; a coffee shop and ice cream parlor; a country store; and a hair salon and spa. https://resortatcanopyoaks.com/
— Ridge Manor Campground in Reddick: This campground has purchased an adjacent property where it plans to build a new campground that will open in mid- or late 2022, according to Bradley Winteroff, who owners and manages Ridge Manor Campground in addition to developing the new campground. Winteroff is initially planning for the new campground to have 65 RV sites and 15 sites for rental cabins or park models.
— Santa Fe Palms RV Resort in Gainesville: This park is expected to open sometime this summer with 115 sites. Amenities will include a swimming pool, a nature walk, pickleball courts, and cornhole.
— Sebring Square RV Resort in Sebring: This Sunlight Resorts park is expected to open in the late fall of this year with 215 RV sites. Amenities will include a full-service tiki bar, a large swimming pool and hot top, a full fitness center, and pickleball courts. https://www.sunlight-resorts.com/resorts/sebring-square/
— 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
— 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 saltwater 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
— Sunlight RV Resorts in Sebring: Sunlight RV Resorts is developing a yet-to-be-named RV resort in Sebring that will have 120 RV sites. The resort, which will open in 2022, will have numerous amenities, including a full-service tiki bar, a large swimming pool and hot tub, a full fitness center, and pickleball courts. https://www.sunlight-resorts.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
— 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, who plan to add another 210 sites in 2022. The scenic resort is built on the site of an existing golf course, which features mature oak trees. Amenities 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 a doggie splash pool. https://www.torreytrailsrv.com
EXPANDING RV PARKS AND RESORTS IN FLORIDA
— Bay Bayou RV Resort in Tampa: Evanston, Ill.-based Jennings Realty expanded this resort by 53 sites in 2017 and plans to add another eight RV sites this year on an adjacent property the park purchased, according to Darla Sinnard, the park’s manager. Additional amenities to be added this year include a fire pit with seating and a fitness facility, Sinnard said. https://www.rvparkflorida.com
— Breezy Oaks RV Park in Bushnell: Park owner Mike Wood is expanding this park with 53 new RV sites, which are expected to open this spring. https://breezyoaksrvpark.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
— 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 this spring. 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/
— 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
— Ocala North RV Resort in Reddick: This 260-site park is planning to add 141 sites this year, mostly for RVs, trailers and fifth wheels. https://www.ocalanorthrvresort.com
— Pecan Park RV Resort in Jacksonville: This park nearly doubled in size to 341 sites with the addition of 158 concrete RV sites in 2020. 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
— 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.
— 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/
— 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 percent of its sites now have 50 amp service. The park’s WiFi system has also been improved. https://stagestoprvcampground.com/desktop/.
— 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 a heated pool.
— 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.
— 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 Waves RV Resort in Naples: Roughly $2 million in improvements are being made at this 383-site resort, the latest of which is a 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.
— 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 a 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 WiFi 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 early 2020. This spring, the park plans to add another 159 RV sites, according to park owner Mike Wood. 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 WiFi. 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/