RV resort operators and CampFlorida.com officials say it behooves them to make their reservations as soon as possible to secure an RV site for next winter. Snowbirds at some Florida RV resorts are reserving RV sites for next winter earlier than they ever have before.
Torrey Trails RV & Golf Resort in Bowling Green leased all 368 of its available RV sites for the winter of 2024 during the first 15 days of this year, according to Amir Harpaz, a co-owner and operator of the resort.
Zeman Homes , which owns and operates five RV resorts in Florida, is seeing similarly strong demand with snowbirds booking earlier than normal.
“People are wanting to book earlier and fast!” said Leslie Taylor-Rharbi, director of Zeman’s Signature Resorts. “Normally, we start in late February into March and this year we started mid January per the request of our guests. At this point, we have 60 to 70% of our sites across 5 resorts booked for the 23/24 season. I wish I had more sites!”
Zeman’s Florida RV resorts include Sarasota Sunny South RV Resort in Sarasota ; Seasons in the Sun RV Resort in Mims, The Surf Signature RV Resort and The Tides RV Resort , both in Palmetto; and The Waves Signature RV Resort in Naples .
“We strongly encourage folks to book as soon as possible if they want the 2023/2024 winter season,” Taylor-Rharbi said. “We typically are 100% booked at all five resorts by April. Even our new resort, The Surf, is booking quickly.”
Regardless of where snowbirds would like to enjoy the RV lifestyle in Florida, it’s worthwhile to make one’s reservations as soon as possible,
“RV sites typically go to those who make their reservations early, particularly in the most popular destinations,” said Bobby Cornwell, president and CEO of the Florida RV Park and Campground Association.
Most RV parks and resorts give their existing snowbird guests the first shot at reserving a campsite for the following winter, usually at some point between late February and early April, before opening up their reservations to everyone. Many parks also prioritize reservations for guests who are willing to commit to long-term stays of three months or more. Snowbirds who want to visit several different RV parks and resorts during the winter months can do so, but they may not be able to secure their reservations for overnight or short-term stays until later in the year.
“Most snowbird parks cater to guests who are willing to commit to three-month stays for January, February and March,” Cornwell said. “This means that snowbirds who want to move around from park to park next winter need to contact the parks of interest to them and make sure they understand when each park will be willing to consider reservations for overnight or short-term winter stays.”
Each park sets its own guidelines for short- and long-term reservations and they tend to vary by park. Brad Winterroth of Ridge Manor Campground in Dade City offered his advice on how the snowbird reservation process plays out at his park.
“As far as next year, we are booked up already, which is normal this time of year,” he said. “We do have a few more interested campers on our list to find a spot than usual. We always have a few to call when plans change and sites cancel, but this year the list has a few more. When I speak with prospective campers, I tell them to give us their email or phone number and we’ll make sure to get in touch with them when things change. We confirm with our current group in April while we compile the list of prospectives for next year. Then, it’s a few months before much happens, usually.”
By late summer, Winterroth double checks his reservations to figure out who is committed to stay next winter and who’s plans have changed.
“In August and September,” he said, “we confirm with our planned campers to see which plans have changed. When we hear these updates, we will call the prospective list to see who is still looking. There are always changes during the summer. So, if someone isn’t on the reservation list as of April, it’s not the end, for sure. It is good to have a reservation locked in even if it is somewhere else, but late summer changes still allow any prospective camper to make the switch if they really want to stay with us.”
Some parks also offer incentives to snowbirds who book their winter RV sites early, including the 222-site Yacht Haven Park & Marina in Fort Lauderdale , which offers significant discounts to the first 50 existing guests who reserve a site for five to six months next winter. “They get priority choice on sites and the largest discount for a five- to six-month period,” park co-owner Gary Cioffi said. “When the first 50 sites are reserved, another batch of 50 sites are offered, but with a smaller discount for multi-month stays. When the first 100 sites are booked, another 100 sites are then marketed using the discounts for weekly and monthly rates that are posted on the park’s website.”
Yacht Haven also offers a long-term storage program for guests that prefer to leave their RVs on-site until they return to the resort next season.
About the Florida RV Park and Campground Association
Based in Tallahassee, the Florida RV Park and Campground Association 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