'Mixed Bag' in Central Florida's Winter RV Park Bookings
In response to an improving economy, the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds announced on Oct. 14 that advance reservations are up at many campgrounds and RV parks around the state.
The Sebring, Fla., News-Sun conducted an informal survey of local RV camps and resorts to see if the statewide trend included Highlands County.
Reports by camp and resort managers indicate a mixed bag.
The majority of resort managers report business is much as it was in the 2008-09 winter season, which was slower than the season before. They had this to say:
- "I don't think we're up from last year," said E.J. Koning of Lake Letta RV Park. "It was slow then and it's slow now."
- "I really don't know," said Patty Sanor of Lake Glenada RV & Mobile Home Park. "We've had quite a few cancellations so it's hard to say. We were down last year and it looks the same this year."
- At the Mossy Cove Fish Camp, Jimbo Sanders was the least optimistic. After remarking that some managers inflate their booking figures, he said, "The truth is reservations are lower this year. The regulars are coming back, but we're aren't getting near the number of calls (we've had in the past)."
Some managers are simply pleased things haven't gotten worse:
- Linda Ekberg, of Highland Oaks RV Resort, said she had received a few cancellations and business was a little slower — in that she had no waiting list — but, "overall we're happy because we're about the same as last year."
- Sylvia Blackmore at Lake Bonnet Village said almost the same thing. "We're on track," she said. "At the moment we're about the same as last year."
Some managers had good news:
- John Lovelette of Camp Florida RV Resorts reports a strong beginning to the winter season. "It's looking better than last year," he said.
- At Sebring Gardens Trailer Park, Dan Littlefield said, "We're the cheap seats, so we're the last to feel the crunch of the economy." He explained that RV parks in Central Florida are significantly less expensive than camps on either coast. This means, he said, that many winter residents have begun to stay here instead.
- Reflections on Silver Lake and Stewarts Mobile Village each report having only one site left, and are otherwise fully booked.
- Sebring Grove Resort is full and has a longer waiting list than it had last season.
- Mary Cassidy, of Whispering Pines Village, was the most up-beat. "I'm completely booked," she said, "and the snowbirds are already starting to come in."