Florida/Alabama Best Parks Affiliates Invest $8M
Florida and Alabama RV resorts that are affiliated with the Best Parks in America network are collectively investing more than $8 million in improvements this year in an effort to provide enhanced experiences and service to their guests.
“Park operators that continually re-invest in their facilities, amenities and services to keep up with the times, have greater success than those that do not, and that’s clearly the case with our affiliates in Florida and Alabama, which are upgrading, enlarging and adding sites and other amenities this year,” David Gorin, president of Best Parks in America, stated in a news release.
New facilities include everything from new big-rig friendly RV sites to waterfront sites with park model cottage rentals, new boat docks and clubhouse facilities. Consider these examples:
- Bella Terra of Gulf Shores, Ala.: This premier Class A ownership resort is adding another 23 sites this year at a cost of roughly $525,000, bringing the total number of lots at the resort to 110. The 40-acre Best Parks in America affiliated resort, roughly 25 miles west of Pensacola, Fla., includes customized outdoor kitchens and barbecues and a zero entry infinity edge swimming pool. In addition to selling its RV sites, Bella Terra also offers RV sites for rent.
- Belle Parc RV Resort in Brooksville, Fla.: This 101-site property is midway through an extensive $1 million improvement and expansion effort that will more than triple its size to 325 sites over the next year, said park owner John Hurtado Jr. “We just renovated all of our buildings, installed a pool and spa pavilion and just finished a spacious dock on our waterfront,” he said.
- Emerald Coast RV Beach Resort in Panama City, Fla.: This 138-site park is spending more than $1 million to install 10 more premium lakeside RV sites as well as 23 new park model cottages, eight of which will have RV pads facing a pond. The new sites will also have access to a new swimming pool, a new bathhouse with two private shower and bathroom facilities, an exercise room and a game room. The resort is also expanding its clubhouse by 625 square feet, which will add more seating capacity while also creating more space to expand the kitchen. These improvements come on the heels of another $150,000 in improvements during the past two years, which include the installation of a dog run and pet wash facility, new playground equipment and restroom upgrades. “Our expansion efforts are being driven by rising demand,” said Jerry Broch, the resort’s general manager. “We have a lot of snowbirds in winter. And in summer people from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee come to the beach.
- Flamingo Lake RV Resort in Jacksonville, Fla.: This 288-site resort, which sits on the only certified swimming lake in northeast Florida, is in the midst of a $1 million improvement effort that will include providing new water and sewer connections to 100 RV sites, which are also being paved. Park manager Bob Little said the improvements are needed to help the park continue to expand its business base, which already includes snowbirds as well as swimming and fishing enthusiasts and medical travelers who receive specialized treatment at Shands Jacksonville, Nemours Clinic, Wolfsons Children’s Hospital, University of Florida Proton Therapy, the Cyber Knife and the Mayo Clinic.
- Florida Grande Motor Coach Resort in Webster, Fla.: This exclusive Class A motorcoach resort, located 45 miles west of Orlando, has begun extensive capital improvements including landscaping, a new fitness center and various furnishing upgrades and plans to begin construction this year on 119 additional RV sites for a combined cost exceeding $500,000, said Tripp Keber, COO of Bella Terra Resort Management, LLC, which recently took over management of the property. Florida Grande Motor Coach Resort features a 20,000-square foot clubhouse that includes multiple recreation and meeting rooms, a library and exercise room, a full kitchen and a 2,500-square foot heated all season swimming pool.
- Quail Run RV Resort in Wesley Chapel, Fla.: This 292-site resort, which is more than half through a $4 million expansion effort, has recently doubled in size, and further stepped up its focus on accommodating RVers with big rigs, who are often hard pressed to find big sites in Florida’s older RV parks and resorts. “That’s why we build them the way we do. Our motto is ‘No rig is too big,’ ” said park co-owner Frank Gilmore. The park has added140 sites in the past two years, all of which are 40 by 70 feet, with the exception of pull through sites, which are 85 feet long and 40 feet wide. Even the park’s older section includes 35 by 50-foot sites with 35- by 70-foot pull through sites. RV sites feature 50-amp electrical service, free cable and free Wi-Fi service at each site. “We just poured 5,000 yards of concrete,” Gilmore said, adding his next improvements will include a new state-of-the-art laundry facility and a new 4,500 square foot clubhouse. “We hope to have both completed by the end of summer,” he said.
- Vacation Inn Resort in West Palm Beach, Fla.: This 400-site park offers sites for rent and for sale, and has spent $150,000 in improvements during the past two years and plans to spend about $80,000 in improvements this year and next year, said Del Highfield, the resort’s manager. Recent improvements include repaving the park entrance, repainting the park’s buildings and installing new landscaping. “We will be rejuvenating about four miles of roads inside the park this year,” Highland said.
Based in McLean, Va., Best Parks in America is the only nationwide RV park brand comprised entirely of highly rated RV parks and campgrounds. With 75 affiliated parks in 29 states, the Best Parks brand is rapidly gaining RVer recognition as the place to go when you are looking for the best RVing and camping experiences. There are currently 12 Best Parks affiliates in Florida and Alabama and others are expected to affiliate in the next few months. For a directory of all parks, visit www.BestParksinAmerica.com.