Fla.'s Ja-Mar Travel Parks, A Family Operation
Operating RV parks comes quite naturally to Lonnie Miller, founder of Ja-Mar Travel Parks in Port Richey, Fla. Before Miller founded the first of his two current locations in 1975, he helped run four other parks with his father, Jay Miller, in Largo, Fla.
In fact, Miller reports to Woodall's Campground Management's Dannie Bova, the origin of Ja-Mar Travel Parks’ unique moniker stems from his parents’ names: Jay and Marge.
To this day, the business remains family owned and operated with the help of Miller’s nine children, while day-to-day management is handled by Lonnie’s son, Caleb Miller, manager of both parks for the past 13 years. And the parks’ appeal hasn’t changed all that much over the years.
“If you like being around nice people and you enjoy having fun with others, then you will love staying at Ja-Mar Travel Park,” says owner Lonnie Miller, who initially saw the potential for growth and the need for an RV park in such an optimal location.
The two Ja-Mar Travel Parks, situated within blocks of each other just north of Tampa near Florida’s Gulf Coast, thrive on their convenient geography – less than two miles from the ocean and near many popular attractions such as Busch Gardens Theme Park, The Florida Aquarium, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum.
Working alongside his uncle, architect Bernie Miller, Lonnie Miller built both facilities from the ground up. When the original park began seeing high traffic and growth, he opened the second in 1987 less than a half-mile north of the original business. Currently, both adult (over 55) travel parks welcome year-round and seasonal guests, with the original park to the south consisting of 396 full hook-up spaces, 380 of which are extended stay sites.
The Ja-Mar North location houses 353 full hookup spaces, mostly extended stay, with 8-10-foot by 32-foot cement patios and blacktop driveways. Both offer the basics like Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, pavilions and heated pools.
Perhaps setting Ja-Mar apart from most parks in the region, however, is its focus on social activities – as many as 15 per day – that have become a major attraction for travel park guests. The events, some outdoor and some in Ja-Mar’s fully equipped recreation centers, are organized by a volunteer committee of residents and include everything from shuffleboard to horseshoes, pickleball, water aerobics, fishing, Bible studies, art classes, bowling, quilting, yoga, pizza nights, line dancing and Bingo.
Gulfview Grace Brethren Church, founded by the Miller family over 30 years ago, is also practically on-site, located immediately adjacent to the parks.
Affordability is another consistent focus for Ja-Mar Travel Parks. Daily rates range from $33 to $42, weekly from $201 to $231, monthly from $565 to $630, and seasonal (Nov. 1 through May 1) from $2,544 to $2,736. Miller has also recently implemented a guaranteed, lifetime fixed fee for residents purchasing park models at either Ja-Mar location.
Another apparent key ingredient to longevity of this family-owned business, we’re told, is a warm atmosphere that lends itself to exceptional guest service and personal attention. “Everyone who works in the park, lives in the park,” six-year office manager Starla Witmer told Woodall’s Campground Management. “The owners take great pride in the parks and are here every day. Guests can talk with them directly.”