The Best Way to Winter in Florida in an RV

Updated on March 21, 2018
TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

I have traveled extensively throughout the US for many years and enjoy helping people to make the most of their RV vacations.

Every November RV owners start their annual trek to Florida to escape the harsh northern winters. The flow of people starts slowly, but by January it reaches a fever pitch. Native Floridians refer to these folks as “snow birds”. While the locals appreciate the money these people spend during their visits, they don’t appreciate the problems they bring with them such as dealing with heavy traffic, having difficulty getting in to see doctors, and putting up with overcrowded restaurants.

Since Florida is 450 miles long and only 129 miles wide at its farthest points, and since the winter weather is much better in the South, the majority of RVers stay in the state's lower 250 mile area.

What this means is that campgrounds in that swath of land fill up quickly with people who stay anywhere from three to six months from November through April.

For this reason, locals can have a pretty tough time finding campsites during those months unless they want to stay north of Central Florida or in rural areas that offer very little in the way of amenities and activities or leave the state entirely.

What you need to know if you want to spend a winter in Florida with your recreational vehicle.
What you need to know if you want to spend a winter in Florida with your recreational vehicle. | Source

Finding a Site

So if you, as many others do, want to come to Florida to escape the cold weather conditions at home, you need to do a lot of research and make your plans far in advance of your visit.

In fact, if you don’t make reservations a year in advance for the more popular parks, you won’t have a place to park your coach.

Of course there is always the chance that you can just drive to a facility and hope they’ve had a cancellation, but this is like playing Russian Roulette.

  • What you don’t want is to be here dragging an RV behind your car only to find you have no place to stay!
  • You also don’t want to reserve a spot sight unseen a year in advance.

This being the case, the best thing you can do for yourself is to make a trip after April 1 and spend some time scoping out the parks in the area you wish to visit the following winter.

To save yourself some time, you should buy a copy of the Good Sam Club Travel and Savings Guide. In it you will find listings of many of Florida's campgrounds along with basic prices, contact information for each and other good information.

You do not have to belong to Good Sam Club to own this guide, but if you do join, you'll get a 10% discount on nightly camping because of your membership.

My husband and I have always used this guide to help us find sites in Florida as well as across the country. This helps us to plan our vacations.

I would suggest that once you narrow down the area you like, that you start making calls and asking questions, so that you'll have a better idea about the parks you might like to camp in once you arrive.

The Good Sam RV Travel & Savings Guide (Good Sams Rv Travel Guide & Campground Directory)
The Good Sam RV Travel & Savings Guide (Good Sams Rv Travel Guide & Campground Directory)

The best and least expensive travel guide you can buy. It has all sorts of information related to camping as well as where to find repair shops and entertainment venues.

 

Things to Consider

When investigating campgrounds make sure to do the following:

  • Find out how close you are to grocery stores and the nearest hospital.
  • Check to see if pets are permitted and if there is a special section for them.
  • Take a look at the laundry room to see what it costs, if the machines are in good condition and if there are enough of them to keep you from having problems getting machines.
  • Look at the clubhouse to see if it’s clean and find out about any activities the park provides,
  • Do the same for the swimming pool and ask if it is heated,
  • Take a close look at the RVs that are parked in the sites. Are they in good shape or run down? Does it appear that too many people are staying year round or mostly are temporary visitors?
  • Look at the people who are camping in the park. Are they clean and neat, are they older or younger, do any of them look like they might create problems?
  • Test the water. Does it smell and taste OK? Is it well water or city water? Is it sulfur water or regular water?
  • Find out how close you are to entertainment venues and restaurants.

If you are going to be staying in an area for a long period of time, it is very important that you learn about these things before you reserve.

There will be some parks that offer less expensive prices that will tempt you, but if they are in the middle of nowhere or are not well maintained, you’re not going to be a happy camper!

It's important to find out whether a campground allows pets, if they charge extra for this and if pets can only stay in certain areas.
It's important to find out whether a campground allows pets, if they charge extra for this and if pets can only stay in certain areas. | Source

RV Park Options

Fortunately, there are several options you can utilize to offset some of these issues.

The first one, as previously noted, is to take a trip in April to scope out the different parks and then make your reservations for the following winter months.

The second is to sign up for a 6 on 6 off site. In this scenario, you pay a lesser amount for a 12 month reservation that allows you to stay in your RV for 6 months and leave it stored on site for the other 6. However, not all parks offer this option.

There are several benefits to doing this. For example,

  • Your coach is protected from the harsh northern weather.
  • You save money on gas or diesel.
  • You don’t have to drive back and forth and
  • You guarantee yourself a site for the months you wish to use one.

If you want more flexibility, you can also reserve for a year so that you can come and go as you please. In some instances it is actually cheaper to do this than to just come for several months because prices for the winter season sites can be quite high.

For example, as of this writing a facility near me charges $725 per month for visits from January through March, but $2010 ($670) per month if you stay all three months. If you stay six months, however, you only pay $3360 ($560 per month) and a for a year you pay $4860 ($405 per month plus electric.)

Thus if you reserve for a year you are only paying a bit more than half of the monthly rate for a high season visit!

Be aware that this particular park, while very well located, is older and certainly is not what you would consider a resort. There is no WIFI, the sites are large, it is heavily wooded and about one third of the people who camp there are permanent.

However it is 10 minutes from a beautiful beach and only 5 minutes from stores, restaurants and a big, excellent hospital.

You can also stay at State Parks and National Parks within Florida, but these can be costly, fill up quickly and you generally can only stay for 14 days per visit.

Other Options

As noted earlier, you can avoid many of the crowding problems by simply staying in parks that are located in rural areas. These will cost less but will be less convenient and will have fewer amenities.

You also can buy a deeded lot in an RV park. With this option, you pay for a full hookup site which you can use as needed. Usually there is a monthly maintenance fee and an association of owners that determine their own activities and oversee the care of the park.

In Florida these sites can be quite expensive, but if you plan to use one for many years, they can be worth the cost. The Best and Worst Points of Buying an RV Lot provides more details about this option.

Another possibility is to buy and develop a piece of land on which you can place your recreational vehicle. Can I Live in an RV on My Property ? explains the benefits and caveats of doing this.

Wintering in Florida

Many people who are new to RV travel assume that spending the winter in Florida is simply a matter of showing up and renting an inexpensive campsite.

Obviously, you can see from what has been written here that this isn’t necessarily true, especially if you want to be in populated areas that are close to beaches and entertainment venues.

One park less than 10 minutes from the one I noted above is charging $1200 per month plus electric year round, and they have a waiting list!

This is not a resort. It is an old park like the first one that is located close to the beaches and has added about 30 new sites that have a few more amenities.

It will be up to you to decide which options work best when it comes to spending winters in Florida, but understand that prices are rising all the time and competition for sites is increasing.

Forewarned is forearmed!

Good Luck!

Do you think that the information above will help you to have a better Florida RV travel experience?

See results

© 2018 Sondra Rochelle

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile imageAUTHOR

    Sondra Rochelle 

    8 months ago from USA

    Dora Weithers: That's what I'm hoping this article will achieve. Florida is a great place for winter RVers, but they have to "do it right" if they want to enjoy themselves. Thanks for commenting.

  • CaribTales profile image

    Dora Weithers 

    8 months ago from The Caribbean

    Good advice from an expert. These instructions and suggestions should help make the experience better for the snow birds.

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile imageAUTHOR

    Sondra Rochelle 

    8 months ago from USA

    Hi Mary: Florida is a great place to live...been here a loooong time. Glad you liked the article. Nice to see you again.

  • Blond Logic profile image

    Mary Wickison 

    8 months ago from Brazil

    Your articles are always interesting.Before reading, I had no idea they were so expensive. It does sound advantageous to book a year and get settled into a place. Being content in a place and having amenities nearby can greatly help a decision.

    I lived briefly in Florida and loved it. It is a place I would like to return to.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wanderwisdom.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://wanderwisdom.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)