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New Trend: From Campgrounds to RV Communities

| Updated Feb 21, 2023

There's a new trend that sees campgrounds becoming full-fledged RV communities with lots of amenities, activities, and year-long stays.

We're not talking trailer parks like past generations but real communities catering to the needs of today's RVers.

We dig into this in Episode 435 of the RV Podcast, interviewing the owner of just such a community in north central Florida, where this trend has particularly been building for several years now.

Also in this episode, RV News, Tips, and your questions about the RV Lifestyle.

To watch the video version of the podcast, click the player below:

You can catch an audio-only version on your favorite podcast app or by clicking the player below.


Interview: RV communities

Shawn Simms, owner of Ocala North RV Resort RV Communities
Shawn Simms, owner of Ocala North RV Resort

Our guest this week is Shawn Simms, owner of Ocala North RV Resort, in the heart of Florida’s horse country between Ocala and Gainesville. We met him a couple of weeks ago as we overnighted there on a trip down to cover the Florida RV Supershow in Tampa.

We were so impressed that we booked a return stay after the show ended.

The sprawling Ocala North RV Resort has a couple of hundred sites, a half dozen dog parks, a 24-hour staff person on duty for those staying there, fiber optic cable Internet wi-fi, numerous paved pull-through spots, immaculate private restrooms, modern laundry facilities and a very busy activity program offering things to do each day of the week.

It was indeed an RV community, and that's what we talked to Shawn about.

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Ocala North RV Resort

His interview is front and center in the podcast, and we urge you to watch or listen.

He is developing an even larger RV community on nearby Orange Lake which will be open next year.

Ocala North RV Resort is not alone. There are numerous other such developments across Florida, with many more under development. The same thing is happening in Arizona, Texas, Michigan, and many other states, all catering to full-time or seasonal RVers and short term overnight campers.

It's a real bright spot in the camping industry that is getting major traction as the post-COVID camping boom shows no signs of letting up, and camping spots have been hard to find for the past few years.

What are a few more RV Communities to check out?

Let us know in the comments!

New Travel Tech – Weatherbug

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This week in the new Travel Tech segment of the RV Podcast, drawn from the pages of, our sister blog celebrating the many ways technology enhances the travel experience, we talk about a great weather app for travelers.

Now we know, there are a gazillion of them out there. And, truth be told, we probably have half a dozen on our smartphones and tablets.

But If you want to know everything there is to know about the weather, WeatherBug is the one you want. We’ve used it for years. In fact, it’s our main go-to weather app.

When you launch the app, it immediately displays current local weather, including temperature, dew point, humidity, sunrise, sunset, wind, pressure, and any active weather alerts for the area. 

What we really like is that as you are traveling, it always updates your current weather for where you happen to be right then.

A toolbar along the top lets you switch from the current forecast to a more detailed forecast, hourly forecast, or 7-day forecast. 

A toolbar along the bottom lets you access weather radar, live webcams in your area, lightning strike information and even the pollen count for you allergy sufferers.

It works great on both iOS and Android… and on your laptop as well.

Check it out at


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California Bill aims to Make State Park no-shows pay

How many times have you been at a hard-to-get-into campground and became angry to see empty site after empty site because of no shows?

Apparently, a California state assemblywoman has had enough of this too, and now she has introduced a bill that will penalize campers who make a reservation at a state-owned campground and never show up.

The goal of the bill is to make it easier to get a camping spot by providing a reason for people to cancel their reservation if they can no longer use it.

The bill would only apply to approximately 15,000 individual campsites in California's state park system, some of which are reserved within minutes of becoming available. Currently, if people have a conflict and decide not to use their reservation, there is little incentive to cancel it.

Under the proposed bill campers would get more of their reservation money back for canceling up to seven days in advance. No-shows would lose their entire reservation fee, and those who consistently don't show up could be banned from making reservations in the state's parks system 

California deserts expecting beautiful wildflower “superbloom”

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Superbloom in the past.

Speaking of California, all the rain received in recent months after years of drought means parts of the state are experiencing – or will experience – a wildflower “superbloom” this year that may be worth changing your camping plans to see.

Yellow, purple and white flowers are already beginning to cover parts of the dry areas of the state, with some state rangers saying the spectacular displays of color seem to show up overnight.

The superbloom is caused by rain after years of drought that left wildflower seeds dormant on the desert ground for years.

To see a press release the California state parks system prepared on the superbloom with tips of where to go, where to camp and when, click here.

Federal officials closing New Mexico's Gila Wilderness to visitors so they can shoot feral cattle damaging area

Federal officials have closed New Mexico's Gila Wilderness in the Gila National Forest to visitors for the next week, and on Thursday will begin shooting feral cattle by helicopters.

Yep, you heard that right.

The Gila Wilderness is home to feral cows which apparently became aggressive to human visitors and have harmed the environment by grazing year-round and trampling stream banks, which causes erosion and other issues.

Officials estimate there are about 150 feral cattle, and they have determined the only solution is to remove them lethally. So gunmen in helicopters will shoot them dead between Thursday and Sunday, leaving their bodies to decompose, but removing the cattle's remains if they are near water, hiking trails or other sensitive spots.

Some New Mexico legislators and the cattlemen association are against this. Some environmentalists are for it. 

In Mardi Gras country RVers continue the tradition of camping on the street in southern towns in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama

It's Mardi Gras time and for many RVers in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, that means just one thing – time to take the RV out for some camping.

Many southern cities near the Gulf coast, like Lafayette, Louisiana, or Mobile, Alabama, have large numbers of RVers camp near parade routes or under freeway bridges during Mardi Gras season. The practice has become tradition creating “RV Cities” and competition to get a spot is fierce.

To see for yourself, here is a story of RV revelers in Lafayette, camping out for a long weekend along the city's parade route, some RVs decorated in Mardi Gras fashion.

In Mobile, Alabama, for the past 24 years RVers have been setting up camp under a freeway in what is called “RV City” for the town's celebration. People need to reserve a spot ahead of time and 118 are camped there this year. (See story here.)

All the stories reminded me of a Mardi Gras campout we attended years ago in Mississippi. To see the story, click here.

Texas state park closes Feb. 28 as land owner sells property for upper-end housing development

Texas campers were saddened to learn the state is closing Fairfield Lake State Park Feb. 28 because the land owner sold the property to a private developer who has plans to build a gated, multi-million dollar housing community.

For about 50 years the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has operated the state park, leasing land from Vistra Corp., which operated a coal plant there previously.

The state invested more than $70 million in the state park over the years, and according to a press release, tried to buy it but its offer was declined. 

The park, located about 95 miles south of Dallas, was a popular fishing and camping spot 83,000 people visited last year that is now gone. About 2,700 already have reserved camping reservations there that also are canceled.

Texas has 14 other state parks on leased land. To read more click here

RV Questions of the week

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QUESTION: Is it true that if your RV is older than 10 yrs old that you can’t park it in a lot of parks? -Gray

ANSWER: Yes, it is. Though in our experience, it is only enforced when the RV is in poor condition, has lots of obvious defects, and looks to be on its last legs.

The RV Parks have that rule so they can exclude rigs that, in their mind, would reflect poorly on the appearance of the park.

We have heard of some who require would-be renters to send a photo of the RV if it's older than 10 years for approval.

Some resorts don't allow campervans or Class B RVs, no matter the condition. Others are for Class A motorcoaches only. 

But generally speaking, at most campgrounds, if your RV is well-maintained, clean, and in good mechanical good condition, you should be fine at most parks. 

QUESTION: Jennifer, what do you use for a vacuum cleaner in your RV? It always looks so clean and sparkling and I’ve heard you talk about vacuuming it before and after trips. – Megan

ANSWER: We use a Shark cordless vacuum we bought from Amazon. In fact, we like it so much we have bought two of them. It is a full height vacuum and it can be easily turned into a hand held one. 

It is great at vacuuming up sand, dirt, mud and Bo hair! 

The unit we have is the Shark IX141 Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum and it comes with lots of attachments. As I recall, we paid something like $130 or so for it.

Thanks to our Podcast sponsors

The following sponsors made this episode of the RV Podcast possible:

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-02-22

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

One Response to “New Trend: From Campgrounds to RV Communities”

February 23, 2023at3:17 pm, Julie Johnson said:

How do you find RV communities in Texas? I have tried googling campgrounds but I would like to narrow it down to RV communities with monthly rates. I can find many in Florida but Texas has proven to be difficult. I would appreciate your suggestions. Thanks!


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