“We’ve made a decision and we’re sticking to it.” This was the pronouncement my husband made when friends around the campfire talked about next year’s plans. For the past three years, we’ve returned to the same campground (CG). It’s in southern Florida, so we’re all but guaranteed nice, warm weather. We usually leave Missouri after Christmas and make the trek south in three or four days.
To sunshine and friends
During the past three years, we’ve met and made several friends. We’ve ridden motorcycles together and sampled the local restaurants’ food together, too. We shared stories and jokes around the campfire with people who have come to be almost like family. That’s one of the big benefits of returning to the same CG year after year. We look forward to seeing and being with our same “snowbird friends.”
Making the same campground our own
The campground managers know us by our first names. They are happy to “save” our preferred RV site year after year within the small park. During our time here, we helped re-side some of the CG’s cabins. We’ve painted and helped refurbish the interiors of some rental cabins, as well.
I guess you can say we’ve invested ourselves in this place. We even planted some flowers around the tree near our campsite. They’ve survived to welcome us back to this same space and campground each year. It’s part of what makes the place feel like home to me. We can easily find our way to the grocery stores and gas stations. We have established relationships with a local church, hair salons, and fresh produce stand workers. There’s a lot to like about returning to the same campground year after year.
Same campground? Not next year
Even with all of the good things about our campground, we’ve decided that next year we’ll explore a new-to-us area of the Sunshine State. We scouted out several CGs this past February while in Florida and decided on a place a little over an hour north of where we’ve stayed in previous years. Friends around the fire seemed surprised at my husband’s announcement. And maybe a bit disappointed, as well.
Before I succumbed to a sad sense of nostalgia, my husband quickly outlined some of the reasons for our decision. It wasn’t long before friends were smiling and making plans for places we might meet “in between both campgrounds.”
New places, new faces
Here are some of our reasons for choosing a different campground for next winter:
- Closer. Staying in our new location will shorten our drive by over an hour. This will mean we can make the trip with just two overnight stays instead of three. The shorter trip will make it easier to plan our departure around the inconsistent Midwest winter weather. We can put the money usually spent for that third campground toward fuel.
- Friends. We’ve enjoyed meeting and getting to know folks as we travel. We’re looking forward to making new acquaintances and friendships at our new campground, as well. The new RV park is larger. That means the potential for making friends is greater, too. At least we hope so.
- Exploring new places. After three years in south-central Florida, we’ve visited most of the parks and historical sites. Attending the local festivals has been great fun, too. Both my husband and I look forward to exploring a different area of the Sunshine State—the many lakes, streams, and springs will be so different from the sugar cane and cattle fields. Not necessarily better. Just new and different for us.
On down the road
As we left our RV park of the last three years, we wished a fond farewell to dear friends. It wasn’t “goodbye.” Rather: “See you on down the road.”
Do you vacation in the same campground year after year? What are your reasons for doing so? Please tell us in the comments below.
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