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Around the Campfire: Pros and cons of returning to the same campground each year

“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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John Petruccelli
1 month ago

We’ve been going to the same campground in north/central Florida for the past 44 years, although it’s only for one week at the end of April. We usually host about 35 family members and friends but have had 65 attendees for our 40th year celebration! Folks came from Florida, Wisconsin, New York and Arizona for that year. While traveling around the country we have used the same CG’s but only for a night or two while traveling to that year’s destination. We like staying at CG’s that we know and like for their views from the campsites, cleanliness and amenities. We still look forward to finding new CG’s in new areas that we want to explore.

Terri S.
1 month ago

We traveled and stayed at a campground in the Poconos when our 3 boys were younger. They became friends with permanent camper kids and looked forward to returning each year. They each would be allowed to bring a friend along for the 9-10 days we stayed. We did this for over 10 years and it meant that we had relatively stress free vacations. Once the boys grew up and went their own ways, we sold our small travel trailer in 2006 and stopped camping.
Now, fast forward to 2021, and we decided to get back into the RV lifestyle. Purchased a larger travel trailer and will plan at least 1 trip each month. Hubby and I are both retired and have grandsons now. And we plan to return to our favorite campground in the Poconos in June 2022 and introduce our youngest grandson to a family tradition.
Since we have more time to travel, we won’t spend every trip there but we will try to go at least once each year. Looking forward to revisiting past memories.

Micheal Whelan
1 month ago

Must admit, we never thought of returning to the same campground like this. Now that I think about it you are right and we have been doing that by default. We have had the same site at the same camp just outside of Natchez, Ms. for three years. We don’t stay more than 2 or 3 weeks due to the cooler weather but our reasons are the same. Our next same place has become a campground just south of Galveston, Tx. Again, same reasons. This year some of the friends we met up with last season are even reserving a site over near us this time. Be great to see them again. Here we stay a month or two and then begin our exploration of other areas a few weeks at a time. Who knows we may find another favorite someday. Guess we are like other migratory birds, we just do it because ….

Paul
1 month ago

Seven years ago we joined an SKP Coop, Jojoba Hill SKP Resort, in southern California. We now spend most of the winter there on our own site. We have an active community and new lifelong friends. We can help support the volunteer lifestyle of the park in whatever way suits our desires. We can roll out any time we choose and return at times of our choosing. Within four hours drive there is more than enough to explore to keep us enjoying new experiences. we have friends from all over the country who pass through Palm Desert area which is less than an hour away. and the weather is generally pleasant. When Spring starts to get warm we leave and depending on family needs and weather we can go north or east or both. As we see our 70’s coming to an end we recognize that travel plans will change (have changed) and life too will take turns we can expect but not look forward to. It is nice to be with many people we know and love who are facing similar challenges.

Lorelei
1 month ago

The campgrounds I return to are usually fairly close to home, maybe 50 miles, maybe 400 miles. I don’t stay in one place for long, and tend to pick places where there are trails for walking the dog. When I go to which place depends a lot on the weather.

Kevin Bowden
1 month ago

If you’re going to hit some springs, we just returned from trip featuring stops at several. Each spring has its own personality, but for kayaking Silver Springs, Juniper Springs and Ichetucknee are must do adventures. These have long spring runs that make for a great trip.

Doc
1 month ago

I winter at the same RV Resort each year. Quiet and friendly. The rest of the year my dog and I are wanderers. I plan our trips and we hit the road in March. Returning in late August.

Steve H
1 month ago

We have snowbirded in RV parks in southern AZ and NM, but never over a month in a single park each winter. We are “travelers”, not “campers”. So we like to be on the move exploring new places, not stationary and going to the same restaurants, museums, or RV park events year after year. Unless we “retire” from RVing (we have already retired from jobs) to a park model in AZ, we are not likely to ever spend an entire winter in a single RV park.

Neal Davis
1 month ago

We return to the same metro-DC campground twice a year to visit with former colleagues and neighbors. We lived near the campground for 26 years. Ultimately we’ll stop returning as neighbors die or move elsewhere. Ditto for our former colleagues.

Richard
1 month ago

We’ve been FT for 16 years. Touched 80% of North America. We found a small fishing village on the Sea of Cortez in Baja Mexico, where we spent 12 wonderful winters. We backed up to the beach in a secure CG with prevailing southern breezes.
There is enough local/tourist business to provide everything you need. And yes, you can get web stuff delivered, with a little ingenuity.
We made some wonderful life-long friends among the other snowbirds and local people.
I miss them terribly, every day.

Bob p
1 month ago

After our trip to FL in ‘19-‘20 for a 5 month period we decided we were not going to stay long term anymore. Our daughter was mainly responsible for our long term stays as she is into crafting and sells her stuff there. Our decision is based on the fact that we’ve seen everything we want to see inside of a month(usually 2-3 weeks) so we are just existing like at home for the rest of the time. We want to travel and see different things before our time is up. The Bible says we get 4 score and 10 for a normal life, beyond 70 is bonus years, we are well into our bonus years and don’t want to waste them looking at the same scenery for a whole winter season. This country is too beautiful to waste our time in one spot for 5-6 months at a time. Since then we have moved to FL and still have our trailer and still plan on traveling the surrounding sites for 2 weeks at a time.

McTroy
1 month ago

Yes, same seasonal summer campground for 30 years. This is because it is safe, affordable and easy to drive to. It is also one of the few camps with a boat dock. We explore in Spring and Fall.

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