Florida’s Del-Raton Travel Trailer Park has been a haven for recreational vehicle enthusiasts for more than three decades, according to a report in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
The 4 1/2-acre patch of land in Delray Beach sits back from the highly traveled South Federal Highway, a peaceful oasis for highly traveled residents.
“We’ve got a great location, we’re within the city limits, if you want to go to the beach, boom you’re there,” said Arthur Parsons, who owns the RV park with his wife, Marcia. “In the south here, the RV parks are diminishing. The property is too expensive. But we decided to stay.”
At a time when the number of RV owners is fast on the rise, the number of RV parks in Florida has dwindled, according to the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. The state boasts 800 licensed, RV-friendly campgrounds. But in the past year, 20 to 30 parks shut down, mainly because of development, said Bobby Cornwell, the association’s president.
“It’s getting fewer and fewer. One of the problems our association is finding out is that many parks are being sold for another use,” said John Parkhurst, the association’s chairman. “Especially around major cities, we’re losing campgrounds right and left.”
Florida is considered one of the top destinations for RV enthusiasts, especially during the winter, according to RV associations. The camping industry brings in almost $5 billion a year. And though dozens of parks have closed, the industry is not in danger, Cornwell said. New campgrounds for RVs are being built or existing RV campsites are expanding, he said.
In Delray Beach, the Parsons are going on their 33rd winter, their busiest time of year. In the past, the monthly and daily rental rates from the 60-lot park always paid the bills. But these days, they also depend on the sale of trailers and propane gas to supplement their income.
“You know the old story – mom and pop. But it’s getting to the point where it’s a matter of raising rents to catch up and pay the bills,” Parsons said. “Times are changing.”