Will Alabama Be The “New Florida” For RV Snowbirds?
Historically, RV snowbirds have been migrating to the Sunshine State for more than 100 years. For about six months out of the year, droves of RVers wave goodbye to winter’s frigid temperatures and flock to the warm Florida beaches. Many RV parks and resorts cater to snowbirds, most of which are 55 or older.
However, birds of a feather do not always flock together, as Thomas Sparrow, chairman of the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds and Alabama Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, eyewitnessed. Instead of heading to the southeast corner of the US, some folks aren’t aiming quite so far.
“For decades, people thought that Florida was the only place they could go to get warm. Now, we’re seeing more RVers coming into Alabama,” said Sparrow.
What is attracting snowbirds and other RVers to Alabama?
Reason 1: One of Alabama’s best-kept secrets is, like Florida, it also has beautiful white-sand beaches.
“If you’re not from the South, you don’t realize Alabama has so many beautiful beaches,” said Sparrow, who also owns Auburn RV Park at Leisure Time Campground in Alabama.
Reason 2: Compared to Florida, Alabama is also more affordable. Sparrow noted, many of the RVers coming into Alabama are young.
“It’s a real young market,” he said, “While people are getting to know Alabama as a snowbird destination, younger people are looking for affordable places to go. That gives us a real mix of people of all ages in our parks.”
Reason 3: The winters may not be as warm, but Alabama is cooler than central and southern Florida in the summer.
“Alabama’s coastal RV parks start picking up young families starting in March, and they stay extremely busy from March to August,” Sparrow added.
More visitors equals more RV parks for snowbirds
Sparrow purchased his RV park 10 years ago and recalled that business was relatively slow.
“It was really quiet,” he said. “But over the past 10 years, it has just mushroomed.”
As a result of this growth in the number of RVers, new RV parks are popping up around Alabama. Existing parks are expanding also. Investors, big and small, are also coming to the state. They’re funding many RV parks and hoping to profit from their shares.
“There’s lots of room to grow the RV park industry in Alabama, especially in southern Alabama,” said investor Rob Bell. His investment group has purchased three RV resorts in the past three years.
His parks in Pelham and Gulf Shores attract all types of RVers, including snowbirds and young families.
Among the new RV parks opening or recently opened in Alabama are:
Homestead RV Community in Theodore
Homestead RV Community is scheduled to open this year. RVers will enjoy large concrete, full-hookup sites, private jetted hot/cold tubs, fiber optic cable Internet service, and a stocked fishing pond. Located just outside of Mobile, guests are just minutes away from the nearest Mobile Bay boat ramp or Dauphin Island.
Pirates Cove RrrrV Resort in Foley
Pirates Cove RvvvV Resort opened last year in May 2020 with 100 RV sites, and another hundred sites are being added this year. The resort is surrounded by exciting attractions but is an attraction by itself. The website states, “Feel free to bring the crew so they can enjoy our 30 X 100-foot pool with 4 waterfalls. Walk the plank into our extra-large hot tub and scuttle yourself amongst the jets while your lads and lassies visit our playground.”
Time Away RV Resort in Lincoln
This year-round, 100-site RV park is within walking distance of NASCAR Talladega Superspeedway. Although their grand opening is June 2021, they already have a majority of their camping spots booked.
Time Away RV Resort, owned by Nathan and Alicia Lawson of Ohio, is Alabama’s first Black-owned RV resort. The following news clip from Alabama’s WVTM 13 News gives a sneak peek at the park’s progress and the Lawson’s experience opening up the resort.
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