Many Parks Impacted by Hurricane Open, Cleanup Ongoing

Red Coconut

A before and after photo on the Red Coconut RV Park GoFundMe pages shows damage at the Fort Myers Beach-based campground.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Woodall’s Campground Magazine (WCM), a sister publication of RVBusiness, received this update from Bobby Cornwell, CEO and president of the Florida RV Park and Campground Association, late Friday (Oct. 7) on how parks are recovering from Hurricane Ian. 

Nine days after Hurricane Ian I’m happy to report that many of the RV parks and campgrounds that were impacted by the destructive storm are open and have power. It’s improving daily, but as of now, we believe there are approximately 18-25 RV parks that are still closed due to Hurricane Ian. The majority of these parks are in the Ft. Myers Beach area (mainly in Lee and Collier County). It’s hard to get exact numbers because there are some park owners we haven’t been able to reach.

There are a few parks that received extensive damage due to the storm surge and will require a total rebuild. It’s too early to know if any of those parks will be closed permanently. With all of that said, the good news is that the majority of RV parks in southwest Florida are open and have power, or are expected to be open with power within a few days, and fortunately there are a very large number of parks in this southwest Florida area that will be able to accommodate the RVer demand and the snowbirds who should be coming down in late November and in December.

The association has been busy helping park operators with many difficult issues including how to handle lease and rental agreement terminations and cancellations, park clean-up, disaster relief assistance and communications. One of the biggest problems is what to do with the many abandoned RV units that are destroyed or severely damaged but still on the RV park property. There is no easy solution, but whenever possible we are advising park owners to have the RV owners sign waivers and a legal document, which have been provided by our attorney, and allow the park operator to have the unit removed and or destroyed.

Finding the existing owner, or someone to remove the unit and dispose of it is another issue entirely.

Bobby Cornwell

Bobby Cornwell

For those parks that lost their sites and are having to rebuild, we are very fortunate to have legislation in place that allows the park operator to rebuild as it was prior to the storm. This language, which our association and legal team wrote and passed in 2020, became effective on July 1, 2020.  Florida Statue 513.1115 states, “If a recreational vehicle park is damaged or destroyed as a result of wind, water, or other natural disaster, the park may be rebuilt on the same site using the same density standards that were approved and permitted before the park was damaged or destroyed.” Prior to this legislation RV parks that were needed to rebuild following a natural disaster often faced difficult and expensive legal battles with local government and were often forced to comply to new density standards potentially resulting in a large loss of RV sites and future earnings. We are very hopeful this new legislation will assist all park owners in their rebuilding efforts.

The road to total recovery will be tough and long for some parks, and our prayers and thoughts go out to those park owners and their staff that received bad damage, but all the park owners and operators that we’ve heard from have been very optimistic and are planning and hoping on having a good winter season. We encourage everyone to continue to camp in Florida and in southwest Florida, which is without a doubt open for business.

For anyone who would like to assist those park owners in need, you may donate to the Florida Campground Association Disaster Relief Fund (send checks to: Florida Campground Disaster Relief Fund, 1340 Vickers Road, Tallahassee, Fla, 32303), OR, you may want to consider donating to an individual park through their Go Fund Me page if they have one set-up.

For questions or an update on a park’s operational status, you may contact the FRVCA office at 850-562-7151, or visit for a listing of Florida RV Parks. Park updates are also being posted on