The snowbirds have come back to many of Arizona’s RV parks earlier and in larger numbers than last year, according to park operators across the state.
“Many of our members are telling us they are already busier than normal for this time of year,” said Jo Ann Mickelson, executive director of the Arizona Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (AZ ARVC).
Mickelson said the return of the snowbirds is good news for Arizona’s economy.
“Snowbirds shop in our stores, purchase meals in our restaurants and generally infuse our economy with a lot more money than would otherwise be the case if they weren’t here,” she said.
While some park operators reported snowbirds returning to Arizona as early as late September and early October, others said a big rush took place in early December. Many RV parks and resorts expect to be full from January through March, Mickelson said.
“We have noticed that we are running about 10% ahead of last year. It has definitely been busier,” said Eric Vargas, manager of the 217-site Desert’s Edge RV Park in Phoenix.
He said the park’s monthly sites are sold out for January, February and March, though there are a few nights here and there when snowbirds can stay briefly.
Connie Jenkinson, manager of the 377-site Leaf Verde RV Park in Buckeye, said her park is busier than it was last year.
“People started coming at the end of September,” she said.
Even parks in remote areas of Arizona parks are seeing a strong increase in business. For example, advance reservations for January, February and March at the 130-site Gila Bend Kampgrounds of America (KOA) in Gila Bend are up 132% compared to a year ago at this time, according to Scott Swanson, the park’s co-owner.
“We’re totally full,” said Connie Jablonski, assistant manager of the 300-site Pioneer RV Park in Wellton. “I’m already booked all the way through March.”
Jablonski said Pioneer RV Park was full last winter as well, but this year she said people starting arriving earlier. “People called earlier because they were afraid they weren’t going to get a spot,” she said.
In Yuma County, some RV park operators say their winter visitors may be coming in even greater numbers than last winter.
“Business seems to be pretty good, maybe even a little bit better than last year,” said Robert Rolle, co-owner of Rolle’s Lynda Vista RV Park, which has 110 RV sites and nine rental apartments in Yuma. “We’re getting snowbirds from Canada as well as Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and other states.”
For more information involving campgrounds, RV parks and resorts in Arizona, please visit GoCampingInArizona.com.