OKALOOSA ISLAND – Dale and Cheryl Lesh have their next two years of vacations planned and booked.
“We have our eyes on a particular site,” Cheryl said while lounging at the pool at Destin West RV Resort. “We love it. It’s quiet, the location’s great. We’re recommending it to friends.”
The RV park opened March 9 and has been registering a steady of flow of guests, from those with reservations to visitors who just pull in off U.S. Highway 98 on Okaloosa Island.
It took two years to build the park, and now it offers guests everything from a heated pool to all the amenities offered at Ramada Plaza Beach Resort across the highway.
Tolbert’s RV park is one of two that have opened recently. St. Rosa Sound RV Resort in Navarre also opened March 9 with more than 80 sites, 24 of which sit along the water.
“This year will be good. Next year will be better,” said manager Jinks Dupre. “Navarre is the best kept secret in the world, so who wouldn’t want to stay right by the beautiful water. Every RV park around here has had a ‘no va-cancy’ sign hanging for months.”
The site has a pool, fit-ness center and laundry. It does not allow popup campers or tents.
On Okaloosa Island, Destin West features 54 RV sites, each has a picnic table and patio. The park also has a laundry room, pool and a shop with camping gear and Destin West T-shirts.
“The response has been wonderful,” said Joe Guidry, general manager of the Ramada and Destin West. “We’ve got a lot of snowbirds and families coming here for that quiet atmosphere we have.”
The park has bookings scheduled for the next two months and its projected revenue for 2012 is about $1 million.
Mary Juergens has been traveling in her RV for the past 10 years. She said Wednesday that Des-tin West gets five stars from her.
“I love the area, it’s so nice being by the bay,” said Juergens, of St. Cloud, Minn. “To me, the top three things a good RV park needs is laundry facility, pool and sites that are paved.
“This place has all that, plus a friendly staff.”
“I’m trying to create a destination site on Okaloosa Island,” Tolbert said. “I want people to be able to come here and not have to get back in their cars until they leave. We want every-thing they need to be right here.”