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, which hosts GoCampingInArizona.com.
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 percent 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.
“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 started arriving earlier. “People called earlier because they were afraid they weren’t going to get a spot,” she said.
“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 in Yuma, which has 110 RV sites and nine rental apartments. “We’re getting snowbirds from Canada as well as Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and other states.”
Other parks have similar reports.