Thinking about downsizing? What you need to know about RV living

Jacksonville RV resort expands as demand for RV sites increases nationwide

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Have you ever thought about trading your home or apartment for a recreational vehicle or camper?

More people across the country are downsizing, creating a higher demand for recreational vehicle sites. According to the RV Industry Association, the RV industry has grown by 200 percent since 2009.

Even locally, an RV resort on Jacksonville's Northside is expanding to make room for more families.

People living at Flamingo Lake RV Resort said it's recently attracted a younger crowd, as well as families.

"The demographic has almost changed 180 degrees," Ken Loyd, vice president of Flamingo Lake RV Resort, told News4Jax on Tuesday. "We're to the point now that there are more RVs on the road than there are sites to put them on."

Loyd said the resort on Newcomb Road, off Lem Turner Road near Intrastate 295, just finished a major expansion, adding 60 RV sites with plans to add more. The resort holds 359 RVs and is now 75 percent occupied by full-time residents, including Loyd.

"If we don't like it here or if we don't like our neighbors, we can just pick up and move to the next site," he said.

Each site at Flaming Lake RV Resort offers electric, water, sewer and cable. But there's both benefits and challenges of RV living. 

Flamingo Lake RV Resort on Jacksonville's Northside recently finished a major expansion.
Flamingo Lake RV Resort on Jacksonville's Northside recently finished a major expansion.

News4Jax met Jenni Edwards, who traded her corporate life for a more flexible job as a consultant.

"I was the Prada heel-wearing, Louis Vuitton-wearing, running through airports, flying private planes girl," Edwards said.

Instead of a house on the beach, she now lives in an RV. Her 400-square-foot mobile home has all the bells and whistles, including a fully-functioning kitchen.

"The microwave functions as a convection oven," she said. "I have a full-size residential refrigerator, which is really important to me."

Her RV also has a bedroom, full bathroom and office.

"I get to spend more time doing things instead of working so many hours because it doesn't cost me so much to live," Edwards said. "I get to see more places."

But the minimalist lifestyle doesn't come without challenges, such as space.

"You pair down. You don't have a lot of room. You have to think about weight. You have to think about what you have," Edwards said.

Another aspect of living in an RV is, of course, driving it. 

"I bought this. I got in the driver's seat and pulled out of the parking lot and had 4 ½ miles to get back to here," Edwards said. "I could barely keep it on the road. I was like, 'What have I gotten myself into?'"

While RV living is not for everyone, the convenience and low cost are things that many residents, like Edwards, say make it all worth it.