And when I arrived, I wasn’t greeted with margaritas and a drunken crowd like the brand’s name might suggest.
Instead, I found a family-friendly oasis of pools, palm trees, and peace.
Before my trip, I didn’t know what to expect: I’d never been to an RV park.
Actually, let’s backtrack. I don’t even own an RV.
If you’re scratching your head and wondering why I decided to visit an RV park without an RV, I understand. But let me explain.
You might be familiar with Jimmy Buffett’s iconic “Margaritaville” song and the expanding chain of restaurants and resorts that have spawned from the simple “wasting away again in Margaritaville” lyrics.
It seems like Margaritaville businesses are now popping up everywhere, but one of the hospitality empire’s quickest growing segments isn’t its recognizable bars or all-inclusive resorts.
Instead, it’s Margaritaville’s growing chain of RV resorts that bring the promise of tropical relaxation and booze to life on the road.
The hospitality empire currently has three RV resorts: one in Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida.
But it’s not stopping there.
The Florida resort I visited is one of the 30 to 50 RV parks Margaritaville plans to launch through the next five years, Wiseman told Insider in 2021.
The brand’s previous RV parks have seen “off the chart” receptions and reviews, Jim Wiseman, the president of development at Camp Margaritaville, told Insider in 2021.
If current locations are any indication of how future markets will perform, Camp Margaritaville’s growing chain could become a staple for both RV owners and general travelers looking for an outdoor resort.
And I wanted to see what the big deal was for myself.
As I said, I had no idea what to expect.
But after spending a day and night alone at Camp Margaritaville RV Resort and Cabana Cabins in Auburndale, I completely understand the hype now.
The central Florida getaway isn’t just a place to park your RV while you visit nearby attractions like Walt Disney World Resort.
Camp Margaritaville Auburndale is its own theme park-like destination.
When I arrived, I was surprised to find an amusement center of family-friendly activities juxtaposing the pockets of relaxing outdoor lounge spaces.
The blue skies, slow golf carts, and strolling families who waved hello as I passed made the RV park feel like a small utopian community.
And although I traveled alone, I had an absolute blast wandering around, enjoying the sun, and lounging by the pool.
As an RV-less visitor, I had to stay in a cabana cabin.
A basic RV site ranges from around $70 to $200 and includes a grill, hookups, and a picnic table …
But who needs an RV at an RV park when you have a tiny home all to yourself.
I was only on-site for less than 24 hours, but my cabana cabin had everything I could’ve wanted for an extended stay.
There was a bedroom, bathroom, separate bed, kitchen …
… living room, and outdoor deck …
… which proved to be more space than I needed.
The WiFi was good, my deck chairs were comfortable, and my kitchen’s coffee maker worked great. What more could I ask for.
But to access these, I needed to use the golf cart waiting for me at the front of my cabin.
The property is walkable but sizable enough to fit 183 RV sites and 60 cabins, most of which looked unoccupied during my mid-week visit.
While using a golf cart wasn’t a necessity, it certainly cut back on my commute time between the pool and my cabin.
Outside of the RV sites and cabins, there are several pockets of leisure activities, including a basketball court, pool with a boardwalk over the lake …
… and the main entertainment area, the hub of fun activities located right by the entrance.
I found most of the on-site guests in this latter area playing mini-golf …
… sipping on booze at the outdoor bar …
… venturing down the water slide …
… playing in the children’s playground and shallow water play area …
… and just lounging under the sun. It was idyllic as it sounds, and felt like the perfect center for the RV resort.
There was also an arcade, gym, corn hole, and dog park, but all of these were unoccupied.
The guests who weren’t in the main leisure area were lazing at the second pool, which has full views of the lake …
And as I laid alone in the setting sun, I found a slice of respite from the busier main area.