One of the nation’s more unusual RV parks is Florilow Oaks RV Park in Bushnell, FL, which bills itself as “an active 55+ single RV community.” While the park was purchased in 1984 by a group called Loners on Wheels (LOWs), an RV club for single men and women who love to camp, the park is no longer owned by the LOWs but its primary purpose is to serve as a community for RV enthusiasts who are single and 55 or over. Single RVers, including widows and divorcees, rave about the park and the supportive community it provides. “It was a lifesaver for me,” said Carolyn Martin, who started camping there in her Class C motorhome after her husband died in 2020.
Florilow Oaks RV Park
Florilow Oaks RV Park in Bushnell, Florida is the perfect destination for singles over the age of 55. With a strong sense of community and an open and welcoming feel, visitors of Florilow Oaks may arrive alone, but soon make friends for life.
Martin had just started RVing with her husband in 2019 and they had just completed a cross-country RV trip when her husband had a stroke. He was subsequently hospitalized and died in hospice care soon thereafter. A friend later asked her, “What are you going to do with your RV? I said, ‘I’m keeping it,’” Martin recalled. Martin had never actually driven their RV before. But her son-in-law, who works as a truck driver, gave her a few lessons to build her confidence and her motorhome driving skills, and she started dreaming about spending the winter in Florida. Still, she was nervous about driving from her home in Virginia alone. Another friend then connected her with another widow who was also interested in going to Florida and they drove down together. Martin said she found Florilow through an Internet search. “I Googled ‘RVing for singles’ and I found out there’s a whole, big community out there,” she said. “Then I discovered Florilow in Florida.”
Martin said she didn’t know what to expect when she arrived at Florilow. “I was a brand-new widow,” she said. “I was scared to death of RVing. I had never done it before by myself. But the minute I got there, I had somebody offering to help me, helping me get to my spot.” She was also immediately invited to participate in many activities, including a daily “fire pit happy hour” at 4 p.m. “I was accepted from the moment I got there,” she said, “I hadn’t had any visitors for the first five months after my husband’s death due to COVID. To be invited to sit and talk with people was very comforting. When you are a brand-new widow or widower and you’re grieving, it hurts. You need people who are understanding and not expecting you to put on a fake façade.”
Florilow offers its guests numerous activities, which are organized by the campers themselves. They include hikes, bike rides, kayaking trips, potlucks, movies on Saturday nights and other activities. Beth O’Brien of Ohio said Florilow was the first place she ever camped after she purchased her RV six years ago. “I met my first collection of daytime husbands there,” she said. “I knew nothing (about RVing).”
But the RVers O’Brien met at Florilow quickly brought her up to speed on the things she needed to know about RVing, while providing her with a wonderful sense of community. “It’s a caring community,” she said. “If someone gets sick or needs a ride, there are always people there to support you.” O’Brien also likes the activities. “They have a recreation committee. They bring in musical groups for dances during the (winter) season,” O’Brien said, adding that she leads groups on hikes and bike rides. “The kayak enthusiasts set up the kayaking trips. We’re near where you can see the manatees,” she said. While O’Brien often takes RV trips around the country, she has spent five of the past six winters at Florilow, and she’ll be heading back there this winter. “The majority of my RVing friends I have met there,” she said.