St. Rosa RV Resort is as advertised, but, as I have told friends who asked, there appears to be more importance put on what would look good on a brochure than on what would be good for campers. Here are some reflections from our month-long stay:
- The park is right beside a very busy 4 lane highway, the only east-west road along the coast. With an airforce base to the east and personnel living to the west of the park, do not count on using the highway anytime from 2:30 to 6 pm - it is stop and go for miles and miles!
- The sites on the north side of the park are less than 50 feet from this highway. Yes, one does get used to the hum of traffic and the scream of all the sirens (at least 3 times a day), and it was not too bad at night, but when you can't sit outside and carry on a conversation with your friends, it is a little too much.
- Being close to an airforce base results in nighttime manoeuvres. Be prepared for booms and rat-a-tats of ammunition, and reconnaissance planes overhead. This was mostly after 8 pm and didn't go all night.
The above, the park can't help, but just be aware when you make your plans, that this will not change.
Now for things that should be part of the park management's concern:
- The pool looks lovely on the internet and in their brochure, but it is not heated and, with the very cool temperatures that are part of the weather in the panhandle, it is far too cold to swim in. Other campers who were in the park from December to April had not seen a single person swimming, and it is no wonder.
- The wifi is terrible! It just is not good enough for a park of this size and calibre. We want to communicate, the park is advertised as having wifi, but it has to be stronger and work more consistently to be of any use. Some in the park had given up on the park's system altogether and spent their own money to upgrade to individual Verizon systems to have better reception. Either there is sufficient wifi available for the park or there isn't. Don't blame campers for using Skype and Netflix and don't blame a disagreement between the server and the supplier. Just get it fixed!
- There are some essential services available in most parks, for the convenience of campers, but this park does not think they are necessary.
The first is the availability of a landline phone in the form of a payphone or some other office-situated service. Not everyone has a cell phone that can work far away from home, and telling a camper who inquires how one is to call for help in an emergency that they should find someone in the park with a cell phone is sloughing off the responsibility from their own shoulders. Having stayed in many parks with an available phone (and at a desk with a chair, a light and some privacy), I am sure that the park management's fear of misuse must be exaggerated.
The second is providing a directly hooked-in ethernet cabled computer for the convenience of guests. This would be especially helpful given the poor wifi in the park. There is alway someone in the office during regular hours, so a little corner of the office dedicated to a computer and desk, or an available ethernet for campers to plug in their own laptops, would not be susceptible to misuse and would be greatly appreciated.
- There is a recreation building which looks quite lovely on the internet, but which has not been outfitted with campers in mind. Pipes stick out of the wall for water and drainage, but no sink, taps, countertop or cupboards have been provided. When the self-organized campers have a potluck dinner, there is no water to clean up. And the 9 pm lockdown time, which is manically kept by staff, chaffs a little with seniors enjoying a movie they have provided themselves. The couple in charge of activities tried very hard to provide events, but did not appear to have the full cooperation of management. Kudos for them for all that they did do for us!
To show where management's interest lies, one day when campers were in the rec hall, they were asked their opinion on what color umbrellas the park should buy for the pool area. Honestly, wouldn't better amenities in the rec hall and better wifi and more camper-oriented conveniences be more important than the color of soon-to-be purchased umbrellas? But colored umbrellas would look good in pictures in a brochure or on the internet, wouldn't they.
Okay, I have to be fair with some positive comments: the park is very, very well kept. The 2 washrooms are immaculate and well-appointed, the cement site pads make for less clean-up in the trailer, the sites on the sound side are lovely, the views across the sound are beautiful, the proximity of the spectacular beaches is great and the campers themselves were a lot of fun! But this resort is geared toward transients, is not cheap, and will not be a destination for us for a long-term stay again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- St Rosa Waterfront RV Resort is an ideal Gulf Coast destination. People love our location because everything you need for a perfect vacation is within easy reach. We are located in on St. Rosa Sound in Navarre Florida, close to Destin, Pensacola Beach. We are less then 1 mile from the famous snow white sand beaches of Florida’s Gulf Island National Seashore which was voted one of the top beaches in the world, by Trip Advisor.We offer 24 waterfront sites located directly on Santa Rosa Sound. All 88 of our spacious RV campsites have full hookups, 30/50 amp electric, water, sewer, cable, wireless internet. Enjoy our luxurious family friendly amenities such as a brand new club house, waterfront pool, fitness room, playground, and private beach.The resort is near parks, bike paths, championship golf courses, charter boat rentals, fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling.The larger towns of Fort Walton, Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, and Destin, are a quick drive away for shopping, dining, arts and culture. ... more less