Drifters RV Park is a veteran-owned park located in Pensacola, Florida, about 10 minutes from downtown and 15 from Pensacola Beach. The owners, James and Terri Roberts, say their property is mainly the destination for those who are working in Pensacola, specifically out-of-town contractors and workers. However, they see a spike in their tourist population during the summer months. Pensacola is known for the performance of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels air demonstrations twice a year, and they even have a naval base in the city. It is also the home of a bay and several white sand beaches where visitors can participate in various aquatic activities, including boating and swimming. Additionally, Pensacola is known as the city of five flags; it was initially founded by Spain but has also been ruled by France, England, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America.
Drifters RV Park is found near an industrial portion of Pensacola. James, one of the owners, says the park is along the edge of a neighborhood and is surrounded by oak trees and vegetation. Several grocery stores are nearby that guests can utilize when they need supplies. Carpenters Campers and Home Depot are also within a few minutes of the park.
The exterior appearance of the Drifters RV Park is mainly grass and gravel. A blue office can be found at the entrance next to a bathhouse with two separate showers and two coin-operated washers and dryers. A few wooden decks are scattered throughout the park to give guests a place to lounge and socialize. Live oak trees and flower beds can be found between sites. Finally, a fenced-in, off-leash Dog Woods allows visitors to walk their dogs and meet others, and the park also includes a dog-washing station.
The RV park consists of 21 gravel sites. Each one is 75 feet long and is equipped with water, sewer, and 30 or 50 AMP hookups. The sites also come with picnic tables and cable TV with over 60 channels. Most of them have wooden decks, with plans to upgrade all sites to wooden decks. All sites are also back-ins, and some park areas have access to free Wi-Fi. In James's words, the park is "pretty simple and basic" in function and appearance.
Drifters RV Park is 10 minutes from downtown. Guests may also visit Fort Pickens, live musical performances, Palafox Street and Palafox Market, history museums, and the National Naval Aviation Museum. The RV park is additionally 15 minutes from several beaches, including Pensacola Beach and Pensacola Bay. There, visitors can swim, boat, participate in recreation, or kayak. Additionally, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels perform twice a year in Pensacola, and James says it is one of the city's main attractions. In addition to these attractions, James recommends guests visit Coastal County Brewing, Palafox Drive, and Flounder's Chowder House to eat.
James and Terri, the owners of Drifters RV Park, want their guests to feel welcome at their property. They like to chat with visitors if they find themselves out and about, and they strive to be available for patrons who might have questions or concerns.
A number of James' and Terri's guests have positively reviewed the Drifters RV park. James says that when visitors comment on what they like about the park, they tend to praise the wooden decks, the park's cleanliness, and its central location. One such guest said, "This park is wonderful. Located close to shops and dining. Staff friendly and helpful. Very clean place, no loud neighbors. Peaceful and safe place. Felt like home." Another visitor said, "I very much appreciate the service and extra care given by Terri and James. Great RV Park." James estimates that much of the success of Drifters RV Park comes from a greater push from Terri to increase their online presence by increasing activity on social media.
When concerning policies, James sums them up by saying, "Be a good neighbor, pick up after your dog, don't park on the grass, don't litter." Regarding dogs, Drifters RV Park is a pet-friendly property. James explains that as long as dogs are vaccinated and well-behaved, there is no problem with them staying with their owners during their stay. James and Terri meet with visitors' dogs to assess their personalities and to determine whether or not they may cause problems, and they also allow no more than two big dogs per site. Smoking is permitted, but guests are required to pick up their cigarette butts. Finally, quiet time starts at 8:00 PM each night.
Drifters RV Park is open year-round, but their best season, according to James, is in the summer and fall because of tourism and the "steady" population of out-of-town workers. He observes that many of their guests are over 30 and often come in couples. Several of those visitors are in the area looking for a house or visiting for work. As mentioned, James and Terri receive many repeat guests due to newer processes, and they plan to add more staff to help manage the future clientele. Additionally, 10% discounts may be provided to Good Sam Club members, first responders, and military visitors, as James is a retired 20-year Army veteran.
Before being an RV park, Drifters RV Park was a "run-down home with a lot of land." The property was established in 2006 by Jean and Joan Jones, who were small business entrepreneurs and owned several other RV parks in the area. After James retired from the military, the previous owners sold the property to him and Terri, the current owners, who had purchased a duplex next to the park and were hoping to expand. James says their entry into the lodging industry was a coincidence; they did not anticipate owning an RV park next to their duplex. The couple has owned the property since September of 2020, and their daughter refers to the park as "Joan's house.
James and Terri are consistently making changes to the RV park since its acquisition, and plan to update and expand the RV Park. James affirms his and Terri's favorite part of their job is meeting the people who stay at their property and getting to know their guests. They also have Tracie, their on-site manager, who they describe as "loved by everyone and a huge asset to us."