Campground Review – Outdoors Resorts of America – Melbourne Beach, Florida

Posted January 26, 2018 – Narrated by Carmen.

If you’d rather listen to the podcast, click the play button.

 

   *see our 5-Bambi rating legend at the end of this review.

“For beautiful beaches and great climate, you need go no further south than Melbourne,” advised Floridians and Snowbirds as we followed the winter migration down to The Keys.

And, they were right – because once we’d had our fill of spectacular water in every shade of turquoise in The Keys …

and snorkeling at Marathon’s Sombrero Reef

… our thoughts turned north toward Melbourne Beach, just across the bridge from historic Melbourne City, on the Space Coast Beach trail, and the warm and luxurious Outdoor Resorts of America (ORA) where we camped for two weeks in November and did a whole lot of nothing … zip … nada.

And, all throughout that bitter January arctic blast we experienced in The Keys, the Melbourne Beach temps were nearly identical to Key West on weather.com.

Just before Thanksgiving, as we settled in at ORA, I asked Jim, “So, how did you find this place?” We both do campground research but Jim is mastering the art – developing a third-eye – flying by instinct.

From the posts in RV Park Reviews, I’d have overlooked this dreamy tropical beach resort. But Jim had a gut feeling, made a phone call or two and, shazam, we had a perfectly lovely two-week vacation on a world-class beach.

And, even though the RV buzz warns against going to Florida without reservations, we’ve been doing this since early November with success. And, so far, Outdoor Resorts Of America/Melbourne Beach is the finest resort campground I’ve ever seen – and Jim made the reservation from a bar stool … just one day before our arrival … in a Winter Garden’s pub while under the influence of IPA … and, he’s mine, mine, all mine!!!

Even with hurricane repairs still in progress, this resort is a knockout.

In fact, Outdoor Resorts of America/Melbourne Beach would have the first 5-Bambi rating from LIB (see the legend below) if they had WiFi.

Without our new cell booster, we wouldn’t have considered this park. But, in early November, Jim performed a DIY installation at Daddy’s new home (on the site of the old house that burned down exactly one year ago this week). Now, we’re more connected to family and friends and bidding farewell to our cafe-surfing days.

Thanks to Best Buy for the booster and to Vinnie Lamica for advice on the installation!
Four 30′ Airstreams would fit in Daddy’s Airstream hangar!!!!

Other than the absence of WiFi and maybe a dog wash station, Outdoor Resorts of America, Melbourne has it all.

Fifteen minutes after we settled in, there was no incentive to leave because of … the luminous water and gorgeous beach,

Cuki, The Ghost Ship washed ashore after the hurricane.

… the pools,

… the hiking,

Sebastian Inlet State Park Hammock Trail

… the short bike ride to a sweet beach town,

… kayaking on the Indian River,

This Cajun dude wanted his photo taken with the gator. The camera lens is smudged because I was frantically trying to paddle away and take pictures at the same time.
close up of the purty gator…

… sunsets at the pier where we viewed dolphin and manatees,

… and the beautiful grounds with clubhouses, laundries – and courts for tennis, pickleball, shuffleboard – recreation room, and a fitness center. Some structures were a bit old but all were upgraded, groomed and painted.

We had one of the best sites – about a 30-second walk to the pier and pool.

All 576 sites have a 40′ motorhome limit and are paved with wide, level concrete pads and full hook-ups with water, sewer, and 30/50 amp, and some have green screens for privacy.

Some sites are shaded by palms but most have full sun exposure.

Now, this is not a normal campground. Most sites are permanently occupied by park models, but 67 RV sites (some waterfront for $10 more) are available in the summer and 37 are currently available for the winter months. Mid-to-late November is early in the season, so we had several sites to choose from.

Cost per night was $50.40, including taxes. We stayed for two weeks and the office invited us to stay for another month without moving!

There are a few pull-through sites but most are back-in and all are first-come-first-serve. Reservations are encouraged but sites are only assigned upon arrival.

Pets must be on a leash.

Pico left his heart in Melbourne Beach … but, alas, she was too young for him anyway.

Propane fire pits must be elevated above ground level so nothing touches the pad.

The community atmosphere is relaxed, congenial and family oriented. Residents don’t keep to themselves. They stroll about, make friendly conversation, fuss over their gardens and ride golf carts or bicycles along the well-maintained lanes.

In the evening, dogs and their dog-lovers meet on benches by the pier to watch the sunset together.

The grounds extend across the highway to the beachside where a gated facility with key access provides bathrooms, showers, pool and lounging areas with umbrellas and a covered terrace.

Kayakers can put-in at the boat launch or from a step-down we found beside the pier.

The pool on Indian River is kept cool for lap swimmers, like me. Near the center of the park is a warmer therapeutic pool with a fabulous hot tub. Across the highway, beside the ocean is another pool with a bathhouse and a covered beach observation deck where we enjoyed a picnic brunch and watched a storm blow in from sea.

This pool is right on the beach!

All the comforts and something for everyone…

We arrived hoping to explore the area more, maybe take a coastal drive … but with a Publix nearby and dozens of independent restaurants within ten miles, there was really no need to venture far.

Pico and Jim scan the menu for goodies at one of our favorites, Sand On The Beach Bar and Grill

We scrapped plans to stay at the Airstream park in Melbourne, due to their no-dogs policy.

Land Yacht Harbor Airstream Campground

So, with nothing better to do, and with so few distractions to tempt us away, we just shamelessly sat around and relaxed for two weeks.

But that’s what resorts are for, right?

Okay, one evening we forced ourselves to get dressed and go out and pay respects to Hell ‘n Blazes – an exquisite brewery – and taste their top-notch IPAs and Porters.

I know it’s not for everybody (and someday it may not be for me) but wintering in Florida without reservations is the LIB way to go. Not knowing precisely where we’ll be staying from one week to the next is exciting, and adventure is what Florida is all about.

Sure, it would be cheaper to secure reservations early and lock into one, two or three places at discount prices (fifty to seventy bucks a night doesn’t fall from palm trees) but, boondocking throughout much of 2018 will settle the bill.

With only one month of winter left, we’re in no rush to leave – and Jim just surprised me by scoring four nights at Fort Wilderness! So, come late-February, we’ll wrap up our final days in Florida with a first-time visit to The Magic Kingdom! That’s right, Beauty and The Beast are going to Disneyworld!

Our “BAMBI” rating system for Public and Private campgrounds and resorts explained:

bambi-1 – One Bambi: Should’a boondocked.

bambi-2 – Two Bambi’s: Better than a Cracker Barrel or Walmart.

bambi-3 – Three Bambi’s: Adequate for a short stay.

bambi-4 – Four Bambi’s: Great place! Met our expectations for an extended stay. Needs minor improvements or is not ideally situated for all our preferred recreation (walking, cycling, swimming, kayaking) without driving.

 – Five Bambi’s: Destination Camping at it’s best! Critical as we are, there’s nothing we’d improve, and you can bet your sweet Bambi we’re going back!

27 thoughts on “Campground Review – Outdoors Resorts of America – Melbourne Beach, Florida

  1. Jim and Carmen- We met you at the Salem Airstream rally just before the Friday morning panel. It really is a small world! We were parked almost across from you for a couple days in site 927 while you were in Melbourne Beach. We spent December and January at the park. We departed for Ft Wilderness on 2/1. Looking forward to following your travels. We really enjoyed your Salem presentation. Safe travels in Beauty!

    Mike and Kim Schanze

  2. Great review. We stayed at the ORA resort in Chokoloskee in our Bambi and it was wonderful. Very pricey but you got what you paid for with the waterfront sites and amenities. Overnight at WallyWorld and other cheaper stops help to balance the budget! So worth it.

  3. Wonderful photos and helpful review. Stories and reviews are both a welcome diversion from the 9-5 grind and the goofy weather here in the upper Midwest this winter. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

    1. Thank you for being with us, DMWI! I don’t know … the upper midwest this winter sounds very adventurous to me! As nice as it is here in Florida, we’re looking forward to being up north this spring and summer. Our eyes are hungry for hills, flowers and fresh flowing rivers!

      LIB,

      Carmen

  4. Nice pictures but I’d rather listen to stories about your adventures instead of a review of the campground — my preference

      1. Yes, Land Yacht Harbor! We are on our maiden voyage with our just purchased 2018 26′ FB Twin! We drove down to Key Largo to visit friends for the weekend but will be back Monday. Really looking forward to Melbourne Beach!

        Love the blog reviews! Wow! Your dad’s hanger is super nice! Hope he is doing well and enjoying his new home.

        Where are you guys now?

        1. We are in Naples and moving on to Sarasota tomorrow.

          Congratulations! You will never forget the maiden voyage! Safe travels!

      2. Sorry I wasn’t clear in my first reply. We are at LYHarbor until the 2/1 when we will move to Outdoor Resort Melbourne Beach! Hope we get a good site!

    1. That’s great! Let us know how you like it! We drove through the campground and it looked nice. Safe Travels, LIB

      1. Land Yacht Harbor is well cared for but has none of the amenities we are looking for. We really like the surrounding area. Nice community!

  5. I’ve been following your insightful posts and with every new one posted, I feel the anticipation grow for my husband’s and my new life to come via Airstream-ing. I can relate to the way you travel, for example, with not having reservations most of the time. My husband and I do the same when we take our road trips (without an RV) as we enjoy the magic that unfolds when we take that leap of faith in that everything will work out. It opens the door to beautiful experiences that we couldn’t even imagine. Jim and Carmen, thanks so much for sharing your journey and inspiration! I look forward to reading more of the magic your journey brings.

    1. Sabrina, we are honored to have you with us. Every year of our 43-year marriage we have tried to travel with that spirit of adventure. We lived in the southwesternmost corner of the US so we had this “go north” mantra. We’d pack the van, truck or car and head north until it was time to stop. So, we still say, “go north” when we mean “where ever.” It is magic. Nowadays, with our close relatives following us on “find friends” and so many safty nets that my parents and grandparents didn’t have when they did this travel thing – not making reservations or plans is the last frontier. I love that you embrace it! Hey, the worst thing that can happen is you sleep in a parking lot or pasture somewhere. Adventure is hard to find these days. We hope to find as much as we can. LIB and safe travels.

    1. Bill, great to hear from you! My son went through bootcamp at Great Lakes in February. He tells me winters in Illinois can be brutal. In Naples, Florida today it is about 75, sunny, with a nice wind blowing through the city. Hope to see you on the road someday!

  6. The warm water you notice is from the Gulf Stream flowing by… the fact Palm Beach area is farthest out into the Gulf Stream allows some of that warm water to get pulled in towards the coast just to the North… Melbourne Beach being one of the beneficiaries…

    We have friends just north in Titusville… they love it there, too…

    Cheers………….

    1. Peter, thanks for the explanation. As we travel, we area always looking at places and asking if this is a place we would consider living if we ever stop traveling. Melbourne Beach made it to the list.

  7. I appreciate your blog so much. Fred and I just retired, bought a 26ft Flying Cloud, all new to us. Your blog gives me the confidence to start our adventures.

    1. Another informative post, Ms. Carmen. We too are in windy Florida on the beach in Fort Myers. Should take us a month to remove all the sand but we’ll worth it. Safe travels.

      1. Kathy and Steve, we hope to spend some time in Ft. Myers another year. It didn’t work out for us this time around, but it is on our list of places to visit. So far, we have avoided staying right on the salt water ocean spots in fear of being flooded or sprayed with so much sand or salt spray. Right now, we prefer to be back a bit. We might change our minds in the future.

    2. We are humbled that our blog gives you and your husband confidence to start your adventures. All we can say is we love this lifestyle and have no plans to ever stop traveling full-time, as long as our health allows us. Hope to see you two on the road some day!

  8. Outstanding post,,,,,I’m very familiar with Outdoor Resorts! Don’t forget your reservations in Alabama…….not fancy, but good spot for a few nites.

    1. Larry, thanks for the ongoing invitation! Not sure how our travels will go and how we will get there, but we do plan to go visit Allen before we head west.

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