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A Visit To Grand Lake RV & Golf Resort Proves To Be A Problematic Experience

Background

Having reviewed thousands of products and/or services during my career as The Gadget Guru, I’ve learned that writing positive reviews is easy as I enjoy highlighting products/services that are worthy of recognition. However, writing reviews that are less than glowing and reveal bugs or flaws is much more difficult and I do so with the hope that a lackluster experience may capture just enough attention to make things better for future users. In my process, a negative review requires a great deal of thought prior to publishing an opinion as it could adversely affect a product, a service or a business. It’s not the most fun part of my job, but I deem it a responsibility.

In my opinion, posting a review that states flaws that are correctable can be a positive influence as it could motivate those in charge to institute changes that could benefit users, or in the case of the Grand Lake RV & Golf Resort, benefit future visitors. This is what I’m hoping to accomplish in my review of this RV resort located in Citra, FL.

Big Rigs Best Bets

In the same manner I located the Claystone Campground, one that I gave very high marks, I found Grand Lake through the Big Rigs Best Bets (BRBB) reference guide. While I purchased both the printed book and a subscription to its companion website, I utilized the BRBB online site when I was seeking an appropriate campground for an overnight stopover between Macon, GA and Jupiter, FL. Since the BRBB guide is geared towards those who are seeking campgrounds that can accommodate the largest of motorhomes, aka Big Rigs, I can only hope that the Editors of the BRBB guide take a moment to update its online listing on this campground so that others don’t get into the same situation that I experienced.

While the BRBB book is a reference guide and not one I would consider to be a review source, it is the go-to book for those of us who own large motorhomes and a noteworthy guide when planning stop-over stays. Here’s the information provided online for this resort:

GRAND LAKE RV & GOLF RESORT: Sites in the 100 foot range – #62, 63, 69, 71, 72, 76, 78, 80, 82, 84, 86, 96, 100 thru 106, 110, 111, 112 & 113. Wi-Fi. Paved streets. 

Directions: On I-75, Exit #368 and motor east three miles on Hwy 318 and take a left into the park entrance. Look for the ten flag poles.
Web:   www.sunrvresorts.com   
Address:  NW 53 Court Road, 32113
Phone: 352-591-3474   Reservations  800-435-2291          

Direction Misdirection

Allow me to point out that if you’re using dedicated RV GPS such as the Garmin 770LMT I used for this trip, the address in the listing will not guide you to Grand Lake’s entrance. The address to use is: 4555 W. County 318, Citra, FL 32113. Oddly enough, when using Google Maps the posted address will guide you to resort entrance. This is one of the few times I’ve found that the posted address will not properly guide to to a specific location between multiple GPS platforms. I did notice that Google Maps slightly modified the “4555 W. County 318” address to this “4555 Co Rd 318, Citra, FL 32113” and possibly that’s a clue to the discrepancy. This is why it’s important to preview your route as making U-Turns is not a simple task in a motorhome.
It’s become my habit that when making campground reservations to so by phone vs. a website so that I can ask questions and confirm safe and unimpeded access for my 45′ Prevost and tow car and to confirm the selected site is designed for a large motorhome. It also gives me an opportunity to ask if the posted address is correct for GPS usage. Fortunately I asked this question during the reservation process and the operator provided a different address to use for GPS that guided me directly to the registration building when using a Garmin 770LMT. However, Google Maps seemed to want to guide me to a different location. Yes, it’s my habit of using the Garmin RV GPS for the main device while my co-pilot uses Google Maps for additional navigation purposes.
In case you choose to visit this resort, here’s a time lapse video that shows you the route I used to arrive at Grand Lake as well to what I find to be its major downside for visitors arriving in a large motorhome…trees that impede the roadways.

Watch The Video And See For Yourself

Reservations About Reservations

Allow me to point out that the phone number posted for reservations in both the BRBB guide and on the resort’s website is directed to a call center for Sun RV Resorts and not directly to the Grand Lake reservations desk.
I called midday on a weekday to make the reservation and I was greeted with the recorded message that I was the 8th caller in line and it took around 45 minutes to get to a reservations agent on the line. From that point the reservations process went smoothly and I was able to confirm this resort had a pull-through site with full hookups that would accommodate my 45′ Prevost motorhome. It’s also my habit to ask the operator if there are any hazards on their property that could impede entry or prove to be problematic for a full-sized motorhome. I was assured this is truly a big rig friendly resort.

Low Hanging Trees

However, upon entering the property it became apparent fairly quickly that the trees did in fact impede the path and I had to navigate in a “threading needles” method to get to get to the registration area and then to my designated site with the hope of not causing any damage to my bus. In a normal situation I may have considered aborting the entry or finding an alternative route, but once I realized the overgrown trees would be a problem, there was no path for escape.

Check-In Hospitality

Upon entering the office, while the process was quick, the clerk was not too accommodating in answering basic questions such as “where’s the on-site” restaurant or “where’s the trash bin” located?” The answers were, “It’s on the map.” Simply stated, I definitely didn’t feel as welcomed as I have at other campgrounds. I’ll add that unlike some other large campgrounds, no escort was offered to assist in locating the site.
Sadly, entering the property did cause damage and my motorhome is now without the awning wind sensors and the low hanging trees caused some scratching to the upper portion of the bus. Before departing the resort, I spoke to an employee on the property and was told Grand Lake had been sold three years ago and the current owners are aware the trees along the paved paths are in great need of a major trim.
While this campground is named a “resort,” this description falls under the category of “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Below you’ll find photos of my campsite and the surrounding view and I’ll let you be the judge.
It’s also my hope that until this overgrown tree situation is rectified, the Editors at Big Rigs Best Bets take a moment to update its Grand Lake listing so that future Big Rig visitors can be forewarned of potential damage.

Summary

I’ll attempt to summarize my experience by stating this campground features full hookups (water, sewer and 50 amp electrical connections) and I’ll consider the price a good value at $35 per night. While I’ll issue a warning to guests with full-size 45′ motorhomes, those with smaller and lower height RV’s may find this as a desirable location. While my experience with the office was lackluster, this campground does have merits and sections of the property’s common areas do have a park-like feel. I’ll add that while I didn’t visit the golf course, I did tour parts of the property and the waterfront restaurant is a nice amenity and both myself and my co-pilot enjoyed our dinner. I’ll add the service was prompt and the waitress couldn’t have been any nicer.
It’s my hope that until this overgrown tree situation is rectified, the Editors at Big Rigs Best Bets take a moment to update its Grand Lake listing so that future visitors can be forewarned of potential damage.
As with anytime I post a review that is less than glowing, I will offer to revisit the property after the needed improvements have been made and to update my initial review to reflect the changes. Until then I can only give the Grand Lake RV & Golf Resort a 2-Star rating and will caution owners of big rigs to avoid this property until the paths are made clear for full size motorhomes.
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