Vitambi Springs wasn’t accidentally omitted or forgotten, we were intentionally snubbed by the writer. We are the closest campground serving all of South Florida; you would imagine SFGN readers would want to know about us.

The writer should follow his heart and write for the Northern NY Gay News since “gorgeous” Jones Pond receives top billing every year and the lion’s share of praise and ink. We got slighted when we hesitated to invite back the author on the weekend of his choosing to undergo our annual public cavity search.

Honestly, I don’t know why campgrounds would support his behavior. It is hard to understand the agenda of the writer. Does he want people to go or keep them from going?

A factual overview would suffice without all the hyperbolic opinion. He misuses his opportunity to educate our community about the wonderful possibilities available to us with unnecessary unflattering commentary that is personal to his tastes: “scattered campsites hither and yon with no apparent planning” he calls a place “the (States) premier gay campground… setting the standard” only to be followed with “has seen little investment… it’s neglected… infrastructure in disrepair… much remains to be done… shower rooms needs updating.” Uum, Thank You? Maybe you’d want your campground represented with a photo of people wearing an “I love to Fart” t-shirt or maybe you’d be happier with the beautifully photographed handsome cowboys in the Jones Pond photo.

For us, it’s been a photo of some trees or something taken from 100 yards away on a cloudy day. The earlier review for us went on and on about being told to put a towel on when ordering food, how hot and muggy and buggy it was for him on his visit…in August.

I’d like to hear the Jones Pond review for a February visit, and then I’d think there was an ounce of independent journalism going on. Frankly, I’m embarrassed by his self-righteous pettiness. I just don’t relate to his view of what makes camping special. I’ll take astronomers, men playing sports and games, organized hikes, birding events, bonfires and anything that promotes community fellowship over being rated for DJs and Shows as required in the beauty pageant poll to make it into his 2017 top 10 campground list. We just don’t operate from the same perspective and his article is entirely about his viewpoint. It’s a view that’s not representative of the millions of So FL residents that do not travel the country by motorhome in their leisure time. Many DO look for ideas for a weekend escape – if only the SFGN could provide that prospective. 

Let me be clear about one thing, I think Jones Pond is swell, the owners are amazing people, I hope to visit someday. Its Memorial Day weekend, our 3rd straight sold out weekend, I have more important things to be doing than ranting. However, judging from the number of calls & emails we’ve received, it was disappointing and alarming to our many guests that our camp – their camp, was blatantly overlooked. The author has been here, he knows us, our website is easy to visit – his piece for SFGN deliberately did not include us when discussing camping options for the South Florida gay community. He allowed his agenda to Trump the interest of the community and nobody appreciates a bully.

Steve McCloud


[Editor’s Note: The last two years we’ve done a gay camping issue that focused on Florida. This year we decided to expand that to include locations outside of Florida. Obviously we have space constraints and therefore not every location in Florida could be featured. Having said that Vitambi has been featured several times in the past and it’s the only campground in Florida to receive a standalone feature that wasn’t part of a roundup of other gay campgrounds. Our past coverage includes

A Weekend at Vitambi Springs Resort & Camp,” “Travel: Vitambi Springs,” and “Gay Camping in Florida: Everything You Need to Know.”

Furthermore the author Ric Reily is not a news writer so he has full leeway to express his opinion and thoughts. He is an avid camper with years of experience in camping in Florida and around the country. 

Here are just a few things he’s said about Vitambi in the past:  

"The resort is a beautiful well-maintained property with picturesque views, gorgeous sunsets and wide-open spaces.”

"The VS staff is friendly and helpful."

"VS is an already complete, well managed, fun destination. The owners and staff are involved and interested in your experience, the Bongo Bar is lively…"]