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Founder: Steve McCloud

Before the birth of Vitambi Springs, there was the concept of TRIBE, an idea born from the visionary mind of Steve McCloud.

In 2005, an opportunity emerged when a camp property became available for sale in the Florida Keys. Steve envisioned TRIBE as more than just a campground; it was to be a men’s resort offering themed camping experiences, blending the comforts of home with the camaraderie and adventure of camping. This idea, a precursor to what we now call “glamping” was Steve’s brainchild. The property’s price skyrocketed due to the rapid market changes at that time which doomed the project but the concept lived on, waiting for the right opportunity.

A significant influence on Steve’s vision was a life-changing trip to Africa, where he embarked on a safari in the Serengeti. This adventure imprinted upon him the essence of the outdoors and unique, albeit basic, comforts presented in a way only nature can provide.

In 2006, a fateful friendship blossomed between Steve and Martin Ruddock, both property managers with shared dreams. They explored ideas, including TRIBE, but the timing wasn’t right. Steve and his partner Nick invited Martin to join them on vacation in Key West in October of 2007. Tragedy struck when Nick Bollman, Steve’s partner of 24 years, passed away on that trip. This shared loss bonded Steve and Martin in profound ways, sparking a conversation about new beginnings.

As the Great Recession gripped the nation, both men found themselves at a crossroads, seeking alternatives to the corporate world. By the spring of 2009, the concept of creating something akin to TRIBE began to take shape. The search for suitable properties in South Florida commenced, including campgrounds, RV parks and more. Even though the recession was raging, property prices were still inflated, and every prospect seemed to lack a vital component.

In the fall of 2009, after months of searching with no prospects and no secure employment, they decided to scale back their vision and simply find vacant land where they could build a campground from scratch. At this point, their motivation was purely driven by a desire for a better quality of life.

Then, in late 2009, while scouring the internet for vacant land, Steve stumbled upon an abandoned juvenile rehabilitation retreat about 90 miles west of Fort Lauderdale. Despite the property being listed as “grazing” land due to permitting restrictions, the images portrayed a different story – a large main building with a commercial kitchen, a spacious dining area, offices, and multiple homes nestled among pristine camping areas. But there was a catch; this property sprawled across 269 acres, much larger than they had initially sought. Worries began to creep in – was it in the middle of a swamp? Was it too large? Too remote? All these concerns loomed, but the truth was revealed once they set foot on the land.

Their first drive down the mile-long entrance road was transformative. As they ventured further, the anticipation grew with each passing tree, thickening foliage, and the allure of the seemingly endless driveway. The place was nothing short of breathtaking. Suppressing their excitement was futile; they were positively giddy. Hundreds of photos were snapped between them that day.

By this time, Steve had met Rick Brown, who had rekindled the old Steve with his infectious joy and unshakeable confidence. Rick would prove to be a valuable component of the camp’s development. Steve and Rick’s relationship blossomed, and they eventually married in Washington D.C. on November 11th, 2013.

With renewed vigor, they rushed home to envision how this property could align with the existing TRIBE model. Steve immersed himself in the project and, in no time, outlined what would become Vitambi Springs. He transformed sleep shacks into cabins, christened different areas of the park with names inspired by gods from diverse cultures, embodying Steve’s commitment to diversity and education. But they still needed a name, for several reasons TRIBE did not feel right. Turning once again to his experience in Africa, they began looking at various African languages. Somehow, during an internet search they found the word Vitambi, a Swahili word loosely translated to mean group of proud people.

Finally, on December 3rd, 2010, the property was theirs. Over the next 12 months, backed by investors (including friends, family members and friends of friends) and with the unwavering support of a remarkable group of friends and outside advocates, they breathed life into Vitambi Springs.

On December 14th, 2011, they opened their doors to guests, marking the beginning of a new chapter.

Come Find Your Fun

Vitambi Springs hosts many different themed weekends throughout the year – If you’re a fan of Leather or Bears – oh my! Or Naturists, sports or holidays, we’ve got your fun. We are very proud to host several weekends throughout the year aimed at personal development and growth. We are also very proud to expand our reach within the LGBT community and offer activities where all are welcome and two weekends a year geared specifically towards Women. Make plans to join us.

testimonials

What They Say


Great vibe. Great staff. Great accommodations. Great fun. Great food and drinks. AND Great memories.

Randy C.

Randy C.

I felt safe there. Safety is important to me. Employees wore masks when assisting, and the people staying there respected each other’s area. I definitely can’t wait to go again.

Mike C.

Mike C.

Staff are awesome. They make the place fun and safe. Really liked the contact free system for food, beverages, and lodging. All you need is your phone.

Sonny S.

Sonny S.

Contact Us

Get in Touch

Reservations cannot be guaranteed through email communications. We are happy to read and respond to your questions and comments but please understand, lodging options change quickly and your preference may no longer be available after an email exchange. Reservations made by phone are the best way to make an instantaneous booking. Also, we always try our best to accommodate requests, however we can are unable to guarantee specific sites until check-in.

Address

Vitambi Springs28280 Etumakee WayClewiston, FL 33440