Stay & Play Differently at Victoria Palms RV Resort in Donna, TX

When the northern winds are hurling snowdrifts across the roads, it’s nice to be soaking in an outdoor spa at one of the south’s most luxurious RV resorts, Victoria Palms.

The Rio Grande Valley in South Texas has long been known for its moderate winter temperatures, abundant palms, and warm gulf breezes. The developers of the Victoria Palms RV Resort took advantage of these natural advantages and built one of South Texas’ premier RV resorts in Donna, TX.

Not only does it have ideal facilities for a long winter’s stay, but it is close to a large number of amenities such as shopping, medical facilities and it’s within a hour’s drive to the ocean beaches. You can buy your fresh produce such as onions, lettuce, melons of many types, and strawberries on one of your drives into the country, where the mild climate permits several crops per year. There is also a weekly farmers market inside the resort offering all of the fresh produce you can eat.

vp_streetviewFirst appearances are usually lasting ones, and nowhere is this more true than when you, for the first time, drive into the resort. The entrance is separated into two roads with twin rows of tall, graceful palm trees, lining each one. Between these is a grassy lawn with a winding walkway. Neatly manicured RV sites line the road on one side, and wide lanes take you to your site with ease. Citrus trees grow throughout the park, providing exquisite aromas when in flower, and excellent fruit when ripe. It’s really nice to go over to a tree and come back with your hands full of grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines or even bananas. This resort definitely exudes the feeling of comfort and relaxation.

This is a gated community for the ages 55 and up and provides a wide variety of accommodations. They have over 1200 concrete pull-through, and back-in RV sites with full hook-ups and WiFi. Some visitors will opt for one of the 100 suites with kitchen and separate bedrooms, or perhaps one of the 20 hotel rooms. They can even book into one of the 14 cottages.

vp_poolOnce you are established in your winter home site, it’s time to amble over to the huge heated pool or sit back and relax in one of the three outdoor spas. If you are too relaxed maybe it’s time to move onto one of the tennis or pickleball courts, lighted for your pleasure if you would rather play at night. You might be also wish to visit the shuffleboard courts. Over at the billiard hall someone is likely waiting for a challenger.

Several winter visitors wish to continue with a hobby or sport they left back in the cold and chances are they can do so here. The wood shop is always popular, as is the wood carving area. The craft centre offers such diverse activities as painting, ceramics, stained glass making, and quilting. Imagine taking home a beautiful old fashioned multi-patterned quilt for your bed, or for a gift to one of your children. There are also organized bike rides on the trails. Bikes are loaded on a trailer and everyone heads for a trailhead where they can join bike trail networks.

jpage-encorerv-rgv-victoriapalmsinterior-61-1Musical entertainment is presented by a variety of bands and there is a large grand piano lounge and an oversized dance room. Square, round, and ballroom dances are offered. To top it all off, there will be dinner theatre, potlucks for those who love to sample a variety of great dishes, and everyone seems ready for the ice cream socials. Looking for a more formal setting? The on site restaurant is sure to please even the most concerning palate.

The Rio Grande Valley abounds in opportunities to explore. South of the resort is the meandering Rio Grande which over the years has left behind many oxbow lakes (locally called Resacas) and marshes. The oxbow lakes form when a loop of the river is cut off and left behind. These quiet areas attract countless species of birds especially during fall and spring migrations. The Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is positioned along two such routes. There are 12 miles of walking trails, a canopy walk on a rope bridge, and a tower climb which provides excellent views of the surrounding area. This is a great place to photograph amazingly beautiful coloured birds, and butterflies are a hit with many visitors.

The visitor may opt for a longer drive east to South Padre Island. As you pass through vp_shufflePort Isabel you may want to take advantage of the restaurants offering fresh seafood. Fishermen can use the long fishing pier at Port Isabel where they can even rent some fishing gear locally.

It’s the dunes and beaches that attract tourists to the island. The pristine white sand beaches are great for enjoying a day at the sea coast. It is the sand blowing inland that creates the huge dunes that help protect the mainland from storms. When plants grow in this sand it stabilizes the dune, but careless climbing up the dunes can destroy the protective plants, and damage the dune.

Long time snowbird resident Janet Bussier says it’s a terrific park.

“There are so many activities that there is no reason for anyone being bored,” says Janet.
She loves the beauty of the park’s entrance, and the fabulous flowers and palm trees in the park. Janet credits the beauty of the park, its cleanliness, and it’s friendly feeling to the manager, Terry Goss, who listens to your problems and takes action on remediating them.

Victoria Palms RV Resort is a perfect snowbird resort. The destination provides rest, entertainment, and abundant areas for you to discover at your own speed.

Maximize Your RV Adventures with a Thousand Trails Pass

From geocaching to “roughing it” in the British Columbia interior, the Thousand Trails membership has opened-up a world of possibility and adventure for retirees Glenn and Eva Hamakawa. The couple have been living in Langley, British Columbia for 18 years, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find them at home.

Thanks to the Thousand Trails pass these two happy campers spend at least seven months of the year in their RV —4 months down south during the winter, and “dry camping” in the B.C. interior during the summer months from June to September. “But just because we’re in our RV doesn’t mean you’ll find us at home,” Glenn says. “When we’re not RV’ing, we’re cruising,” he laughs.

“The last two years we’ve had the membership we’ve been able to explore and go on new adventures affordably,” Eva says. “Being retired we couldn’t go to all these places without it.”

Glenn and Eva’s neighbors had the pass and invited the couple to a road show in Langley so they could check it out too. “We weren’t sure about going,” Glenn says. “We weren’t RV’ers at the time, we preferred camping. But it turns out we liked it, it eased us into RV’ing and gave us more time to spend in our trailer during the winter season.” What’s the difference between camping (also called dry camping) and RV’ing? According to Glenn, it’s the hook-ups!  

“During the summer we do more back country camping,” Eva says. “Our RV has solar panels and a large fresh water tank, so we’re self-sufficient. We love to go fishing and enjoy the lake in the interior. But when the winter hits and our water start to freeze, then it’s time to go south.”

In the past, Glenn and Eva travelled to the U.S. before getting a pass, but couldn’t stay for as long. “We’ve done trips that were 5 weeks in Washington and Oregon, but we were paying $30 – $50/night. It was too expensive,” Glenn says.

Explore More with Thousand Trails

Now, with the Thousand Trails pass Glenn and Eva have been living the RV lifestyle to its fullest – going to different places at their leisure, visiting new parks and going back to their favorites. “We really enjoy traveling and going to new places,” Glenn says, “but our favorite park is Cultus Lake. It’s close to home and a spot where we can get the trailer set up and ready for summer or winter, depending on which direction we’re headed.”

Last winter, with the Thousand Trails membership Glenn and Eva went to California for the first time. Using the pass in the Southwest Zone allowed them to ease themselves into the snow bird lifestyle. “California was great, but a lot wetter than we expected,” Eva said. “When we left there was a foot of snow here in B.C. We went through Washington, Oregon and then California. Our plans took us to Seattle in March,” she says. “We went to Idyllwild [in the San Jacinto Mountains] where we were at a 7,000 ft elevation and there was lots of snow, but overall we enjoyed the park.”

Roughing it during summer in the back country of Canada and the Northwestern states, then RV’ing at different Thousand Trails parks during the winter months allows Glenn and Eva to extend the time they can spend in their RV. “When we’re in the parks we’re usually in the hot tub in the evening after dinner, it’s very relaxing,” Glenn says.

Venture Off the Beaten Path

Hot tubbing is great, but when it comes down to it one of this couple’s favorite activities is geo-caching. “We really enjoy geo-caching, and the pass allows us to visit new areas, geo-caching in towns and cities you don’t normally go to, and we always find new and interesting sites,” Glenn says.

“Going to all the different parks lets you explore, too,” Eva adds. “You go off the beaten trail to get to some of these parks and you can explore and see cities you wouldn’t otherwise see. That’s one of the nice things about Thousand Trails, is it takes you off the beaten path,” she says.

Even though they’re far from home, the “staff are very friendly and make you feel welcome at all the parks,” Glenn says. “That’s really important to us.”

So, if you’re looking for an affordable way to get the most out of your RV, or just want to test out the RV lifestyle, then consider a Thousand Trails membership. Like Glenn and Eva, you’ll be able to maximize your RV adventure while gaining affordable access to hundreds of parks throughout Canada and the United States. Visit ThousandTrails.com for more information.

South Texas Offers A Different Way of Living

Even though they live in Guelph, Ontario, Gary and Rowena Scott haven’t seen snow in 12 years; not since they started wintering at Fun-N-Sun, an RV park on the southern tip of Texas in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley. With temperatures in the low 80 degrees Fahrenheit, Gary doesn’t miss the snow or his Canadian lifestyle much. He and Rowena have easily adapted to life in Texas. And that’s what it’s like to live at Fun-N-Sun – it’s not a vacation, just a different way of living.

“We leave the snow and cold and live in the warmth for half the year,” Gary explains. “People back home think we’re on a permanent vacation, but I’ve just moved my place of living.” From the sounds of it Gary is too busy at Fun-N-Sun to call this lifestyle a vacation, but Texas offers him access to cruises unavailable in Canada without a costly plane ride to a port of call. “We still go on vacations – we take cruises out of nearby Galveston, Texas – in fact we’re cruising to Montego Bay and the Grand Cayman Islands with a group of our friends from the park later this year,” he says.

Test the Waters Before You Take the Plunge into RV Life

Finding Fun-N-Sun was no accident. Gary and Rowena took their time traveling across the United States before they settled down here in South Texas. They tried out a lot of different RV parks across Florida and Arizona, but when their friends Mike and Shirley back home in Guelph heard they were looking to try Texas they recommended Fun-N-Sun. “Mike said ‘travel around and see if you like anything better,’” Gary recalls. “We didn’t. We ended up staying here.”

Gary recommends testing the waters before taking the plunge into RV life. “Some people think when they retire they want to sell their house and get an RV, but then they do it for a year or two and they’ve had enough. They try to get back into the real estate market and find the market has gone up and their fifth wheel has depreciated,” Gary says. “I recommend you test the water before you jump in. Start by going down for just a month, then a season or two and see how you like it.”

Nothing Beats Texas Hospitality

For Gary and Rowena, the thing that set South Texas apart from Arizona and Florida was the lower cost of living and the reliable weather. But it is the people, combined with the active lifestyle that has kept them coming back to Fun-N-Sun for over a decade.

“We’ve met so many people here,” Gary says. “There’s about 200 people in the Canadian Club and we have a potluck on the third Friday of every month. The people here are one of the things that keeps you coming back – you miss them when you’re back home and look forward to seeing them when you come back.”

Staying Active is the Key to Longevity

“People who come down here and are active, I think they live longer.” Gary says. How does he stay busy during his winters in Texas? He’s the chief engineer and Rowena is the conductor for the train at Fun-N-Sun, which takes people around the park throughout the year, with extended rides at Christmas.

The train, which was originally used at Disneyland in 1953 found its home at Fun-N-Sun, and is now run and maintained by a group of volunteers. It’s become a fixture at the park. “Everyone loves it, even people from out of town come by to see it.” Gary says, “We have a sunset tour on Wednesday nights at 6pm and whenever the weather is really nice it’s packed.”

When he’s not hard at work volunteering in the resort, Gary’s hard at work on the course – the golf course that is. He’s a member of a Thursday morning golf league. “If you golf it’s beautiful down here,” he says. “The golf courses are beautiful and affordable. I can golf at one course on Sunday mornings for $7.”

Gary also loves playing bocce ball and pickle ball. He’s a judge for the old cars show, and the dog show, and looks forward to the Coffee Chat on Tuesday mornings where the weekly park info is shared (as well as free coffee and donuts). “You can’t get bored here,” Gary says. “It keeps you active and young, doing something all the time.” From shuffleboard, to miniature car racing, to cards, to rock hounding (there’s a lapidary shop at the park where you can grind and polish rocks and make your own jewellery), to art classes, the list of activities offered at the park is endless, but there’s lots to do outside of the park as well.

Location is Key

Fun-N-Sun is near San Antonio and not far from South Padre Island, which has an amazing beach that attracts tourists from across Texas and beyond. Other popular off-park activities include trips to the Gladys Porter Zoo, and historic battlegrounds for the Civil and Spanish-American wars (including the Alamo). There’s also a local movie theatre nearby that offers first run movies for $1.25 admission! With shopping and restaurants—Texas, Mexican and Italian are favourites for Gary—there’s lots to do and see in and around Fun-N-Sun.

Whether it’s the warmth, the sun, the people, or the endless activities that draws you here, for anyone who wants an affordable, active lifestyle Fun-N-Sun RV Resort in Rio Grande Valley is worth a visit.

Have you stayed at Fun-N-Sun RV Resort before? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below!

Come For The Sun, Stay For The Fun At Fun-N-Sun RV Resort in Texas

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Its name, “Fun-N-Sun”, says it all. This resort in San Benito, Texas, shouts out loudly, “The sun is here. We provide the fun. Just arrive and enjoy.”

A good RV resort shouldn’t be just a place to park in the sun. It should have top notch facilities for the guest’s relaxation, amusement, and exercise. You’ll find all of this at Fun-N-Sun RV Resort. There is a large recreation hall where musicians put on concerts, as well as a large dance hall, one of the largest halls in Texas, where folks can spend the evening dancing and visiting. They also have a barber and beauty shop in case you want to fix up for the dance.

What hobbies or fun things are you interested in? If you want to hone up your computer skills, you can join the computer club. There is also a R/C car racing club, motorcycle club, Ham radio club, Genealogy club, writers club, and card games of all kinds. Don’t forget the R/C flying in the field across the road.

jpage-encorerv-rgv-funnsuninterior-15If you are looking for more activity, the four new, indoor, pickleball courts are sure to keep you busy at all times of the day. You can also check out the 10 billiard tables, take dance lessons, partake in indoor shuffleboard or table tennis. It’s a good place for kite flying, softball field, badminton, bocce ball, and checking your distance on the driving range. Their huge fitness centre is really loaded with top notch exercise equipment. The park is big enough that you can get a lot of bicycling done just riding on their inner roads.

Other activities that draw a large following are the art classes, music room, dance lessons, tennis lessons, sewing, well ventilated woodshop, stained glass, lapidary, and silversmith groups. Of course, after all of this, you won’t pass up the huge pool, or the hot tub. WiFi is also accessible at a few hot spots, or you can purchase full access.wood

Christmas is a special time with a catered meal at the park. This is a great time to see the lengths that people in the community go to in order to have their place look radiant with Christmas lights. The RV resort also has a small train, often used to give people rides through the park to see the bright sunsets, but at Christmas it winds around the park to give guests views of the coloured decorations and is a popular delight during the season.

These are just some of the activities you would expect a park of 1400 sites to have. If you don’t have an RV, you can stay in a Park Model, or rent a fully furnished cottage.

The Fun-N-Sun RV Resort is ideally located in the southeast corner of Texas, close jpage-encorerv-rgv-funnsuninterior-54enough to South Padre Island that you can easily drive over to enjoy the 34 miles of white sandy beaches, wade in the soft, warm waters of the ocean, and if you stay late enough in the day, view magnificent sunsets.

If you are interested in fishing you definitely should try out the Pirate’s Landing Fishing Pier in Port Isabel, just before the bridge that takes you to Padre Island. They have tackle and bait, snacks, rest rooms, and good parking. This is the longest  fishing pier in Texas and even if you don’t want to fish it’s worth visiting for a walk. The pier is also a great place on Friday nights to observe the fireworks as you walk. Some of the best fish and chips you will ever eat are available in Port Isabel, and there are often ‘all you can eat’ fish specials.

This part of the valley is very flat and for centuries the Rio Grande has meandered all over the valley floor leaving behind old channels and oxbow lakes, now cut off from the river. Downtown San Benito has a twisting 400 foot wide oxbow lake, The Resaca. For your enjoyment there is a waterfront path used by bicycles, walkers and hikers. Along the way there are picnic tables and a place to grill a few sausages, or wieners as you watch the raceducks dive for food.

Nature walks and bird watching are still the valley’s most popular activities. The area is in the bird migration flyways. The birds tend to avoid the desert to the west, and the ocean to the east, to pass in the thousands right through the Lower Rio Grande Valley. With a 365 day growing season, the wide plant diversity supports the needs of the 500 plus varieties of birds, and don’t forget the 300 types of butterflies. The Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge now protects the area.

Carol, a snow bird from Canada, tells it this way. “Fun-N-Sun is a Winter Texan’s paradise. Each and every day I can choose from a hive of activities in which to participate. Evenings are spent on the dance floor or, on the patio with a glass of wine and good friends. My day is filled with as much or as little as I want to do. On the days I choose to kick back, I relax in the sunshine and warmth, gazing at the palm trees swaying gently in the breeze. But most of all, I enjoy the people here at Fun-N-Sun. We are a community of active and fun loving adults whose friendships continue when we head back north.”

Now is the time to make arrangements at a really active RV resort.

Winter Differently in Texas at Fun-N-Sun RV Resort

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The Skinners live close to the US border and like to escape to the warmth six months of the year. When a friend of theirs told them he had a park model for sale in South Texas, they flew down to see it. “We spent a week at Fun-N-Sun and talked to the people there,” said Carol Skinner. “We looked at some other parks and decided Fun-N-Sun was the kind of place we’d like to live.”

  Living in a Park Model

Living in a park model home is something more Winter Texans are doing. There’s no driving a big truck and hauling their winter home back and forth. They just pack their bags and go.

“I absolutely love it,” said Carol. “The park model has everything my husband and I need. It’s a single, so it is small and easy to take care of. That’s good because I’m way too busy when I’m down here! It gives us plenty of free time to do what we want. Fun-N-Sun cuts the grass and there’s no outside maintenance unless you want to have a little flower garden.

Activities Galore!

Carol likes the community because, as she mostly eloquently put it, “It’s not old.” Like many of her generation, keeping active and having fun is a must.

“I like that you’re not just sitting around and playing cards all the time. There are so many activities that the park offers. Most importantly, the activities here are always current. I think that’s the biggest draw.”imgp5234-1

There are many diverse activities at Fun-N-Sun Rv Resort. They range from sports to dancing to water focused activities and crafts. “I love dancing,” said Carol. I do a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll, a little bit of the 60s, the 70s. They have live bands and that is absolutely fantastic!”

Carol’s other hobby is stained glass and she loves that she can continue doing it at Fun-N-Sun.

“There’s a whole group of us here that do it together. It creates friendships… a real bonding experience. We even have a Facebook group we put together so we can stay in touch while we’re not in the park.”

A Day at Fun-N-Sun

“We love getting up slowly,” said Carol. “We take our time as we get ready for our active day. One day I might be volunteering at the park’s activity office. Another day I could be doing one of my hobbies. If the weather is nice I may go to the pool and relax. At night, you’ll usually find me with my friends dancing the night away or at someone’s place enjoying a bottle of wine.”

Wintering Differently

For the Skinners, wintering differently mean getting out of the cold and getting full of warmth. “We have a few aches and pains and we don’t want to say in the weather that can contribute to those aches and pains,” said Carol “We are away from our children and grandchildren but there is Facetime and Skype so it’s easy to keep in touch.”

Internet service is provided at several areas in the park. “I like that because you can take your smart phone with you and talk to your family as you walk. You don’t have to worry about a dropped connection.

People Make the Place

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It’s the people that can make or break a place and that is true for Fun-N-Sun. “The manager, Tony S, is exceptional. In fact, all the staff are,” said Carol. “They appreciate you and you know that no question or comment is dumb. The staff here are physically out there and participating in a lot of the activities with us. They see where things can be improved or expanded upon. Both Tony S and regional manager Tony O are always looking at ways to provide options for the activities.”

For those who love to stay active, Fun-N-Sun RV Resort lives up to its name and scores high with its residents.

Pasco RV Resort in Florida is “one big loving family”

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For the past two years, my Dad and I have been wintering at the Encore Winter Quarters Pasco RV Resort in Lutz (just north of Tampa), Florida. I had been looking for a warm climate for my Dad where he could spend the cold Canadian winter months. One evening at a dinner with some friends, the discussion of wintering in Florida soon led to a trailer rental from a mutual friend who was familiar with Encore’s  Pasco Winter Quarters location. So there we were, transformed from frigid northern temperatures to the sunny south and part of the Snowbird migration to Florida.

When Dad flew down the first year by himself, my brother, sister and I had many apprehensions. We were concerned about how he would cope – he was eighty five. Dad is very mobile and can look after himself, but you always wonder how things will turn out. During his first telephone call he informed us that he was having fun and had met some wonderful neighbours who were taking care of him. This sounded too good to be true and we figured he was just trying to alleviate our concerns. Each phone call he insisted that all was well and he was enjoying the RV park way of life.

6y866b_still_vw_vr-1This was my first year of retirement and I had just returned from three months in S.E. Asia, so I flew to Florida to join my father two months into his stay. Well, from my first moments at the park, I could see that Dad had been sincere in his earlier phone conversations. The lifestyle was more that you could ask for. The location was central to all the amenities (airport, shopping etc.), the park size gave a very family oriented feeling and there were more than enough activities to fill your day. Of course you may expect that, but what was so overwhelming were the people, both residents and staff. I could not believe the love and warmth of the neighbours. They could not do enough to make Dad feel at home and he was never short for anything. I was quickly accepted in the same manner, a home away from home with a loving family thrown in. There were also many Snowbirds present if you felt you required some northern conversations.

I have to say the weather is a treat as are the local bird (cranes) wildlife, more like pets than wild. They sort of epitomize the lifestyle. One has to remember that a trailer park stay is not a vacation, but day to day living in Florida instead of at home in Canada. With all the activities your days / weeks just fly by, I will take this lifestyle any day.

One of our neighbours has a pontoon boat, so we have boated around and through Tampa and on other occasions gone fishing. It is such a relaxing way to spend a day. Golf is available at so many locations and the prices are very reasonable, especially since they always include a cart.

Going out to eat has turned into an adventure. We (Dad and his gang) all cram into a couple of SUV’s or vans and head to one of the local dining establishments. It could be Asian (so many to choose from), Greek, Italian, Mexican or some local cuisine and of course there are always burgers or pizza. Now and again they venture to all you can eat buffets, thank goodness there is always plenty of fruit and salad bars.

I must add that my brother, sister and a friend have come down to stay for a week on separate occasions and all have been treated with the same warmth as Dad. This really is one big loving family who sincerely care for one another.

Written by Alan Brown, Seasonal Guest at Winter Quarters Pasco RV Resort in Lutz, FL

 

Stay & Play Differently at Victoria Palms RV Resort in Donna, TX

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When the northern winds are hurling snowdrifts across the roads, it’s nice to be soaking in an outdoor spa at one of the south’s most luxurious RV resorts, Victoria Palms.

The Rio Grande Valley in South Texas has long been known for its moderate winter temperatures, abundant palms, and warm gulf breezes. The developers of the Victoria Palms RV Resort took advantage of these natural advantages and built one of South Texas’ premier RV resorts in Donna, TX.

Not only does it have ideal facilities for a long winter’s stay, but it is close to a large number  of amenities such as shopping, medical facilities and it’s within a hour’s drive to the ocean beaches. You can buy your fresh produce such as onions, lettuce, melons of many types, and strawberries on one of your drives into the country, where the mild climate permits several crops per year. There is also a weekly farmers market inside the resort offering all of the fresh produce you can eat.

vp_streetviewFirst appearances are usually lasting ones, and nowhere is this more true than when you, for the first time, drive into the resort. The entrance is separated into two roads with twin rows of tall, graceful palm trees, lining each one. Between these is a grassy lawn with a winding walkway. Neatly manicured RV sites line the road on one side, and wide lanes take you to your site with ease. Citrus trees grow throughout the park, providing exquisite aromas when in flower, and excellent fruit when ripe. It’s really nice to go over to a tree and come back with your hands full of grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines or even bananas. This resort definitely exudes the feeling of comfort and relaxation.

This is a gated community for the ages 55 and up and provides a wide variety of accommodations. They have over 1200 concrete pull-through, and back-in RV sites with full hook-ups and WiFi. Some visitors will opt for one of the 100 suites with kitchen and separate bedrooms, or perhaps one of the 20 hotel rooms. They can even book into one of the 14 cottages.

vp_poolOnce you are established in your winter home site, it’s time to amble over to the huge heated pool or sit back and relax in one of the three outdoor spas. If you are too relaxed maybe it’s time to move onto one of the tennis or pickleball courts, lighted for your pleasure if you would rather play at night. You might be also wish to visit the shuffleboard courts. Over at the billiard hall someone is likely waiting for a challenger.

Several winter visitors wish to continue with a hobby or sport they left back in the cold and chances are they can do so here. The wood shop is always popular, as is the wood carving area. The craft centre offers such diverse activities as painting, ceramics, stained glass making, and quilting. Imagine taking home a beautiful old fashioned multi-patterned quilt for your bed, or for a gift to one of your children. There are also organized bike rides on the trails. Bikes are loaded on a trailer and everyone heads for a trailhead where they can join bike trail networks.

jpage-encorerv-rgv-victoriapalmsinterior-61-1Musical entertainment is presented by a variety of bands and there is a large grand piano lounge and an oversized dance room.  Square, round, and ballroom dances are offered. To top it all off, there will be dinner theatre, potlucks for those who love to sample a variety of great dishes, and everyone seems ready for the ice cream socials. Looking for a more formal setting? The on site restaurant is sure to please even the most concerning palate.

The Rio Grande Valley abounds in opportunities to explore. South of the resort is the meandering Rio Grande which over the years has left behind many oxbow lakes (locally called Resacas) and marshes. The oxbow lakes form when a loop of the river is cut off and left behind. These quiet areas attract countless species of birds especially during fall and spring migrations. The Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is positioned along two such routes. There are 12 miles of walking trails, a canopy walk on a rope bridge, and a tower climb which provides excellent views of the surrounding area. This is a great place to photograph amazingly beautiful coloured birds, and butterflies are a hit with many visitors.

The visitor may opt for a longer drive east to South Padre Island. As you vp_shufflepass through Port Isabel you may want to take advantage of the restaurants offering fresh seafood. Fishermen can use the long fishing pier at Port Isabel where they can even rent some fishing gear locally.

It’s the dunes and beaches that attract tourists to the island. The pristine white sand beaches are great for enjoying a day at the sea coast. It is the sand blowing inland that creates the huge dunes that help protect the mainland from storms. When plants grow in this sand it stabilizes the dune, but careless climbing up the dunes can destroy the protective plants, and damage the dune.

Long time snowbird resident Janet Bussier says it’s a terrific park.

“There are so many activities that there is no reason for anyone being bored,” Janet told me.

She loves the beauty of the park’s entrance, and the fabulous flowers and palm trees in the park. Janet credits the beauty of the park, its cleanliness, and it’s friendly feeling to the manager, Terry Goss, who listens to your problems and takes action on remediating them.

Victoria Palms RV Resort is a perfect snowbird resort. The destination provides rest, entertainment, and abundant areas for you to discover at your own speed.

 

“I can’t imagine being any place else. It’s just wonderful here!”

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Back in the early 2000s, Elizabeth Funke and her husband decided they’d like to try something a little different when it came to a winter getaway.

“We tried a few places and one day we drove through a park in Mercedes, TX.” said Elizabeth. “We were driving slowly around and people waved to us. We stopped to get a brochure and the people that had waved to us came up to us before we could even get in the building. They were welcoming us to park and wanted to know when we planned on coming to stay.”

Elizabeth was pleasantly surprised to find out the hospitable folk weren’t employees of the park, they were residents! “We were overwhelmed at being accepted so quickly,” she said. “They were very warm and welcoming. We decided to stay for a few weeks and see if that was really the way it was at Paradise South RV Resort.”

A week or two has since turned into over 13 years. The couple moved from a fifth wheel, to a park model home to a mobile home. Elizabeth’s husband passed away; however, she decided to stay because Paradise South was where her friends lived.jpage-encorerv-rgv-paradisesouthinterior-23

“I can hardly wait to get back every fall,” she said. “It’s a super area and the folks in the valley… well they are hard to describe. South Texas is different. The people are so thrilled that we are there. I can’t imagine being any place else. It’s just wonderful here.”

It’s not just the Paradise South residents, or the town folk that make the RV resort number one in Elizabeth’s eyes. The personnel play a big part in her staying in her winter home.

“I just love the outstanding staff at Paradise South. It’s typical of a lot of RV resorts to have transient workers that come and go. Many of the folks that work here have been here a long time and that’s important to seniors,” she said. “First of all, senior citizens are like children, but with life experiences. We know way too much and we still get into trouble. It takes special kinds of people to be able to deal with seniors.”

paradisesouth_swimmingpoolElizabeth speaks fondly of some of the office staff. “There are two ladies that we have in the office and they know what makes us tick. They are visible and accessible. They don’t just sit in the office. That’s one of the best things. They belong with us and that’s important. We never get the feeling that we are too much to deal with. They are friendly and not condescending at all.”

The residents of Paradise South don’t just stick to the resort. They are a very active bunch and are always up to something.

“We go to South Padre Island and we go to Rio Grande City,” explainedpicture-014 Elizabeth. “We go wherever there’s a good place to eat. There’s a lot of great activities in the valley too. The Rio Grande Valley has rodeos and horse shows and fiestas. There’s a live music and exhibits, bazaar days and so much more. We try to get out of the park enjoy the area just like the local folks.”

For those who wish to stay closer to home, Elizabeth has some words for you. “It’s your fault if you’re bored here! We have a board up in our hall that has 40 – 50 activities a week planned by our activity department.”

Paradise South RV Resort… it sounds a bit like one of those places where you come for a short time and stay for the long haul.

For a limited time, Paradise South is offering a 3 month seasonal stay for $1,314 USD. Book by 9/30/16 and valid until 5/1/17. Call 1-904-257-8434 to book today and mention promo code EBPS16

“Clerbrook Golf and RV Resort is a great place to stay”

My wife and I are snowbirds from Canada and we love being Thousand Trails RV Campgrounds members. We take full advantage of the fact they have a reciprocal arrangement with Encore RV Resorts. It was through them we gained access to Clerbrook Golf and RV Resort, with over 1,250 sites on 287 acres in the heart of Lake County near Orlando. The seasonal rates here are quite affordable and Thousand Trails members can use Clerbrook as an alternate to Orlando under their membership.

Friendly People

The best part about staying at Clerbrook is the staff and the fellow campers The staff here is always cheerful. The manager and maintenance staff usually wave when they see guests and they are all very helpful. The people who camp here are friendly and welcoming. We arrived as short stay campers and were accepted by everyone. During our stay we got to take part in several activities and meet other people.

Golf and So Much More

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Clerbrook is a classic Encore RV park that makes snowbirds feel right at home. Clerbrook is situated around all 18 holes of the Clerbrook Golf Club. This is a great course with rolling fairways and greens, set against the backdrop of a nature preserves and lakes. Golfers love it here; but if you aren’t a golfer, there’s still lots to see and do.

We loved the wide range of programs and social events they have. They had everything we needed including heated swimming pools, hot tubs, rec hall, BBQ and picnic areas, a billiard room and card rooms. On top of that there’s a fishing area, a fitness center, horse shoe pits and nature walks. We loved the card games including Texas Hold ‘em Poker and Bridge. There’s arts and crafts too, if you feel so inclined. They sometimes bring in name entertainment acts and they hold several events here. Oh, and it’s also pet friendly.

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The great thing about Clerbrook RV is that it has so much going on around it as well. For golfers, there are several other course nearby. Clermont is about a half hour drive from Disney World and Universal Studios. It’s also near Sea World and Hollywood Studios. There’s lots to see and do with great shopping, restaurants and cinemas nearby. Wine lovers can head down the highway to Lakeridge Winery for free tastings and a tour. They have a summer music series that is free as well. The hot weather here makes it perfect for growing Muscadine grape varieties. You’ll have to taste for yourself and find out which ones you like. We thought the Proprietor’s Reserve was a world class dessert wine.

Day Trips

Orlando and Tampa are close enough for a day trip from Clerbrook RV. Baseball fans will love that there are several spring training venues nearby. Drive 75 minutes east to the Atlantic Ocean, Port Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. Or head west for 90 minutes to the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge and Pine Island on the Gulf coast. There are literally dozens and dozens of lakes in the area, so there’s plenty of places to go fishing and then head back at night to tell your fish stories.

Wi-Fi and TV

When it comes to Wi-Fi, they have a reasonably fast hotspot here and it is worth the small cost. I do recommend an exterior antenna to maximize your connection. You can get several stations with decent reception over the air TV from Orlando

We’ll Be Back!

From our experience, Clerbrook Golf and RV Resort is a great place to stay. If you don’t have an RV, you can rent one of their furnished onsite rentals. We look forward to our next visit here.

Explore Tucson from the comfort of the Voyager RV Resort

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Snowbirds who have dreamed of spending time in the Tucson, Arizona, area will appreciate a chance to visit the Voyager RV Resort, part of the friendly network of Encore RV Resorts. When you first drive into the park you will be struck by the towering palms, and the profusion of cacti gardens that edge the buildings and RV sites. In the distance is the calming view of the jagged mountains rearing their peaks above the city.

The Southwestern states have unique scenery. No matter where you drive there are purple mountains on the horizons begging you to explore more closely. In the evening and
_15A7164 (1)early morning, the sun paints them with stunning ever-changing colours. However, when a desert sunset flames the clouds with brilliant reds, yellows, and finally fades to lighter pastels, you know this is the place for you.

Tucson’s attractions include drives through Saguaro National Park. Forests of saguaro cacti will amaze you as they stand as sentinels over the desert. They are home to numerous singing birds, cactus wrens, Gila woodpeckers and owls. Nearby is the site of Old Tucson Studio where many top notch western movies were filmed. To visit here is to re-live history. To the west you can visit the Kitt Peak Visitor Centre and learn about the huge array of optical and radio telescopes on the mountain. The twisting drive up to the top is a wonderful drive full of long vistas across the Arizona deserts. The Desert Museum provides two miles of paths and a wide variety of plants and animals. A favourite with many people is the short drive to Picacho Peak State Park.

The Voyager RV Resort isn’t just about the scenery. It’s all about having a great time, whether you just want to sit and relax, or join into some of the many activities offered.  The lately upgraded pool and spa will provide the relaxation. Soak a few of the aches away in the spa before heading over to do a few laps in the pool, or just laze away in the pool before settling into one of the deck chairs.

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The five volleyball courts can provide some room for fast and furious exercise and you can top it all off with a visit to the fitness centre. There’s no lack of things to do. There are twelve pickleball courts, four new bocce ball courts, and the long paved roads are perfect for bicycle riding. The nine hole par three course, backdropped by the purple mountains can provide some walking exercise.

Craft workers will look forward to spending time in the well outfitted wood shop, or perhaps the silver shop. Are you good at acrylic painting, creating fired ceramic objects, or making decorative jewellery from stones, minerals, or gems? Opportunities abound to show your creativity in this RV resort. The library is available for quiet reads before, perhaps heading to one of the card rooms to show off your skills.


_15A6930 (1)The Voyager Bar & Grill is available for filling that hungry spot whether you had a hard day of exercise, or you’ve just wakened and want a special breakfast. If you are thinking of a big party, the 5700 sq. ft. Ballroom can host your meetings or your weddings. Then there is the smaller Catalina Room, stage, dance floor,
and 125 seats, or the Arizona Room, just right for smaller parties, or meetings.

There is a Health Centre clinic to provide high quality health care so important for seniors, such as foot care, injections, and several other important services. A Physical Therapy clinic is also there for rehabilitation services and balance and fall prevention programmes. The Therapeutic Massage centre also uses acupuncture and other wellness programmes.

The park has a mixture of homes, park models and RV sites. The 600 full hookup RV sites will fit any RV and still give you room to sit outside under your awning in comfort.

In the words of Pam Stone, a resident since 2005, “I enjoy the beauty of a well maintained and attractively landscaped park. We share a “small town” community environment close to the conveniences of the City of Tucson.  There is a closeness among all of our residents…positive attitudes, friendliness and sincere caring for everyone. Golf-new

You can be busy from morning to night doing things like learning Spanish or memoir writing to creating works of art in our silver shop or stained glass shop. We have over 300 activities ranging from sporting events like pickleball, tennis and shuffleboard to card
games, quilting and exercise groups.  There is also a wide range of entertainment including potlucks dinners, a variety of dances, dinner shows and outside musical entertainers.”

Now is a good time to make arrangements with the park. Until August 31, they are offering US$75 off a stay of 3 months or more. Just mention promo code EVOY16. Valid until March 31, 2017. Call 877-570-2267 to book now. Also, for Thousand Trails members they are offering a US$499 month plus tax and utilities, which is 10% off the retail rate through August 31, 2016. Don’t know about the Thousand Trails Camping Pass? Visit www.thousandtrails.com to learn more.