Tropical Weather at Tropic Winds RV Resort in South Texas

You don’t have to fly to an island to enjoy tropical weather. Texas has a gem of a place for delicious tropical breezes in Harlingen, Texas. Friendly staff and dozens and dozens of Winter Texans will make your stay here one to remember. Tropic Winds RV Resort is just 48 km (30 mi) from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Located in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley, the resort offers a wide variety of fun filled activities.

Home Away from Home

Melissa Cortez, the Tropic Winds RV Resort manager makes sure there are plenty of things to do for her guests. “Here at Tropic Winds we have a variety of activities for our Winter Texans. The activities they like the most are pickleball, our remote-control race track, arts and crafts, and the entertainment we provide.” Other activities include shuffleboard, horseshoes, bocce ball and the ever-popular line, square and ballroom dancing.

Most Winter Texans think of Tropic Winds as their home away from home. It’s the perfect place to sit back, relax, pour yourself a cold drink, read a book or have a friendly chat with your neighbor. Then when the mood strikes, there are plenty of adventures just outside the RV resort to fill you with wonder and get your heart pumping.

Water Fun, Golf and Birding

When you’re ready to explore the area, the warm, sandy beaches of South Padre Island await. Nestled between Laguna Madre and the Gulf of Mexico, the warm embrace of the water entices you to come and swim or sail.

The area surrounding the resort also offers world class golf at various local public golf courses. There are over a dozen golf courses near Harlingen. Just a golf swing away you’ll find two 18-hole championship courses at Rancho Viejo Resort and a scenic 18-hole course at the South Padre Island Golf Club.

If exploring nature and wildlife captivates your interests more, Harlingen is home to the World Birding Center and two of the most unique wildlife refuges in the country. The city is also home to Bass Pro Shops, a new and exciting attraction.

Hunting and Fishing

This area is akin to a hunter’s paradise. Texas is home to a variety of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, nilgai (antelope), javelin (similar to a wild boar), wild pig, dove, quail, ducks, wild turkey and more. The landscape and year-round greenery gives the area a unique advantage, as it encourages the growth and development of some of the largest animals found in the state.

Excellent fishing opportunities abound, whether you want to try and catch a big one off the pier or do some deep-sea exploration. Harlingen offers excellent fishing opportunities because of its location at the southernmost tip of Texas. Anglers can enjoy some of the best sport fish available year-round. Some fish species you may find include redfish, speckled trout, flounder, tarpon and many more. Offshore anglers can target marlin, sailfish, Dorado, snapper, grouper, amberjack, and others.

Museums, Theatre, and Shopping

There are several local museums that provide an excellent opportunity to explore the history of Harlingen. Be sure to plan a visit to the Iwo Jima Monument, Harlingen Arts and Heritage Museum, and historic Jackson Street.

There’s great live entertainment here too. You can take in a variety of events such as community theatre, sporting events, and world famous musical acts. If retail therapy is on your mind, the Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets are a short drive away and feature over 140 name brand stores.

Family Fun

For family friendly fun, schedule some time to discover the 1,600 exotic and native animals at Gladys Porter Zoo. This dynamic zoo is organized into four distinct zones: Africa, Asia, Tropical America, and Indo-Australia. Within these zones, you will see such creatures as Galapagos Tortoises, Caribbean flamingos, tree kangaroos, kookaburras, and Bactrian camels.

And Relax

Once you get back to Tropic Winds, make sure you check the activity board. There could be a card tournament, live entertainment or a dance to close out the day. Tomorrow is another day; perfect for wherever you want to explore or just relaxing.

Winter Texans Stay in South Texas, Play in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico

There’s a great little town just 45 minutes from Fun and Sun RV Resort in San Benito, Texas that has everyone spreading the news.

Nuevo Progreso is a town located across the Mexican border that offers up spectacular shopping and fun things to do. They call themselves the friendliest folks on the border, and if you ask any Winter Texan, they’ll probably agree.

“The people in Nuevo Progresso really look after the visitors,” said long time Fun and Sun resident, Canadian, Gary Scott. “We get a lot of people from Ontario, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan and BC come down to Fun and Sun. They are great people, and we all head over to Nuevo Progreso.”

Walk Across the Border

Gary is a true-blue Winter Texan. He loves the town, the people and all there is to do there.

“It’s right across the border from Progresso, Texas, and it’s so easy to get to,” he said. “My wife and I usually just walk right across the border. There’s a bridge across the Rio Grande River from the US to Mexico. The river isn’t very wide at that point so most people park their cars in the States and walk over.”

Gary and his wife love the fact that it’s only a half hour drive from Fun and Sun in San Benito, and that they feel safe and very welcome in Nuevo Progreso.

Dentists and Shopping

Many Winter Texans, snowbirds and Americans head over to Nuevo Progreso for dental services. Some of the country’s highest rated dental experts practice here, over 40 offices in all. “A lot of people go over there to get the medication and to go to the dentists,” explained Gary. “It’s cheaper than in the USA. You can go across and get your teeth cleaned for $20! A lot of Canadians and Americans that don’t have dental plans just cross the border and get their work done.”

“We like to go over there for a fun day. We do some shopping and have something to eat,” he said. “We might go over a few times a week. It’s one of the safer places in Mexico and it is typically a town that caters to tourists.”

“The department stores here are great,” said Gary. “They have one called the El Disco Super Center. It’s the largest department store in town and has everything from rustic furniture to music, piñatas and cowboy hats. At El Disco, they even have a bar. It’s called Panchos. It’s quite the place for Winter Texans. We come here to eat, drink and dance. The bartenders are friendly and they all know your name after a while.”

They have other stores in town as well that carry everything a Winter Texan would need for the season, even hair salons and barbers. “I can get my hair cut for $4 here!” he said with a smile.

Festivals, Food and Fun

Twice a year they hold festivals that celebrate the tourists who help keep the town’s economy alive. “They have this one in January called Welcome Back Winter Texan Day. All the vendors have all their goods out on the street,” said Gary. “There’s free tequila and free beer too! It’s a really good hoot. Then in March, they have Winter Texan appreciation day. There are mariachi bands playing and they give away little goodies. There are thousands of people that go over there for that.”

Nuevo Progreso is also known for its food. Ttry some authentic Mexican food prepared by the people who know it best. There’s also seafood restaurants, Italian and great steaks. Most restaurants are family friendly, and have live music. For more music, just step outside and listen to the street entertainers.

Gary and his wife will be back next year so they can enjoy the diversity, safety and rich culture of Progreso Nuevo.

Canada 150: See How We Celebrated!

2017 marked the 150th anniversary of Canada! Encore RV Resorts celebrated Canada 150 by throwing several appreciation days across the Sunbelt to celebrate this major milestone!

All of our Canadian guests and US friends were invited to join us for a fun-filled day of activities, including bocce ball, petanque, shuffleboard tournaments, dancing, jam sessions and so much more.

Check out the recap video and let us know what you think!

Meet Melissa from Tropic Winds RV Resort in Harlingen, Texas

Profile

  • Name: Melissa Cortez
  • In position since: September 2008
  • Title: Resort Manager.
  • Work Location:  Tropic Winds RV Resort
  • Previous parks you’ve worked at (if applicable) Southern Comfort & Country Sunshine RV Resort
  • Favorite hobbies or sport(s): Spending time with family and friends

1. What brought you to Tropic Winds RV Resort?

Before going into the RV industry, for 16 years I worked for a power line construction company as a Regional Business Administration Manager. The regional office closed and gave me the opportunity to change industries. Before becoming the resort manager at Tropic Winds in 2013, I was the resort manager for several years at two other Encore resorts in South Texas – Southern Comfort and Country Sunshine.

2. What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a Park Manager?

There are so many rewarding aspects. First of all, I have a job that allows me the opportunity to be part of a community family. I have the ability to create memories and play a critical role in our customer’s experience. Secondly, I have a phenomenal team. There are not enough words to describe how rewarding it is to have such an awesome group of people to work with.

3. What’s the most challenging aspect of being a Park Manager? How do you overcome these challenges?

The most challenging aspect would have to be time. As a manager, you are pulled in every direction from every aspect of the operation, which makes it difficult to be everywhere for everyone. I’ve learned that you have to do your best to ensure you are producing productive quality time, regardless of how you are spending your time. Prioritizing tasks, time management, and doing your best to stay on task is key to overcome this challenge.

4. How do you help make guests vacations at Tropic Winds RV Resort special?

Whether it’s guest’s first time or they return year after year, we will make sure they feel like family. Plus, it is important for me that every guest understands that they have a direct communication line to me. They can choose any communication method of their choice. It is our mission to ensure all of our guests get the best experience and we are ready to go above and beyond the call to leave our mark.

5. Can you share something you’ve learned from your guests?

Tropic Winds RV Resort is an aged qualified community and I’ve learned from our residents that age is just a number. You are as young as you want to be. Our residents love life, are extremely active and are full of energy. They don’t let age stop them.

6. What’s special about Tropic Winds?

Tropic Winds RV Resort is special because it is one of the newest resorts in South Texas; built in 1997. Therefore this property has some of the largest RV sites and paved streets that you will find in South Texas. Plus, the moment you arrive you are greeted like family into our beautiful resort.

7. Can you use 3 words to describe your RV park to someone who is considering visiting
Friendly, Clean, Fun

 

8. What area attractions or entertainment do you recommend guests experience while at Tropic Winds RV Resort?

In South Texas there are attractions for many interests. We have the ocean shores of South Padre Island within 45 minutes. Due to the large range of birds that migrate to South Texas, one of the largest birding festivals in the country is held here in Harlingen. There is plenty of history so you may want to visit the Iwo Jima memorial, the amazing museums or a wildlife refuge. South Texas has everything you can possibly imagine within a short distance.

9. What accomplishment at Tropic Winds RV Resort are you most proud of? Why?

I’m most proud of the property being awarded Trip Advisor’s 2016 Certificate of Excellence Award. This award is based on the customer experience and confirms that our team is focused on the mission, vision and values to provide the best customer experience.

10. What does a typical day at Tropic Winds RV Resort look like?

A typical day at Tropic Winds starts off with the best sunrises you’ve ever seen. While you stroll through the resort enjoying the morning breeze, you’ll see that everyone is acknowledged with a friendly smile or wave hello. You will see guests gathered outside their rig/home enjoying their morning coffee. You will hear the paddle hitting the ball during the morning sessions of pickleball or you may hear the excitement coming from the RC track. The buildings are filled with guests enjoying each others company while they participate in daily activities. If you start getting hungry, swing by Windy Café and I’m sure you’ll see something you like or get a sample. After your afternoon nap, come join the fun in the pool and then you are off to the nearest happy hour. The evenings wrap up with gorgeous sunsets and heading to our main hall for dinners or planned entertainment.

11. Can you recall a time when the guests at your property surprised you?

The guests here at Tropic Winds continue to surprise me with their continued acts of kindness.  The guests are very supportive of each other and will do what any family member would do for one another.

12. Can you tell us about some of the friendships that have developed between guests at Tropic Winds RV Resort?

The friendships that develop between guests are very special.  Since they all live a similar lifestyle, they have a lot in common.  They are able to share different experiences they’ve had as retirees and in the RV Lifestyle.  Plus, they are now part of the same community family where they will eat, play and have fun together.

13. RV communities look out for each other. Can you share an example of how Tropic Winds RV Resort exemplifies the idea of community?

In South Texas we are very fortunate that there are 10 resorts in close proximity and it is easy for us to exemplify community.  For example, if a guest is requesting a specific amenity/activity that I may not offer, we will refer them to our sister resort that will be able to accommodate our guest.  Another example would be with our park model rental program.  If our rentals are booked we do the same and forward the perspective lead to a sister resort.

14. Why do you think your veteran guests keep coming back to Tropic Winds RV Resort?  I believe they keep coming back because it is very affordable to stay in South Texas.  Our winter weather is top notch.  Plus, they enjoy the feeling of belonging to a community that embraces their return.

15. Do you have any last words or thoughts for your guests?

As you travel throughout the different RV Resorts across our beautiful country, you know firsthand of what sets each one apart.  I’d love to personally invite you to come and experience what Tropic Winds RV Resort and South Texas has to offer.  We’d love to have you as part of our growing community family.

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!

Top 16 Achievements in 2016 – Texas RV Resorts

In order to ensure an amazing customer experience for the region’s Winter Texans, Team Texas worked diligently to improve all aspects of its RV resorts in 2016.

To express our appreciation of such hard work, we’ve compiled a list of the top 16 Texas achievements that made us proud. These successes ranged from property upgrades to the annual Encore Inter Resort Games, while even witnessing the rise in popularity of RC cars! 

1/ Victoria Palms RV Resort (City: Donna, TX). Received the prestigious “Official Best of Texas” award as the Best Age-Qualified RV Resort in the state. The RV property recently replaced its 11,000 sq. ft. ballroom floor with new maple wood flooring, and will be ready to host activities and concerts throughout the winter season.

VicPalms

2/ Sunshine RV Resort (City: Harlingen, TX). Added three new indoor pickleball courts to its portfolio of amenities, as well as a two petanque courts.

Sunshine Pickleball

3/ Lake Conroe RV & Camping Resort (City: Willis, TX).  Added 33 new homes – a mix of 2-3 bedrooms. Also, this beautiful property underwent several property improvements, including upgrading its swimming pool.

Lake COnroe 2

4/ Encore Inter Resort Games. All ten Encore RV resorts in South Texas created and participated in an Olympic style competition amongst one another. 500+ residents competed in 15 games including pickleball, shuffleboard, darts, swimming, billiards, bridge, and bocce ball just to name a few. This annual competition has been going on for about eight years, with Fun-N-Sun RV Resort taking home the trophy last season.

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5/ RC Cars are Getting Very Popular. Added four more remote controlled car tracks in the region, growing from one track to five now. Tropic Winds, Fun-N-Sun, Victoria Palms, Country Sunshine, and Alamo Palms all have tracks for RC car enthusiasts to enjoy and compete.

rc2

6/ Rallies, Festival and Trade Shows in the US & Canada. During 2016, our team attended over 50 events all over Canada and the US in order to promote South Texas and other Sunbelt destinations. If you attended a major RV show, you might have met our very friendly and resourceful colleagues.

Shows

7/ More Canadian guests flocked to South Texas. Throughout 2016, we are extremely pleased to notice a growing number of Canadians who choose to spend their vacation in South Texas. 21% more Canadians stayed with us than the prior year, and we love it!

Canadians More flocking

8/ Medina Lake RV Campground (City: Lakehills, TX). Built 2 boat docks for guests to enjoy a variety of water activities such as fishing, boating and kayaking.

9/ Conferences & Seminars in Canada. During 2016, our very own Team Canada promoted our South Texas properties at 22 conferences and seminars across Canada such as Montreal, Quebec City, Hamilton, Calgary, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

Seminars

10/ Fun-N-Sun RV Resort (City: San Benito, TX). Added two great amenities, including four indoor pickleball courts and by popular demand, an RC track and RC airplane field.

Fun N Sun Rc Plane

11/ Tropic Winds & Fun-N-Sun RV Resorts (Cities: Harlingen & San Benito, TX). Very proud to share that the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence has been Awarded for 2016 to these two amazing South Texas RV resorts.

12/ Lakewood RV Resort (City: Harlingen, TX). Replaced its 8,000 sq. ft. ballroom floor with new maple wood flooring, perfect for our square dancing and line dancing enthusiasts. The new ballroom floor also hosts two indoor pickleball courts.

Lakewood Floor2

13/ Paradise Park & Tropic Winds RV Resorts (City: Harlingen, TX). Paradise Park added a new 800 sq. ft. craft shop as well as two bocce ball courts for all to enjoy. Tropic Winds also resurfaced its interior roadways so that guests are greeted by smooth streets when they pull in.

Paradise Park Bocce

14/ Southern Comfort RV Resort (City: Weslaco, TX). Re-plastered its pool, giving it a new, vibrant look.

15/ Paradise South RV Resort (City: Mercedes, TX). Replaced the popular bingo system at the resort with a new system, ensuring games for the whole season.

16/ Winter Concert Series (Rio Grande Valley, TX).  Guests were able to enjoy a concert series at five South Texas RV Resorts, including Victoria Palms, Fun-N-Sun, Sunshine RV, Southern Comfort, and Country Sunshine. Performers included Dec 63, Jersey Boys, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, Rhinestone Country, The Three International Tenors, Motown Magic, and The Orbison Years.

Meet Terry from Victoria Palms RV Resort in Donna, TX

portrait_terryGoss

Profile:
Name: Terry Goss
In position since: December 2014
Title: Resort Manager
Work Location: Victoria Palms RV Resort
Favorite Activities: Sitting around a campfire (yes it’s true)


1. How does a typical day at Victoria Palms look like?  What is your favorite moment of the day?

Believe it or not, we start the day by baking cookies. We have become known for having warm, fresh baked cookies waiting for our guests as they arrive. It’s a small token of our appreciation for our customers when they arrive, often after a long time behind the wheel. From there it’s off to tour the property to make sure everything is ship shape and everyone is ready for the day. That’s the fun part. After that I move into running the daily reports, reading and responding to emails, and digesting our online presence and reviews. All that being said, my favorite time of the day is when I get to socialize with guests, old and new, and hear about their travels, their family and what their “other” home is like. It’s really a pretty good gig.

2. You are working, while people at the resort are enjoying their vacation. How do you handle that?

Here at Victoria Palms I am both a manager and a cheer leader. Of course I can’t be everywhere, all the time, but I try my best to be a vibrant part of the community. Even when I can’t stay for an entire event, I am very likely to stop by and cheer on the contestants. I love being around fun loving, happy people, and this position gives me lots of opportunity. I am the first one on the dance floor, love anything where there is food, and was the runner up in last year’s belly flop contest. You just can’t be at a place like Victoria Palms and not have fun.


3. When people ask you what the best experiences are in the surrounding areas, what would you recommend?

The area around Victoria Palms has something for everyone. We are less than an hour away from the best beach in Texas with lots of entertainment and great eats. We are on the migratory path for both birds and butterflies and are one of the premier places to see them in the entire United States. We have some truly incredible shopping with an international flair. For even more fun, we can cross into Mexico for great shopping, food, drinks and services. Of course we have a zoo, museums, theaters, and every restaurant chain known to man. But my absolute favorite thing here in the valley, as we call it, are the little mom and pop restaurants. Not only is the food incredible (and very reasonably priced), but when was the last time the owner came to sit with you on your second visit, and actually remembered your name and what you like to eat. Just incredible!


4. What’s your favorite story to tell about your time at Victoria Palms?

I believe that all of the employees at Victoria Palm are a team and each has a significant role in delivering guest satisfaction. I expect that everyone will pick up whatever task is required, even if it is not considered in their job description. That goes for me as well. Last year we were getting ready to do some street repairs. We were using fresh, hot asphalt which has a very limited time on a truck before it cools off and is no longer usable. The day our asphalt arrived we had one of our maintenance team get hurt and another go home sick. So I jumped into some old jeans, slipped on a pair of work boots and some gloves, and jumped in the truck to help pick up the slack. What makes this special is not what I did, rather it was the looks I received from residents and guests as they saw me working in that truck. I have to say I had more pictures taken that day than any time in my life. It was almost like being a rock star followed by paparazzi. It was hard work but we got the job done and I gained a story to recount.


5. What’s your best accomplishment so far at the resort?

I would like to believe that I have had an impact at Victoria Palms in a lot of areas, but I think the most significant is in communications. Not everyone is comfortable being in front of people or starting conversations with strangers. That can leave some people feeling like they aren’t appreciated or respected. I have always made it a point to make the operation of the resort an open book. I don’t dodge questions and do my best to always provide an honest answer. Sometimes that answer is “no”, but when that’s the truth, anything less is misleading. As well I have expanded the modes of communication here at Victoria Palms. We had a great newsletter here when I arrived, but I thought we could do more. We now have a new website dedicated to events and activities (www.vpractivities.com), I do monthly “Town Hall” meetings which I record and post to YouTube. This enables our residents who are not here at the time of a meeting to still get all the information and not miss anything. I believe strongly in open and honest communications and think our residents and guests really appreciate that.


6. If had to describe your RV park to someone who thinks about coming to Victoria Palms, what would you say?

Picture a fine resort with every conceivable amenity, or a cruise ship where the activities seem to never stop. If you are an RV’er, picture wide, paved and lighted streets where maneuvering your rig is easy and the sites are all concrete with full hook-ups. If you are looking for a permanent winter or year around home picture well manicured yards, lush plantings, beautiful flowers and grass. Envision neat homes (each unique) which exude a feeling of community and safety. If you like to dance, dream about multiple live bands every week, where you can dance the night away on one of the largest and most beautiful dance floors in the valley. Or join in some of our dance lessons; line, ballroom, country, round. If you are a crafter then this must be paradise. Woodworking in our supersized woodshop, firing your pottery in one of our 5 kilns, stained glass, painting, sewing and quilting, wood carving, and the list goes on and on. If you are of the sports type we can keep you pretty busy there too. From racing remote control trucks to bocce ball, petanque, horseshoes, shuffleboard, pickle ball, tennis, cycling, swimming, water volleyball, etc. Are you starting to get the picture? Victoria Palms is incredible and you can do as much or as little as you desire.

7. What brought you to Victoria Palms?

Truthfully I came to Victoria Palms quite by accident. I had previously managed large resorts and honestly was looking for something with a little slower pace. I actually applied for a position at a smaller Thousand Trails park that was somewhat off the beaten path and very rustic. Remember one of my favorite pastimes is sitting by a campfire. As I was being interviewed the question I kept being asked was why I wanted that position, and was I really sure I could be happy there. In the end the interviewer convinced me to come see Victoria Palms. When I visited it completely knocked my socks off. I was instantly in love. As a resort manager I get to live in the resort, and I knew this was a place I could really feel at home. I was hired to manage it and have never looked back. It has been a complete labor of love.


8. Any last words for your current and future guests?

If this hasn’t given you a vision of what life is like at Victoria Palms, then you simply need to come see it for yourself. Come spend a week with us and I will personally make sure you see it all. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Come join me in paradise under the palms.

South Padre Island: A Taste of the Tropics off the Texas Coast

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Take a Tropical Holiday

Take a holiday on a tropical island that is known for its captivating fireworks for six months of the year. It’s a place where you can walk 55 km (34 mi) of the widest and cleanest beaches anywhere. Try your hand at windsurfing or go dolphin watching. You don’t have to go that far to find this year-round paradise. It’s right off the coast of Texas in Cameron County and it’s called South Padre Island. Even in January you’ll find the temperatures here around 20C (68F).

Stay with Us, Visit the Island

There are about 10 Encore RV Resorts near South Padre Island. Many are under an hour’s drive away. South Padre Island is easily accessible from the Queen Isabella Causeway in Port Isabel. Take State Park Road 100 and head over for some island fun.

We’ve put together a few things together that you might enjoy for your day trips to South Padre Island.

Nature Lovers Rejoice

thinkstockphotos-177884449The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Centre is a bird watcher’s mecca. Bring your binoculars and hunker down in one of the five bird blinds. There are over 3,300 linear feet of boardwalk here and a five-story tower where you can take in the beautiful land and ocean views.

Head over to Sea Turtle, Inc., and learn about their mission to rescue, rehabilitate and release sea turtles. The turtles are housed here until they can return to their natural habitat.

For something more out in the open, how about a whale and/or dolphin watching tour. Head out on an ocean cruise designed with dolphin watching in mind. There are several dolphin pods that live in the waters here year round.

Life’s a Beach

The beaches of South Padre Island were made for relaxing. As the island is only .8 of a km wide (.5 mi) you’re always just steps away from the ocean. Mild temperatures, calm warm water and sunshine are the perfect mixture for your day away on the beach. You can even take lessons on how to build the best sandcastles!

Get your cowboy on and saddle up for a ride on the beach or try watersports like thinkstockphotos-147286721parasailing, kiteboarding, and jet skiing. Test your balance with Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) or fly boarding. This is a water babies’ playground with several service providers ready to rent and/or teach you.

When it comes to fishing, you can take your pick of onshore, offshore or even deep sea fishing. Bring your own boat, or rent one here. If you prefer, cast from the shoreline and see what’s biting. There are restaurants in the area that will be happy to cook up whatever you catch.

Above and Below the Waves

Put on your life jacket, grab a paddle and head out on an adventure in a kayak or canoe. Perhaps you’d prefer to strap on a helmet and head out on a jet ski! There are 1.5-hour jet ski water tours for those of you that want a fast ride through the waves while sightseeing. For something a bit slower, hop aboard a six-person inflatable banana boat! There are several providers in the area that will rent you whatever you need for your above the water fun.

Dive beneath the waves and explore a world seldom seen by others. Many vendors here will teach you how to do basic open water dives. For those of you with experience, try a dive down to the sunken Texas Clipper. Get up close and personal to the sea life as you explore their world. You can rent equipment here, or bring your own. Either way it’s an thinkstockphotos-479607710experience you won’t’ soon forget.

Not ready for diving? How about snorkeling! Explore the Laguna Madre Estuary where the water is only one to two meters (three to six feet) deep, making in perfect for all experience levels from beginner to advanced.

Pamper, Relax, Repeat

For a small island, South Padre has some great shopping. You’ll find some great gifts for yourself and for friends back home. Once you’ve had your fill of shopping it’s time to step into one of their many spas and pamper yourself. Feel your cares melt away with a massage from one of their relaxation specialists.

Once your outsides have been taken care of, it’s time to treat your insides to some delicious treats. There are over 50 restaurants, bars and nightclubs on South Padre Island. There’re burgers and beachside grills and lots of places for seafood. There are several ethnic eateries on the island too as well as well-known fast food joints.

Once you’ve taken care of your body, it’s time to go out dancing, sing some Karaoke, or settle back for some nighttime fireworks displays.

Whatever you choose to do, whatever time of day, or season, you’re sure to have warm memories of your time at South Padre Island.

Comment below and let us know if you’re interested in visiting South Padre Island!

Meet John from Sunshine RV Resort in Harlingen, Texas

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Profile:

  • Name: John Van Wyk
  • In position since: 2011
  • Title: Resort Manager
  • Work Location: Sunshine RV Resort
  • Favorite Activities: Fishing and Bird Hunting

1. What does a typical day at Sunshine RV look like? What is your favorite moment?
I usually start out the morning with my “housekeeping” activities and then move on to items that pertain to our residents. I try to get their requests completed first before moving on to my other duties, such as managing our on-site restaurant, coordinating our schedule jpage-encorerv-rgv-sunshineinterior-67-1of special events and working with our internal team here at the RV resort.

My favorite moment of the day comes when I get to interact and visit with our residents just one-on-one. I’m usually focused on what I can do to make their experience even more enjoyable, so it is nice to take a second and catch up with guests.

2. You are working, while people at the park are enjoying their vacation. How do you handle that?
jpage-encorerv-rgv-sunshineinterior-61-1I enjoy seeing people have fun and come up with new ways to enjoy the community, so I never look at it as “working” while others vacation. The guest experience comes first and making sure that everyone is enjoying their stay keeps me busy, so the day goes by pretty fast.

 

3. When people ask you what best experiences are in the surrounding areas, what would you recommend?

There are some excellent golf courses in the area where guests can test their skill. Birding is huge in the Harlingen area, as we are in the middle of the migratory pattern for birds jpage-encorerv-rgv-sunshineinterior-48-1heading south, as well as butterflies. However the must-see destination in the area is definitely South Padre Island, where you get a mix of southwestern culture and beach paradise.  Also, many Winter Texans take day trips to Progreso, Mexico which is about 30 minutes from our property. They go for shopping and the authentic dining experience. I’ve also heard they go for affordable dental care.

4. What’s your favorite Sunshine RV story to tell?
I don’t think I have one particular story that sticks out. I get a lot of pleasure out of helping people get plugged into something that brings them joy. Many times we are dealing with someone that may have recently lost a spouse and after the grieving process, they may need a little encouragement to get out and find fun. They often thank me for helping them through that and that is usually the most rewarding feeling.

jpage-encorerv-rgv-sunshineinterior-82-15. What’s your top accomplishment so far at Sunshine RV?
When I was hired as the Resort Manager two years ago, there were many areas of the operation that needed to be improved including staff morale and resident relations.  I am very proud to say that in the past two years, as a team, we’ve been able to create a positive environment for both the staff and residents.   As far as property improvements, most recently, we completely renovated our indoor pickleball courts which is something I am very proud of. We now have three, indoor, climate-controlled courts that are the envy of many.  

6. If you can describe (in a few words) your RV park to someone who thinks about coming to South Texas, what would they be?

Sunshine RV Resort has approximately 1000 sites.  For those who would prefer to stay in a smaller community, we do have a secluded section of the resort called Lakeside which has approximately 150 sites, with it’s own amenities and a lake!    Our RV site options jpage-encorerv-rgv-sunshineinterior-24-1include standard, premium, pull thru, and lakeside.  We have all the standard amenities you can think of including indoor/outdoor pickleball courts, a woodshop, a dog park, and a fitness center.  In addition, we have two large buildings that accommodate many of our entertainment events and activities.  

7. What brought you to Sunshine RV?
A friend told me about an ad in a newspaper that they were looking for a manager of Lakewood RV Resort, a 300 site community. I was hired and immediately made many improvements, to the point where I was promoted to run Paradise Park RV Resort, a 600 site RV resort. Eventually, I was promoted to manager of Sunshine RV Resort, which is over 1,000 sites and includes an on-site restaurant. You could say hard work brought me to Sunshine RV.

8. A last word for your guests?

While you may come to enjoy the warmth at Sunshine RV Resort, you’ll quickly find that the genuine staff and the kind people who stay at the resort make you want to keep coming back, year after year. At the end of the day, it’s all about the people, the customer experience and having fun!

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.