The Ultimate Roadmap For Your 30 Days in Texas

The Lone Star State is the biggest in the contiguous United States, with an even bigger personality. Texans are proud, (sometimes loud), and among the friendliest people you will ever meet.

30 days may not seem like enough time to visit the second largest state in the union (after Alaska) but if you follow this guide and apply some Texan gumption then it is more than enough time.

Lake Texoma (Days 1 – 7)

Texas may be big, but most of its major cities lie in a narrow corridor from north to south (with the exception of El Paso in the far west), so this is the route that our trip will take. We’ll start in the far north, right on the border with Oklahoma at Lake Texoma.

Attractions

Lake Texoma is one of the largest man made lakes in the country, turning the dry grasslands that surround it into some of the most fertile farming land in the country. The area has two wildlife refuges, two state parks, fifty four USACE-managed parks, twelve marinas, twenty-six resorts, hundreds of campgrounds and a variety of excellent golf courses.” Popular pastimes include, camping, fishing, powerboating, sailing (Lake Texoma has some of the best inland sailing anywhere in the country), water skiing, windsurfing, swimming, and more. Suffice to say there is a lot to do.

Anglers should be aware, however, that you may need to obtain a fishing license from both Texas and Oklahoma to fish in this area.

Where to Stay

Lake Texoma RV Campground is the best choice for RVers looking to enjoy all this area has to offer. Located right on the shores of Lake Texoma, the resort offers RV and open air camping along with all the amenities that you need to make the most of your time in this amazing part of northern Texas.

Lake Whitney (Days 8 – 14)

Just a short drive south from Lake Texoma is the less famous, but equally beautiful Lake Whitney. Whereas Lake Texoma is 223 square miles, Lake Whitney is just 32. Still, people flock from across the state to golf, swim, fish, hunt, powerboat, sail, and relax on Lake Whitney. In 2005 the Texas state legislature even named the area Texas’s “Getaway Capital”. More importantly, it is close to the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area.

If you love sports, then this is the area for you. Comprised of, well, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington, the area is home to over 7 million people and MLB, NFL, NHL, and MLS teams as well as 4 college football teams.

Then there is the Dallas World Aquarium, the unmistakable Reunion Tower, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Sixth Floor Museum in the book depository building from which Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President Kennedy, the Dallas Zoo, the botanical gardens, and the Meadows Museum (home to more Spanish art than almost anywhere outside of spain).

Where to Stay

Lake Whitney RV Campground is right on the shores of Lake Whitney, and only a short drive from Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, so whether you want to spend more time on the water, or explore one of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, Lake Whitney RV campground is in the perfect location.

Lake Conroe (Days 15 – 21)

Just over 3 hours south of Lake Whitney is Lake Conroe. Like both Lake Whitney and Lake Texoma, Lake Conroe is a reservoir and while it is smaller than Lake Texoma it is more than double the size of Lake Whitney. Unlike both its northern counterparts however, Lake Conroe is surrounded by the beautiful east Texas landscape full of rich pine wood forests.

Lake Conroe is just an hour north of Houston, making it the perfect distance for a day trip (or two) into the city. Houston is home to just over 2 million people, making it less than ⅓ the size of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area, but there is no shortage of things to do and see. The city is home to an MLB, NFL, MLS, and NBA team as well as the Grand Prix of Houston, the Houston Open golf tournament, and the Houston College Classic and Texas Bowl.

Of course we couldn’t mention Houston with out talking about NASA. Houston is home to the Johnson Space Center which has a huge visitors center that really is a must-see. Learn about the illustrious history of the Space Center and the bright future of NASA focusing on future missions to Mars. Show up on a Friday between 11 and 1 and you might even meet an astronaut! There is also the museum district, Zoo, Buffalo Bayou Park, great restaurants, and much, much more.

Where to Stay

Lake Conroe RV Camping Resort is right on the shores of Lake Conroe and includes a boat ramp on site so you can get boating as soon as you arrive! With an expanded marina and new beach, this is the perfect resort to relax and catch some rays. In fact, Lake Conroe RV Camping Resort is all about fun on the water, and if you don’t have a boat you don’t have to miss out on the fun. You can rent jon boats, paddle boats, kayaks or canoes.  

Medina Lake (Days 21 – 25)

At just over 9 square miles Medina Lake is by far the smallest of the lakes that you’ll visit, but it still is great for relaxing. Interestingly the dam which forms the reservoir was privately financed in order to improve irrigation to the surrounding farmland, and at the time was the largest concrete dam in the country. It is now a historical site.

Nearby San Antonio is smaller than Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington and Houston, but it is home to the most iconic location in all of Texas: the Alamo. In the center of the city is the historic battleground where the Republic of Texas defenders fought to the last man against General Santa Anna’s invading army. Although they died and the Alamo was lost, ultimately the Mexican forces were forced out of Texas. Visiting the Alamo is free and will likely be the highlight of your trip

Where to stay

Medina Lake RV Campground is a tranquil escape from the big city life of San Antonio, complete with beautiful lake views, and whitetail deer that roam the grounds. With a junior Olympic sized pool, you’ll be able to sit poolside with a refreshing beverage while enjoying the beautiful scenery and wildlife that this campground is known for.

Harlingen, Texas (Days 26– 30)

Just four hours south of Medina Lake is Harlingen, Texas, a great last-stop for RV’ers who are on route to Mexico. Harlingen is a premium shopping destination and has several epic golf courses and nature hotspots. With year-round tropical weather, visitors can enjoy surfing, horseback riding, and kayaking. Outdoorsman (or woman) will enjoy the plentiful fishing and hunting opportunities.

This area is part of the Rio Grande Valley, which is known to have the best birding opportunities in the country. That’s because the Rio Grande Valley is home to beaches, wetlands and lakes. Be sure to check out the Lower Rio Grand Valley National Wildlife Refuge System, and South Padre Island, where you may be lucky enough to see a sea turtle (or two).

Where to stay

Lakewood RV Resort in Harlingen is minutes from the Padre Island National Seashore, which offers amazing views and glimpses of protected wildlife like the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, and over 380 bird species. The Padre Island National Seashore is a protected park with 70 miles of coastline and dunes, and is one of the few hypersaline lagoons remaining in the world.

Fun-N-Sun RV Resort and Sunshine RV Resort are both right in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley.  With beautiful sandy beaches, these RV resorts live up to their names —you’ll enjoy lots of sunshine here.  

Where to Next?

By following this itinerary you’ll see everything that Texas has to offer, but RVing is all about freedom, so go ahead and create your own path if you choose! Our customer service team is happy to help you build a customized vacation itinerary. Give them a call at 1-877-570-2267 or visit RVonthego.com to plan your own trip.    

 

Top 8 RV Resorts for Sports & Recreation

For sports and recreation lovers, RVing is about living an active lifestyle, which is why so many of our RV resorts have focused on developing strong sports and recreation facilities.

Fitness centers, pickle ball, cycling, biking, exercise classes, swimming pools, water aerobics, baseball, lawn bowling, bocce ball and golf are just a few examples of the activities and facilities that can be found at several of our RV resorts.

Check out a few of our recommendations for the best sports and recreation RV resorts across the United States.

Voyager RV Resort and Hotel – Tucson, Arizona

Voyager is the top-rated RV resort in Arizona. It offers a feeling of community and friendship as well as an endless list of neat activities to participate in. Opportunities abound for horseshoes, pickleball, swimming, volleyball, tennis and hiking and these are just a few of the sports that can be found at Voyager resort. The Voyager even offers boxcar racing! If you can think it, it’s probably offered here.

ViewPoint RV and Golf Resort – Mesa, Arizona

The ViewPoint is the perfect RV resort for golf lovers. It has beautiful views and an engaging community dedicated to active seniors. Right on the resort there is an 18-hole championship golf course and a 9-hole executive course where many guests enjoy spending the morning hours playing a round of golf with fellow campers.

If you love sports, but not golf, then check out their fitness centre and basketball, volleyball, tennis, pickleball and shuffleboard courts. You’ll stay busy here, and you can also count on avoiding crowded pools during your swim – this resort has four swimming pools on site!

If you love nature, then you’ll love ViewPoint’s great trails for biking and hiking. Many of the walking trails wind through nearby parks (and a dry riverbed) and offer unique opportunities to view nature at its finest.

Paradise RV Resort – Sun City, Arizona

If you are looking for something unique, Paradise RV Resort is one of a few that offers lawn bowling. In fact, it even hosts and sponsors large international leagues from places such as Japan, Germany and Switzerland! Paradise RV resort takes the love for sports and recreation very seriously. In addition to lawn bowling, it offers other unique amenities such as seven spring training baseball and hockey facilities.

It’s no wonder this resort won the distinct honor of being the 2017 Mega Park of the Year. Here, RVers can enjoy hiking, tennis, swimming, volleyball and shuffleboard while in Paradise!  

Araby Acres RV Resort – Yuma, Arizona

With a full calendar of activities each month, sports lovers will never run out of things to do at Araby Acres. But what makes this resort unique is its floor curling court. With so many northern guests, the staff at Araby wanted to give their curling-loving Canadian visitors a piece of home away from home! Without the ice rink, converting one of the resort’s shuffleboard courts made this dream a reality. With rocks made especially for this awesome floor curling court, guests here can curl while enjoying Yuma’s beautiful, warm weather.

Victoria Palms RV Resort – Donna, Texas

Victoria Palms, located in the tropical Rio Grande Valley in Southern Texas, offers a restaurant, pool, outdoor spa and fitness centre. Additionally, the resort offers amenities for sports and recreation lovers such as shuffleboard, a tennis court, bocce ball, bike trails, horseshoes and pickleball. Those who like to keep busy will thoroughly enjoy their stay at Victoria Palms as there is always something active to do. With an average yearly temperature of 73° Fahrenheit, outdoor activities are on the top of everyone’s to do list here!

Fun-N-Sun RV Resort – San Benito, Texas

Fun-N-Sun RV resort offers exactly what its name suggests – fun in the sun! Keep yourself busy working out, swimming or playing games of volleyball, basketball, billiards, bocce ball, pickleball or horseshoes. This resort even has a large R/C car track for enthusiasts from all over! When you need a break from all the sports and recreation, enjoy citrus fruits from the Rio Grande Valley, sit and relax on a sandy beach, or bird watch in the warm, clear climate.

Goose Creek RV & Camping Resort – Newport, North Carolina

Goose Creek is slightly off the beaten path making it a unique gem among RV resorts. It is located on Bogue Sound along the Intracoastal Waterway and is only a few minutes away from the ocean by land or water! The resort offers several undisturbed beach vacation spots that are hard to come by anymore. As well, because of its location, Goose Creek borders waters that offer some of the best saltwater fishing.

Tropical Palms RV Resort – Kissimmee, Florida

Interested in making sure you catch some sun? Tropical Palms is a fantastic spot for swimming and biking. This pet-friendly resort offers bocce ball, volleyball, fishing, and a top-notch fitness centre; everything active guests need to make the most of the RV lifestyle.

Want to make the most of your vacation? Visit some of these fantastic RV resorts. With so many activities to pass the time, you’ll wish you could stay longer. So, what are you waiting for? Book your stay today! Interested in what other activities our resorts have to offer? Visit RVontheGo.com for more info.

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.

6 Tips for Getting the RV Ready for the Trip South

For many Canadian snowbirds, heading south—whether it’s to Fort Lauderdale, Scottsdale or Palm Springs—is an annual affair, one that takes careful planning and organization. Of course, before you can even begin to pack up, you’ll want to make sure your RV and its tires are ready for this epic journey.

1. Inflate & inspect

No one wants to start their trip south with a flat tire. One of the best ways to ensure your tires are healthy and ready for the journey ahead is to check their pressure and condition.

Inflate tires to the recommended PSI, including your spare tire.

Inspect sidewalls for signs of weathering and aging, including cracking, feathering and fading.

Inspect the tread for depth and unusual wear (which could point to an alignment problem that could decrease the life of your tire. For a journey like this, where you may be crossing through the snow and mud of Canada before hitting the dry, hot pavement of the South, it’s best to have a tread depth of at least 6/32”. Your tires should still be in good shape for the trek back to Canada in the spring if you follow this guideline

2. Prepare

Even with all that inflating and inspecting, you can’t always ward off debris on the road. Before you head out, make sure you have the necessary equipment to change a flat tire, including:

  • An accessible, well-inflated spare tire in good condition
  • Jack or ride-on ramp
  • Chock (for double-axle trailers and to keep other tires in place)
  • Tire iron
  • Cones to place around your RV as a warning to other drivers

3. Get your brakes in line

This is an essential step with any vehicle you plan on driving, and on any road condition. Even if your brakes are not making that horrendous squeaky noise when you depress them, a professional brake inspection should be done at least once a year, and an ideal time is in the weeks ahead of your cross-country journey.

A certified mechanic will check to see if your brake fluid is clear and transparent like cooking oil, and will replace it if it’s dark and cloudy. They will also check to see if your brake pads and/or discs need replacing or if there is any damage to your brake lines.

4. Make sure your wheel bearings are bearing up

Most people find out about their wheel bearings when they hear a loud rhythmic and vibrating noise emanating from below their RV while driving. Some people confuse it with tire distress, but it usually means the seal on your wheel bearings is broken or damaged and the bearings are not ‘rolling’ properly.

Wheel bearings are a set of steel balls that ride the axel inside your wheel’s hub and help your wheels spin fast and with as little friction as possible. A certified mechanic can check to see if the wheel bearings require repacking with new grease or if they need replacing. This can be done when you get your brakes inspected.

5. Get power to the people

Before you embark on any road trip, it’s important to inspect your RV’s electrical system (AC and DC), including all plug-in outlets, appliances, batteries, cables, AC unit, and especially your circuit breaker and fuses. Knowing where your circuit breaker is located and testing your fuses is imperative in preventing any power surges and your circuit from overheating, which in the worse case scenario can cause a fire.

If you’re unsure of how your RV electrical system works, visit your local RV dealer or a certified mechanic. For this task, it’s best to get assistance, as there is a risk of shock and serious injury.

6. Ensure lights are ready for action

Now it’s time to make sure your exterior lights are in working order. First, ensure headlights, high beams, indicator lights, marker lights and brake lights shine in front and back of your RV, and triple-check that the wiring is working if you are towing your vehicle behind your RV. Having someone inspect your lights while you are in the driver’s seat, turning them on and off, is best.

7. Have supplies at the ready

If your RV does break down, being prepared will go a long way. Carry an RV survival kit with emergency food and water, an LED flare, solar and hand-crank NOAA radio, LED flashlight, candles or lanterns, mobile phone charger, water purification tablets, hand warmers, etc.

Of course, double-check you’ve got what you need in the event of a flat tire, and that you’ve got tools to check your tire pressure throughout the journey.

Article courtesy of Snowbirds & RV Travelers

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.