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.

Meet Alison from Clerbrook Golf & RV Resort in Clermont, FL

Profile

  • Name: Alison Schulz
  • In position since: February 2016
  • Title: Resort Manager
  • Work Location: Clerbrook Golf and RV Resort in Clermont, FL
  •  Favorite hobbies or sport(s):  Walking my dogs and horse riding

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

Meeting new people and making sure they have the best experience while they are in our park.

How do you help make guests vacations at Clerbrook special?

From the time they check in I believe first impressions are very important and ensure that the staff is prepared and ready to give the best customer experience possible to our guests. This includes accommodating them with their needs or to be ready to give suggestions in regards to entertainment and things to see in the area.

What’s special about Clerbrook?

We are a hidden gem in the middle of Florida with an 18-hole golf course and many other amenities, including a fitness center, shuffleboard court, and even great fishing and hiking sites.

 

 

Can you use 3 words to describe your RV park to someone who is considering visiting Clerbrook?

Accommodating, Friendly & Fun!

What area attractions or entertainment do you recommend guests experience while at Clerbrook?

Lakeridge Winery is an amazing, local vineyard where guests go to tour the vineyards and enjoy the tasting room. During the season they even have festivals!  If a guest enjoys live music, I always send them to the Orange Blossom Opry to enjoy their variety of concerts and jam nights. And of course Walt Disney World is only a short drive away.

What accomplishment at Clerbrook are you most proud of? Why?

I’m most proud of bringing the property back to life by helping our park to be more involved in with the local community. We help with hospice fundraisers and regularly contribute to the local food bank.

What does a typical day at Clerbrook look like?

I love arriving at the property very early every day and the first thing on my agenda is to drive around the community and make contact with all my smiling residents and guest. Afterwards, as my staff comes in, I meet with them and disseminate our goals for the day and work matters that need attending to.  

What’s your favorite funny story to tell from Clerbrook?

When guest come in and ask me where I am from (usually due to my English accent), I tell them “North Carolina!” They usually give me a weird look and then I tell them “England”, we always laugh and it is a fun way to break the ice.

Can you share your favorite memory at Clerbrook?

This past season when all my veteran guests returned at the beginning of November, they all had big smiles on their faces! They were like children, excited to be back in the park.

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

Yes, Miss Glenda (a long-term guest) brought in flowers for me and my team. It was very sweet of her.

Can you tell us about some of the friendships that have developed between guests at Clerbrook?

I have seen many friendships form this past season. Canadians inviting new residents to their dinners; Canadian-American bands always put people together and create friendships that last past their time at the resort.

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

When someone is ill, the guests all come together and help. We also have people who help out for our homebound residents. If a RV is broken, there are always people in the park to help those who need it.

Why do you think your veteran guests keep coming back to Clerbrook?

Some of our residents have been coming here for over 20 years and they do consider this a second home. They feel there is a sense of community and family within the park.

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

My door is always open so why don’t you just stop by have chat and stay awhile.

 

Maximize Your RV Adventures with a Thousand Trails Pass

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

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

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

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

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

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

Explore More with Thousand Trails

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

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

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

Venture Off the Beaten Path

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

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

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

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

Tips & Tricks: How to Safely Back-Up a Fifth-Wheel Trailer

Watching someone with no experience back in their RV is hilarious, unless that person is you! If you haven’t done it before, or it’s been a while, don’t worry. Every 5th Wheel owner has been there. Becoming proficient takes practice, but watch this helpful video and learn a few tricks from experienced RV’ers.

South Florida – Explore Fort Lauderdale & Miami at Your Leisure

Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Pompano Beach: RV Style

The Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Pompano Beach areas are filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of a tropical paradise. Beaches, parks, harbours, groves, keys and everglades beckon you to come explore. Exotic foods, a vibrant night life, shopping, theatre and the arts, and outdoor adventure are just a few of the attractions that await you. There are so many places to stay and things to do, you may have a hard time deciding.

Miami at Your Own Pace

You don’t have to stay in the city, you can enjoy a more laid back South Florida lifestyle and visit the attractions at your leisure. Imagine relaxing under a shady palm tree, while the breeze rustles through the leaves. Bite into a fresh mango or enjoy a delicious avocado from nearby growers. Miami Everglades RV Resort is a mere 32 mi (52 km) from the bustling city of Miami. The resort’s close proximity to Miami makes it an easy commute to all the excitement that Miami has to offer.

While in Miami, be sure to immerse yourself in Miami’s Cuban culture by exploring Little Havana. Treat yourself to local mouth-watering flavours such as cumin-rich black beans and strong Cuban coffee. After shaking your taste buds up, challenge a local to a rousing game of dominoes or chess in Maximo Gomez Park (called Domino Park by locals). On the last Friday of every month, Little Havana invites locals and visitors alike to discover Viernes Culturales, or Cultural Fridays. This monthly celebration showcases the neighbourhood’s unique cultural art scene.

The Design District near Miami’s downtown includes at least a dozen fine-art galleries and many world class eateries such as Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink. The taste bud tickling menu includes the incredible artistic desserts of star pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith.

South of downtown, Coconut Grove houses trendy boutiques that provide fun and unique shopping opportunities. Every February, Coconut Grove welcomes more than 150,000 visitors for the annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival. It’s known as one of the most exciting and popular outdoor festivals in the United States. While in Miami, be sure to visit Dolphin World for the opportunity to swim with, pet, hold, play, and kiss the majestic, intelligent, and humorous dolphins.

Discover Fort Lauderdale Your Way

A short 35-minute drive up the I-95 Express and you are in Fort Lauderdale. Known as, The Venice of America, this fabulous city is a sun seeker’s paradise. Check in to the Sunshine Holiday Ft. Lauderdale RV Resort and then explore to your hearts’ content. It’s a short 15-minute drive to the center of Fort Lauderdale. Take a stroll down the red brick road of the Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk. Make your way to the arts and entertainment district of this historic city. Within this unique district, you’ll find such treasures as the Broward Centre for the Performing Arts, a world-class entertainment venue that offers exciting performances from the best of Broadway, to internationally-renowned classical music, to comedy.

On Sunday evenings, the Stranahan House and Water Taxi offers a spine-tingling River Ghost Tour, including a Stranahan House visit and New River boat ride. The new Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, a historic 1920 plantation-style waterfront home, features whimsical art and fascinating architecture. Wander around and imagine what it was like to live in Fort Lauderdale a century ago.

For a truly unique experience, climb aboard a gondola and view the city from an entirely different perspective. Sit back and relax while you leisurely float by and gaze upon some of the most luxurious homes and gardens of South Florida  While you’re near the water, take in a narrated 90-minute amphibious vehicle Duck Tour of Las Olas Boulevard. If scenic cruises are more your speed, be sure to take in a Jungle Queen riverboat cruise. This cruise takes you to a lush tropical isle where you can watch an alligator show and discover exotic birds, lemurs, and monkeys.

Kick Back in Pompano Beach

Should you prefer a resort closer to the ocean, head up to Breezy Hill RV Resort in beautiful Pompano Beach, 25 minutes north of Fort Lauderdale. You’ll find yourself 3 km (2 mi) from beautiful Atlantic coast beaches. This resort is the perfect place to set up camp while you explore a surplus of fine dining and excellent shopping opportunities.

Pompano Beach has a holiday boat parade in December, a seafood festival in April, and a fishing rodeo in May.

This beautiful city is known for its exceptional boating and fishing opportunities along the 1,000-foot municipal fishing pier. Pompano Beach is also known for its magnificent snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. Swim from shore to the natural coral reefs and snorkel the day away. Pompano Beach is the Wreck Capital of Florida. Divers will love the warm Gulf Stream current flowing parallel to the shoreline. The conditions here are perfect for drift diving with several ship wrecks and miles of colorful reefs to explore.

There is so much to see and do in South Florida. Be sure and check with the RV Park and Visitor Centres for more great information on places to go and things to do. Wherever you decide to stay, and whatever you decide to do, you’ll not soon forget your time spent in South Florida.
Have you visited South Florida before? Please share what other exciting things there are to do in the area!

Meet Silvia From Orlando RV Resort in Clermont, Florida

Profile

  • Name: Silvia Wingfield
  • In position since: April 2017, since 2009 with Encore RV resorts
  • Title: Resort Manager
  • Work Location: Thousand Trails Orlando
  • Previous parks you’ve worked at: Lake Magic RV Resort & Clerbrook Golf and RV Resort
  •  Favorite hobbies or sport(s): Reading and spending time with my two boys. My favorite sport is basketball. I played back in middle school and my oldest son is on a school team. Go Celtics!!

LM = Lake Magic     TTO =Thousand Trails Orlando

What brought you to TT Orlando?I have recently been promoted to Resort Manager at Thousand Trails Orlando after managing Lake Magic RV Resort since November 2012. What brought me to TTO was the opportunity to continue to grow within this wonderful company that I have been a part of since 2009.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a Resort Manager? – The most rewarding aspect of being a manager is the people; the residents and guests that I meet and the relationships that I build with them. Talking to them and getting to know them personally. Hearing their life stories and connecting with them about experiences and family. All of this goes for the staff as well. I spend 8 plus hours of my day working at the property and the friendships and connections make the long days easier.

What’s the most challenging aspect of being a Resort Manager? How do you overcome these challenges? The most challenging aspect is not being able to make everyone happy. I struggle with this because I truly want all of our guest to get what they want but I have learned over the years that making EVERYONE happy is not realistic or possible. I try to overcome this challenge by finding a happy medium from what the guest wants and what I can actually offer. For example: a guest is assigned a site that they do not like due to location but we are in the middle of season and our resort is full and I cannot move them to another site. I will try to make a connection with them in other ways. I will personally invite them to a resident social event and/or offer them a breakfast or lunch voucher. They still might not be happy with the location of their site but they appreciate the personal touch of knowing that I care enough to do a little something special for them, which ultimately makes me feel good.

Can you share something you’ve learned from your guests? – What I have learned from my guests is to enjoy life, to savor every moment because it goes by quickly. I have learned that friendship and being neighborly is valuable. RV’ers are unique because they are always willing to help anyone who needs it.

What’s special about the RV resorts you’ve managed?  Lake Magic is special because of its beauty. The resort is clean and well manicured with tall palms tree throughout the resort that constantly remind you that you’re in sunny Florida. All of our sites have 50 amp service with full hookups and most of our pads are paved. The sites are large with plenty of space in-between from site to site. The location is premier and most importantly the guests are friendly!

Thousand Trails Orlando  is special because it is a property that offers choices for all the different RV lifestyles. The park offers clean, paved sites, as well as a more woody area for the RV’ers that really like to feel like they are “roughing” it. TTO is in a great location that is off the highway but tucked in far enough away from the hustle and bustle to make you feel like you’re truly camping.

Can you use 3 words to describe your RV resort to someone who is considering visiting Orlando? 

  1. Friendly
  2. Filled with Activities (in Season)
  3. Great location

What area attractions or entertainment do you recommend guests experience while at TT Orlando or Lake Magic?

  1. Walt Disney World- It is only 6 miles from LM and 11 from TTO
  2. Southern Hill Farms – during blueberry picking season this is the best place to pick your own blueberries!
  3. Airboat Ride – a fun way to spend the day and tour the Central FL Everglades

What accomplishment are you most proud of? Why?At LM, I am most proud of our Annual Poker Run. I started this my first year as manager at LM and the first year we had maybe 50 participants but this past season we had 176 participants!!! The Poker Run consists of eight stations (1 for each section of the resort). We have eight hosts and the hosts are residents that set up stations with goodies, snacks and drinks for all of the participants to stop at. The participants stop by the stations, mingle, eat, drink and draw a card. At the end the 5 players with the best hand get prizes.

What’s your favorite funny story to tell from Lake Magic?In 2015 at LM, I was trying different new activities during season to keep the residents entertained. (They were all nice enough to try any crazy fun idea came up with). One of the games we tried that season was a play on the “Newlywed Game”. We called it the “Oldie Wed Game”. Three couples took turns answering different questions about their partners and we had a blast. It was fun because of their answers, but also because they were fearless and willing to try whatever out of the box idea I came up with.

Can you share your favorite memory at Lake Magic? – My favorite memory is of one of our end of season going away parties. We put together a Carnival event around our Clubhouse and pool area with carnival games, pool games, raffle prizes and carnival food! We fed the guests corndogs and thought they were going to complain because it was simple food but they loved it!

Can you recall a time when the guests at your property surprised you? (LM) Yes, 2 years ago for my birthday they called me up to the clubhouse and surprised me with a cake and singing. I felt special that they cared enough to take time out of their day to share it with me.

Can you tell us about some of the friendships that have developed between guests at Lake Magic? One of the most meaningful friendships that I have developed is with a resident who now works for me. This person volunteered for many years and finally decided to commit to working for me. They are a great asset to me because they provide insight to what the other guests want and they have become someone I can depend on and trust.

RV communities look out for each other. Can you share an example of how Lake Magic exemplifies the idea of community?There are 5 sister properties (Sherwood Forest, Clerbrook Golf & RV Resort, Winter Garden, Thousand Trails Orlando and Lake Magic) in my area and we all are very close to one another. Anytime that one of us is full and needs to accommodate a guest, we call on each other for availability to help the guest. We also get together for friendly tournaments between properties. This allows our guest to meet each other and visit a sister property.

Have you visited Thousand Trails Orlando RV Resort or Lake Magic RV Resort? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Araby Acres RV Resort, A Snowbird Oasis In Yuma, AZ!

Some places bill themselves as being in the ‘Valley of the Sun’. Yuma however is the ‘Home of the Sun’. Araby Acres RV Resort is located in the eastern outskirts of Yuma and is close enough to downtown to reach it easily. This Encore RV resort has 330 sites, including areas for park models. The people are very friendly and helpful in getting you settled in, plus a large number of guests are from Canada. Come see why hundreds of Snowbirds call Araby Acres their home away from home.

_15A8363-EditOne of the most pleasant areas in the park is the small lagoon surrounded by green grass and tall palm trees. Small water fowl puddle aimlessly, or pick insects from the grass. The wind in the palms sounds so much like the ocean surf. This is one of the nicest relaxation areas in Yuma. The ambiance of this area calls for a few park benches to relax on.

The two pools and hot tubs provide relaxing moments and also a cool-down opportunity if you’ve been sampling some of the more vigorous activities such as a good workout in the exercise room, or shuffleboard. Several guests enjoy participating in arts and crafts and wood carving.

Optional cable and WiFi access are available for a fee and a WiFi hotspot is located in the clubhouse. The ideal location in the park is south of the main office, where you’ll find a particularly quiet corner of the property to enjoy.

Many visitors are here to enjoy the sun and heat that they wouldn’t get back home in the _15A7665winter. Shopping is easy and abundant, and it’s an easy drive into Mexico at Los Algodones. There is plenty of paid parking so you can park and walk across the border for your shopping. The crossing of the border is hassle free on the way into Mexico. Leave early if you want to avoid long lines coming back.

Los Algodones is a medical oasis for thousands of visitors who hold their treatments until they get to Mexico where medical help is not only available, but at very low prices. Many also fill their prescriptions while there.

Yuma developed during the mid-1800’s taking advantage of the large amount of steamboat movement up and down the Colorado River. Settlers also took this route through Yuma to cross the river where it was narrower. Yuma is probably most famous for its Yuma Territorial Prison which didn’t need much fencing because, if you escaped, the desert would get you. This area usually gets about 3” of precipitation, and is blisteringly hot in the summer. Tours are available if you want to visit the State Historic Park. There are several quiet, easy walking or biking trails around town.

North and south of Yuma are massive acres of agricultural land. Vegetables, and hay grow several crops per year and drives along those fields can be very educational. Huge orchards of lemon, grapefruit, and oranges will provide scattered roadside stands for you ArabyAcresto pick up fresh fruit.

There are also date groves and stores for you to visit and purchase large packages of dates and enjoy the fabulous date shake whose sweet taste is amazing.

RVers will appreciate the flea markets and RV market places around town that have thousands of items piled hurriedly on shelves awaiting your discovery. There are all types of parts and pieces for the do-it-yourselfers.

The Imperial National Wildlife Refuge came into being after the Imperial Dam created scores of marshy areas which now provide good habitat for a wide variety of migrating birds. It is significant that this area has grown up a verdant attractive area, backdropped by the dry desert and mountains. This 26,000 acre preserve protects 30 miles of the lower Colorado River and can give you several days of entertainment as you explore. You will notice how quickly the plant varieties change as you move back from the river. Washes cut down to the water from the desert, and ironwood and smoke trees are home for the lizards and rabbits. On the higher ground the palo verde, creosote bushes, and ocotillo dot the landscape. Early in the day, or late, you could see the mule deer moving down for a drink, and sometimes the bighorn sheep from the mountains.

Araby_Acres_fire pit_rtmsYuma is a compact city with extensive spread eastward toward the mountains. The area has enough to interest you, whether for a month, or for the entire winter. Araby Acres RV Resort can provide an oasis to return to for rest and relaxation.

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!

The Ultimate Roadmap for Your 30 Days in Florida!

So, you have 30 days to explore Florida; lucky you! But it’s a big state, with lots of activities, sights and resorts to choose from, so where do you start? Check out our roadmap below, which takes you through the top must-see areas of Florida. But, before you book your accommodations and activities, we encourage you to take the season into account. Rates are often higher at peak tourist times, not to mention there are more crowds and limited availability.

Days 1 – 5: Crystal River – Homosassa Region

Where to Stay

Crystal Isles RV Resort offers the best of Florida’s scenic West Coast including beaches,
golf courses and fishing in nearby rivers and streams. But book early, because Crystal Isles boasts waterfront sites that are in high demand.

With plenty of restaurants and nearby shopping, plus fishing, golf and beaches there’s lots to do during your time here. Depending on the time of year you visit we suggest making time for…

 

Manatees

Did you know that Crystal River hosts a year-round population of Manatees? Although you can see them any time of the year, the best time is January – March. During the winter season the manatees crowd around the warm water springs that are unique to the Crystal River area. Also, the visibility is better during the winter months because the water is clearer. Plan to visit mid-week (when it’s less busy), and book your viewing in the morning, when the manatees are more active. River Ventures and Plantation are a few of the region’s top manatee tour operators.

Scalloping

Scalloping is a popular activity in Crystal River during the summer and early fall. The scalloping season generally runs from mid June to the end of September. With some basic snorkeling equipment, you can dive for scallops and enjoy the sights of fish, plants and coral that inhabit the Gulf of Mexico’s coast. Again, check out River Ventures and Plantation, which offer scalloping tours along with a number of other local operators.

Days 6-8: Tampa

Tampa is only 2 hours from Crystal Bay, and offers so many attractions, it’s a definite must-stop on your trip south. Top tourist spots include Busch Gardens, The Florida Aquarium, The Tampa Museum of Art, Adventure Island Water Park, and Big Cat Rescue.     

Where to Stay

There are a number of RV resorts and Parks in the Tampa area to choose from like Topics RV Resort in Spring Hill, although golfers may prefer the Silver Dollar Golf, Trap Club & RV Resort in Odessa.

Days 9-13: Fort Myers

Fort Myers is one of the top stops in Florida, and it’s only a 2.5-hour drive from Tampa. With lots to do here, you’ll want to give yourself time to explore the area.

Where to Stay

The Fort Myers Beach RV Resort provides the friendly, fun atmosphere of a close-knit RV community, while also giving you the opportunity to explore the barrier islands of Sanibel and Captiva. Located just three miles from Fort Myers Beach and pier, you may be tempted to spend your week on the beach, but there’s lots more to do in the Fort Myers area, including:

Golf

There are too many top-notch golf courses in Fort Myers to choose from, so if you like to golf this is the place to be. You could also consider staying at Clerbrook Golf & RV Resort, which boasts its own exceptional, 18-hole golf course.  Check out this article from Golf Advisor, which lists some of the top ranked golf courses of the area.

Edison and Ford Winter Estates

Whether you’re into history, architecture, or are just curious, plan to spend time visiting the winter estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. You’ll be amazed at what you learn and see.

J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge

If you like wildlife, then this is a must do on your trip to Fort Myers. On Sanibel Island you can take a tram tour where you’ll have the opportunity to see birds, dolphins, manatees and alligators in their natural habitat at this wildlife refuge.

Days 14 – 20: The Florida Keys

It’s quite a trip south to the Florida Keys, but it’s worth the 5-hour drive from Fort Myers to stay in this tropical paradise. If you visit during lobster season make sure to try some fresh lobster, or consider experiencing the thrill of hauling in lobster traps on a fishing charter.

Where to Stay

Fiesta Key RV Resort & Marina is a spacious 28-acre resort located on its own island in the Florida Keys. Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina is located on the 75-acre island of Ohio Key, and has an adjoining marina that offers unprecedented water access to a tropical island environment that’s perfect for fishing, swimming or relaxing on the water. Stay at one, or both resorts and enjoy a tropical paradise adventure that includes days of swimming, beaches, fishing, and snorkeling, all from the comfort of your RV.

Although it’s tempting to stay on the beach during your time in the Florida Keys, there’s lots of sights to visit should you get tired of sitting around relaxing. If you’d prefer to explore, consider visiting:

Day 21: Miami

From the Florida Keys, you can make your way north to the Orlando area, which is a 7.5-hour drive, but we suggest breaking that up with a stop in Miami, which is just 3.5 hours from the Florida Keys area. Miami is known for it’s shopping and world-class restaurants, so it’s the perfect place to enjoy lunch or an early dinner before traveling to your resort in Orlando.

Days 21 – 25: Orlando

There’s lots to do and see in Orlando, but Disney is one of the most famous attractions. From Universal Studios to Epcot, there are lots of amusement parks in this area and you could easily spend a day or week (or more) exploring them, but there are also lots of great golf courses, restaurants and shopping areas nearby, so give yourself time to fully explore the Orlando area.

Where to Stay

Clermont, Kissimmee and Winter Gardens are all close to Orlando, and offer a wide range of RV parks to choose from, including Orlando RV Resort,  Winter Gardens RV Resort, Tropical Palms RV Resort, Lake Magic RV Resort, and Sherwood Forest RV Resort.

Days 26 – 30: Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach is only a 1.5-hour drive from the Orlando area, and it’s a great place to end your Florida adventure. This beach, which has been called the “world’s best beach” since the 1920’s hosts an abundance of shopping, dining and golf options.

If you love speed and cars, then make sure you schedule a visit to the Daytona International Speedway, which hosts the Daytona 500 and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

Where to Stay

There are a number of excellent RV resorts in the Daytona Beach area, including Sunshine Holiday Daytona RV Resort (which is just minutes away from the Daytona Speedway), and Rose Bay RV Resort which is located next to Daytona’s famous white, sandy beaches, and is well-known for it’s amazing fishing.

Whether you choose to follow this itinerary, or create one of your own, if you’re looking for tips about where and when to visit Florida, give our customer service team a call at 1-877-570-2267. They know all the ins-and-outs of the Florida area and can give you the insider information that will make your trip extra-special.

Did you find this road trip plan helpful? Do you have any suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!

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.