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!

South Texas Offers A Different Way of Living

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

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

Test the Waters Before You Take the Plunge into RV Life

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

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

Nothing Beats Texas Hospitality

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

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

Staying Active is the Key to Longevity

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

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

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

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

Location is Key

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  Living in a Park Model

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

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

Activities Galore!

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

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

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

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

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

A Day at Fun-N-Sun

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

Wintering Differently

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

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

People Make the Place

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

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

Set Your Winter Texan Roots in Harlingen, Texas

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In the southeast tip of Texas there lies a land overlooked by the snow king. It’s a land that offers Winter Texans a pleasant winter with a myriad of activities and one that attracts ardent bird watchers from across the continent.

Harlingen, Texas and the surrounding area have all the necessary attributes to attract those looking for a great place to retire and who want an enjoyable location for the long winters. The city is built in the middle of prime agricultural land that provides fresh vegetables year round and is surrounded by several natural parks where hikers and birders alike can enjoy the outdoors. The sub-tropical climate is perfect. A multitude of RV parks are now established in the area, including four Encore Resort Parks: Sunshine RV Resort, Paradise Park RV Resort, Tropic Winds, and Lakewood RV Resort.

With its position nestled in the Rio Grande Valley, Harlingen is close to nine birding centre paradiseparkviewing areas. Migrating birds pass through this area avoiding the deserts to the west and making use of the verdant growth to find rest and food. Over five hundred species of birds come through here and there is a niche for each of them ranging from the salty wetlands along the coast, the freshwater marshes further inland and the dryer thickets to the west. Expect to see orioles, green jays and many hawks, and countless gaily coloured song birds. Since these centres are spread out, you can expect to find new experiences at each one, which include float trips, walks in the wilderness and great exhibits.

To the west, enclosed by several meanders of the Rio Grande River, you will find the Santa Anna National Wildlife Refuge. Here a mixture of the Chihuahuan Desert, the Gulf Coast, and the great plains, are home to at least 300 species of butterflies and 400 species of birds. You also can see the bobcat, ocelot and the indigo snake as you take the seven mile drive, or enjoy some of the twelve miles of walking paths. A tram tour is also available.

lakewoodrvThere is a birding centre on South Padre Island, but you may be heading there to sample the long, undeveloped beach, perhaps the longest on this part of the east coast. It’s a great beach for peaceful long strolls as the restless waves caress the sand at your feet. Opportunities abound for horseback riding, sea kayaking and fishing. You might like to stop at Port Isabel on the way to the bridge to South Padre Island. There are several seafood restaurants that have great tasting food that is worth the trip in itself.

If the grandkids have dropped in for a visit, take them to the Schlitterbahn Waterpark on the island. Here a variety of rides, slides, and swims, as well as a massive 5-storey water fun house will provide a lot of entertainment for the little ones, and just maybe… the older ones too.

Are you a shopper? If so, not far from Harlingen at Mercedes is a 140 unit outlet mall with several brand stores you will know. In Harlingen, the Bass Pro Shop is a huge tourist attraction with a wide selection of clothes and equipment for hunting and fishing, even
boats. The store features big aquariums filled with native fish, log and stone works and many wildlife exhibits. These stores are well known as places of entertainment and quality tropicwinds1goods by tourists.

The Gladys Porter Zoo has many species of native and exotic animals, always a treat to see. To increase your sense of adventure the zoo is divided into several zones such as the Tropical America, Indo Australia, Asia and Africa. As well there is a herpetarium with examples of unique nature’s shapes and several species of lizards, snakes and other reptiles.

Later, kick back and relax with a tour downtown to see buildings with attractive large murals inside and outside of the buildings. Afterwards perhaps you could take in a show at the Harlingen Performing Arts Theatre which provides top notch live entertainment. If you are interested in the founding history of Harlingen, visit the Arts and Heritage Museum.

sunshinervFor the fisherman, Pirate’s Landing Fishing Pier located near the bridge to Padre Island is perfect. Some of the fish caught from the pier wouldn’t embarrass anyone relating their fish stories back home. Even if you don’t have fishing equipment with you, you can rent it at the Pier. And, they have bait too! If you want to get out on the water, select from the several private charters whether you just want a boat tour, or a chance to try for some big fish out where it’s deep.

Golfers will be happy to know that the area has four public golf courses and one private and with the most play days of any area in the USA, you can look forward to a lot of playing.

When Canadian Winter Texans head South to dodge the winter blues, they usually look for warmth, a nice place to stay, and things to keep them entertained. The Harlingen area has an abundance of all of these.

Until October 31, 2016, book a 3 month seasonal stay at Fun-N-Sun RV Resort and pay just $519/ month! To book, call 904-257-8434 and mention promo code EBFNS16

Here’s Why Everyone in Winnipeg is Flocking to South Texas to “Winter Differently” This Year!

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Waking up slow to the rising sun. Drinking a cup of coffee on your porch or in the recreation hall with friends. Swimming in the resort pool or a morning of fishing. An afternoon of bike riding or trail hiking to spot rare bird species. Playing a game of bocce ball or pickleball. Enjoying a show or dancing the night away with your friends. This isn’t just vacation. This is a lifestyle for many “Winter Texans” who head to South Texas from all over Canada and the U.S. to spend the winter months. South Texas is also known as the “Rio Grande Valley”. South Texas is an increasingly popular destination and is known for its weather, food & culture, citrus orchards, world class birding, top notch hospitals, and friendly people. South Texas is not only beautiful but it is a lively and affordable place to spend one’s golden years. South Texas has been consistently rated as one of the least expensive places to live in the U.S.

Down here, the folks that come to live in South Texas are called, Winter Texans, which is not to be confused with the Snowbirds of Florida, Arizona, and Southern California. Many of them come down for the warm climate because the warmth eases joint pain, there’s no snow to shovel, and the outdoor activities are abound.  There are many things to do and reasons to stay in SouparadiseParkth Texas to escape the cold.  Many Winter Texans, approx 10,000, choose to stay at a Encore Resort.  There are ten age-qualified Encore RV Resorts to choose from in South Texas.  All are gated communities and most offer amenities and activities like pools & spas, fitness centers, shuffleboard, pickle ball courts, woodworking clubs, and much more.

Winter Texans are also trailblazers who love living their life on the road with the freedom to go anywhere and see anything whenever they want behind the wheels of their RVs!  After retiring early, Kathy and her husband, who have been coming to an Encore Resort in South Texas since 2003, bought a new rig and headed out to see the country.  Kathy and her husband found that having the freedom to go wherever you wanted was the best way to spend their winters.  “The lifestyle of an RVer, you just cannot imagine the freedom that you experience to see things that are out there that other people don’t see when you stay in a hotel,” she says.

South Texas has lots of tourism to offer.  A favorite among residents and visitors is South Padre Island which has popular landmarks and destinations like the Port Isabel lighthouse and the Sea Turtle Rescue center.  The Sea Turtle Rescue is a non profit organization whose mission is to “rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured sea sunshineRVturtles, educate the public, and assist with conservation efforts for all marine turtle species.”  It is a great place to bring the grandkids who will surely love the live interaction with sea turtles.  Be sure to check seaturtleinc.org for more information on hatchlings, releases, and onsite activities.  Other landmarks in South Texas include the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, and the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park.

Named one of the Top 10 sport fishing destinations in 2014 by Sport Fishing Magazine, Port Mansfield is a popular place for fishermen to visit.  Whether you head out on your own fishing boat or embark on a chartered fishing trip, fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is a treat for fishermen where there are multiple large fish species waiting to be caught!  Nearby at Port Isabel, there are hundreds of activities for visitors, but fishing is also a popular one.  Port Isabel is home to Pirate’s Landing the longest fishing pier in Texas.  Pirate’s Landing extends out into the Queen Isabella Causeway that leads to South Padre Island and fishing poles and tackle are always available to rent here.

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South Texas is a popular and world renowned location for birders.  The region has more than 500 species of birds & butterflies and is also home to the World Birding Center, which has 9 locations in South Texas, with each location offering unique birding trails and excursions throughout the area.

It is also the site of the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival which draws world class birders for speaking engagements, field trips, and special events every year.  The 23rd Annual Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival will take place on November 2, 2016 and will feature speaking engagements by world class wildlife photographers and prominent birders, plus field trips to places like South Padre Island and the Upper Rio Grande.  Visit rgbvf.org for more information about field trips and tickets.

Winnipeggers – ready to join the ranks of the Winter Texans? Trek south to this laid back area with a low cost of living and big city amenities. Take advantage of some of our new customer specials offered by Encore.  Rates are $1,433 for a 3 month stay on a standard RV site at Sunshine RV and $1,338 for a 3 month stay on a standard RV site at Paradise Park. Valid until April 30, 2017. No RV, no problem, Park Model rentals are also available! Visit RVontheGO.com or RVSouthTexas.com to find out more information or call (877) 957-2778.