Discover the FUN at Forest Lake Village in Zephyrhills, FL

Your Winter Home

When you’re looking for a place to call home for the winter, head to Forest Lake Village. It’s a peaceful oasis away from noisy cities, nestled in the countryside around Zephyrhills. Nearby are some well-known springs and it’s near here where Crystal Springs bottled water comes from. With clean air and crystal clear streams, it’s no wonder so many Snowbirds call this place home in the colder months.

Canuckville

This is Floridian lifestyle at its finest. It’s home to over 100 Canadians every winter, and they keep coming back time and time again. Stephen Bagiardi, manager of Forest Lake Village, knows why they keep coming back. “We have 274 sites in this RV park and I would say we have about 100 Canadian guests each year. They love that they have so many friends here from all over Canada. It’s their central meeting spot. When newcomers arrive, the first thing they notice is the comradery. There’s a strong family like atmosphere here.”

It also helps that Forest Lake Village is 30 minutes from Tampa, 45-50 minutes to the Gulf Beaches and 45 minutes to Orlando.

Great Activities and Amenities

Guests at Forest Lake can be as relaxed or as active as they choose. “We have lots of events for our guests,” said Bagiardi. “We have Bingo and card nights multiple times a week. There’s water aerobics, line dancing, shuffleboard clubs and tournaments. People get together to shoot pool three nights a week. There are ping pong games and a library.”

Around the holiday season they have Christmas, Valentine’s and Thanksgiving dinners and dances. Also at Christmas, they have a parade that goes throughout the park and for those who want to work off some of those pesky seasonal calories, there are runs. Come join in the fun with the Turkey Trot and a Reindeer Run throughout the park. “You don’t have to run,” said Bagiardi. “Many of our guests prefer to walk, and some use it as a fundraiser.”

The RV resort comes complete with a clubhouse, swimming pool, laundry, horseshoes, library, shuffleboard, hot tub, a billiards/games room and a picnic and barbeque area. You can even get your own private mailbox, and yes, you can bring your furry friends with you.

For those who just want to relax, there’s a lake right on the property. Thirty of the sites back onto the small lake. There are no boats allowed, but you can cast or fly fish from shore into this fish filled lake.

Get Out and Explore

The biggest draw in this area is golf. There are six golf courses within 15-20 minutes of Forest Lake Village, and a dozen more about 30 minutes away. “There’s always a group heading out to one of the nearby courses every day,” said Bagiardi. And with this many great golf courses, why not!

As the RV resort is located between Tampa and Orlando there are plenty of sporting events to go to as well. Then there are the 20 theme parks in the area including Knott’s Berry Farm, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Busch Gardens.

Head out shopping to one of the outlet malls in the area and find something unique at one of the local specialty stores. When you’re done exploring for the day, there are dozens and dozens of restaurants within 15 minutes of Forest Lake Village.

Parks at the Gulf

Hop in the car and head west to Gulf. Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs has 155 acres on the Gulf of Mexico. Walk the white sandy beaches or go for a swim. You’ll see nesting ospreys and eagles above you and dolphins and manatees in the gulf. Bring your kayak or canoe (or rent one locally) and spend the day on the water.

Walls Springs Park is south of Tarpon Springs and is a great place to take a hike in nature. The park is 210 acres with a natural spring, with water temperatures at a nearly constant 23C (74F). There’s a 10 m (35 ft) observation tower that you can climb for some amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico. Bring your bike, or pack a picnic and spend the day exploring.

At the end of the day, head back to the Forest Lake Village, your winter home away from home.

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

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  • 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.

 

Take a Winter Break in Orlando – Kissimmee, Florida!

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There’s so much to do in the Orlando – Kissimmee area. There are hundreds of amazing things to see and do including the big name theme parks. Make your next winter getaway to Orlando – Kissimmee and you’ll be glad you did.

Golfers’ Paradise

The weather here is perfect for golfing year round. Courses range from easy 9-hole to challenging 18-hole. Golfers will love staying at the Clerbrook Golf and RV Resort. This
clerbrookfull-service RV resort and the golf course is located in lush Lake County. They have a challenging 18-hole golf course with rolling fairways and rippling greens. They have a pro shop too!

The beauty of this area is there are a dozen quality golf courses within a 15-minute drive of Clerbrook, and dozens more within a half hour drive. Surrounded by lakes, friendly people and great weather truly make this area a golfers’ paradise.

Amuse Yourself

Let the kid in you out to play. With Disney Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Sea World, Ripley’s Believe it or Not and Universal all nearby, you’ll have plenty of places to amuse yourself.

Both Sherwood Forest RV and Tropical Palms RV Resort are minutes away from dozens of theme parks and entertainment venues. At Sherwood Forest you’ll find yourself surrounded by lush trees, excellent landscaping, and clear water lakes. It’s a natural andsherwoodForest peaceful setting that seems miles away from fantasy worlds around you. Up the road is Tropical Palms RV. Get to know your fellow guests and take part in the many on site activities. Invite your family to join you as there are plenty of cottages for rent here and they sleep up to eight people.

Once you’ve rested up, why not head over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Come face to face with a Yeti, find Nemo, go on an African Safari, step back in time to Dinoland or get wet on a wild water rafting trip through Asia. Daytona Beach, Kennedy Space Center, Busch Gardens, and Old Town are all here
for you to enjoy.

Right in the Middle

With so much to see and do in the Orlando – Kissimmee area, it can be hard to decide tropicalPalmswhere to stay. Winter Garden RV Resort is right in the middle of everything, literally. It’s 145 km (90 mi) to either of the Florida coasts. And, it’s minutes away from Lake Apopka, Florida’s third largest lake. Pick an activity, a lake, a theme park, a shopping centre. It’s all nearby.

Shopping

The Orlando – Kissimmee area is a shoppers’ paradise. From budget to blow your budget, there are boutiques, outlet malls and shopping centres for you to find that perfect something. When you stay at Lake Magic RV Resort you’ll be near almost everything. That way you’ll have a short trip home.

Down in Kissimmee there’s the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores just south of I-4. You’ll find factory-direct top quality items at up to 75% off. When you’re looking for something lakeMagicunique check out Celebration Town Centre. Walk along tree lined streets and enjoy your day exploring charming boutique and specialty shops. You’ll find many of the shops located on a promenade that circles a lake.

Looking for vintage? They have that too! Discover the historic downtown areas of Kissimmee and St. Cloud. Art Galleries, doll shops, antiques and collectibles are all waiting for you.

Dinner and a Show

The range of food available in this area is nothing short of diverse. Mix that in with a show and you’ve got a night out to remember. Travel back in time to the days when mobsters’ ran prohibition era Chicago. Make sure you knock three times to get into the Capone’s Dinner and Show.

There are magic shows, Aloha shows, pirate shows, detective and mystery shows, and comedy shows. All are served up with a delicious meal. Toss aside your table manners and step into a fairy tale dinner with sweeping musical scores. The Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament puts on a show of brave Knights on horses and nail biting sword fights.

Hang Out at the Lake

A winter getaway doesn’t have to be jam packed with things to do. Relax a little. You deserve it!

Imagine waking up in the heart of orange grove country and taking a short stroll to a spring fed lake. When you get tired of exploring the area, you can always relax on the beach, orlandoread a book, have a picnic and soak up some rays. And yes, the lake does have fish, so get a rod and go catch your next meal. Hancock Lake is on the edge of Thousand Trails Orlando RV Camping and is a great place to just kick back and relax.

Should you feel like exploring other lakes, you won’t have far to go! Just 10 minutes up US Highway 27 is Lake Louisa State Park. Come explore over 4,500 acres known for its beautiful lakes, stunning landscapes and rolling hills. Lake Louisa, is the largest of 13 lakes which include Hammond Lake and Dixie Lake, where you can spend the day fishing, canoeing and kayaking.

Wherever you stay, whatever you do, you are sure to go home with some great tales to tell when you spend your winter in Orlando – Kissimmee.

Share what else you can do in Orlando-Kissimmee in the comments below!

Mesa Spirit – The Mega RV Resort with Down Home Hospitality in Arizona

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RVers know it’s a treat to find an RV resort that offers great amenities and activities and has the feel of a close-knit community. At Mesa Spirit RV Resort in Mesa, Arizona, they have it all: 1,667 spaces with full hookups and a seasoned, friendly staff. Thousands of returning visitors call this their home away from home.

Everyone Welcome!

Travel 30 minutes SW of Phoenix, just west of the stunning Superstition Mountains and you’ll find Mesa Spirit RV Resort. This age-qualified community is pet friendly, so you don’t have to worry about leaving your fur kids behind. You’ll see all shapes and sizes of RVs here from camper vans to big rigs. For those who don’t want to make the drive down, Mesa Spirit has homes for rent and for sale. And, it’s only 25 minutes from the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway International airport. Being a snowbird has never been easier!

Sense of Community

Bernice Gruchalla is a snowbird who has come to Mesa Spirit every year for the past 43 years. “The people here are fantastic,” she said. “I’m 103 and the weather is great and the activities keep me very busy. I enjoy taking the bus tours to the casinos.” Bernice loves the sense of belonging she has at Mesa Spirit. “People know me. It’s like living in a small
town It’s great to see the same people every year. I know most of the staff and residents. It’s the best park in valley.”mesaspirit_5-1

Lyse Dorrington is a Canadian from Victoria, BC who comes to Mesa Spirit for five to six months of the year and has for the past 16 years. “I don’t have a car,” she said. “I fly in and take the light rail system and buses everywhere. The park takes us out twice a week
to get groceries. I bought my place in 2001 and I love the weather, it’s almost always sunny.” Lyse is also one of the volunteers at Mesa Spirit. “I run the Mahjongg and Euchre games every week. I’m also the librarian. We lend books on a trust system. You know your neighbors here. You feel part of the community and you can be as social or as private as you want. There’s always free coffee and really nice people in the main office.”

The Great Outdoors

One of the great things about Arizona in the winter, is being in the great outdoors. The Grand Canyon is a four-hour drive away and makes for a great road trip. For something closer to home, take a hike at Usery Mountain Regional Park, a short 25-minute drive from the resort. The lower trails here are great for hikers of all ages and abilities.

Riverview Park is 15 minutes from the resort and has a Community Fishing Program, which means you can fish to your hearts content or four trout and four catfish a day, whichever comes first. Riverview is also the spring training facility for the Chicago Cubs.

Golf Anyone?

For some, Mesa, AZ is a golf mecca. Beginners and pros alike flock here for the courses and the breathtaking views. A backdrop of blue skies and mountains makes your day on the course even more memorable. Golf once a week or once a day, there are enough courses here to keep you busy. If you don’t want to drive, the resort has a golf simulator.img_2381-1

Some of the courses within 30-minute drive of Mesa Spirit Resort include the famous Las Sendas Golf Club, as well as Longbow, Dobson Ranch, Kokopelli, Toka Sticks, Superstition Mountain, Apache Creek and Painted Mountain. You can also visit ViewPoint RV & Golf Resort, a sister Encore property that boasts an 18-hole championship and a 9-hole executive course that will satisfy players of all abilities.

Get Out and About

Mesa was made for getting out and about and having fun. Go soaring high in the Sonoran skies in a hot air balloon, or skydive from 10,000 feet! There’s even indoor skydiving. Hop on a bike, or the back of a trusty steed, or jump in a Jeep or Hummer and tour the area.

For something more laid back, head out wine tasting, take a boat cruise, visit the Phoenix Zoo or tour the Desert Botanical Garden. There’s an olive mill for great olive oils and plenty of area farms where you can buy everything from peaches to pumpkins direct from the farmers. Ask about the Fresh Foodie Trail.

Shop until you drop and then head to the spa! There are several great places to shop here. There are malls and downtown Mesa has several unique boutiques and shops as well as salons and spas. As for casinos, there are at least 10 within an hour of Mesa Spirit

Resort Activities

Choose from over 30 activities at the park. Join a sports league, take yoga, join a pickleball or bocce league. Try your hand at silversmithing, singing, water aerobics, tai chi slider_aquabelles-2-1. . . the list is almost endless.

Cathy Quintero, Activities Director, makes sure there’s something for almost everyone here. “We have dances every couple of weeks,” she said. “Happy hour is every Tuesday and we make homemade pizza and sit out by the pool. Everyone comes to the country store too. It’s like a flea market with handmade crafts and food. Everyone loves to buy trinkets, and sit around and eat while they hobnob with friends.”

As for events, tribute artists, comedians and entertainers are brought in on a regular basis.

Amenities

Amenities can make or break your RV experience. At Mesa Spirit, you’ll find a fitness
center, swimming pools, whirlpools/spas/hot tubs, laundry facilities, horseshoe pits, a mesaspirit52-1ballroom and banquet hall, a library, tennis and pickleball courts, mini-golf, and much more.

It’s all you really need to make your RV stay feel like home.

Golf During the Winter at ViewPoint RV Resort

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ViewPoint RV Resort in Mesa, Arizona features both an 18-hole championship and a 9-hole executive course that will satisfy players of all abilities. The par 71, 6,374-yard Championship Course, opened in 1996, provides a fair test without the extremes of desert target golf. Relax and enjoy the tree-lined fairways, immaculate greens and strategic bunkering of the courses.vp

The sounds of rippling streams or cascading waterfalls will remind you why you play the game. If you’re a beginning player or you’re working on your short game, you’ll love our 9-hole executive course. This is a great place to take the youngsters or to enjoy a quick nine when time is short.

“This is traditional golf,” says Frank Samprone, the Director of Golf Operations, “it’s not overwhelming for the average player, but it still provides a good degree of challenge for the better player. Our pace of play is _15a5365-1excellent. An 18-hole round rarely takes more than four hours. It’s also a great course to walk.”

If you’re looking for an equipment upgrade, the Viewpoint ProShop carries full lines of clubs, equipment, accessories, and fashionable men’s and women’s golf apparel.

_15a4854-1ViewPoint’s golf facilities also include Fat Willy’s Clubhouse Pub & Grill, with spacious banquet rooms and a quaint little bar and grill that will surely quench your thirst or appetite before, during or after your round on the links. The Terrace Green Event Center with its elegant decor and stunning scenery can be the perfect setting for any group event including: weddings, receptions, golf outings, and social gatherings.

Visit the ViewPoint  golf website for tee times, course information, and more: http://www.viewpointgolfresort.com/course/

Discovering the Charms of Port Charlotte, Florida

Port Charlotte is located midway between Sarasota and Fort Myers, Florida, yet for all of its attractions it is frequently missed by Snowbirds heading south through the state.
That’s not unusual because in the last century railroads and highways missed it as well and it remained an area of farming and ranching. Development changed all of that and in 2015, Forbes listed Port Charlotte on the list of 25 best places to retire. The many RV parks attest to the fact that a large number of snowbirds now call Port Charlotte home, at least for the winter.

Possibly its location at the upper end of a long sheltered bay has a lot to do with its present popularity. The large number of gulf islands and miles and miles of quiet waterways provide abundant water activities for those interested. This estuary with a mix images2of freshwater and seawater is a top area for several varieties of fish just waiting for you to wet your line. This can be especially exciting if you join a chartered fishing vessel. The silent coves and peaceful waterways provide miles of enjoyable canoeing and paddling. If you are looking for rest and relaxation on white, sandy beaches, then the miles of beaches of the harbour, and the Gulf islands are sure to attract you.

These waters are ranked highly as top places to sail in Florida and many Snowbirds arrive with their own boats to spend the winter. The bay is wide and provides plenty of opportunity for the skilled, and unskilled sailors. There are several yacht clubs and many have sailing lessons available for the novice, or to teach new skills to the experienced sailors. The availability of sailing charters attracts a lot of visitors who don’t have a boat, but want to experience the lure of the open water while captained by experienced staff. Often a small group will charter a captained craft for a day, a weekend, or a week to explore the Gulf Islands and even farther away, southward into the Florida Keys.

Port Charlotte’s 20 golf courses are designed to keep you in town. Rolling green fairways, edged by sparkling blue water and punctuated with cleverly designed white sandy traps will certainly hone your skills. Enjoying a game in the sun, the gentle breezes softly blowing in your hair, and the memories of snowy fields left behind, is a major reason so many Canadians are spending the winter here.
Of course if you really want to slow down you can join the many visitors who know that images1Florida is a birders’ paradise. There are several wildlife management areas near Port Charlotte that are set aside to protect the birds. Thousands of acres of protected lands are there for you to enjoy. Some have winding trails suitable for slow drives through the cool pine forests and along the freshwater habitats. A host of environmental centres have interpretive walks along miles of carefully designed trails where you can spot the graceful hawks, or the many flitting smaller birds that spend the winters here.
You might like to finish off the day by relaxing while others do the work. The Charlotte Symphony orchestra’s 70 musicians present several concerts and highlight some of the major holidays with music. It’s a great place to be when they present their Christmas Pops coming forth with traditional carols and other great music heralding the season.
Do you like plays? There is always time to watch groups such as the Charlotte Players who are just one of the theatrical productions you can find in the area.
Nearby Punta Gorda has become a leader in the country as a top Mural Town. Twenty nine painted murals showcase the history of the town. Pick up, or download, a walking tour map through the streets and discover these beautiful murals. Find a place to sit and relax as you marvel at the artist’s skill in re-creating memories of Punta Gorda’s past. It doesn’t hurt either if the place you find to sit is at a rustic, shaded sidewalk café.
The area is also known for the diverse art galleries. Their art is not confined to canvas.

images4Many visitors drop in to see driftwood carvings, or art with seashells. These artists have so many novel ideas in creating objects that are one of a kind. Whether you are looking for oil paintings, sculptures, ornate jewellery, or beautiful vases and pots, you are sure to find them.
Shopping for some is a well honed skill, and the Port Charlotte Town Centre has more than 100 stores in which to practise those skills. Places to eat too! Port Charlotte’s huge variety of restaurants cater to the wishes of the winter visitor. You may want to go with the southern style barbecued foods, or the exotic food from some distant lands, but you’ll certainly be stopping at one of the seafront diners for a wide choice of fresh seafood.

Snowbirds are usually looking for a place with a warm, relaxing atmosphere to spend the winter. They also want the opportunities to be there for more strenuous activities. So whether it’s miles of quiet beaches, sailing, golf, or shopping, Port Charlotte has it all.

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

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

Friendly People

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

Golf and So Much More

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

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

Places to Go NearbyTL-Shuffleboard-Courts

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

Day Trips

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

Wi-Fi and TV

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

We’ll Be Back!

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