Yuma, Arizona – A Snowbird’s Best Kept Secret

Yuma, AZ, is an oasis in the middle of the Sonoran Desert that attracts visitors from all over the United States and Canada. Nestled in the southwest corner of Arizona between the Yuma and Gila valleys, the city lies just west of the Gila and Colorado River confluence. The warm climate, the endless sunshine, and the close proximity to Mexico makes Yuma feel like a snowbird’s best kept secret.

Yuma is the sunniest place in the United States. With 90% sunshine year round and temperatures that rarely drop below 25℃, Yuma claims the record for most hours of yearly sun by the Guinness Book of World Records. But it’s not just the record sun and warmth that keeps Canadians coming back here – Yuma’s close proximity to Mexico offers visitors the opportunity to experience authentic Mexican and southwestern culture.

With such a perfect desert climate, Yuma is also the date capital of the world and the largest date processing center in the world is located in Yuma. The dry, desert heat, also makes Yuma a prime location for outdoor events, like the Tunes & Taco Festival in April, the Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival in November, and the Somerton Tamale Festival in December.

poolTableIn addition to its desirable climate and plethora of cultural activities, many think of Yuma, AZ as a bypass on the way from Phoenix, AZ to San Diego, CA, but Yuma is so much more than just a rest stop. With endless desert activities, perpetual sunshine, and a thriving cultural scene, many Canucks are taking up residence at one of Yuma’s many affordable RV sites that Encore RV Resorts offer in this region. With a variety of resorts offering unique amenities and community sizes, you can escape the winter cold for the sunniest place on Earth no matter what lifestyle you like. Encore RV resorts like Desert Paradise RV Resort and Foothill Village RV Resort, have the same convenient amenities as other larger resorts such as fitness centers, pools, hiking and biking trails, and game rooms. And with a smaller community of residents, it’s easy to make new friends and be as active or relaxed as you want.

At the larger Yuma RV resorts such as Araby Acres and Cactus Gardens, residents have the opportunity to take up short or long term residence at hundreds of different sites and acres upon acres of activities to maintain an active lifestyle. Scenic roadways, friendly atmosphere, and a calendar chock full of entertainment and group activities, there is no shortage of beautiful desert scenery and space to enjoy everything Yuma has to lakeoffer. The nearby Colorado River and Imperial Dam give residents great opportunities for fishing and boating, two of the many activities that Encore guests frequently enjoy. Heading out for a day trip across the border? The convenient location of Capri RV Resort provides guests endless opportunities to experience authentic Mexican culture and still be close to the comforts of home. The Yuma Arts Center, downtown farmer’s market, and casinos are also close by to all seven Encore RV resorts.

No matter which Encore RV Resort you stay at, you are no more than 20 to 30 minutes from the West Wetlands Park, which sits on the northwest edge of Yuma along the Colorado River. This 110-acre public park features a Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden, an Owl Habitat, equestrian trails, disc-golf courses, picnic tables, boating opportunities and more. Not too far from the West Wetlands Park is the famous Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park where visitors can walk through actual cells and solitary chambers of Arizona Territory’s first prison. Visitors can view photographs and exhibits of those who were incarcerated here for the 33 years that the prison was in operation. In fact, there were inmates who were imprisoned here and also helped to build the prison itself. In cooperation with the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park, the Prison holds activities every February to coincide with Yuma Crossing Day, a day mean to highlight the historical eras of Yuma’s past, from the arrival of the Spanish in the 1500s to the mid-1900s through living history re-enactments.

curlingWhether you’re looking for a smaller RV resort with those big amenities, or because you want to be within close proximity to casinos and outdoor activities, Encore RV resorts in Yuma are a snowbird’s paradise.

 

Meet Roy From Sherwood Forest RV Resort In Kissimmee, Florida

  • Name: Roy Reyes Silverio
  • In position since: November 27th, 2014
  • Title: Resort Manager
  • Work Location: Sherwood Forest RV
  • Previous parks you’ve worked at (if applicable): n/a
  • Favorite hobbies or sport(s): Spending time with my family and friends, drawing and some karaoke

What brought you to Sherwood Forest?

My first introduction to the property was through another employee inviting me to play Bingo at the community. After that event, the rest was history. I never thought I would get the opportunity to grow with the company as I did. I had also never worked at an RV resort so the challenge of a new adventure peaked my interest.

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

The most rewarding aspect of being a Resort Manager for me would be the opportunity to interact with so many people. I love connecting and making bonds with customers and guests which turn into valued customer returns or new beginnings. It’s our relationships that people remember and cling to, why not put that same emphasis to our clients? The guests and residents have become a Sherwood family that I love to spend time with.

How do you help make guests vacations at Sherwood Forest special?

The best way to understand what guests expect and want is by simply asking them. What acts do you like to see as far as entertainers go? What about the ice cream social made you want to come support us? Put yourself in their shoes and participate. Nothing gets your residents more interested than jumping in during a line dancing routine. You want to create memories that they will want to remember and give them a reason to come back for more.

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

I’ve learned a lot from my guests. Their life experiences, their many travels and family stories. The one thing I have taken from everyone is don’t be so serious. Broken water pipes can be repaired, cable can go haywire but the one thing that you can control is your outlook on things. Staying positive and not allowing yourself to become detracted from the world is essential and just makes you a better human being.

What’s special about Sherwood Forest?

Whenever I get asked this question I always refer to Sherwood Forest as a hidden gem. The property is tucked cubby behind other local business that drowns out the hussle and bussle of the major highway but we are still so close to everything your heart desires. Between the vast choices of dining and local eateries you can find just about anything within a 10 mile radius. The attractions are a big seller as well. Why not save a buck camping instead of a hotel and use the extra money to spend at Sea World or Disney. We even promote our local attractions that are not costly that just give us an edge due to our location.

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

The first word I would use to describe Sherwood is “exciting”. We know how to have a good time here even if we are grilling hot dogs and hamburgers in the blistering heat. Every event is such a joy to participate in that we want you wanting more. The second word I would choose is “friendly”. I have come to see the residents and guests to form groups and connections that present during dinners. They will come in before a potluck and reserve a table just so they can sit by their friends. It’s truly a sight and a testament to their belief in friendship. Last word that comes to my mind would be “relaxed”. Nothing like hearing about a lazy day at the pool. You can’t go wrong with knowing you can spend your day just lounging about the property and enjoying the comforts of the amenities on site. You can choose to play a round of golf at our miniature putt putt course or even surf the internet at our rec center. You choose your own activities and events, there is no wrong way to vacation.

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

The best bang for your buck I could offer would be Old Town and Fun Spot. Both are just 1 mile from the property that offer games and rides for kids plus some bars and shopping for adults. There is also a great place to kayak for those outdoor activity junkies at The Paddling Center at Shingle Creek. Obviously you can’t go wrong with Disney, Sea World, Universal, Legoland and all the other major attractions close by. If you think it, we probably have it.

What accomplishment at Sherwood Forest are you most proud of? Why?

There are a lot of things that we do as managers on a daily basis that change the property for the better but the one accomplishment I take with me is really delving into the activities we provide. Of course there are the staples such as potluck, bingo and cards but I didn’t want it to just end there. We have introduced new performers to the resort, painting classes, Happy Hour at our tiki bar and other events that give people a reason to come out of their campers and see us. I’m not afraid of trying anything once, if it works do it again, otherwise look for another event to fill the guests calendars up with another fun filled activity.

What’s your favorite funny story to tell from Sherwood Forest?

One of the funniest stories I can recollect is helping aid the guard shack dressed in a Luigi costume from the Mario Brothers. It was close to Halloween and I was trying out an outfit to wear and was asked by other employees to drive around the community in it. As we reached the entrance we all collectively thought the same idea as to have me wave in traffic. We were laughing from the time I stepped off that golf cart to my departure. Everyone stopped that night to get a good look and it made for a good story to those who caught me in character.

Can you share your favourite memory at Sherwood Forest?

One of my most memorable moments I can think of is when I was finally offered the management position. It had finally come to fruition on Thanksgiving day and during my speech to the guests at Thanksgiving Dinner in the clubhouse I announced to everyone my new role as manager. Everyone was so supportive and I’m still so thankful to be here to this day. Whenever I need a reminder as to why I do what I do, I think back to that day and it pushes me to do more and want more for the property and the guests.

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

The bonds of friendship truly shine when I think about Sherwood. One group that comes to mind rotates dinner and drinks from camper to camper every night and have even put up lights for the holidays which coincided with each other. And if you weren’t aware of how close these guests get with each other just wait for a meal event. You’ll always have one in the group come in before the event to save seats for their gang. A lot of the guests that come truly call their stay here with us their home away from home.

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

I can think of many reasons guests return to Sherwood Forest. The location, the activities, their friends and even the staff. We have formed quite the family here and when our guests return it’s like seeing a long lost relative finally coming back home. When you treat your guests like they belong, that’s what gives them a reason to come back. When our long term guests come in and mention they don’t want to check out yet, that’s a sign you’ve locked them in for another fun filled stay next time around.

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

Sherwood Forest is a breath of fresh air. We enjoy nothing but providing guests with the best experience they can get while creating memories of their own. Our location offers so many amazing dining options and you can easily stay entertained by all the local attractions and activities. If you are looking for a getaway from your normal everyday routine, come visit us even for a weekend. Give yourself the opportunity to visit old friends, make new friends and join the Sherwood tribe.

 

Trip It: The Ultimate Roadmap for Your Northeastern Adventure

Two weeks to explore the Northeastern U.S. might feel like a lot of time, but with so many things to do you may be wondering where to start, or how to pack it all in. To make the most of your time prioritize the top destinations. Start with a trip to the ocean, see the mountains, and of course end at the beach! With our roadmap, planning your two-week adventure has never been easier.

Days 1-4: Bar Harbor, Maine

Where to Stay

What better way to start your vacation than to camp on the ocean? Imagine being able to wake up to a beautiful, panoramic ocean view, and fall asleep to the sound of the waves. At Mt. Desert Narrows RV Resort you can park your RV or pitch a tent right on the water. While you may not want to leave Mt. Desert Narrows RV Resort, if you do you’ll find Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor are a short drive away.

Local Attractions

Acadia National Park

Maine’s rugged coastline is beautiful and diverse. This popular birder destination is home to a variety of plants and animals as well as the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast. At Acadia National Park you can hike amongst the mountain’s granite peaks, bike along it’s historic trails, or relax and enjoy the ocean scenery.

Historic Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor has been a popular destination for vacationers for over a hundred years, but although the area is well known, it’s not overrun with tourists, so it’s perfect for anyone looking for a quiet island escape. Although the pace is relaxed in Bar Harbor, there’s lots to do on this famous island, including Seaside Cinema nights and Taste of Bar Harbor pub and restaurant tours scheduled throughout the summer.

If you’re planning to visit over Memorial Day or the Fourth of July, then book early – these are popular times of celebration on the island.

Day 5: Explore Manchester, New Hampshire

Once you’ve explored the Bar Harbor area, we suggest that you make the eight-hour drive to the Adirondacks in New York State. Whether you start this trek in the morning or afternoon, consider stopping in Manchester, New Hampshire (which is 4.5 hours from Bar Harbour) for either lunch or dinner.

While in Manchester, you can check out a local brewery (Stark Brewing Company, Third Colony Brewery and Winery and Candia Road Brewing Company are popular choices), or if you prefer to add some culture to your trip consider stopping in at the Currier Museum of Art or catch a show at the Palace Theatre before driving the remaining 3.5 hours to New York state.

Days 6-10: Explore the Adirondacks in New York State

Where to Stay

The Adirondacks are a geographically expansive area, so it can be difficult to figure out where to focus your time. We recommend Lake George. Surrounded by the six million-acre Adirondack Park, it’s no surprise that Lake George Escape is one of the top RV parks and camping getaways in New York State.

Located just 15 minutes from the Village of Lake George and Saratoga Springs, the park offers guests a passenger bus to these popular nearby destinations so you don’t need to worry about how you’ll get around. That is, if you want to check out the nearby attractions! You may prefer to stay in the park where you can spend your days swimming, fishing, canoeing or hiking, and your evenings sharing memories and making new ones while watching holiday fireworks displays.

As you can imagine, Lake George Escapes is a popular destination, especially during the holidays so you’ll need to book in advance if you’re planning to go over a long weekend. But if you want to explore the area and haven’t pre-booked your trip, try nearby Lake George Schroon Valley Resort. Here, you’ll have access to a full scope of camping options including RV sites, cabins and tent camping.

Located directly on the Schroon River, and nestled in the foothills of the Adirondacks, Lake George Schroon Valley Resort is popular for its river pursuits including swimming, kayaking, canoeing, tubing and fishing.

Local Attractions  

No matter which park you choose to visit, we suggest taking a few days to explore these nearby attractions:

Adirondack Park

Designated in 1892 by the State of New York, Adirondack Park is a diverse mountain landscape that is home to waterways, forests and huge mountains. New York State owns 2.6 million acres of the park, making the region the largest publicly protected area in the United States.

Over 50 species of mammals live in the Adirondack Mountains, including moose, black bears, beavers, star-nosed moles, red and gray fox, bobcats, and river otters. If you love nature, then plan to spend some time here!

Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs is a bustling area with golf, horseback riding, and even hot air balloon rides! You’ll find amazing shopping, spas, dining and more here. If you love to watch horse racing, polo matches, or want to check out a farmer’s market, local winery or even a craft brewery then take a day or two to explore this area – there are plenty of fun activities to keep you busy at Saratoga Springs.

Days 10-14: Hit the Beach

If you’re looking for a drop dead gorgeous beach then Pulaski, New York is the place for you. Just a 3.5-hour drive from the Lake George area, Pulaski is located on the eastern shores of Lake Ontario, which means you won’t have to travel south to experience a relaxing beach vacation!  

Stay at Brennan Beach RV Resort and you’ll have the unique experience of beach camping in New York where you can soak up the sun on the white, sandy shores or go for a refreshing swim. The sunsets here are one-of-a-kind. In fact, this RV park is so popular that during the peak months of July and August Brennan Beach RV Resort bookings are for a minimum of one week (so depending on when you’re traveling you may want to plan to extend your stay here and reduce your time elsewhere).

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 the Northeastern states, give our customer service team a call at 1-877-570-2267. They know all the ins-and-outs of the Northeastern United States and can give you the insider details and perspectives that will make your trip a memorable one.

Tropical Palms RV in Kissimmee: A peaceful getaway in the heart of Central Florida

A Quiet Hideaway

Feel the warmth of the Florida sun at Tropical Palms RV Resort in Kissimmee, FL. It’s the perfect central Florida hideaway.

“We truly are a hidden gem,” said park GM Karla Hettinger. “We have 69 acres of prime central Florida real estate that’s minutes away from dozens and dozens of theme parks. You can bring your RV here or stay in one of our private cottages. At the end of the day you come back to this quiet hideaway with your own private space. Guests love to relax and unwind by playing shuffleboard, mini golf, bocce ball, and horseshoes.”

Hettinger said about 40% of the guests at Tropical Palms are from Canada. “Canadians are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met,” she said. “Many of them started coming here years ago with their RV. When they decided the drive was too much, they purchased one of our Sandcastles, which is what we call the privately-owned cottages,” she explained. “They keep coming back here because of the experience of community. The staff and other guests become like family, and they can’t wait to come down and see them again.”

The events and activities at Tropical Palms were designed with all ages in mind. “We made sure that everything we offer here can be enjoyed by a variety of people.”

Places to Go… Things to Do

When you’re ready to extend your adventures beyond the resort, you are a short drive away from the excitement of Disney World, Universal Theme Parks, Sea World, Kennedy Space Centre and Busch Gardens!

Disney World: This world-renowned theme park offers hours and hours of exploration. There are the rides; however, Disney World is so much more than that. Choose from a huge assortment of exhibits, pavilions and experiences, including an American Adventure Life Show and the Gallery of the Arts and History of Morocco. The Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros, is a gentle boat ride through the Mexican pavilion. There’s this and so much more to see and do in Disney World. You are sure to see characters from your childhood as you explore the park and delight in the laughter that surrounds you.

Universal Theme Parks: With so many exhilarating attractions to choose from, you’ll want to plan enough time to experience it all! For reggae lovers, the Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom exhibit is a must see. The Blue Man Group is another super exciting experience you don’t want to miss. This comedy, theatre, concert and dance party mash up delivers an incredible multi-sensory experience. Be sure to take in this dynamic show that has captivated millions of people worldwide!

Sea World: Take advantage of the opportunity to experience and learn about our planet’s fascinating ocean creatures. The shark encounter offers guests the chance to view these ancient predators as the fascinating and intelligent creatures they are. Stingray Lagoon gives visitors the chance to get up close and personal with these peaceful water dwellers. You may just get soft high-five if you dare to place your hand gently on the surface of the water!

Kennedy Space Center: The Kennedy Space Center is a must visit for anyone who has ever stared up at the stars and wondered what it would be like to be out there. The space center is organized into Mission Zones. The attractions and tours offered by the Space Center are grouped by chronological era. You’ll learn about the fascinating history of space travel, from the dawn of space exploration to current missions.

Busch Gardens: This park was recently recognized as being one of the best theme parks in the world. What you might not know is there are some incredible culinary experiences at Busch Gardens! If your taste buds tingle at the thought of barbecue, be sure to check out the Zambia Smokehouse. If dinner with a view is more your speed, visit the Serengeti Overlook Restaurant. For something completely different, indulge in a bacon pretzel fury at Twisted Tails Pretzels.

Meanwhile… Back at the Park

Once you’ve had all the excitement you can handle, head back to Tropical Palms. You can relax outside your RV and soak up some sun, or take part in one of the several programs they offer. Try your luck at candy bar Bingo, appreciation parties, block parties,

bean bag pizza parties, casino night, ice cream socials, yard sails, wine and paint nights, the trop-Olympics and dancing the night away to live music.

When the last tale has been told, the final song sung, it’s time to head to bed so you can start all over again the next day.

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!