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.

The Ultimate Roadmap for Your 30 Days in Florida!

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

Days 1 – 5: Crystal River – Homosassa Region

Where to Stay

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

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

 

Manatees

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

Scalloping

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

Days 6-8: Tampa

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

Where to Stay

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

Days 9-13: Fort Myers

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

Where to Stay

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

Golf

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

Edison and Ford Winter Estates

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

J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge

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

Days 14 – 20: The Florida Keys

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

Where to Stay

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

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

Day 21: Miami

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

Days 21 – 25: Orlando

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

Where to Stay

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

Days 26 – 30: Daytona Beach

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

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

Where to Stay

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

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

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

Meet Steven from Forest lake Village RV Resort in Zephyrhills, FL

stevenBagiardi

Profile:

  • Name: Steven Bagiardi
  • In position since: June of 2016
  • Title: Resort Manager
  • Work Location: Forest Lake Village RV Resort
  • Favorite Activities: Spending time with family and friends, golfing, scuba diving and much more!

How does a typical day at Forest Lake Village look like?  What is your favorite moment of the day?

Well first off, it starts off with a whole lot of sunshine and beautiful weather. But there is no such thing as a “typical day” on the operations part of this business. There are so many different facets to what we do every day and that makes it fun. My favorite moments of the days are when I get out 2-3 times a day and ride in the golf cart. I just take a ride, enjoy the weather, and see the beautiful community and the amazing guests that are here in the park.

You are working, while people at the resort are enjoying their vacation. How do you handle that?

This is an easy one. I simply love making people happy. My guests are an extension of my family. After all, I am at work more hours than I am at home. Seeing my guests having fun and helping to make their stay the best it can possibly be is what I love.

When people ask you what the best experiences are in the surrounding areas, what would you recommend?

We are so fortunate to be located centrally between Tampa and Orlando. I would send people to Tampa for the amazing sports teams we have like the University of South Florida Bulls and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tampa Bay Rays, and Tampa Bay Lightning! Can’t forget Busch Gardens, Tarpon Springs, and the gorgeous beaches! Towards Orlando, I would send people to Disney and all of the other great attractions they have.

What’s your favorite story to tell about your time at Forest Lake?

I tell people how happy my residents are when I do something for them or the park. No matter how small or simple, the guests here are so appreciative.

What’s your best accomplishment so far at the resort?

I have made it a point to get out in the community and to get to know my guests and spend time with them. This is something that they never had with previous ownership. I want to change that.  I want people to get to know me and feel extremely comfortable with me as the manager. I am a people person!

If you had to describe your RV park to someone who thinks about coming to Forest Lake Village, what would you say?

Forest Lake Village RV Resort is a stunning oasis where you can relax and enjoy all of the great activities that we have to offer every day. It is also close enough to Tampa and Orlando so that you can enjoy all that they have to offer as well.


What brought you to Forest Lake Village?

I wanted to manage a top-quality RV park just outside of the busy downtown Tampa area. When Forest Lake Village came into the company’s portfolio, I knew I wanted to come here.

Any last words for your current and future guests?

Forest Lake Village is a phenomenal resort with so much to offer onsite, or nearby. My staff and I do everything possible to make our guests happy and we would love the opportunity to show you how much we truly love what we do. Welcome to Forest Lake Village RV Resort!

Pasco RV Resort in Florida is “one big loving family”

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For the past two years, my Dad and I have been wintering at the Encore Winter Quarters Pasco RV Resort in Lutz (just north of Tampa), Florida. I had been looking for a warm climate for my Dad where he could spend the cold Canadian winter months. One evening at a dinner with some friends, the discussion of wintering in Florida soon led to a trailer rental from a mutual friend who was familiar with Encore’s  Pasco Winter Quarters location. So there we were, transformed from frigid northern temperatures to the sunny south and part of the Snowbird migration to Florida.

When Dad flew down the first year by himself, my brother, sister and I had many apprehensions. We were concerned about how he would cope – he was eighty five. Dad is very mobile and can look after himself, but you always wonder how things will turn out. During his first telephone call he informed us that he was having fun and had met some wonderful neighbours who were taking care of him. This sounded too good to be true and we figured he was just trying to alleviate our concerns. Each phone call he insisted that all was well and he was enjoying the RV park way of life.

6y866b_still_vw_vr-1This was my first year of retirement and I had just returned from three months in S.E. Asia, so I flew to Florida to join my father two months into his stay. Well, from my first moments at the park, I could see that Dad had been sincere in his earlier phone conversations. The lifestyle was more that you could ask for. The location was central to all the amenities (airport, shopping etc.), the park size gave a very family oriented feeling and there were more than enough activities to fill your day. Of course you may expect that, but what was so overwhelming were the people, both residents and staff. I could not believe the love and warmth of the neighbours. They could not do enough to make Dad feel at home and he was never short for anything. I was quickly accepted in the same manner, a home away from home with a loving family thrown in. There were also many Snowbirds present if you felt you required some northern conversations.

I have to say the weather is a treat as are the local bird (cranes) wildlife, more like pets than wild. They sort of epitomize the lifestyle. One has to remember that a trailer park stay is not a vacation, but day to day living in Florida instead of at home in Canada. With all the activities your days / weeks just fly by, I will take this lifestyle any day.

One of our neighbours has a pontoon boat, so we have boated around and through Tampa and on other occasions gone fishing. It is such a relaxing way to spend a day. Golf is available at so many locations and the prices are very reasonable, especially since they always include a cart.

Going out to eat has turned into an adventure. We (Dad and his gang) all cram into a couple of SUV’s or vans and head to one of the local dining establishments. It could be Asian (so many to choose from), Greek, Italian, Mexican or some local cuisine and of course there are always burgers or pizza. Now and again they venture to all you can eat buffets, thank goodness there is always plenty of fruit and salad bars.

I must add that my brother, sister and a friend have come down to stay for a week on separate occasions and all have been treated with the same warmth as Dad. This really is one big loving family who sincerely care for one another.

Written by Alan Brown, Seasonal Guest at Winter Quarters Pasco RV Resort in Lutz, FL