Sunday, July 22, 2018
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20180315 ENCORE Sunshine RV Swimming PoolMany Winter Texans come to the Rio Grande Valley because they've been here before and love the weather, the chance to get outdoors in the winter to play golf, cycle, play shuffleboard and even take a swim in the pool. Some come down because they've visited friends or family before and decided the Valley is a great place to enjoy retirement living.

Still others have come down just to check it out to see what the Valley is like and what it has to offer. But where does one stay when visiting the Valley for the first time? Not to worry, there are about 300 RV and mobile home resorts and subdivisions that cater to Winter Texans spread all across the Rio Grande Valley, from Mission to South Padre Island. And every resort and park has something to offer.

20180315 ENCORE Victoria Palms Rental UnitsAs you inquire about the various resorts, you will find that some have lots of amenities, such as swimming pools, shuffleboard and petanque courts, pool tables, big recreation halls for dances, concerts, jam sessions, luncheons, ice cream socials and many other activities. The bigger parks offer more amenities and more activities. The smaller parks often are not as busy and don’t offer as many amenities, but that’s what some folks prefer – a more peaceful, quiet country setting to enjoy.

Some resorts are very active with square dancing, others favor more of the country western dances or big band swing style of music. Regardless of the types of activities you enjoy, you can be pretty sure you will find a resort in the Valley that can check all the boxes on your checklist.

Woodworking? Check. Quilting group? Check. Gun range? Check. RC car races? Check.

Perhaps the best way to see if a resort is right for you is to stay a while and check it out. One of the parks we spoke to in Mission has about a dozen different type of low-cost rentals, including mobile homes and RVs, for visitors to come and check out the park.

20180315 ENCORE Fun N Sun RC Airplane Club“People feel much better when they can see a few places and stay there for a little while to get the feel of the park and what they have to offer,” said Salome Welliver, general manager and co-owner of Oleander Acres. “We want to get them in the door and bring them back one way or another. It's helpful for people to come check it out and we have different sizes and styles based on what their style is and what they like to do.”

Welliver added that many parks are in a transitional phase with a new age group of Winter Texans making their way to the Valley, mostly from the Baby Boomer generation. She said she's also seen a larger contingent of Canadians trekking to South Texas as well.

Many of the resorts are adding park facilities to appeal to the active lifestyle of these younger retirees. For example, Bentsen Grove Resort, a large park in the Mission area with 850 mobile home and RV spaces, has a new indoor and air-conditioned building that is the home of two new pickleball courts. Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport among Winter Texans and Bentsen Grove offers free, two-day stays at some of their apartments to allow first-time visitors to get a feel of the resort and all they have to offer.

20180315 ENCORE Tropic Winds RC Track 2“When they come here, they have full use of the place like they were residents already,” said park manager Brandy Copeland. “They get a full tour of the grounds and get to check out all the activities.” Some couples will pay the rent after the two free days to enjoy more of the park. “That's always a good sign,” added Copeland.

For those coming down for the first time without an RV, some parks offer RV or mobile home rentals. Or, there are many hotel options available throughout the Valley (including some of the parks), which is good option for those who only plan to be here a couple of weeks.

But to truly experience the retirement community lifestyle, there’s nothing better than staying in one of the MH & RV resorts. The Winter Texan Times publishes an annual directory of the resorts, which you can request by calling our office at 956-580-7800. Or you can view the directory online at
http://wintertexantimes.com/online-editions/mobile-home-a-park-directory.html There, current or prospective Winter visitors can look through the directory, find the area they would like to stay, the size of the park and contact information to answer any questions.

“There were a lot of first-timers at my park and I'm hearing the same from several other parks,” Welliver said. “Because it's a whole new generation, we are tweaking things to make sure we accommodate all ages.”

Welliver is also the chairman of the All-Valley RV Show and said there were many first-timers – again, especially Canadians – who were interested in RVs and full of questions about parks and where to go. Several parks had a booth at the show, which was held at the RGV Livestock Showgrounds, especially to recruit first timers, and show current residents what they had to offer as well.

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