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Old 09-25-2015, 07:44 AM   #1
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Rio Grande Valley Texas

We are wanting to travel to the Rio Grande Valley in winter 2016 to see what the draw is there. However, we don't want to stay in the same spot for more than a week or two. We want to travel around down there (more valley than coast) and check out parks and locales for longer stays in the future. Found one website, www.campsouthtexs.com and know about www.rvparksreview.com but now wondering about our plan as someone told us you can't "move around" down there, that you need to rent monthly or seasonally because everything will be booked up. Also told we need to book NOW...but we like having a little more flexibility than that....With the vast experience out there, can you share any experiences in the RGV? We don't want to stay in huge city resorts, don't mind the resort environment, but don't want the noise, and bussle of a city area. Looking for peace and quiet, adult only is a plus, FHU, 50A, someplace clean and safe, don't need planned activities. Prices look ok for monthly rates, but daily and weekly seem pretty high in what we've seen. Any suggestions appreciated!
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:09 PM   #2
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RGV parks

We've gone to the RVG for years and have always stayed at a Park in Donna which is called Magnolia Park. It is rather small compared to a lot of the parks but does have nice buildings, planned activities, pool, etc. There are booklets published which list almost all of the parks in the area and I'm wondering if you would contact one of the Chambers down there if they wouldn't send you some info. The Weslaco Chamber has a very nice visitors center with tons of info in it and I haven't looked but am betting they have a web site with some of that same info. Some of the parks do fill up but I believe that Magnolia Park would have a few vacancies here and there. The spots for the most part are roomy and we are a friendly park, but most people would say that about their park too. Down there we are known as Winter Texans and if you do a search for Winter Texan I believe you'll find more info which may be helpful. The last two winters have been cold and rainy and this winter's forecast promises more of the same so take along some warm clothing and things to do inside. Our park is close to a couple of Walmarts and also HEB (huge grocery chain) is not far away. Mexico is within 10 miles (you need a passport or passport card) and that is a fun place to visit. Park on the US side and walk over bridge at Progresso which is geared to Winter Texans. If you are birders, as we are, there are many places to go birding and see birds you haven't seen other places. Lots of Museums in the area, and other things to see and do. If you arrive in December, there is a huge Fesitival of Lights in Hidalgo which is worth going to see. Have fun!!
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Old 09-27-2015, 05:51 AM   #3
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Thanks, Deon/Jim for the info. I will contact the chamber...and look online. We didn't really have any desire to go into Mexico so not to worried about that...but will check out the info you've given me!! Thanks for responding. Maybe we'll see you at Magnolia!!
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Old 09-27-2015, 07:25 AM   #4
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I say that in the RGV you can't spit without hitting an RV park. LOL

Lots of options but in the RGV from around just west of Brownsville to a little west of Mission along and near I-2 you will find most of them. We will to our third winter this year and we do it because of the low costs and reasonably good weather. The last 2 years have been cooler and rainier but certainly not unbearable at all. It won't have southern FL weather but for many it is quite nice.

You might find that jumping from park to park in the RGV is a little of "more of the same" and not using the monthly rates will cost you more than if you at least go for monthly rates and move 2-3 times.

Lots of the parks have winter time activities and you will also find a large number of snow birds in park model homes. You shouldn't have any problems finding a place that can accept your MH but many of them, especially that I have personally seen near Mission can get very tight and feel like you are in a sardine can.

I-2/HWY 83 can get your anywhere through that area in pretty good time outside of morning and evening rush hours. The biggest bottle neck during those times is around HWY 281/I-69C.

The demographics are not working in the favor of RV Parks in that area. The aging population of older RVers is causing more attrition than influx of newer folks. That will keep park availability fairly open for the run of the mill parks. The pricier parks will have nicer amenities and probably have a higher occupancy and thus maybe a little harder to find a good site in.

Personally we like the RGV for what it is worth to us. The 3 months we stay there are reasonably low cost for both CG fees and low cost of goods to allow us to explore the rest of the US and the typically higher fees. It has lots of great food, fresh produce and we enjoy many of the Mexican cultural influences.

I can speak for Winter Ranch (where we stay) & Trophy Gardens in Alamo. They are part of the Wilder resorts in TX. There are around 6 or 7 Wilder Corporation parks in the area and they are all fairly good places. I think they are a tad better than some of the other older parks and not quite as sardine can in lay out. While Alamo itself isn't a garden spot it isn't that bad but our gated security makes it very comfortable. There are a few parks that are very near I-2 and I would think they could have much more "urban" feel and noise.

There are also plenty of medical facilities through out the RGV and in MX. I had dental work done in Progresso, MX and minor knee surgery in Edinburg. HOWEVER...it seems that the norm is to expect a long wait to see the medical person. Typically, unless you are very early in the morning we often found we didn't see our medical person for as much as an hour after our appointment time.
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Old 09-27-2015, 08:38 AM   #5
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You have a good plan. Monthly rent is much less, but our first year we jumped all over . Very few of the parks book solid. This is a good place to start Victoria Palms RV | RV Resort in Texas | Rio Grande Valley . Find out what you like big or small . Donna Westlaco area is central and an easy run east or west. We have stayed in AZ last couple of years .
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Old 09-27-2015, 11:12 AM   #6
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This will be our third year in the RGV. The first year we picked out what we thought was a very nice park and booked it for three months. We then went exploring all the other parks a couple days a week to see what the others offered. We found there are three classes of parks. OK, nice and very nice. If you have a dog some parks have more green areas than others. Some have more activities than others. Some parks have mostly park homes, some sites are packed together like a parking lot. It only takes a few minutes driving through a park to decide if it's what you are looking for. What fits into your very nice category might be very different than mine. I think moving every couple weeks is unnecessary and would cost a whole lot more than the monthly rates.It took us a couple of months of exploring to find one that fits our lifestyle. We now stay at Bentsen Palm Village in Mission.
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Old 09-27-2015, 03:16 PM   #7
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It might not suit your needs, but Texas has 5-6 state parks along the border and many of the sites will have full hookups. You might consider a 14-day stay at one of them to research the area in person to pick out the 'right' park for longer stay.
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Old 09-27-2015, 03:23 PM   #8
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We certainly are not experts as we just had our first experience in the RGV in March of this year. We stays a few days here:

http://www.chimneyparkresort.com/

It's a small park right on the Rio Grande and we loved it.


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Old 09-27-2015, 03:29 PM   #9
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This link will list most campgrounds: https://texascampgrounds.com/regions/south/
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Old 10-01-2015, 03:28 PM   #10
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add on question

Thanks everyone for the great ideas and suggestions! One more quick question. Electric prices there seem higher than normal down there...I would guess they are commercial rates to the parks. What is your experience with the electric bills during the winter months? We have heat pumps and use 2 small portable electric heaters, our propane unit almost never comes on. So just a curiosity....
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Old 10-01-2015, 07:18 PM   #11
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We have reservations at Bentson Palms for the week after Christmas. We are intrigued by the popularity of the RGV area and like what we are hearing. Need to see it and feel it and experience the area for ourselves, however. While we are salamanders (we like it warm) we also like water sports and boating and that seems to be lacking in the area. \ken
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Old 10-01-2015, 08:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fixn2gocamp View Post
Thanks everyone for the great ideas and suggestions! One more quick question. Electric prices there seem higher than normal down there...I would guess they are commercial rates to the parks. What is your experience with the electric bills during the winter months? We have heat pumps and use 2 small portable electric heaters, our propane unit almost never comes on. So just a curiosity....
Propane is very popular, truck comes through park everyday. When you get the electric bill you will know why.
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Old 10-03-2015, 07:42 AM   #13
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Propane is very popular, truck comes through park everyday. When you get the electric bill you will know why.
If you know, what might be a possible monthly average electric bill when used almost inclusively vs one where propane might be used more often for the water heater and supplemental heating.
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Old 10-03-2015, 08:45 AM   #14
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If you know, what might be a possible monthly average electric bill when used almost inclusively vs one where propane might be used more often for the water heater and supplemental heating.
Check out this page for comparison costs to heat with various fuel types.

Electric Heat vs. Gas/Oil Heat Cost Calculator/Comparator. I also assumed a fairly low efficiency for an RV forced are, gas furnace.

This is a sample report. Last winter in Alamo, TX electric was $.12/KWH and I just quickly looked up propane prices at Residential Propane Weekly Heating Oil and Propane Prices (October - March)

The Cost of Heat

Electric vs Fuels - Comparison Result

Electric:

Electric rate (per kilowatt-hour) = 0.1200
Cost of heat (per 100,000 BTU) = 3.52

Fuel:

Propane cost per gallon = 2.29
Burner efficiency factor = 75%
Cost of heat (per 100,000 BTU) = 3.31

GAS WINS!

If you assume a more efficient gas furnace (85%) then

The Cost of Heat

Electric vs Fuels - Comparison Result

Electric:

Electric rate (per kilowatt-hour) = 0.1200
Cost of heat (per 100,000 BTU) = 3.52

Fuel:

Propane cost per gallon = 2.29
Burner efficiency factor = 85%
Cost of heat (per 100,000 BTU) = 2.92

ELECTRIC WINS!
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