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How do you find a place to spend the winter?


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RV Park Reviews doesn't help much with long term stays since most reviews are short termers.   I haven't found a repository or many advertisements for long term parks in the Greater Phoenix area (or within a 30 min or so drive), my current area of interest.  

How does one go about finding a place to stay for 4+ months?  Is it just hit and miss each year until you find a place you really like?

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We traveled to an area that was interesting and while on a short stay there scouted out local campgrounds for one we liked and then moved there and also made reservations for the following winter.       Greg 

Greg & Judy Bahnmiller
Class of 2007
2014 F350
2007 HitchHiker Champagne

Both sold 2/19, settled in Foley, AL after 12 years on the road

http://bahnmilleradventure.blogspot.com/

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We spent a few winters doing 1 week here, one or 2 weeks there, until we finally settled on a park we liked and tried for a longer time.  We also had lots of friends, so we visited other parks when visiting friends.  Plus word of mouth from people around us about why they did or didn't like another park.   And it is VERY SUBJECTIVE.    What I like might not be what you like.  

First big problem is deciding upon the area in the greater Phoenix metroplex that you want to be.   For us it is Mesa.   We've stayed on the west side, too much wind/dust.   We've been out in Gold Canyon - to far away from things we like to do and much to far from a Starbucks for me! B)    And parks in Apache Junction we're quite what I wanted.  So that meant Mesa, and we tried several over the years.  We were at Mesa Spirit for 4 winters and then they changed management and really drove away people - us included.  We liked Val Vista and so the next winter that was our place, and we eventually bought a park model in Val Vista for the winter.

So what is it that you like to do?

Barb & Dave O'Keeffe
2002 Alpine 36 MDDS (Figment II), 2018 Ford C-Max HYBRID
Blog: http://www.barbanddave.net
SPK# 90761 FMCA #F337834

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44 minutes ago, Barbaraok said:

So what is it that you like to do?

We're foodies, so we go to a lot of different restaurants and sample the faire.  We like motorcycling and I know there are good roads/rides all over the area.  I like to shoot and have found 2 gun ranges in the area, but there may be more that put on organized matches.  We've discussed jeeping in the desert, too.  Would also like a park with a large off-leash dog park.  And we're not quite eligible for the 55+ parks.

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What are your tastes? As stated, Apache Junction has more mid-market and lower market parks, along with amenities. Mesa is right next door, but offers bigger, fancier, parks. More restaurants, museums, and art events. 

I have been wrong before, I'll probably be wrong again. 

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The Maricopa County parks and the state park are only for 2 weeks but I think you can move from one to another.  They are excellent parks.

From your description of what you like I think zeroing in on the east Mesa/Apache Junction side would be best for you.  If you can, reserve a spot for a month in various parks to find the one for you.  As far at the 55+ parks, they have to let a certain percentage of underage stay.  There are many large, medium and small parks. Each has a different atmosphere. Good luck!

Full-timed for 16 Years
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Motorhome
and 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th Wheel

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This may sound quaint in the 21st century, but every state still has an official tourism bureau, all of which can provide you with maps and publications.  Many have lists of not just places to go and things to see, but also lists of campgrounds and RV parks.  Sounds like you need to see what the AZ Tourism board has to offer.

Regards

John

DON'T FEED THE VULTURES!

My Body is a Temple!  Ancient, Crumbling, Probably Cursed . . .

I Don't Like to Make Advanced Plans.  They Cause the Word "PREMEDITATED" to Get Thrown Around in Court!

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Also note that just about any RV park in the greater Phoenix area allows long-term stays in winter.  If you're looking at reviews, sound one that sounds good... even if it's someone who only spent a short time and go to the park's web site for additional information.  Sometimes you just have to go by pictures to get a feel for the park although some just show a flower garden. :)

 

Full-timed for 16 Years
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Motorhome
and 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th Wheel

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We just scout out different areas we enjoy and feel more at home in because of the people and the culture of the park itself. Once we find a place like that, we tend to go back again and again.

Most parks in the sunbelt states offer seasonal rates, you just have to ask or dig around their websites. The fun part is finding that one place that really gets you excited about returning each season! Good luck in your search.

Rene & Jim
Exploring North America since 2007. SKP #103,274

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7 hours ago, Optimistic Paranoid said:

This may sound quaint in the 21st century, but every state still has an official tourism bureau, all of which can provide you with maps and publications.  Many have lists of not just places to go and things to see, but also lists of campgrounds and RV parks.  Sounds like you need to see what the AZ Tourism board has to offer.

A lot of those tourism sites are online now as well. Just Google "tourism" and the state's name and see what you get. Arizona just gave me a bunch of responses.

Linda Sand

Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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We're using our Trails Collection add on to sample 4 or 5 parks this Dec. We are both 55+ ...many of the Encore parks in the system are age restricted communities. A number had reviews (RV park reviews) from long term seasonals as well as transients. We're in no hurry to find a place to "settle down for the winter"...will move around quite a bit while we're able. Returning to Summerdale this Nov as I really liked the first impression last year when I passed through there. (FAIRHOPE, Foley...). We are both tax preparers and have to be back to MN after Christmas.

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There are 18 parks in AZ that are part of the Trails Collection...2 in Apache Junction, 3 in Mesa, 5 in Yuma and more. You can buy a zone pass and add on the TC for $199... This is a great way to sample lots of parks without spending a lot of $. 

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On 9/20/2018 at 4:46 PM, Optimistic Paranoid said:

This may sound quaint in the 21st century, but every state still has an official tourism bureau, all of which can provide you with maps and publications.  Many have lists of not just places to go and things to see, but also lists of campgrounds and RV parks.  Sounds like you need to see what the AZ Tourism board has to offer.

I am very aware of what kind of info brochures provide.  Typically not very helpful.  Seems like it will boil down to testing the waters at a few.  If none of those work out, the next year we'd have to test out a few more.

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OK Remo I will weigh in here. With the increasingly severe weather lately I would first not move near the volcanoes of the Oregon/Washington corridor. Hurricanes make the coats a no way. Summer wildfires are a real threat to lungs in bordering states around the fires. I would not do California even inland because of the quakes. Best bets are the Southwestern states of Aridzona, and Nevada. Unless you are Mormon Utah is out for me, heck I am moving out of the bible belt! Then look at the incidence of tornado and hurricane effects. Flooding zones also off limits. There are still lots of great places that put you least least in harm's way.

So once you find the elevation and states you want to winter in, then just start spending a winter at each. You'll find it in a year or three.

RV/Derek
http://www.rvroadie.com Email on the bottom of my website page.
Retired AF 1971-1998


When you see a worthy man, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy man, look inside yourself. - Confucius

 

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

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Derek, 

It isn't the volcanos that you need to worry about in the PNW - it is the Cascadia Fault which runs off shore from Vancouver Island down almost to California.   It is about 50 yrs past due to rupture and will unleash huge quack and tsunami when it goes.    Once that happens (all coastal towns have tsunami evacuation signs) then you can worry about Mt. Rainier blowing it's top followed by wildfires all up and down the whole west coast.

 

Barb & Dave O'Keeffe
2002 Alpine 36 MDDS (Figment II), 2018 Ford C-Max HYBRID
Blog: http://www.barbanddave.net
SPK# 90761 FMCA #F337834

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Back to finding a place to winter. We attended Life on Wheels, kind of like Boot Camp, before we bought our first full-timing rig in 2008. While there the late Gaylord Maxwell told us to not stop in the first place we like or we might miss out on a better one just down the road. In fact he recommended we spend the whole first winter traveling coast to coast staying below I-10 since that's where most of the snowbird parks are. So we did that. We didn't like the critters in Florida. We didn't like the humidity on the Gulf Coast. We didn't like the traffic in the Rio Grande area. We didn't like the mountain weather in New Mexico. We liked Arizona. Which is good because that's where most of our SKP class members liked it, too, which made it easy to attend class reunions every year.

I know the OP has decided to stay in the Phoenix area but there's a lot of territory included in most people's idea of Phoenix. So they could probably spend the winter just moving from one park to another to determine what part of Phoenix best suits them. Even just staying in the various Maricopa County parks would give them a sense of the general areas then they could start checking out private parks.

Linda

Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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The TT zone pass + TC add on works especially great Labor Day-Dec because you can get in to any park in your "zone".

If you only used it during those months, it would still pay for itself!  Read the fine print, use is subject to availability, but it is possible to get into popular parks during peak periods if you play your cards right. One thing I really like about the setup is that the 14 day in and 7 out of the system forces you to try non-TT/Encore parks in-between visits. People on the permanent contracts can get stuck in a rut, going 21 days from "park to park".

Looking forward to exploring AZ, that holds greatest promise for us when we become snowbirds.

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We spent two years trying different areas of Arizona 1-2 week’s at a time.  We also tried Florida (I hate bugs), RGV (chewed dirt all winter), Southern California ( don’t have enough money), which lead us to Mesa for the winter.  

Barb & Dave O'Keeffe
2002 Alpine 36 MDDS (Figment II), 2018 Ford C-Max HYBRID
Blog: http://www.barbanddave.net
SPK# 90761 FMCA #F337834

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Other posters have given great tips. We went to Tucson the first time because some friends were staying there. We loved the Voyager resort and how friendly everyone was. We spent 5 winter seasons there. This past winter we had a family obligation in Monterey County, CA and really missed the warm weather of AZ. Do you know anyone who stays in the Phoenix area? DH's parents lived on the west side of Phoenix, we stayed at Leaf Verde in Buckeye several times and liked it. It's not a huge park and there are many people that come back every year. You may have to do what Barbaraok did and stay 1 or 2 weeks at several parks to find one you might like. It's more expensive but worth it to find the right fit for you.

Jan & Thomas

2012 Drv Mobile Suite 5'r

2012 Ford F350 Super Duty

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You might also like to try out Tucson, as MissouriJan mentioned.  Many good motorcycle roads and Jeeping trails.  For under 55 there's a KOA that gets good reviews; also Catalina State Park or Tucson Mountain Park if you want short-term for a try out.  Although a little cooler in winter, many like to stay in Benson, AZ about 40 mi. east of Tucson which also has excellent riding.  There's an excellent Escapee co-op park there.  Every area of Arizona has something to offer. Give them a try!

Full-timed for 16 Years
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Motorhome
and 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th Wheel

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