Jump to content
Sculptor

First year wintering in the south

Recommended Posts

I read this topic and it’s helpful.  https://www.rvnetwork.com/topic/137485-winter-location-suggestion/

We just started our full time adventure this month.  We have an HDT pulling a 36’ fifth wheel.  
 

We are looking for less expensive suggestions for wintering in the south.  We only have a bit of experience with Florida, and I agree it can be buggy and crowded in most areas.  I have family in South Miami which is my only interest.  I wonder if Ft Meyers is less expensive than Miami area? 


According to many, Arizona is just about the best for weather.  We have never been there.  Texas either.   We can find links to RV parks all week long but I’m asking for help to narrow it down if possible.

thanks in advance,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since it is your first year, I would just draw a line that follows I-10 across the southern states,  start at one side and work your way to the other.   We bounced around doing 2-3 week stints (up to a month) the first few years to determine where we wanted to be and where we didn't want to be.   Yes, we ended up in Arizona for the winter, but that's us.   Other people swear by Florida, the Gulf Coast, the RGV (Rio Grande Valley), some do west Texas and New Mexico, then there are the Arizona desert areas and the Southern California desert areas, plus some mid-California areas.  

This year will be tricky because of local/state regulations that affect length of stays, quarantining, etc.  None of us has the right answer for you because we don't know what you want to do, what you like, don't like (bugs, for me, which is why we only did one year in Florida),  size of your budget, etc.   

Remember, you are exploring, and there will be some stops that will be on your "never stop here again", others that will be "if we come this way, not a bad stop" and eventually a few (or maybe 1) "this is the spot for next year". 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fort Myers is not cheap, but we liked it and if we were from the Midwest or further east, we might have bought a lot and gone there every year.  South Florida is warmer than Arizona most winters, and being a bit more humid the temperatures do not drop as much when the sun goes down.  Our first winters we also moved around and found the areas and campgrounds we liked.  For us that ended up Fort Myers and Mesa.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Move around for at least two years.  Remember any access to the water is more expensive.  Ft  Meyers is probably 50% more than central Florida. 

You really need to see the country. Not going to be as easy as in the past. Remember the Canadian's are not coming this year. That is based on latest  news. So a lot of parks will be looking for business.

Enjoy your adventures.

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you considered a Thousand Trails Zone Pass + Trails Collection? (Lots of good parks in the sunbelt to choose from). The "7 days out" will force you to mix it up and try private non TT parks and state parks etc.

 

https://rvlove.com/start-here/camping-options/thousand-trails/

 

The combination I suggested would give you access to 43 parks in Florida, lots in Texas, and quite a few in AZ.

 

Cost would be under $1,000 to try it for a year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were told we should travel the whole south at least one winter so you don't settle for good when a bit further you might have found better. We learned we didn't like Florida nor the Rio Grande Valley. We got chased out of Alabama by a hurricane. We ended up in Arizona where there are no bugs and the humidity is low. But, we don't have any family that far south to affect our decision.

Linda Sand

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No question the further south and the closer to coast is likely to be significantly higher.  When I wintered there as  volunteer in 99-2000 the bug that was the biggest headache in someways was the "love bugs".  I don't know about the whole state but where I was they sprayed for bugs (mostly mesquitoes_)  I bet a lot of communities do. We were right on a lake and in the buffer zones for a bombing range.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with others.  Move around and try different states and different areas within the states; not necessarily in the same year.  There are plenty of RV parks with various prices so it should be easy to find something in your price range.  The farther you are from water or major attractions the cheaper the parks will be.  Park with lots of activities will be more costly than a 'Plain Jane' park.

Explore some of the review sites to get an idea of what people liked or didn't like about a particular parks.  Note that some people may give the park a low rating because of poor internet, too many trees, not enough trees, muddy after rain, automatic sprinklers hitting the RV, etc.  Some things may not bother you so don't always go with the ratings by a particular person.  Read all the reviews on the park and you can get a better idea if the park is for you.

Here's one we liked:  https://www.campgroundreviews.com/

Edited by 2gypsies

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Arizona is great.  

If  you can boondock in Quartzsite, that's about as cheap as you're gonna get, and plenty of room for a rig your size.  Get thee some solar panels, some good batteries and a way to haul water on your truck and you'll do fine.  The water thing is kind of important, unless you enjoy breaking camp to take your 5er there.

I say this partly because I hear reports of RV parks becoming very busy because of Covid. 

Edited by hemsteadc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

Since it is your first year, I would just draw a line that follows I-10 across the southern states,  start at one side and work your way to the other.   We bounced around doing 2-3 week stints (up to a month) the first few years to determine where we wanted to be and where we didn't want to be.   Yes, we ended up in Arizona for the winter, but that's us.   Other people swear by Florida, the Gulf Coast, the RGV (Rio Grande Valley), some do west Texas and New Mexico, then there are the Arizona desert areas and the Southern California desert areas, plus some mid-California areas.  

This year will be tricky because of local/state regulations that affect length of stays, quarantining, etc.  None of us has the right answer for you because we don't know what you want to do, what you like, don't like (bugs, for me, which is why we only did one year in Florida),  size of your budget, etc.   

Remember, you are exploring, and there will be some stops that will be on your "never stop here again", others that will be "if we come this way, not a bad stop" and eventually a few (or maybe 1) "this is the spot for next year". 

Thank you Barbara, of course my request is like the domicile question I posted a month or so ago.  It’s all very subjective.  I like the stories and the process that got a person to their choice or choices.

For us, lack of biting bugs would be a factor.  Since we are new to retirement AND full timing, budget is bothering me more than usual right now.  For example I like bouncing around every couple of weeks in principle, but 2 weeks plus 2 more weeks at different parks could end up costing a lot more than a month at one.  Your advice to move more often would let us learn more about warm winters.

i just looked at I-10 on a map.  What a great suggestion!  I think a winter driving along the south border is an awesome idea.

Edited by Sculptor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Bill Joyce said:

Fort Myers is not cheap, but we liked it and if we were from the Midwest or further east, we might have bought a lot and gone there every year.  South Florida is warmer than Arizona most winters, and being a bit more humid the temperatures do not drop as much when the sun goes down.  Our first winters we also moved around and found the areas and campgrounds we liked.  For us that ended up Fort Myers and Mesa.  

Thank you Bill.  I haven’t been west at all not counting 2 weeks in Lost Wages in the summer.  I didn’t think there would be much difference in temps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Bill w/bus said:

Move around for at least two years.  Remember any access to the water is more expensive.  Ft  Meyers is probably 50% more than central Florida. 

You really need to see the country. Not going to be as easy as in the past. Remember the Canadian's are not coming this year. That is based on latest  news. So a lot of parks will be looking for business.

Enjoy your adventures.

Bill

Agree Bill, and thank you.  We love the water, but don’t need to be near it.  And thanks for the reminder about the border situation,  I have heard speculation there will be fewer Canadian visitors.  On the other hand RV sales are up everywhere and more people are looking for spots.   Hmmmmm...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, WeBeFulltimers said:

Easy math. The further you go south in Florida the more it costs. Have you looked at south Alabama coast?

Thanks WeBe,  no I never have.  No reason except I don’t know anyone.  That’s not a very good reason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Not knowing anyone" is not a good excuse! 😁

I don't know if you're an Escapee member or not but definitely join and become active in the Club.  Stay at their parks.  They are very reasonable in some good areas of the country.  They are extremely friendly parks and you'll be welcomed.  I'd highly recommend being at one around the holidays.  It's home away from home.  They usually have a park-wide holiday dinner and lots of activities.

For the many options of their parks use the website then go to 'Benefits' > RV Parking> then you'll have choice of Escapees RV Parks, SKP Co Op Parks, Discount Park Directory and Overnight Parking (Days End - boondocking spots).

It takes an effort to meet people but so worth it as a full-timer.  Knowing that other full-timers are in your park gives you an instant connection.  You can do things in the area together and go out to dinner with them.  You can solve RVing problems together and learn of places to go. If a couple are in your park, invite them for happy hour outside.  Soon you'll be exchanging emails and if, like us, will be meeting up with them as you travel if you're both in the same area.  We have more life-time friends now than we ever living in a stick house.  It was nothing for a dozen of us to meet up in a particular area and spend a week together.  It's well worth the effort.

Also plan to attend an Escapade.  It a fun learning experience. Volunteer!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, hemsteadc said:

Arizona is great.  

If  you can boondock in Quartzsite, that's about as cheap as you're gonna get, and plenty of room for a rig your size.  Get thee some solar panels, some good batteries and a way to haul water on your truck and you'll do fine.  The water thing is kind of important, unless you enjoy breaking camp to take your 5er there.

I say this partly because I hear reports of RV parks becoming very busy because of Covid. 

What about waste?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You still have to do something about that. Many people get portable tanks, dum in them and then take it to the dump station. I have a relatively small trailer so will pack up and take it to the dump every 2 weeks, refilling my fresh tank at the same time. I’ll leave something at my site to show it’s occupied and didn’t have a problem keeping my spot for the couple of months I was near Quartzsite.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, 2gypsies said:

Explore some of the review sites to get an idea of what people liked or didn't like about a particular parks.  Note that some people may give the park a low rating because of poor internet, too many trees, not enough trees, muddy after rain, automatic sprinklers hitting the RV, etc.  Some things may not bother you so don't always go with the ratings by a particular person.  Read all the reviews on the park and you can get a better idea if the park is for you.

Here's one we liked:  https://www.campgroundreviews.com/

Thanks Gypsies, that link looks like many morning coffees.   🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, GlennWest said:

So they have a dump station. Didn't know. We may check it out

An abandoned missile silo, the west is full of them.  😁

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sculptor,  while it would be nice to move around the first year or so but it if you can find the right volunteer position for even 3-4 months in a place you would enjoy can save you decent money and let you do a little more exploring around the area you are volunteering in.  At present volunteer positions may be less available due to the covid but many positions are starting to open up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, sandsys said:

We were told we should travel the whole south at least one winter so you don't settle for good when a bit further you might have found better. We learned we didn't like Florida nor the Rio Grande Valley. We got chased out of Alabama by a hurricane. We ended up in Arizona where there are no bugs and the humidity is low. But, we don't have any family that far south to affect our decision.

Linda Sand

Thanks Linda,

Your first line sums it up very well.  The retirement dream for many is have a house or two in your favorite location.  Neither of us have a clue where that is, so weather is a starting point for us.  Relatives particularly kids are second.  Maybe backward, but they both are living in places with cold winters or hot summers.  
OT: I managed to bring the desktop into the RV for now.  Time will tell if it’s going to fill the gap until I get a laptop.  🤓 Slide repair has risen to the top of the list as of now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, bigjim said:

No question the further south and the closer to coast is likely to be significantly higher.  When I wintered there as  volunteer in 99-2000 the bug that was the biggest headache in someways was the "love bugs".  I don't know about the whole state but where I was they sprayed for bugs (mostly mesquitoes_)  I bet a lot of communities do. We were right on a lake and in the buffer zones for a bombing range.

I lived in central Florida for a few weeks, on my way to Miami in 75.  I’m familiar with love bugs.  What a mess.  At least they don’t bite.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, bigjim said:

Sculptor,  while it would be nice to move around the first year or so but it if you can find the right volunteer position for even 3-4 months in a place you would enjoy can save you decent money and let you do a little more exploring around the area you are volunteering in.  At present volunteer positions may be less available due to the covid but many positions are starting to open up.

This is one I have not considered.  I think it could work out, but it brings me back to the “where”.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, fpmtngal said:

You still have to do something about that. Many people get portable tanks, dum in them and then take it to the dump station. I have a relatively small trailer so will pack up and take it to the dump every 2 weeks, refilling my fresh tank at the same time. I’ll leave something at my site to show it’s occupied and didn’t have a problem keeping my spot for the couple of months I was near Quartzsite.

Funny we just sold a 40 gallon tank we never used.  🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

RVers Online University

campgroundviews.com

Our program provides accurate individual wheel weights for your RV, toad, and tow vehicle, and will help you trim the pounds if you need to.

DFW RV Roof

RVAir The cleanest air in RVing!

Rv Share

Dish For My RV.

Find out more or sign up for Escapees RV'ers Bootcamp.

Advertise your product or service here.

The Rvers- Now Streaming

AGS Now Hiring

RV Pet Safety

RVTravel.com Logo



×
×
  • Create New...