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Author Topic: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited  (Read 3080 times)

RogerE

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A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« on: November 04, 2013, 04:42:01 PM »
I was just reading the thread "A question for the snowbirds" from several years ago and would really appreciate some up to date comments on the same topic. 

My DW and I have been laying plans to go full time for a couple of years.  We listed our house last week and got a contract from the first folks who looked at it.  Closing is planned for mid-December.  We will be purchasing a motorhome in Florida, and after working out the initial bugs would like to winter in Arizona or Southern California. 

This will probably mean showing up in AZ or CA in January or February of 2014 and looking for a big rig friendly site for the rest of the season.  What might we expect to find, with one end of the scale being "no problem finding a site" and the other end being "you could call dial a prayer and they would say you don't have a prayer".  Any and all thoughts will be appreciated.

Mitzi, Roger and M.C.
2014 Winnebago Journey 42E

Ned

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2013, 05:30:58 PM »
I doubt you'll have any problem finding a site in AZ or CA, even in January or February.  But you may have to be flexible as to just where you'll park as some parks do fill up in the winter.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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Hfx_Cdn

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2013, 05:34:10 PM »
     As I said on another string earlier today, most RV'rs out west seem to set up for a month at most, then move on.  For the most part, if one park is full, there is another equaly good just down the road a mile or 2.  That is so unlike what we experienced in Florida, that we were totally surprised.

Ed
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bucks2

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2013, 05:59:35 PM »
Just my opinion, but why not try a week or two at a number of different places. From Palm Springs to Yuma to Phoenix and all the places in between is a large variety of different experiences. No offense, but if you want to come and spend the season in one spot, why not just rent a park model and not bother with an RV? I have a MH so that I can see many different things and areas. Sitting in one spot for 3 months sounds pretty boring.

Ken

Lou Schneider

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2013, 06:08:05 PM »
The difference between Arizona and Florida is that in Florida, the only place you can stay is in an RV park.  Once the parks fill up, you're out of luck.  But in the Southwest Deserts, vast areas are still owned by the federal government, either the Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management.  Both agencies allow dispersed camping on much of their land, which means you're free to pull off the road and camp under the stars for up to 2 weeks at a time, longer in designated areas.

Having BLM camping available as a backstop takes a lot of pressure off of finding a spot in an RV park, so you don't have to grab a site and hunker down all season long.  And it allows some unique experiences.  For example, the flat desert plain around the town of Quartzsite is almost entirely BLM land, with over 30 square miles available for individual or group camping.  During the summer months the area has maybe 2000 residents.  But during January and February the population soars by 20 times that amount and the town becomes a giant swap meet.  Individuals and groups set up camp on the flat desert plain to visit with friends, go sightseeing, browse the swap meets, etc.

As one example, you're welcome to join us at the annual RF Forum Rally on BLM land south of Quartzsite starting January 18th.  Look for details in the Rallies, Shows and Events section.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 06:33:08 PM by Lou Schneider »

Quillback 424

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2013, 09:16:18 PM »
One reason not to bounce around to a different RV park every week is cost. If you move every week you will probably end up paying the daily rate. For example, in the Phoenix area you can stay for a month for $300. With the daily rate of about $30 you will pay three times the monthly rate. Save a few bucks and see the area you chose with your toad. Even if you move after only a couple of weeks you'll save money.
Larry --  Olathe, Kansas
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bucks2

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2013, 09:58:38 AM »
We get the weekly rate which is generally equivalent to buy 5 days get two free. We seldom find a spot that charges 7 daily fees for a weeks stay. We must travel in different areas than Quillback does.

I'm not sure I want to stay in a $300 per month spot in Phoenix. I've driven around and physically looked at probably 2 dozen places in the Phoenix metro area and I'm not sure I'd still have wheels left when I came back from the ballgame if I were parked in some of them. $600 to $800 per month is a very normal rate for RV parks with decent amenities in the Phoenix/Mesa/Tempe/Scottsdale part of town. Of course there are some with higher prices too.

Ken

Quillback 424

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2013, 10:56:34 AM »
I'd sure appreciate it if you would post a few of those resorts where you pay for five days and get two for free. I'd like to take advantage of that rate, and possibly others would too.
Larry --  Olathe, Kansas
2012 Winnebago Sightseer 33C
2005 Trail Rated Jeep GC 4.7 L

"Only an insane society would restrict the liberties of healthy people based on the actions of the disturbed." 
John Hayward

Jeff

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2013, 11:03:06 AM »
I'd sure appreciate it if you would post a few of those resorts where you pay for five days and get two for free. I'd like to take advantage of that rate, and possibly others would too.


Although a few campgrounds post weekly and monthly rates on their web sites most just say they have them and post their daily rates so you will probably have to call to determine them

Lou Schneider

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2013, 11:15:19 AM »
If a campground or resort mentions weekly or monthly rates in their advertising, you can be sure signing up for a longer stay costs less per night than the daily rates.

Usually weekly rates are 5 or 6 times the daily rate, meaning you get 1 or 2 nights free.  Monthly rates are usually about 3 times the weekly rate, so you get 1 week free.

Wigpro

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2013, 12:17:55 PM »
Sometimes you have to ask for monthly or weekly rates and any specials being offered. Last winter I was in a spot which had a three month deal. Buy two months and get the third month free! It worked out well for me at the time and it was a nice location.

I am workamping this winter so much easier this winter. I am in S. California and it is very nice here. There are a couple weeks on the schedule here where it is full, but for the most part you can make reservations and get a spot for as long as you like.

I am in Twentynine Palms CA...very nice park with a bunch of winter residents.

Good luck in finding a spot for the winter or however long you decide to stay...I have found it much more enjoyable to select an area you want to explore and try and spend at least a couple weeks there to discover the hidden gems in the area, as opposed to a quick couple nights where you miss so much of the local flavor.

Enjoy,

Jim

Full time traveler, fishing guide and photographer!

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Scott-0168

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2013, 01:50:13 PM »
 Some of the RV parks in Florida have first timers rates! Its worth asking!

Scott  :)
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Phil Hyde

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2013, 02:56:57 PM »
One note about "cheaper" monthly rates - you are most likely also paying for electrical usage in addition.  Depending on the cost per kwh, it could be non-trivial.  We have typically had bills in the $50-100 range.
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bucks2

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2013, 04:49:18 PM »
I'd sure appreciate it if you would post a few of those resorts where you pay for five days and get two for free. I'd like to take advantage of that rate, and possibly others would too.

Sam's Town in Las Vegas did it for us just last week. 

But just for fun to prove it to yourself, Google "RV park with weekly rates". My search turned up 7,250,000 hits. More than I could ever think to list for you, but here's a couple off page one.

Stone Creek RV Park, San Antonio, $37.50 daily rate (37.50 x 7 = $262) $205 weekly rate (205 / 7 = $29.28)

Whispering Meadow RV Park, $38 daily rate (38 x 7 = $266) Weekly rate $180 (180 / 7 = $25.71)

Just those two examples show a considerable savings from the daily rate by staying for a week. Monthly rates are even cheaper, but as I said before, you don't see as many places in your first trip to the area if you stay too long in one place. As time goes by, you'll get a feel for towns you like and places you don't. Who'd want to make a reservation for a month somewhere that they found out later they didn't like? Hence the one week suggestion.

I hope that gives you the help you need.

Ken

RogerE

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2013, 06:13:25 PM »
I doubt you'll have any problem finding a site in AZ or CA, even in January or February.  But you may have to be flexible as to just where you'll park as some parks do fill up in the winter.

Thanks for the input.  I am told that finding a spot here in FL is a lot tougher during Snowbird season.
Mitzi, Roger and M.C.
2014 Winnebago Journey 42E

RogerE

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2013, 06:13:54 PM »
     As I said on another string earlier today, most RV'rs out west seem to set up for a month at most, then move on.  For the most part, if one park is full, there is another equaly good just down the road a mile or 2.  That is so unlike what we experienced in Florida, that we were totally surprised.

Ed

This eases my mind a lot - thanks!!
Mitzi, Roger and M.C.
2014 Winnebago Journey 42E

RogerE

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2013, 06:15:15 PM »
Just my opinion, but why not try a week or two at a number of different places. From Palm Springs to Yuma to Phoenix and all the places in between is a large variety of different experiences. No offense, but if you want to come and spend the season in one spot, why not just rent a park model and not bother with an RV? I have a MH so that I can see many different things and areas. Sitting in one spot for 3 months sounds pretty boring.

Ken

I was thinking more in terms of avoiding problems with parks being full by not moving around.  It sounds like spending time in different locations out West will not be much of an issue, even during the high season.
Mitzi, Roger and M.C.
2014 Winnebago Journey 42E

RogerE

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2013, 06:16:25 PM »
We get the weekly rate which is generally equivalent to buy 5 days get two free. We seldom find a spot that charges 7 daily fees for a weeks stay. We must travel in different areas than Quillback does.

I'm not sure I want to stay in a $300 per month spot in Phoenix. I've driven around and physically looked at probably 2 dozen places in the Phoenix metro area and I'm not sure I'd still have wheels left when I came back from the ballgame if I were parked in some of them. $600 to $800 per month is a very normal rate for RV parks with decent amenities in the Phoenix/Mesa/Tempe/Scottsdale part of town. Of course there are some with higher prices too.

Ken

Thanks Ken.  We lived in Scottsdale and then Goodyear several years ago and still have friends in the area.
Mitzi, Roger and M.C.
2014 Winnebago Journey 42E

DearMissMermaid

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2013, 07:49:10 PM »
In Florida... I did mange to careen around for two winters without advance reservations.

If your budget is not strict, and you're flexible/adventurous, then it is entirely possible. I stumbled into some great places too.

What irks me is that many Florida parks are snowbird only, you have to pay for the whole season to get a decent monthly rate, and I don't want a "lease" for more than one month at a time.

Finally found I park I love that fits my budget and gives me a monthly rate without the need for a cumbersome lease. Last winter, I stayed 2 months with them, then careened around the rest of the time, but I made reservations at the other places, so I was better organized and able to visit the places I wanted to be at.

This year I made a 4 month reservation with them, but once I arrive, I will sort out my calendar, I may shorten up my reservation there so I can putter around some to other spots.

My problem is I fall in love with just about every park I stay at... so I am always torn between returning to the spots I love and trying out new ones too. I don't own a car, so I am not able to scout out much in advance first hand.

But I'm so lucky, in 4 years, I've only once shown up at a park, that I found to be so unsuitable that I couldn't get out the exit fast enough. It wasn't even a bargain, the people on the phone sounded so nice, but upon arrival it looked like a cheap horror movie set in a junk yard. Even my dog didn't like it and he's not that picky.


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RogerE

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Re: A Question for the Snowbirds - revisited
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2013, 04:26:07 PM »
In Florida... I did mange to careen around for two winters without advance reservations.

If your budget is not strict, and you're flexible/adventurous, then it is entirely possible. I stumbled into some great places too.

What irks me is that many Florida parks are snowbird only, you have to pay for the whole season to get a decent monthly rate, and I don't want a "lease" for more than one month at a time.

Finally found I park I love that fits my budget and gives me a monthly rate without the need for a cumbersome lease. Last winter, I stayed 2 months with them, then careened around the rest of the time, but I made reservations at the other places, so I was better organized and able to visit the places I wanted to be at.

This year I made a 4 month reservation with them, but once I arrive, I will sort out my calendar, I may shorten up my reservation there so I can putter around some to other spots.

My problem is I fall in love with just about every park I stay at... so I am always torn between returning to the spots I love and trying out new ones too. I don't own a car, so I am not able to scout out much in advance first hand.

But I'm so lucky, in 4 years, I've only once shown up at a park, that I found to be so unsuitable that I couldn't get out the exit fast enough. It wasn't even a bargain, the people on the phone sounded so nice, but upon arrival it looked like a cheap horror movie set in a junk yard. Even my dog didn't like it and he's not that picky.

Thanks for your detailed and informative post - and it is always nice to know you can turn the key and drive on if you don't like what you see:))
Mitzi, Roger and M.C.
2014 Winnebago Journey 42E

 

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