Flickr Creative Commons/John Flannery
There is something fantastic I love seeing every year in Texas, and that’s the remarkable migration of the Monarch butterflies. However in the Rio Grande Valley, their numbers are in steady decline because their natural habitat is disappearing due to the economic growth of the area, increased corporate farming and the use of pesticides and defoliants like Roundup. However, there is one RV park in the Rio Grande Valley that has done something to help promote and stimulate the success of these winged beauties. Oleander Acres RV Park, with the help of funding support from the Rio Grande Valley Garden Club and the Native Plant Society of Texas has planted 200 milkweed plants of 7 different varieties during the past 6 months.
Monarchs will actual drink nectar from almost all flowering plants that produce nectar, so why is milkweed important? Because milkweed is actually the only plant that Monarchs will lay their eggs on. Even though they don’t really provide a direct commercial value like honey bees do, seeing clouds of of migrating butterflies every year is worth quite a bit in human experience. It was Oleander Acres RV Park that decided that they would be able to provide a great spot for them to rest on their long journey.
Visitors are welcome to come out to Oleander Acres to see the butterfly gardens which in turn will help the butterfly population in Texas just in time for the next Butterfly Festival. For more information, check out Oleander Acres website and plan a trip out to the Rio Grande Valley for a really unique an beautiful experience.
Nan Palmero/Flickr Creative Commons
Lordy it’s hot. It’s so darn hot the fire hydrants are praying for dogs. Which naturally leads one to the question, “How in heck do I beat this heat!?” Used to be a trip to the ol’ swimming hole was the best cure so let’s do just that! Pack up your RV with a couple towels, a watermelon or two, a cooler full of ice and everything you like to drink that’s cold, and let’s hit the road for some good ol’ fashioned Texas Swimming Holes!
Now if you’ve ever been to the San Marcos River, the Comal, or the Guadalupe why then you know what a shock it is to your posterior when it hits that chilly water. But with that said, once you realize that it ain’t cold…it’s just relaxing, then a leisurely float down one of these rivers is just what the Dr ordered for a bad case of August. All these rivers have tubes for rent, and rides from down river back upriver so don’t worry about that, just pack your sunscreen and don’t worry about getting anywhere fast. Head for San Marcos, New Braunfels, Martindale, or just about any other town these rivers pass through and enjoy your float.
Just outside of Austin is a wonderful spot, and no we’re not talking about Hamilton Pool this time…that place has just gotten too crowded. We’re talking about Krause Springs there in Spicewood, TX. Beautiful clear 65 degree water, towering cypress trees, and way less crowded than your usual Austin area water spots. Plan on about a 40 minute drive with all that traffic, but also plan on relaxing at an absolute OASIS when you arrive.
Another neat spot in Central Texas is Jacob’s Well there near Wimberly, TX. Like the others mentioned today it’s spring fed, crystal clear, and cool. You can swim right there in the artesian spring and it is one beautiful bit of nature.
As always, before you hit the road, hit us up at the website…we’ll be only to glad to help y’all out!
Mark Gstohl/Flickr Creative Commons
It’s not everyday you discover a pretty cool water park that is ALSO an RV park! Now how perfect is that for a Texas summer? Well Splashway is just such a place. Splashway is not your regular water park either, this place is dedicated to family. Located in Sheridan TX, which is on 90 just south of Schulenburg (so you can get there easily via I-10), this is the perfect place to bring the kids or grandkids. The campground features everything from cabins to primitive camping for you tent folks, as well as pull-ins and pull-throughs, 30 amp or 50 amp.
Having had most of my water park experience at the old Water World in Houston, the first thing that struck me when I walked in to Splashway was that this place is not covered in groups of obnoxious, noisy teenagers. What I saw was families enjoying the water slides, splash pads, lazy river, and wave pool. It was a refreshing experience, pun intended. If you have kids who are less than confident in the water, they even offer swimming lessons.
Aside from the water activities, there are snack bars for taking the edge off your hunger…and you’re even allowed to bring in your own cooler in case you want your own snacks and drinks. Scattered throughout the park are tables and chairs covered by awnings so you parents and grandparents can have a nice shady spot to sit and watch your kids if you’re done playing in the water. Not only that, but when the whole family is done with the water, they have an entire zip line course throughout the complex so the adventure can continue even after you get all pruney.
I’ve been to most of the big name water parks in Texas, but I’ve never seen a place like this. So if you get hot and want to entertain the kiddos this summer, plunk ’em down in the RV and head to Sheridan, TX!
Corey Balazowich/Flickr Creative Commons
Roanoke Island in North Carolina is, believe it or not, one of the oldest continually occupied settlements in North America. Originally settled in 1585 under the organization of Sir Walter Raleigh, Roanoke saw the first birth of an American settler named Virginia Dare. Oddly enough that first colony soon gave rise to one of America’s oldest unsolved mysteries as well when the colony and everyone in it vanished by 1590 leaving no trace of what happened to them. Archaeologists and historians are still working to solve that mystery.
Fast forward 450 years or so and it’s 2016 and Roanoke Island is a charming destination between mainland North Carolina and the famous Outer Banks. To get there simply take Highway 64 off of I-95 towards the Atlantic and you’ll cross Croatan Sound from Mann’s Harbor over to Roanoke Island where the main towns are Fort Raleigh City on the north end, and Manteo and Wanchese just south of there.
There is a beautiful campground in Wanchese called The Refuge which is on 345. They have almost 60 sites, 44 of which are available for year long leases, the rest are day use and are located right on the water. From here you can easily visit Nag’s Head, Cape Hatteras, or the birthplace of aviation…Kill Devil Hills.
This is a beautiful part of the United States, and very unique as well. If you like history, there are the light houses, Fort Raleigh, and all the old houses. If you like outdoor activities, well…this area is slopping over with just that! From all the water-borne stuff like boating, skiing, canoeing, swimming, and fishing, to the land-based stuff like hiking, photography, horseback riding, and just plain old sitting…Roanoke Island has you covered. Just outside the campground at The Refuge is the Roanoke Island Nature Reserve where you can wander to your heart’s content.
Remember folks, please come visit us at the website before you hit the road…we’re glad to help get you squared away!
Mike Renlund/Flickr Creative Commons
If you have traveled around, or have lived in Texas this past month then you know you need some high water boots, or a boat to get around. The floods in Texas are some of the worst in history with the Brazos and Trinity rivers rising to record levels. The devastation has been horrible. People and animals stranded and trying to escape rising water and property destroyed.
The rain in the Houston area has stopped for a few days, but the news media tells us the worst is yet to come for many in the path of the rising waters. How can we help? What can we do? Count your blessings if you were not affected by this natural disaster then take time to reach out and help others. So many organizations have opened their doors to those left stranded and are accepting your donations of supplies and funds. Take time to give your time if you can. From handing out supplies to helping clean up these disaster areas, there is something for everyone to do to help.
Of course you all know that the RV lifestyle is near and dear to my heart. I have seen pictures of flooded RVs and trucks that simply did not have time to get out before the waters started rising. Many of these were more than a recreational vehicle for their owners. They were their homes. In the Rio Grande Valley storms ripped apart several RV parks and residents sought shelter at local churches and community centers. Many of my park friends have suffered great losses and are working to help their guests restore some normal signs of life. The RV community is a giving community. RVers help each other and are there for their fellow campers.
I am heading down to the Brazoria area to pitch in and help because people have always been there to help me. I urge all of you to look around and see what you can do to help, too, and thank your lucky starts that you are a part of this great RV lifestyle!
My daughter Jennifer and I had a fun day at Leisure Resort in Fentress, Texas a week ago Saturday at their Benefit BBQ cook-off. All of you know that I have a special place in my heart for Leisure Resort because this park has been a huge part of our life for several years. We have watched the grandkids go from wearing their floaties in the river to being daredevils and they have shared so many memories in our big book of life. So, needless to say, when we heard they were having a benefit BBQ to help rebuild the infrastructure of the park, we were ready willing and able to do whatever they needed to make this a success.
For those of you who are not aware of the crazy central Texas weather of 2015, Leisure was one of the many parks destroyed on Memorial Day weekend. Of course, if you knew the owners, Kathy & T.J., you would not be surprised at all to know that within a week the park was open for business. It may not have had all the amenities that soon, but it was open and families were having fun. They spent the busy summer months making the park better than ever and then the unthinkable happened…it was hit be a second raging flood and this one was worse than the first. The workkampers, employees, friends and family, once again, jumped into high gear to save whatever they could save. Now, 6 months later, on the service it’s hard to imagine the park was under several feet of water. It looks terrific! We all know that devastation like this means costly repairs and expenses no one ever planned for or could even imagine.
As we chatted with RVers, young and old, there was a common thread running throughout all the conversations. They all have made and will continue to make great memories at Leisure Resort. Everyone wanted to help the park and wants to keep this piece of their RV lifestyle in good condition to share with generations to come. We all enjoyed the BBQ, the music, the conversation, the raffle and fun! And, thanks to the generosity of so many friends of this park, repairs and improvements will continue, a little faster than planned.
If you have never visited Leisure Resort, make plans now to enjoy this beautiful San Marcos River park with family and friends soon. Tell them RV Nana sent you!!
Michael Gras, M.Ed./Flickr Creative Commons
Summertime is almost here in some parts of Texas, and definitely here in other parts of Texas, and still other parts of Texas are just sitting back enjoying the extended spring. What better way to enjoy almost summer, summer, or still spring than by heading to one of Texas’s many awesome lakes? You may not know, but Texas has more inland water than any state in the continental US, so there are plenty of places to play!
With the recent rains, and Mansfield Dam opening it’s floodgates for the first time since 2007, Lake Travis, outside Austin, will probably be back to it’s normal bustling “party lake” status as soon as the silt settles. It’s the perfect spot for boating, swimming, eating, watching the sunset, and enjoying the water life. If you like fishing, it’s a good spot…but I reckon it’ll be pretty noist this summer!
One of the prettiest lakes in Texas is Lake Whitney, which is currently closed do to all the rain. BUT when it reopens here in just a little bit, it’ll be back to it’s limestone cliffed beauty. Lake Whitney is north of Austin on I-35 and just a little west of the town of Hillsboro. If you like boating, fishing, protected coves, and limestone bluffs, this is the lake for you.
Another gorgeous lake is Toledo Bend on the TX/LA border. This thing is huuuuuuge. I think I read somewhere that it has over 1200 miles of shoreline. Needless to say this is a sportsman’s paradise. If you have a boat, this lake will give you almost a lifetime’s worth of exploration opportunties. You can boat, fish, hunt, explore, swim, ski, or BBQ to your heart’s content.
Lake Texoma is another awesome lake. It’s up in north Texas and offers sandy beaches, nearby resorts, restaurants, and plenty of marinas. If you like to sail as opposed to use a power boat, this is a great lake for you as it is often windier than a mother-in-law convention up there! This lake also doesn’t suffer from the over-development that other lakes,suck as Lake Travis, suffer from.
Doesn’t matter which direction you want to head there will be a lake in front of you somewhere, so go enjoy it!
Robert Wilson/Flickr Creative Commons
There have been a few days this spring where I swear it felt like New Mexico outside. I walked outside the other day and said, “Feels like an August morning in Santa Fe” because it was low humidity, around 80 degrees, and the breeze was a little chilly. In Houston. Weather like that makes me think of Hatch Chiles, old Adobe buildings, and endless blue skies, so I thought today we could visit about northern New Mexico, specifically Taos.
Taos is an amazing place, and old old old too. It takes it’s name from the nearby Indian Pueblo which may be the oldest inhabited communities in North America. Located in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, there is plenty to do. If you enjoy outdoors activities, almost every one that you can imagine is covered! If you like history, this place has you sorted. If you like art, good food, and a little bit of eccentric culture…come visit Taos. It’s an arty community that is not as obnoxious about it’s “weirdness” as Austin is, and I love Austin so don’t take that the wrong way. There are several RV parks and resorts in the area that can cater to whatever level of campground experience you require.
Now Taos is north of Santa Fe, and is a quick drive to all kinds of area attractions. Royal Gorge is off to the west. The steam trains in Chama are a quick day trip away. All that grogeous Georgia O’Keefe country around Abiquiu is right down the road. National Forests abound in this area as well with the Santa Fe National Forest butting up against the east side of town, the Carson National Forest to the west, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument to the north, it’s a natural paradise. And of course, if you prefer the winter activities, the ski area is renowned and located nearby to the northeast of town. To me, the best part of the humid Houston summer is leaving it behind for the New Mexico high country! Don’t forget to visit our website before you hit the trail, we’ll get you squared away.
Let’s admit it, sometimes we all procrastinate. For example, let’s say you’ve got a trip coming up where you’re going to take your beloved RV all the way across the country to some far-off destination where you get to go-see-do all kinds of neat stuff. The destination is wonderful and you’ve told all your friends what you’re going to do. You have the whole thing mapped out right? Well…maybe just the first night or so. You haven’t quite found a campsite out there in the middle because it doesn’t seem like many of the campgrounds out there have a website and you’ve been too busy to call.
When you finally do get around to calling, the person on the other end of the phone reserves you a spot but doesn’t inspire much confidence in you that they understand what you want or need or what you’re even doing there. Once you finally arrive at the campground a little while later, you could swear you can hear banjo music and you start thinking about running away as fast as you can like Ned Beatty should have done in the movie “Deliverance”. But you’re tired after a long day’s travel and now you’re stuck for the night. Thank goodness your RV is equipped with a permanently mounted surge protector because it looks like these folks have only recently even heard of electricity, much less know how to wire up the pedestal.
Matthew Hogan/Flickr Creative Commons
Which brings me to the point. Mount a surge protector, or bring a portable one with you, so you know that your RV or travel trailer’s electrical circuits will be protected. Over voltage, under voltage, power surges, open neutrals, etc etc etc can all wreak havoc with your electrical system. Protect your investment, and prevent that awful burning smell by just installing that surge protector between your RV and the campground owner’s cousin’s wiring job on that pedestal, we’ve got them in stock right HERE!
LORDAMERCY the weather folks say it supposed to be in the 80’s and 90’s today! And it’s only mid-March! Tell you what I’m going to do folks, I’m going throw my hands up and head to Galveston! From here in Houston it’s a mere hop, skip, and jump down I-45 to the closest beach we have. Believe it or not, Galveston has recovered from Hurricane Ike and Rita, the town and state has done a massive job in rebuilding the beaches, so I thought today we could do a refresher on Galveston because it may have been awhile since you headed thataway.
Katie Haugland/Flickr Creative Commons
Beaches: Yep, they have them. Stewart Beach, Jamaica Beach, East Beach, all the usual suspects are in fine form and back up and running.
Historical Home Tours: Yes Sir, they have these as well. If you would like to see some of the homes that survived The Great Storm (1900) and every Hurricane since from Allen, Alicia, and Andrew to Katrina, Ike and Rita you should definitely have a gander at these gems in Galveston’s crown. A lot of the homes were built before, during, or right after the Civil War and are going on 150+ years old. It’s like the French Quarter over in New Orleans, hard to believe such a young country as ourselves has such old amazing architecture…and STILL occupied!
The Strand: Galveston’s historic waterfront on the channel-side of the island. Antiques galore, margaritas galore, seafood galore, and breathe that ocean air people!
RV Park/Campgrounds: Oh yes they do! Matter of fact Tiki Tom’s RV Community right there on Tiki Island as you approach the causeway is a wonderful place to stay. They have oyster reefs, 4 lighted and loooooooong fishing piers, a marina and boat slips, elevated deck, 30 or 50 amp, wifi…everything you need to enjoy your island stay. Now that I think of it, this may be the best place to go in the next couple weeks as Spring Break hits the Gulf Coast. Tiki Tom’s should be outside the blast radius, ha!
Don’t forget to hit our website before you hit the beach, we have everything you need to make a trip like this hassle-free!