During the course of our three year odyssey across the U.S., we stopped traveling for the winter in three different locations. We stayed in each one — Gulf Shores, AL, Corpus Christi, TX and Tucson, AZ — for three months. In each case, we either had made a prior visit to the spot or got a strong endorsement from fellow RVers along the way.
We had no idea where to spend the 2012-13 winter until we met John and Myrna Bird while visiting Hannibal, MO last June. They not only had a rig like ours but were on the way back from a Wyoming rally sponsored by the manufacturer. Friendship evolved quickly, and, before we knew it, we were on the phone to their recommendation in Beverly Hills, Florida.
Beverly Hills is a party of Citrus County in west Florida. It’s 60 miles due south of Gainesville, 20 miles southwest of Ocala and about 80 miles each from Tampa (south) and Orlando (east). Directly to our west is Crystal River, and then water — a series of rivers, streams and ponds meandering to the Gulf of Mexico. Sandy Oaks RV Resort is a 200+ acre playground with approximately 175 sites and oodles of things to do.
When we drove in on January 2, John and Myrna had obviously paved the way for our arrival — we wound up in one of the most ideal sites on the property. It is huge, airy and very close to two dog parks. There were approximately 350 people RVs and mobile homes in the park, and they are like a family. Constant activities, such as sports, fitness, exploration, self-improvement and crafts, were interspersed weekly with great parties and entertainment. Motorcycles, golf carts, bikes and kayaks are everywhere. The amenities are wonderful: pool, well-equipped clubhouse with kitchen, separate TV den, big laundry, driving range and equine facility. Approximately two dozen permanent mobile homes occupy the perimeter.
Many of the sites are improved by the tenants with landscaping, decoration, utility buildings and the like; since they spent half their time there annually, they personalize them at their own expense. At least a third leave their RVs on their sites all year. There’s almost an average of a dog per site, and policing their sanitary habits is respected throughout.
If you can’t find enough to do on-site, the surrounding area is rife with restaurants, attractions, facilities of all types, and every store known to mankind.
We know we’re going to like it here and are already thinking about a repeat performance.