Let me start out by offering a quick disclaimer:  I’m not retired.  Unfortunately, I’m far from it.  And, I’ve never been to retirement destinations in Arizona or Florida, so I personally have nothing to base this column on except the conversations I’ve had over the last 10 years with the hundred-thousand-plus (yes, 100,000+) Winter Texans who come to the Valley each year.

Now that that’s out there – back to the question.  What is it that makes the Rio Grande Valley such a wonderful place to ‘winter’?  First of all, we want you here.  WE are lucky to have YOU, not the other way around.  Not only do you energize our local economy, but you also bring your time and talents to so many of our schools and nonprofit organizations.  In Texas, we don’t see you as ‘snowbirds.’  We see you as one of us, so we gave you a name to prove it.  To us, you are Winter Texans.  We are also incredibly friendly people by nature, so the friendliness of our people is just as important to the Winter Texans we visited with as what you’ll read below.

 Next…well…you just can’t beat the cost of living.  Some people say it’s cheap down here, but we prefer the term ‘affordable.’  Your hard-earned money goes farther down here.  Period.  Trust me, you’ll save the money you spent on gas and then some.  We know it’s a long drive.

 Another great thing about South Texas is the sense of community.  All of our RV resorts and retirement communities are incredibly welcoming.  Almost all dances, craft shows, entertainment, jam sessions, and meals are open to the public, so you can zip from one resort to another without a worry in the world.  We have a wide variety of festivals and events outside of the RV resorts, as well, so you can find yourself at a world-championship barbecue contest one weekend and a butterfly festival the next!  You might even hit both the same weekend!

And we haven’t even talked about the weather!  We have great weather.  Our ‘winter’ lasted about four days in 2017, and while the locals called in sick, wore parkas, and complained an awful lot,  there were sightings of Winter Texans on bicycles sporting long pants and a light jacket.

The Rio Grande Valley is a wonderful place to live.  Now that’s something I can speak on as a ‘resident expert.’  I’ve lived in McAllen most of my life (40 out of 47 years!).  We know you have choices when it comes to retirement destinations, but we also know you’ll love it here, so we kindly ask that you give us a try.  Sure, it’s a long drive.  Once you hit the Texas border, you still have 10 hours before you see our smiling faces.  But, trust me and the 100,000+ Winter Texans who call the Rio Grande Valley their home away from home–it’s definitely worth it!!!  

Safe travels, and see you in South Texas soon!

We’re just connecting the dots,


Kristi Collier is a McAllen native who loves to share her passion for the area with others.  Her company, Welcome Home RGV caters to the Winter & Converted Texan market through their events, activities, special interest publications and more.  For more information, call the Welcome Home RGV office at 956-687-5115 or visit their website at www.welcomehomergv.com or on facebook at facebook.com/whrgv and  facebook.com/wintertexan.

19 Responses to “What’s so great about retirement in South Texas, anyway?”

  1. Aleta Mays

    This will be our third winter at Port Isabel and we absolutely love it down there. People are friendly, citrus is fantastic and South Padre is Great! We feel Safe and Secure at Park Center RV Park. The people there are great and staff is there for you 100%. Wouldn’t think of going anywhere else.

    • Debbie Adams

      Aleta, this is great to hear! We will be making our first year at Park Center! VERY excited to join these winter Texans! I am curious, are all the sites the approx same size? Is it better to have a high or low site#? Thanks!

      • Hi Debbie! This is Angela from Park Center! I’m so glad to hear that you will be visiting us this winter! I just wanted to clarify your questions about the site #. Our park is set up that each row represents a letter A-K & T then each site is numbered from #1 and up going from East to West so I’m not sure that having a high or low site# matters all that much. However I will tell you that this park started in the 60’s I believe….back when RV’s were much smaller and did not include slides outs. We still have some of those original sites and as we’ve added sites they have become a bit bigger. Space is a premium in all of the parks of Port Isabel and South Padre Island because of the water access for fishing and boating. I do hope you enjoy your stay at Park Center and that it truly becomes your Home Away From Home.

  2. Pearl Hilkemeyer

    We stay At Alamo RV Park in Alamo, Tx. It is a great place to stay and lots of things to do and see. This will be our 4 th year in the Valley and 3rd yr. at Alamo RV Park. Love the weather and meeting new friends and all the friendly people in the Valley.

  3. Eric Widdup

    Very well put Kristi. Being third generation WinterTexans from Saskatchewan we feel both welcome and at home in the LRGV. The local people are friendly and appreciate our business. It is a long drive however, a full one third of our migration ( 1900 miles ) occurs in Texas. You can’t get to the LRGV by driving by it on your way somewhere else, it has to be your destination! We have visited Arizona and we prefer the humidity and warmth of the south Texas climate.
    Eric and Pat Widdup

  4. Loretta Heck

    27 wonderful years, so many happy memories of La Hacienda, Alamo ,Texas we offer for sale our lovely mobile home in a park where you own your lot In this park , swim pool, club house gated

  5. Judy Pearce

    After 10 years it is like coming home. A family reunion of sorts! And the music!!!!!!! The talented musicians in the valley are unbelievable. Always live music and lots of it. I heard a saying last year that I love to repeat…. if you are rich – go to Florida, if you think you are rich – go to Arizona, if you know you are not – come to Texas! 25 days and counting……..

  6. Jim & Sharon Fackler

    We love Texas & are looking forward to seeing our wintertime friends. Lots of live music, festivals, crafts & lots of warm weather. We’ve been going to So. Texas for 15 yrs.
    Jim & Sharon Fackler

    • Sandy Olson

      Thanks, Lorna, for echoing what many of the residents of Palm Shadows think about the RGV and our park in particular. Palm Shadows is unique for several reasons and I would invite all who would like to see it “in person” to stop in and take a tour. It’s hard to describe in a few lines but you’ll know it when you see it!

  7. Marty Parker

    This is our 10th year of being RGV Winter Texans. The 1st year we went to a big RV park and found it to be TOO big. We found J-5 RV park in Mission and have been here 9 years in the same Spot. J-5 only has about 160 spots but the people make the park– a walk around the park can take “hours” cause I get to stop and visit with so many friendly “old” faces and meet the new faces. We can be as busy as we want or take the day off and just kick back and relax—-AAAHHHH what a life.

  8. Nestor Gulka

    We spent 9 years at Victoria Palms RV Resort in Donna, Tx. I don’t think you could find a nicer place to spend winter anywhere in Florida or Arizona. It’s like going home when we get there.

  9. Vicki Meine

    We have been at Southern Comfort in Weslaco for 10 seasons and love it. We summer in Wisconsin and love that also…the best of both worlds. People are so friendly and we have great fun at our park and our sister park next door is Country Sunshine. Our management plans great events for us and we go back and forth between the two parks. A great community. Lots to do in the valley…sometimes it is exhausting, so we kick back and go again when we want. Love the sunshine.

  10. Gerald & Maureen Higgins

    You are correct! Friendly people and affordable. We are at Restful Valley Ranch in Mission for the past 5 years and at first I was not sure but once you meet the people in the park and the local residence, we are glad we found this area. Father Roy in Mission, at the, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church is a must visit!!!. McAllen has an international airport and is a Cultural Center. We enjoy our return to the south! The R.G.V. – activities will meet anyone’s needs. The close proximity to Mexico is an additional bonus.

  11. don Anderson

    We are at Ranchero Village park in Wesleco Texas. We have a very friendly mobile home park and RV park. It is well kept up and a lot of activities to keep everyone as busy as they would like to be. Come check us out! We’re sure you will love Texas

  12. Eileen Hitchcock

    My husband and I have been coming to the Valley, to Park Place Estates, in Harlingen for about 9 years. We absolutely love our Park, its friendly and fun residents/employees and the amenities and activities offered; as well as its proximity to Mexico, to South Padre island, the state parks, etc!!! Much less expensive in TX too!!

  13. Nancy Russell

    My husband and I moved to the RGV about four years ago from Kansas, pretty much sight unseen. Both of our mothers had passed within three months of each other and we had no immediate family left there. My husband’s mother graduated from Raymondville HS and had lived on a farm near Lasara; her father was a mustard gas victim in WWI so they had moved to the valley from Oklahoma for his health. Long story short, we had ties to the valley and some land that Mike’s grandmother bought at a tax auction in the 1950’s. Mike had visited many times during his childhood; I went to Padre Island on spring break from KU @1974. Soooo…we made some trips down and built a house in Edinburg. It has been very difficult for me to make friends and feel like I belong; I was still working remotely for BofA when we moved but my job was eliminated and I officially retired 18 months ago. I read the Winter Texan because I still don’t feel like a valley resident! So, thank you for the information etc you provide! My resolution this year is to become involved!

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