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 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.