Nearly 260 recreational parks are listed in a directory of a Rio Grande Mobile Home & RV publication. The vast majority of these facilities are located in Hidalgo County, followed by Cameron, Zapata and Starr counties. Some parks have been there for decades, catering to the Winter Texans industry, which appears to be booming this year.
In Brownsville, one of the newest and largest such facilities opened its doors recently and has been getting its share of seasonal tourists even though many had already booked spots at their favorite places.
The new park, Tropical Trails RV Resort, sits along FM 511 on a 185-acre property on the east side of the city. It has 240 RV sites, full hookups, spacious concrete pads and high-speed fiber optic internet. It also has 23 park model cottages available for rent on a long- or short-term basis.
Tropical Trails owners and management recently held a ribbon cutting to unveil the upscale RV resort. The park features an exercise room, a large meeting room and one of the more attractive swimming pools in the Valley, several tenants said.
Park owners Hill and Donelle Dishman welcomed a group of guests at the grand opening event.
“We have been watching the many Winter Texans that have been coming down to the Valley for many years, “ Donelle Dishman said. “My husband said that after he retired he was going to build an RV park.”
The Dishmans, who are Beaumont natives, began developing the park three years ago.
“I believe Brownsville is the perfect location for this park,” Hill Dishman said. ”We are extremely excited and look to be here for many, many years.”
“Quite a place”
The park has built up its tenant count as work continues on the development. On a recent day, Dennis and Brenda Kanops of Ohio stopped to visit Tropical Trails RV Resort.
“This is quite a place,” Brenda Kanops said. “We spent a week at another park which we did not like at all.”
Maine residents Dean and Janette Stiebelings said they enjoy being at the park.
“We love it here,” Janette Stiebeling said as she and her husband and two other couples played a game of shuffleboard. “This is our first time down here.”
Leah and Clifford Hughes are from Beaumont as well and said they are enjoying the new park.
“We are full-time RVers,” Leah Hughes said. “We go from one place to another in our RV all year round, and we are now here.”
Stiebeling said one of the things they like about the new park are the large spaces between sites and the swimming pool.
“We hear the train going by, ‘choo, choo, choo, choo,’” she said, ”but it doesn’t bother us.”