Saturday, November 17, 2012

Maps and the Apps

Gulf Shores, AL     High:  65   Low:  45

Today was spent visiting some RV parks in the Gulf Shores area..There are quite a few, but we visited just two very upscale parks today-- Lake Osprey RV Country Club in Foley, and Bella Terra,  both in Foley, AL. We wanted to view these two parks in the area and compare notes on pricing, sites and amenities. Lake Osprey is small, right now they only have 26 sites, but the website says 188 when all sites are completed. They advertise themselves as a "country club for RVers." There is a beautiful championship golf course right next door, Soldier's Creek, that you can play for a good discount. The clubhouse is classy and gorgeous, and so is the pool.

Unfortunately, the entire view across the manmade lake is dirt. The lake view lots are HUGE, which is nice. They are wide open, and no shade except for an occasional palm. The park is relatively new, so it has a long way to go as far as landscaping and future development for certain sections of the park.
Here is another view from the side of one of the lake lots.
The lots BEHIIND the lake view ones are more developed.
Lake Osprey RV lots across from the lake
Driving to the park does feel like you are driving to the middle of nowhere, it's outside the little town of Elberta, AL. It's a good ten miles back to where the action is in Gulf Shores and to shopping. We thought the landscaping was very beautiful in and around the clubhouse, but in the year's time since we last paid a visit to check things out, development appears at a standstill on the view across the lake. They have a tiki bar which was kind of cool, and FREE laundry, top of the line machines, for additional amenities besides the pool. It was very pretty, but it just didn't quite call us home.....

We decided to go to Bella Terra RV Resort, also in Foley, AL, where we encountered a similar but different setting....Another beautiful pool, an infinity edge walk in pool with gorgeous views.

Monthly rentals range from 800-900 dollars plus $100 electric cap. If you go over 850 kw for the month, then you pay .12 a kw/h after that. During high season which is January thru March, the quoted cost depends on the amenities on the sites--from a plain concrete pad to a site with a screened in gazebo and outdoor kitchen!

Sites are HUGE....They have a special movie theater room with high backed movie chair seating. They have a 6,000 square foot clubhouse, library, free wi-fi, cable, 200 amp service at each RV lot (that's BIG, says E.) sauna, outdoor fire pit, a card/game room, putting greens, and they have Pilates exercise classes. (That's for Sparky, clarifies Eldo.)
Bella Terra living room at the clubhouse
With all the money we are saving the entire month of January, we decided to splurge a little for February. We have been doing really well staying way under budget for campground stays with our Thousand Trails and Encore specials for the past few months. We decided to commit to a month's stay in February at Bella Terra. They only ask for a dollar deposit!

Back to planning mode after visiting these two parks. We have to plan the next few months out...sort of...When you are in the south for the winter, and you are on the east coast and staying in Florida, you better have a plan for the winter months! It's almost impossible to get into Florida State parks, you have to book really far out. We don't usually do that, and we weren't sure what direction we were going to head after this winter--back out east towards Maine again, or out west....We're still not sure of that, but we are sure we need to go to Red Bay, AL to the Tiffin plant in the next few months. They were so busy and backed up this fall, we put it on the back burner.

So-o-o-o...out came the maps, the apps--Thousand Trails app, All Stays Camp and RV (Eldy's favorite), the phones, and the good old fashioned yellow legal pad...We knew we had the following pencilled in:
December--in Sarasota, FL at Sun 'n' Fun....
January--We are booked the first two weeks in the Keys...we want to hit the Tampa RV show the second week of January. We need to get a spot not too far away...we're going to shoot for the Manatee RV Park in Bradenton where we can stay for 139.00 a week on an Encore special, which is available for Thousand Trails members. Going to spend a week there...Check!

The last two weeks of January, we've decided to head over to Lake Magic to use our Florida Max Pass, which was purchased last year to enable us to stay for free or 3.00 a day if we have used up our free stays on our zone membership. The Florida Max Pass was purchased at the Tampa RV show (199.00) to give us six additional Florida parks, one of them is Lake Magic in Clermont.  We've now got January covered.

February--a month at Bella Terra RV Resort and from there, to Red Bay, AL....And that's it so far....

Sounds like a plan...Now, the next plan is to convince Eldy to go back up the east coast to Maine...heh, heh, heh...But Sparky just said that to tease Eldy. As much as she would like to head back to Bar Harbor, Maine, she really doesn't mind a trip heading west....Colorado, maybe this summer, anyone? Anyone? (Hmmmmmmm....says E.)
Buckeye butterfly spotted at Lake Osprey RV park


  1. Looks like you have the winter months covered, better than us we have the next planned maybe, but it keeps changing, then???

  2. Good insight into your planning thanks. I will be very interested in how February turns out weather wise in Alabama.

  3. I looked at the Bella Terra website a couple days ago, and it looks terrific!

  4. Those are both really nice parks. I especially love the infinity pool...but Alabama is just too cold for me in February....burrrrrr..

    I guess we won't be in the Keys at the same time. We're planning on going after the rv show. Are you getting a good deal at Sun n Fun in December. I really like that park too.

  5. we have no plans past January 15th now but when you are in the rio grande valley you really need to start heading north before making too many decisions...

  6. Whew.. some fancy schmancy parks there! Tad bit outta our price range, but interesting to go see. Like the idea of the $100 electric cap. That way the power hogs pay for their usage, but the costs aren't passed on to everyone else by higher lot rents.

    Karen and Steve
    (Old Blog Name) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard
    (New Blog Name) RVing: This Country Is Our Big Backyard