Toby’s RV Resort
Off the Beaten Path in Arcadia, Florida
MORE HOME THAN NOT
When you find a place that feels as comfortable and enjoyable as being at home, chances are you’re going to want to stay there, especially if the weather is excellent! Toby’s RV Resort in Arcadia, Florida is extremely popular, in part due to its high value among Florida RV resorts and its location off the beaten path.
They say if you want to know something about a place, you ask a local. While most RV resorts have a somewhat transient population, Toby’s RV Resort has residents who park their RVs here year-round and stay for more than a season. Bill Payne and his wife Ruth are two of those residents. They liked living here so much, they came down earlier than usual this year.
“I heard about Toby’s from some friends that were down here,” explained Bill. “They loved it, so we came down to see it for ourselves. That was in January 2010, and we’ve been coming here ever since. We usually come down here for six or seven months. This year it will probably be eight or nine months.”
Bill is one of the 800 or so people who come to stay at Toby’s RV every year. There are a few that live at the resort year-round. “We get a lot of people here from Michigan, Ohio, New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Connecticut and quite a few who come down from all over Canada. We even have people come down here from Alaska,” he said.
KEEPING BUSY IN THE RESORT
Bill knows how to keep himself and others busy. In fact, he arranges some of the activities. He sits on the activity board and is in charge of the Ice Cream Social, hall rentals, and helps with bringing in entertainment.
“There’s so much to do here!” he exclaimed. “We have something pretty much every day and night. We have the Unknown DJ, a park resident from Canada, who DJs 50s to 90s music, and there’s live music a few times a month. We have Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve parties, Valentine’s parties…”
Suffice it to say there are over 80 activities a month. Yes, that’s right, a month, which you can take part in. From pickleball to Pétanque, you’re bound to find a thing or two to keep you busy here.
“Our Ice Cream Socials are every Sunday,” said Bill as he looked for his activities list. “We have regular Bingo on Monday and Friday nights and Card Bingo, that you play with a deck of cards, on Wednesday nights.”
Bill found his list, and then the information started flowing. “Our most popular activities are shuffleboard, bocce ball, and horseshoes. We have a live music jam every Tuesday night and every other Thursday there’s a potluck supper. There are dances twice a month on Saturdays and shows twice a month too. About 100 - 200 people will show up to each of these events. The hall here holds 300 people.”
With all these activities, you might think it would be expensive, but the activity committee has that all figured out. “We sell activity cards for $12.50 for six months from November to end of March. That will get you into the dances and the shows for free. If you don’t have a card – it’s $10 each to get into the dance or a show. Coming up in March we even have Dion Pride, Charlie Pride’s son, coming to perform for us.”
There’s more on Bill’s list. About once a month they have someone come in to cook lunch. The last few years they’ve had someone come in and smoke up ribs for their rib dinner. There’s coffee and donuts every Friday morning where the coffee is free, and donuts are 50 cents.
KEEP ON LEARNING
There are classes here as well. Not just one or two, there are a dozen or so, with more being thought up every year. “You can take just about
any kind of class here,” Bill said with a touch of pride in his voice. You can tell he loves it here. “We have painting classes and if you want something different, there are classes for stained glass, quilting and needle work, plus crocheting. Beading classes are also held every Friday morning. “
“There’s line dancing classes too, which is always fun. Then we have a younger gal from Canada who comes here and teaches Yoga and other movement exercises. You can even take tennis lessons here.”
Should you want to learn something else, they have someone at the resort who teaches computer classes, woodcarving and basket weaving. “There’s something every day,” said Bill. “We’re pretty busy here. We just keep going.”
KICK BACK AND RELAX
For those who just want to sit back and relax a bit, there’s time and places for that, too. There’s a park with a large pond on the property.
“The pond has alligators in it,” Bill said. “You don’t have to worry about them. You can just sit on the deck by the pond and watch them. They never come into the resort, and if the odd one does, we get rid of it quickly. You can fish here too. It’s all catch and release. If you want to go further out, Lake Okeechobee is only an hour east of here. You can go fishing and boating there.”
Many residents just like to relax in the pool or have a soak in the hot tub. There’s an exercise room, a weight room, pool tables and even a well-stocked library on site.
The land around Toby’s is relatively flat, making it easy to bike around the RV resort and into the town of Arcadia. “The only hills around here are man-made,” said Bill. “It’s fairly flat countryside so you can go quite far.”
It’s about a 20-minute bike ride or a 10-minute car ride to Morgan Park, which has some easy hiking trails. There are large open grassy areas for games and picnics. The park is located on the banks of the Peace River, which is reportedly an excellent spot for swimming and fishing. You may even see the odd armadillo, deer or squirrel as you walk the trails.
“There’s a bike and hike trail near Toby’s, too and you can go up as far as the Winn Dixie and the hardware store,” said Bill. “You can even ride your golf cart up there.”
FROM VILLAGE TO CITIES
The cozy town of Arcadia is just a few minutes away from Toby’s RV Resort. It has all the major amenities you’ll need including a Walmart Superstore, “There are some small restaurants as well as fast food joints,” explained Bill. “There are a couple good Italian and Mexican restaurants too. The town even has a walk-in clinic and a Goodwill store.”
One of the more significant draws to Arcadia are the antique shops. “There are over a dozen shops here and then every third Saturday of the month they have an antique show and people come from all over.”
As this is the middle of cow country, it’s a given that there’s an agriculture centre. The Turner Agri-Civic Center has horse pulls, dog shows, beef sales and car shows, all within minutes of the RV resort. “They have a rodeo here in Arcadia, too,” said Bill proudly. “They’re building a brand new rodeo station, which will be the biggest rodeo east of the Mississippi and will have riders from all over the world come here just for the rodeo in February.”
For those who miss what the city has to offer, you can find all the theatres, live music, shopping and fine dining you need in the surrounding areas. “Port Charlotte is just 35 minutes south of the resort, with Fort Myers about an hour and a bit south,” said Bill. “Then there’s Sarasota, about an hour away to the west. Fort Myers and Fort Charlotte have some great theatres. Pretty much everywhere you want to go is about an hour, hour and a half from here.”
DO AS YOU PLEASE
With so much to see and do you may feel obligated to get out there and do as much as possible. Remember, this is your get-away, your time. Do as you please, knowing that at any time, on any day, there’s always something else to do at Toby’s RV Resort.