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Need an escape? Enjoy this story from duPont REGISTRY Tampa Bay’s Spring 2020 issue, “The Great Outdoors.” Find more great escapes in the digital edition or check out a hard copy, coming soon to select mailboxes and distribution points around Tampa Bay.

Although Jon Kile prefers the smaller Mercedes Sprinter to a big luxury RV , the owners of “Class A” motorhomes do have a distinct advantage: As Jon points out, they can buy into an RV resort where they can park for months at a time. (There’s a minimum size requirement for RVs at such resorts, so smaller vans like the Sprinter aren’t permitted.) 

My husband and I had once considered a 40-foot Entegra Motorcoach as a future retirement option — that is, when we weren’t dreaming of building a tiny home. Neither came to pass, but I’ve since found the prospect of RV resorts mighty intriguing — especially after talking to Darren Smith of Desert Shores Resort, a motorcoach community in Indio, California.

I guess I’d thought the only option for docking your diesel behemoth for an extended period of time was at someplace akin to a trailer park. In fact, says Smith, it used to be that a parking pad was pretty much all you’d get at even the most exclusive resorts. But when Desert Shores was built close to 20 years ago, it was designed to fulfill RV owners’ wish lists, answering the question: 

“If we built our own, what would we want?” 

Desert Shores at sunset.

What they wanted, and what they got, was much more than just a pad. Each 6,500-7,500-square-foot parcel includes a small villa (around 800 square feet) and in most cases a beautifully landscaped pool and spa — plus, of course, plenty of room to park that 42-foot Winnebago. The price for a typical lot ranges from $300,000 to $700,000, and owners can opt to place their property into a rental pool for the months they’re not going to be around. (November 1 through April 1 is high season for the resort, says Smith.)

And they’re not just getting a villa with a pool and a parking space. The resort has a fitness center, a pool, a dog park, tennis courts and a 10,000-sq-ft clubhouse, plus it’s near some of the finest golf courses in the country, and a half hour from the glitz and glamor of Palm Springs.

The resort is located in the Coachella Valley. If that rings a bell it’s likely because of the famed Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which takes place a quarter of a mile from the resort at the Empire Polo Club, also in Indio. Coachella celebrated its 20th anniversary last year as one of the most successful festivals of its kind, attracting hundreds of thousands of fans and top stars in pretty much every musical genre except classical.

“The desert goes crazy, in a good way, during Coachella,” says Smith. “But we’re not crazed in our own resort. We have our own private passes and streets, so it doesn’t affect us.”

However, for fest-goers whose parents or grandparents leave their villas and RVs in place at the resort, it’s a pretty sweet place to crash. Oh, and there’s still another plus, one that makes this Floridian sigh: 

“There are no flying bugs in the wintertime,” Smith adds. “People leave their windows and sliders open all day long.” 

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