Bentsen Palm Village in Mission, Texas, has received the campground industry’s highest honor, the “Park of the Year Award” from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
The 250-site campground won the award in the medium size park category, which is based on several criteria, including customer service, employee training, operational excellence, national directory ratings and community service, according to a news release.
Bentsen Palm Village General Managers Guy and Juanita Carvajal received the award during a Nov. 30 ceremony at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, which was hosted by ARVC.
Built 10 years ago by developer/builder Mike Rhodes and his wife, Lori, Bentsen Palm Village is located next to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park and has a lot of visitors who come to enjoy the resort’s native plants, which host butterflies and birds.
“Our guests love to come bird watching and butterfly watching,” Juanita Carvajal said, adding that the park also has two miles of frontage along the Rio Grande River.
“We have pontoon boats that take people on the river for bird watching and nature tours,” she said.
Although Bentsen Palm Village was built from scratch, the owners planted native trees and shrubs, which are becoming more beautiful each year as they mature, Carvajal said. The park was designated by Texas Parks & Wildlife as a certified wildscape and is the largest of its kind in Texas.
Texas Wildscapes is a habitat conservation plan for rural and urban area. It enables Texans to contribute to wildlife conservation by developing wildlife habitats where they live, work and play.
But while Bentsen Palms has a scenic setting, Carvajal said it’s the park’s exemplary customer service that results in high ratings.
“The majority of our business comes from referrals,” she said. “I get a lot of calls from people and the first thing they say is, ‘We have some friends and they recommended your park.’”
Bentsen Palm Village has 5 1/2 miles of onsite hiking and biking trails as well as numerous organized activities and workshops, from couples dancing and Zumba classes to gourd painting, Swedish blanket making, water color painting and woodshop.
The dog park at Bentsen Palm Village has become so popular that the owners recently added a second park so that guests could have separate running and play areas for big dogs and small dogs.
“About 70% to 75% of our guests have dogs, so these kinds of amenities are important,” Carvajal said.
Of course, while pet friendly amenities are attractive to Winter Texans, that’s not the only attraction at Bentsen Palm Village.
The 250-site resort recently set aside an open area of the park where its guests can grow their own organic fruits, vegetables and herbs.
“It’s like a community garden,” Carvajal said, “but we give each guest a 10 by 10-foot section where they can put a stake with their name on it. They often grow kale, peppers, tomatoes, onions and radishes. Sometimes, they grow so much they bring it into the office to share.”
Bentsen Palm Village is affiliated with ARVC, the national voice of the outdoor hospitality industry, representing campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across the United States, which it markets through its travel planning website at www.GoCampingAmerica.com. For more information about Bentsen Palm Village, visit its website at www.bentsenpalm.com. Bentsen Palm Village is also a member of the Texas Association of Campground Owners, which markets campgrounds through www.TexasCampgrounds.com and www.TexasCabinRentals.net.