CASA GRANDE — For some residents at Sundance 1 RV Resort, the day begins with an early morning dip in the heated pool, a fast-paced walk or a quick game of pickleball.

“There are so many things to do that we have a saying here: ‘if you’re bored, there’s a problem,’” said Deb Yelton, the resort activities director.

During the winter season, Sundance 1 on Thornton Road serves as a temporary home to more than 1,000 visitors looking to have fun in the wintertime sun. And the resort’s activities — everything from dominoes and mahjong to art classes, concerts and water aerobics — aim to keep them busy.

Most travel hundreds or thousands of miles to spend the winter in Casa Grande, and Yelton, a winter visitor-turned-year-round resident, said activities are a big part of the attraction.

“Everyone certainly stays busy while they’re here,” she said. “This is a great community with a great social life,” she said. “If you like to be active, entertained and social, this is the place to be.”

At Sunscape RV Resort near Eleven Mile Corner, activities are also a big part of life, but Larry Jordon, who co-manages the park with his wife, Reggie, said the people are also a big attraction.

“A lot of our people lease their property,” Jordon said. “They come back year after year because of the people. They’re very friendly and care for each other. Because they lease their lots, they have an ownership in the community.”

A day for residents in Sunscape often begins with a morning hike.

“Morning hiking and bicycle rides are popular here,” he said. “After that, our morning coffee group brings in a lot of people. Later in the morning the ladies exercise clubs meet and in the afternoon the card and billiard clubs get together. Throughout the day there’s water aerobics and other activities. And people here are religious about pickleball.”

During the winter, the park’s pickleball courts tend to be busy up to 13 hours a day. Volunteers take care of the scheduling to ensure everyone has their chance on the court.

At both parks, many residents are in their 70s and 80s, but younger retirees in their mid to late 50s are now joining the bunch.

“Our average age here is now about 65,” Jordon said. “The younger retirees are buying leases and it’s good that they’re starting to come in.”

Younger retirees tend to embrace the action-based activities, Yelton said.

“They like being outdoors, sight-seeing and hiking. Some of them like running,” Yelton said. “But they still enjoy going to dances and concerts. Their presence here is very refreshing.”

Like their older counterparts, the younger retirees like entertainment.

At Sundance 1, weekly concerts bring in popular bands such as C.C. Collier, Come Back Buddy and the Reflectones.

At Sunscape, recent shows have included comedians, concerts and a hypnotist.

“We try to have something for everyone,” Jordon said.

Whether retirees are in their 80s and like to play billiards or in their mid 50s with a passion for basketball, resort activities directors strive to keep them entertained.

“With so many things to do and so many ways to get involved, life here is really what you make of it,” Yelton said.


Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at