ANAHEIM, Calif. – Thanks to El Niño, Southern California has been getting more rain than usual this winter.
But from Karen Simpson’s perspective, it’s still a heck of a lot warmer in Anaheim than it is back at her home in Victoria, Canada. Plus, here she can pick fresh citrus every morning and have fresh squeezed orange, tangerine and grapefruit juice with breakfast.
“I love it here,” said Simpson, who spends the winter at Orangeland RV Park with her husband, Joe, in their 36-foot motorhome. “There are so many different varieties of citrus in the park. It’s awesome.”
Orangeland is a unique RV park with more than 100 citrus trees on site, including navel oranges, Valencia oranges, blood oranges, mandarin oranges, tangerines, ruby red grapefruit, white grapefruit as well as lemons and limes. And the fruit is so plentiful that the park allows guests to pick as much as they want during their stay.
“The navels are ready to pick in January, but the longer they stay on the tree, the sweeter they get,” said Abe LaLande, Orangeland’s general manager.
Built on the site of a historic working orange grove, Orangeland harkens back to the early 1900s, when citrus packers marketed their produce with beautifully painted citrus packing labels that promoted Southern California’s sunny winter weather and snow capped mountains as much as they promoted the citrus itself.
Office buildings, shopping malls and housing tracts now stand where many of Southern California’s citrus groves used to be. So, in that sense, Orangeland is like a retreat into Southern California’s past, combined with a heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi, exercise room and other amenities that make the park a popular winter destination.
The park was founded in 1972 by now 93-year-old Eldredge Welton, a longtime campgound industry pioneer who founded the statewide trade association known as the California Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds.
“Orangeland is one of many unique parks we have throughout the state that have interesting histories and activities for their guests,” said Debbie Sipe, the California association’s executive director, adding that Orangeland has twice earned “Park of the Year” awards from the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds. “Eldredge Welton’s vision helped form what is now a thriving RV park and campground industry here in California. And today, Orangeland is still a front-runner in customer service and innovation in the outdoor hospitality industry.”
LaLande, for his part, added that Orangeland today is as popular with snowbirds as it is with RV enthusiasts who want a unique place to stay while they visit Disneyland and other Southern California attractions.
For more information on Orangeland, please contact General Manager Abe LaLande or Vice President Cindy Wimbish at (714) 633-0414 or visit the park’s website at www.orangeland.com. For additional commentary, statistics and sources on the latest camping trends in campgrounds, RV parks and resorts or for leads on unique parks in your news coverage area, please contact Debbie Sipe at the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds at (530) 885-1624 or (530) 906-4592 (cell).