Roughly 500 feet from Interstate 20 and just outside the city of Tyler sits a quiet, calm park featuring cabins and RVs for residents of any age to find quiet, country escape.
The Trails at Lavender Road, which totals 25 acres, opened nearly three years ago, and over time has become a place for people to visit the area for both short and long stays.
Located at 13553 County Road 35 in Tyler, the park includes RV sites, cabins and park-owned RVs. For the cabins, RVs and sites, all utilities are paid for by the park.
Manager Dean Peters said the park has become a place for temporary housing. He said a lot of people come for medical treatment in the area, and some are students, retirees and vacationers who stay awhile.
“There’s no traffic,” Peters said. “It’s more peaceful. People really do like it because it’s quiet.”
Peters, 56, who calls himself a city boy from Tyler, said he used YouTube to construct the RV and cabin park. He also lives in one of the five cabins.
The park’s land has been in Peters’ family for many years. He purchased the former home of his aunt and uncle from his cousins. After trying to renovate the house, he decided to use parts of the house for the cabins.
He later sold the park to the new owners, Alex McClure and his father, Brent McClure, in June, but Peters remains the manager.
Peters said he and residents will often have conversations and do activities together.
“I love being with them and I love meeting new people. And the RV people are really good people,” Peters said. “We’re always doing stuff.”
The Washington Post reported in late 2018 that a million Americans lived full time in RVs, citing the RV Industry Association. According to the association, the number of RVs sold more than doubled between 2008 and 2018, from 237,000 to 483,700.
David and Joy Maddox were among the people who came to the Tyler area in their RV for medical treatment.
David Maddox, 65, said they came to the area from Streetman to visit his sister and stayed for back surgeries. When looking for places to stay, he said they found a reasonable price and welcoming environment in The Trails at Lavender Road.
“Dean is a very personable individual and that’s what brought us here,” David Maddox said. “He gives you a price and that’s what you pay. It’s convenient for getting into downtown Tyler. It’s a nice, comfortable environment.”
He added that they enjoy the convenience of the location with the proximity of Tyler State Park and being able to shop online for their Walmart groceries.
Peters said the residents will often visit places of interest across East Texas, such as Caldwell Zoo, Tyler Rose Garden, area wineries, craft beer establishments, local eateries and entertainment venues.
“Tyler’s got a lot to offer,” Joy Maddox, 59, said. “We showed up too early to get all the fun stuff to be added.”
Originally from Atlantic Beach, Florida, she is a six-year U.S. Air Force veteran and her husband is a retired U.S. Navy medic. They’ve been at the park since September, and they plan to visit Florida next month to see a friend and to visit the Texas Panhandle in the future.
The Trails is also a place for college students.
University of Texas at Tyler senior Kaylee Moore, 21, is a marketing major who decided to stay in an RV at the park rather than in typical student dorms or apartments.
She said her parents bought the RV and she’s been in the park since late November.
“It was a safe environment and it was also very friendly,” Moore said. “I think it’s really nice that you get to live like this because you get your own space.”
The Trails at Lavender Road was recently named one of the top 10 best campgrounds in Texas by WhereYouMakeIt.com.
Alex McClure said the park is a quiet place with a country feel with great access to Tyler and other parts of East Texas.
“It’s very safe for all the guests because Dean’s out there,” McClure said.
The park also features a catch and release pond for fishing, laundry and shower services, a dog park and several decorations from places like Canton’s First Mondays. Peters also has a four-legged friend named Ariat, who was a stray dog rescued near the I-20 exit and Lavender Road.
Each of the five fully furnished cabins has a unique name, including Bluebonnet, Barking Frog, Lone Star, Tyler Rose and Galveston.
Peters said there also are plans for expansion of from 40 to 80 RV spots on top of the hill on the park property.