Like many states across the Sunbelt, Texas offers a welcome refuge for Midwesterners seeking to escape winter’s chill, according to a press release.

In fact, growing numbers of Winter Texans enjoy the climate so much that they are investing in park model cottages, which they use as affordable vacation homes in RV parks and resorts across the Lone Star State.

“Every year we like it a little more,” said Richard Neiner, a 68-year-old Missouri resident who spent this past winter in a park model rental at La Hacienda RV Resort & Cottages in Austin. After spending three winters at the resort, Neiner and his wife are now planning to purchase their own park model and have it set up on a leased campsite before next winter.

The Neiners will be joining many other Winter Texans who have purchased park models at La Hacienda, including Tom and Anne Spieles of Traverse City, Mich., who have spent the past four winters at the resort.

“When we left home we had two to three feet of snow in our back yard with drifts up to five feet high,” Anne Spieles said, adding that she and her husband enjoy Austin’s warmer winter weather and the comfort of their park model.

“It’s very comfortable for my husband and me,” she said. “The people here are so friendly. They are just so welcoming to people.”

Demand for park models has been growing steadily at La Hacienda RV Resort during the past several years, said Ken Butschek, the resort’s developer.

“We have 39 park models now and I’m bring in 10 more units,” he said, adding that the additional units will be used as rental accommodations.

The RV resort, which open in 2004 with 60 sites, was expanded by an additional 188 sites in 2007 and 2008.

And while park models were initially offered as rental units, growing numbers of Winter Texans have opted to purchase units of their own, which they can keep on site on leased campsites year round.

La Hacienda is also raising consumer awareness about its park model rentals through its website and rack cards, both of which won awards last year from the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO).