Some retirees decide to relocate to warmer climates, and others opt to age in place. Snowbirds enjoy the best of both worlds by trading cold winters at home for sunny extended vacations in various retirement hot spots. But where is the best place to enjoy a warm winter?
There are several approaches to the snowbird lifestyle. Buying a second home in a favorite location lets retirees establish a familiar winter retreat and catch up with the same social circle year after year. Another option is to try out a new destination each winter with a rental home or RV, and planning a winter trip through a few different areas is a great way to see more of the world.
Whatever your preference, the following five states feature some of the country’s best snowbird destinations:
The Sunshine State is just as popular with snowbirds as it is with relocated retirees. With vast stretches of coastline, this tropical peninsula is a great choice for those who love the beach. The southeast coast includes hot spots like Miami, Palm Beach and the Florida Keys, yet it can be a more expensive, fast-paced destination. On the Gulf Coast, snowbirds can enjoy spectacular golf courses and less crowded beaches in popular retirement areas like Sarasota, Naples, Fort Myers and Tampa Bay.
Phoenix may be the location of Sun City, the first modern-day active adult community, but Arizona has many other areas which are popular with snowbirds as well. About two hours south of Phoenix, Tucson offers a mix of city attractions and small town charm. The area has a lower elevation with a warmer climate in the winter, and it features many diverse outdoor recreations including some great golf courses. Snowbirds also flock to affordable Arizona cities like Yuma and Quartzsite year after year.
Southern California’s Coachella Valley has long been a popular winter retreat for both snowbirds and celebrities. Palm Springs features a spectacular climate and resort-style living, and it is a well known hot spot for vacationers as well. Indian Wells is another fashionable destination, particularly for golfers, but snowbirds may find more affordable winter homes in the Palm Desert area. Beyond the Coachella Valley, snowbirds often settle in the San Jacinto Valley’s Hemet area or enjoy a coastal retreat in San Diego.
As one of the country’s largest states, Texas offers many warm winter destinations that appeal to a wide range of retirees. Snowbirds who want a tropical beach setting may head to South Texas coastal areas like Galveston (near Houston) and Port Aransas (near Corpus Christi). Further inland, Austin is known for its music scene, but it also features fabulous outdoor recreations including golf courses, lush parks and the Highland Lakes. Snowbirds are also known to enjoy settling in New Braunfels, a charming German town that is less than an hour from both Austin and San Antonio.
A warm winter retreat doesn’t have to mean escaping seasonal activities like skiing or snowshoeing. New Mexico’s mountainous terrain lets snowbirds spend warm, sunny days in the lowlands and still visit a nearby ski lodge for a day of snowy fun. Albuquerque is one of the state’s most popular areas, with over 300 days of sun each year and a wide range of indoor and outdoor attractions, including the nearby Sandia Peak Tramway for a quick lift up the mountain. Further south, Alamogordo also features 70-degree days in the valley and a range of ski resorts in the surrounding mountains.
With so many great destinations, snowbird retirees have plenty of options. Visiting several different areas may help you choose the snowbird destination that is best for you.