"The Best Places to Snowbird in 2021" text over a photo of Naples, Florida in the style of a post card

Here are the best places to snowbird this year.

As summer cools off and the seasons begin to change, many retirees are dusting off their suitcases and preparing for their annual migration. Heading to warmer climates to escape the ice and snow is fairly common, but for active adults who are new to the snowbird lifestyle, you might not know where to migrate to.

Fortunately, we’ve gathered 25 of the best places for snowbirds, including cities in Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, South Carolina, and Nevada. For each entry, we’ve also provided a list of recommended 55+ communities in the area.

Methodology

55places analyzed over 9,000 major cities across the United States to determine the best places for snowbird retirement. This was based on a number of factors including: 

  • Weather: Includes average temperature and annual snowfall.
  • Affordability: Factors in the cities cost of living, and median home price, price per square foot, and average monthly medicare costs.
  • Popularity: Includes Census population and walk score data.
  • Taxes: Factors in average property tax and the state sales tax.

After applying scores and weights to each of these data points, we ranked each city by a final score and got the following list. If you’re ready to find your own winter retreat this season, here are some of the best places to consider.

1. Naples, Florida

Boats and palm trees along a dock in Naples, Florida at dawn.

Naples is our top spot for snowbirds this year.

Situated in Southwest Florida along the Gulf of Mexico, Naples is our top spot for snowbirds this year. With plenty of water recreation opportunities as well as big-city entertainment, it’s a popular city for winter visitors seeking picturesque, ocean-side living.

This city experiences a subtropical climate with annual high temperatures in the mid 80s and annual low temperatures in the mid 60s. It gets about 55 inches of rainfall each year, and never experiences snow accumulation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Naples has a population of just over 19,000 with 52.5% of the population over the age of 65.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

2. Boynton Beach, Florida

An aerial view of the shoreline and buildings in Boynton Beach, Florida.

Boynton Beach provides easy access to water sports and beachside relaxation.

Heading to Southeast Florida, Boynton Beach sits along the Atlantic Ocean, providing easy access to water sports and beachside relaxation. Rainfall in this city is above the national average with the rainy season lasting from June through September. Also, the average low temperature in January only goes down to about 57 degrees, making it an ideal snowbird location. Boynton Beach has a population of just over 80,000 with 21.2% of the population over the age of 65.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

3. Green Valley, Arizona

View of Tucson, Arizona from Madera Canyon

Green Valley has a population of just under 23,000 with 79.8% over the age of 65.

Our first Arizona city on this list, Green Valley is a largely residential area near Tucson. This city experiences plenty of sunny days, significantly less rainfall than the national average, and no snowfall. The climate is warm and dry with an average low temperature in the 50s. Green Valley has a population of just under 23,000 with 79.8% over the age of 65.

Green Valley is also a noteworthy place for snowbirds because it’s home to Green Valley Recreation (GVR), a conglomeration of 55+ communities offering a wide selection of recreation centers and outdoor amenities. 

Recommended 55+ Communities:

4. Fort Myers, Florida

View over the ocean of Fort Myers, Florida from the pier.

While it never snows in Fort Myers, the city does receive a significant amount of rain.

Back in Florida for No. 4, Fort Myers sits along the Caloosahatchee River. The city prides itself on its historic past as well as its native wildlife and scenic location. Situated near the Gulf of Mexico, this area enjoys many sunny days and a warm climate throughout the year. While it never snows in Fort Myers, the city does receive a significant amount of rain. There are just over 86,000 people living in Fort Myers, and 22% of the population are over the age of 65.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

5. Delray Beach, Florida

Aerial view of the shoreline and buildings in Delray Beach, Florida.

Delray Beach has more sunny days than the national average.

Like the other Florida locations on this list, Delray Beach is the perfect combination of serene coastline and downtown entertainment. There’s plenty of access to water recreation with Gulf Stream, Lake Ida, and the Wakodahatchee Wetland area nearby. Also, it’s possible to enjoy the outdoors all year in this city since Delray Beach has more sunny days than the national average. This Florida city has a population of just under 67,000 with 26% over the age of 65.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

6. Ocala, Florida

Greenery along a river in Ocala, Florida.

Ocala is our first Central Florida location to make this list.

Known as the “Horse Capital of the World,” Ocala is our first Central Florida location to make this list. Situated in Marion County, this area boasts a low cost of living, plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities, and easy access to the state’s coastal cities. Ocala has a population of about 63,000 with 18% over the age of 65.

In terms of climate, this region experiences distinct wet and dry seasons. Through the wet season (June through September), temperatures range from the low 70s to the high 90s, but during the dry season (October through May), temperatures range from the low 40s to the high 70s.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

7. Sarasota, Florida

Aerial view of the Downtown Sarasota skyline.

Sarasota sits just south of the Tampa Bay area along the Gulf of Mexico.

Noteworthy for its cultural attractions, resorts, and beaches, Sarasota sits just south of the Tampa Bay area along the Gulf of Mexico. The city limits also include several keys, such as Lido Key, St. Armands Key, and portions of Siesta Key. With a subtropical climate, this area experiences hot, humid summers and dry winters. The rainy season is from June through September, and the average low temperature rarely dips below 50 degrees. Sarasota has a populaiton of just under 55,000 and roughly 27% are over the age of 65.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

8. Laguna Woods, California

Aerial view of the downtown area of Laguna Woods, California

The warm, Mediterranean climate of Laguna Woods provides hot summers and mild winters.

Earning a top spot for the Golden State, Laguna Woods is an idyllic, residential city in the highly desirable Orange County area of Southern California. This scenic city provides winter visitors with plenty of nearby shopping opportunities and prime hiking trails. The warm, Mediterranean climate provides hot summers and mild winters. With over 270 sunny days per year, no snow, and less than average rainfall, residents can make the most of their time spent in Laguna Woods. Of its roughly 17,000 residents, nearly 83% are over the age of 65. 

Recommended 55+ Communities:

9. Port St. Lucie, Florida

Aerial view of Port St. Lucie on the Atlantic coast of Southern Florida.

This city reaches the 90s during the summer and rarely falls below 50 degrees in the winter.

Port St. Lucie is a nature lover’s paradise. Boasting a tropical climate, this city in Florida reaches the 90s during the summer and rarely falls below 50 degrees in the winter. Residents have access to a wide variety of environments, including the Atlantic coast as well as the waterways of the North Folk St. Lucie Aquatic Preserve which are home to manatees, river otters, and alligators. With a population of nearly 205,000, this area has seen quite a bit of growth. Also, 20.5% of the population is over the age of 65.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

10. Bluffton, South Carolina

Trees and a dock along the May River in Bluffton, South Carolina.

Bluffton has a wide range of urban amenities as well as recreational opportunities.

South Carolina makes an appearance at No. 10 with a small town in Beaufort County. Bluffton was once mostly wetlands, and it’s no surprise since the May River flows right through the center of town. Plentiful in marshland and cordgrass, this region enjoys a humid, subtropical climate with mild winters and plenty of rainfall all year round. Just under 28,000 people call this place home, and 15.7% of them are over the age of 65. If you’re a snowbird looking to enjoy a bit of southern hospitality this winter, Bluffton has a wide range of urban amenities as well as recreational opportunities.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

11. San Antonio, Texas

Colorful umbrellas on tables along the riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas.

San Antonio is home to over 1.4 million people.

One of the Lone Star state’s most iconic cities, San Antonio is home to over 1.4 million people, and 12% are over the age of 65. Being located in Central Texas, this historic city experiences more sunny days than the national average as well as less rainfall. While snow is rare, a bit of sleet isn’t unheard of in this area. Winters in San Antonio rarely dip below 40 degrees, but the high humidity in the summers can be punishing. Snowbirds spending their winter in San Antonio will find the city full of diverse cultures and a variety of entertainment options.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

12. Summerville, South Carolina

Vegetation along the Ashley River in South Carolina

Summerville has access to many rivers that lead to the Atlantic Ocean.

Heading back to South Carolina, we’re taking a look at Summerville, a town of roughly 51,000 residents. Located in Coastal South Carolina near Charleston, this town has a rich history dating back to the Revolutionary War. Also, being a part of the state’s Lowcountry, Summerville has access to many rivers that lead to the Atlantic Ocean, filling this area with plenty of natural beauty. Winters will drop temperature into the 30s on occasion but rarely go below freezing.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

13. Phoenix, Arizona

View from the mountains of Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding valley

Phoenix is the place to be if you’re a snowbird who wants to hike, bike, or rock climb.

The Phoenix metropolitan area is an ever-popular retirement destination. With a population of over 1.6 million people (10.6% over the age of 65), Phoenix is Arizona’s largest city, and it’s packed with big-city entertainment. The region typically has over 300 days of sunshine with high temperatures in the summer reaching over 100, and winter temperatures rarely dropping under 40 degrees. Phoenix is the place to be if you’re a snowbird who wants to hike, bike, or rock climb during the winter. Also, Phoenix and its neighboring communities have nearly 200 golf courses for retirees to choose from.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

14. Sun City, Arizona

Aerial view of houses and a pond in Sun City, Arizona

This active adult hot spot has been a popular retirement destination for decades.

Home to the first 55+ community in the nation, Sun City is a census-designated place in Arizona with a population of almost 40,000. Located in the northwest region of the Phoenix area, this active adult hot spot has been a popular retirement destination for decades. The community of the same name has over 27,000 homes, eight golf courses, and seven recreation centers. With high temperatures reaching the 60s and 70s during the winter months, it’s a prime place for snowbirds looking to escape colder weather and hit the links (even in January). Also, with 75.8% of the residents over the age of 65, you’ll be in like-minded company.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

15. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Aerial view of Downtown Myrtle Beach in South Carolina at sunset

Myrtle Beach attracts people from all over the country.

A classic among winter visitors, Myrtle Beach attracts people from all over the country when the weather gets cold. Of the 35,000 residents, 21.5% are over the age of 65, and winter temperatures rarely dip below freezing in this part of the country. Myrtle Beach is perfect for golf lovers, with roughly 100 courses and many of them open year-round. This city is also a hub of diverse shopping, impressive dining, and picturesque beaches along the Atlantic coastline. 

Recommended 55+ Communities:

16. Hardeeville, South Carolina

A common grackle blackbird at Savannah National Wildlife Refuge in Hardeeville, South Carolina

South Carolina is a prime spot for snowbirds.

This quaint, little town in South Carolina is a prime spot for snowbirds seeking a winter retreat. With only 7,400 residents and more than 35% of them over 65, Hardeeville has a lot to offer both retirees and working active adults. A large part of the city is bordered by the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, providing a picturesque natural space along the Savannah River. But Hardeeville isn’t just outdoor recreation--the city is also home to historic sites as well as local restaurants, shops, and galleries.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

17. Vero Beach, Florida

Palm trees along Vero Beach in Florida at sunrise.

Vero Beach is perfect for active adults who want to spend their winter on an extended vacation.

Located in the desirable Treasure Coast area of Florida’s Atlantic Coast, Vero Beach is perfect for active adults who want to spend their winter on an extended vacation. Much like the rest of the Sunshine State, this city has a humid, subtropical climate reaching the 90s in the summer and the low 50s in the winter. Some noteworthy local beaches include Round Island Beach Park, Golden Sands Park, and Treasure Shores Beach Park. This city is also home to a botanical garden as well as a downtown area with plenty of other attractions. 

Recommended 55+ Communities:

18. Georgetown, Texas

A longhorn cow standing in a bluebonnet field near Georgetown, Texas.

Georgetown is a suburban city with over 67,000 residents.

Heading back to the Lone Star State, Georgetown is a top spot for snowbirds migrating to the Austin area. Georgetown is a suburban city with over 67,000 residents and roughly 29% are over the age of 65. This is one of the few places on our list where freezing temperatures are possible, but they’re exceedingly rare. Most years, the summer high temperatures hit the high 90s while the low winter temperatures will hover around the low 40s. Georgetown’s historic downtown is the most notable feature within this town, providing residents and visitors with Victorian architecture, boutique shopping, and quaint eateries. 

Recommended 55+ Communities:

19. Sun Lakes, Arizona

The Gila River flowing through the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area near Safford, Arizona

Sun Lakes offers all the best that snowbirds come to expect from a winter in Arizona.

Situated just a 30-minute drive from Downtown Phoenix, Sun Lakes offers all the best that snowbirds come to expect from a winter in Arizona. There are far more sunny days per year than the national average, the area enjoys a desert climate with very little rain, and daytime temperatures during the winter months range between 60 and 70 degrees. In addition to big-city entertainment in nearby Phoenix, winter visitors also have access to an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities, such as Veterans Oasis Park where you can go fishing, horseback riding, or hiking.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

20. Bonita Springs, Florida

Boats docked in a harbor along the Cocohatchee River in Bonita Springs, Florida.

Bonita Springs is truly a beach community.

There’s no question that Florida is a very popular place for active adults looking to escape the winter, and the number of cities in Florida that have earned a spot on this list only further proves that fact. But we’ve got a few more hot spots in the Sunshine State to point out and Bonita Springs is one of them. This Gulf Coast city has over 53,000 residents, and 41.8% of them are over the age of 65. Winter temperatures rarely dip below 40 degrees and hover in the mid 70s during the daytime. This is truly a beach community, with plenty of access to water sports and quality relaxation time on the sand.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

21. Boca Raton, Florida

Aerial view of Lake Boca Raton in Florida.

This Atlantic Coast city is hot and humid all year round.

With plenty of shopping boutiques, local artwork, and yearly festivals, Boca Raton is well-known for its vibrant downtown. Nestled in Palm Beach County, this Atlantic Coast city is hot and humid all year round, making it the perfect destination for winter visitors who want to sit on a beach instead of shoveling snow. Because of the higher-than-average rainfall in this area, Boca Raton is surrounded by lush vegetation and plenty of native wildlife. Also, for national park enthusiasts, Everglades National Park is just west of the city. Of the roughly 97,000 residents in this city, 26.8% are over the age of 65.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

22. Kissimmee, Florida

A sunset over a dock in Kisseemee, Florida

Residents can expect warm weather all year round, even in the dead of winter.

As a small city in Central Florida, Kissimmee may appear unassuming, but it has everything many snowbirds dream of when picturing a Florida retirement. This city provides easy access to Orlando’s famous theme parks as well as numerous lakes and streams for visitors who enjoy canoeing, kayaking, or airboat tours. Kissimmee is home to over 79,000 people, 12% of which are over the age of 65. Residents can expect warm weather all year round, even in the dead of winter.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

23. Henderson, Nevada

Trees, grass, and a pond at Centre Park in Henderson, Nevada

Henderson has extremely hot summers and mild winters.

Our first (and only city) in Nevada to earn a spot on this list, Henderson is a city of over 317,000 people, making it the second-largest city in the state. For snowbirds who want to spend some of their winter months exploring the iconic Las Vegas Strip, Sin City and all of its glamor is only 16 miles away. As part of the Mojave Desert, Henderson has extremely hot summers and mild winters. Daytime high temperatures during the summer reach well over 100 degrees, but the colder months stay in the 50s and 60s. For those who want to avoid the bright lights of the Strip, local gambling dens include Jokers Wild Casino, Emerald Island Casino, and Sunset Station Hotel and Casino.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

24. Mesa, Arizona

Saguaro, Ocotillo and Barrel Cacti in the semi-desert landscape of Usery Mountain Regional Park in Maricopa County, Arizona

Mesa experiences drastic temperature differences.

Located in the Sonoran Desert, this Arizona city experiences drastic temperature differences. During the summer, high temperatures can reach well over 100 degrees and then drop into the 60s at night. Likewise, winter temperatures usually reach the 60s or 70s during the day and drop to a few degrees above freezing at night. But for active adults seeking a winter retreat, these temperatures are perfect for exploring the region’s numerous championship golf courses, the nearby Usery Mountain Regional Park, and dining al fresco in the city center.

Recommended 55+ Communities:

25. Lake Worth, Florida

The fishing pier extending into the Atlantic Ocean in Lake Worth, Florida

Lake Avenue in Downtown Lake Worth has plenty of upscale shopping and dining options.

Taking the final spot on this list, Lake Worth is an active city situated alongside Lake Worth Lagoon. It has the standard hot and humid climate for Southeast Florida with plenty of rain, no snow, and more sunny days than the national average. Winter visitors looking for a spot to take in the scenery should head to Snook Islands Natual Area, and for those seeking some metropolitan amusements, Lake Avenue in Downtown Lake Worth has plenty of upscale shopping and dining options.

Recommended 55+ Communities: