Top winter destinations for snowbirds
Monday, November 04, 2019
It is that time of year again when snowbirds take to the road in search of the perfect winter destination. In this article, we will look at a few of the possible options, where I have been, and where my friends have been.
My travels have taken me to some wonderful states: South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas and Florida. My friends have been to California, Nevada and Arizona.
I remember our first year of snow birding. We did some research and made some plans, only to learn that plans change quickly. It is important to examine what your expectations are versus reality.
For instance, we thought that by going to Texas it would be all fun and games — no snow, no cold days, swimming every day. We learned rather quickly that what we thought would happen did not.
We called ahead, made sure the pool would be open and were informed it would be. We are originally from Ohio, and the thought of spending winter in Texas was a hit. The day we arrived, they started construction on the pool! My heart sank.
No big deal. We had other options, so we simply spent our time at that campground and enjoyed other outdoor activities. Then, we moved on to the next campground in Texas, only now the weather had changed and now it was too cold to swim.
I told my husband that we did not drive a thousand miles to not be able to swim, so we drove another thousand to Florida. While Texas ended up not being a prime winter destination for us that year, I would return because it offers us snowbirds a lot.
Texas is affordable and is a unique destination rich in history. It has great beaches, interesting cuisine, amazing fishing opportunities and great golf courses. I recommend visiting the Alamo in San Antonio.
I would also recommend Galveston for those who enjoy taking a cruise. Several cruise ships anchor there, and it is simple to get a cruise.
Much of our winter was spent in Florida, but we have spent time in Tennessee, Alabama, and North and South Carolina. I highly recommend Tennessee and Alabama.
For one thing, in parts of Alabama, it rarely snows. If you are a lover of golf, I recommend visiting Gulf Shores. If you love red snapper and fishing from charter boats, check out Orange Beach. For me, Arley, Alabama, was my favorite city. The fishing on Smith Lake was incredible. We caught prize-winning bluegill and catfish.
My longtime friend Kayla Newsom resides in Cooleemee, North Carolina. She enjoys the fact that it rarely gets below 35 degrees in winter, but nice weather is just one reason to visit North Carolina. The beaches are another great reason to winter there. For those of you who are racing fans, Charlotte is home to NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Kayla suggests visiting the many wineries and shopping boutiques in Winston-Salem and Mooresville. For nature lovers, there are beautiful state parks. If you are a Passport America member, you’re in luck because there are 44 campgrounds in North Carolina that accept Passport America.
Now, let’s talk about Florida. I absolutely loved the Keys. If I had a choice, I would spend every winter in the Keys. There is magnificent weather, amazing fishing, unique tourist shops, and Key West is party central.
While in the Keys be sure to try the conch fritters and Key lime pie. Florida stays warm for the most part. We did experience two days with cool temps, but keep in mind even Florida can get snow (especially North Florida).
Going west, Quartzsite, Arizona, is a huge tourist destination. Approximately 3,100 people live there, but when winter hits, you will find as many as 2 million snowbirds settling in at this tiny little desert town.
In my travels, I have met many fellow RVers. One such person is Bobbie Guice. She is a native of California, so, as she puts it, there is no need for her to “do the snowbird thing.” But there is an event in Arizona that her and her husband enjoy: the “Hamfest.”
Over 1,000 ham radio operators converge on a set location with their RVs for a week of ham-related workshops. Bobbie tells me that with proper permits, you can just go out into the desert and camp for free. There are dozens of swap meets in Quartzsite and the world’s largest RV show.
I really enjoy being a snowbird and like that I have many options. If my original plans do not work out, I can do something else, and go somewhere else.
If you are thinking about hitting the road this winter, Florida, Texas and Arizona are very popular, but Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama are ideal if you are looking for a slower pace of life with cooler temps.
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