• Venice, FL, Vero Beach, FL, and Fort Pierce, FL, provide the best environment and amenities for snowbirds and zoombirds alike
  • Mission, TX, and Apache Junction, AZ, stand out as increasingly appealing destinations for snwobirds, offering a low cost of living alongside a fantastic outdoor scene
  • Florida remains the best state overall for snowbirds, with 42 cities in the top 100 list, only challenged by Texas
  • The rise of remote work, which now involves 24 million Americans, may lead to a notable increase in snowbird populations as many seasonal nomads seek warmer winters.

The traditional wintertime “migration” towards friendlier shores keeps gaining new clientele. The millions of baby boomers from the northern US and Canada are joined in their quest for sunshine by young professionals who can now increasingly work from anywhere.

The work-from-home trend has exploded in the aftermath of the pandemic, tripling from 5.6% (8.7 million people) in 2019 to 17.8% (over 27 million people) in 2021, per data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2022, 15% of Americans worked remotely, meaning that more than 24 million people can be flexible about their homebase. Of course, not everybody will pack their bags each November, and many are already living in the southern parts of the country, but that still leaves us with potentially millions of Americans in a position to contemplate the perspective of becoming snowbirds…. or zoombirds.

As snowbirds are booking their flights or loading up their RVs to reach their blissful retreats, local businesses – from food stores to restaurants and seasonal rentals – are eagerly priming their cash registers for a windfall. For example, in Florida – the snowbirds’ sweetheart destination – revenue from tourism is on a strong trajectory, hitting roughly $101.9 billion in 2021. But while snowbirding remains popular, rising real estate prices and the cost of living in general are making it difficult for sunshine lovers to fully embrace this lifestyle.

We wanted to determine which cities offer the best bang for the buck for snowbirds and zoombirds alike, the places that check all the lifestyle boxes while also taking into account the affordability aspect. We’ve analyzed and ranked 215 US cities across 11 snowbird-friendly states in terms of:

  • Snowbird-friendly surroundings (October to March average temperatures, rainfall and air quality)
  • Beaches found within a 10-miles radius of each location
  • Park space per capita
  • Golf courses per capita
  • Availability of both rentals and housing allocated for seasonal use
  • The cost of renting an apartment and the cost of buying a home
  • Availability of RV parks
  • Number of restaurants
  • Self storage prices
  • Local internet speed
  • Safety
  • Healthcare-related factors (Medicare pricing for new patients, and availability of hospitals, other medical organizations and medical professionals)

Snowbirds' sweet spots: the perfect blend of amenities, mild climates, and affordability

There are plenty of opportunities for fun in all warm-weather states. But when it comes to overall friendliness for those seeking mild winters, Florida is hard to rival. It has been popular for so long that it has honed its infrastructure and optimized services to efficiently meet the needs of snowbirds, but also zoombirds. Unsurprisingly, Florida reigns supreme on the list of top 100 cities for snowbirds, boasting an impressive 42 cities that make the cut. However, some locations might surprise you in and out of the Sunshine State. Texas secured 27 cities on the list, followed by California with 18 cities.

We've narrowed down the list further to help you jump-start your quest for the friendliest winter getaway before it's time to start shoveling snow. Here’s an overview of the top 10 cities for snowbirds and zoombirds and what makes them attractive for those seeking a blend of affordability and a sunny lifestyle.

1. Venice, Florida

Beach in Venice, Florida
Boardwalk at Caspersen Beach, Venice, Florida

Venice, Florida, further cements its position as the best destination for snowbirds. Not only does it boast balmy weather throughout the entire winter season, but it excels in several other categories, including the share of housing units for seasonal use (87%), golf courses (it is the 5th best among the cities analyzed for golfers), as well as its health sector. There are nearly 36 doctors and clinicians and four medical organizations for every 1,000 residents.

While the local community still caters to baby boomers, the area has become increasingly appealing to younger people who seek top-notch amenities alongside fantastic beaches and sun. "In our area of Southwest Florida, we have noticed an increase in younger demographics embracing the snowbird lifestyle and much of it is due to the ability to work remotely," says Elizabeth Smith from That Florida Life. "In fact, most of the people we help are still working. They tend to be near retirement or are planning for retirement in the next 10 years or so," she added.

It goes without saying that beach life is the very best in Venice, with numerous options to choose from, including the spectacular Caspersen Beach and the pet-friendly South Brohard Beach. Opportunities for other pastimes such as birdwatching and fishing are equally easy to come by, and the city also enjoys an active cultural and entertainment scene. The Venice Theatre routinely features concerts, musicals and comedians, while Venice’s downtown features gorgeous historical buildings, dining out options and an arts center.

And as more young people flock to the city, it's becoming even more vibrant, which comes with positives but can also pose a few challenges. "On the plus side, local businesses are thriving during the winter season," says Smith. "Restaurants are buzzing with business, as are shops, and it's great for the local economy. There are also many more events, festivals and activities almost every week around town." However, as she points out,  "one downside is that traffic significantly increases. It can also get quite crowded around town with longer wait times at all the restaurants and busier at the stores and beaches. It can be a challenge for the community to balance this because where we live in Venice, Florida, there is such a dramatic increase in the population during snowbird season!"

2. Vero Beach, Florida

homes near the beach in Vero Beach, FL
Vero Beach, Florida

From perfect sunrises to clear waters and lively boardwalks, Vero Beach holds something for everyone, from baby boomers who can enjoy quiet beaches mere steps from their lodgings to remote workers in search of a leisurely change of pace.

Almost two thirds of the vacant local housing stock consists of homes destined for seasonal use, and many of the other housing options in Vero Beach are more budget-friendly than comparable locales across the nation. Of course, Florida being Florida, nothing is really cheap. But you can count on great weather, easy beach access, and plenty of opportunities for water sports and nature exploration. Golf culture is also particularly strong in Vero Beach, with the city ranking second among all the cities analyzed for access to golf courses.

Zoombirds will also appreciate the high internet speed of roughly 120 Mbps, on average, plus tons of things to do and see. In fact, despite its status as a small town, Vero Beach packs a serious punch when it comes to shopping and dining opportunities. The newly revitalized historic downtown area boasts numerous shops and restaurants plus antique stores and art galleries galore.

The beautiful McKee Botanical Garden, as well as the modern Riverside Theatre, where live music and plays can be enjoyed, are only adding to the appeal of the local cultural scene.

3. Fort Pierce, Florida

Coastal area with beach, buildings, in Fort Pierce, FL
Fort Pierce, Florida

Nicknamed Sunrise City, due to the out-of-this-world sunrises over the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean, Fort Pierce ranks third in our list of the best cities for snowbirds and zoombirds alike. Beaches are a given for most Floridian cities, but Fort Pierce has many other attractions on top of that. Due to its unique setting, with access to both freshwater and the ocean, Fort Pierce is an ideal destination for fishing and birdwatching enthusiasts. The city also features an impressive 1,000 square feet of park space per capita. Fort Pierce is also quite affordable: the median rent is 25% less expensive than the state's median, while median home prices, at $147K, are lower compared to any of the other Floridian cities in our top 10.

The average internet speed, at almost 160Mbps, helps Fort Pierce rank 7th for this indicator among the cities analyzed. The presence of numerous recreational but also educational facilities such as the Manatee Observation & Education Center, the St. Lucie County Aquarium, the FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and the Heathcote Botanical Gardens, are turning Fort Pierce into a great destination for remote workers with young children.

Fort Pierce is just one of the many cities across Florida that has been experiencing a visible shift in the demographics of their winter visitors. "With the inception of WFH opportunities, snowbirding became popular among the younger generation," explains Mitchell G. David, founder of Beach Life Premier Team. "Popular rental sites – Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway – started highlighting their listing with full office setups featuring isolated work rooms, cybersecurity, and uninterrupted internet access. Hence, the popularity of snowbirding skyrocketed among Gen X and Millennials; these young snowbirds make up about 25% of the Miami real estate transactions," he added.

4. Naples, Florida

Downtown area Naples Florida
Downtown Naples, Florida

This small Floridian city has the highest share of vacant housing units marked for seasonal use (89%) among all those analyzed, and it also ranks first for golf courses. In fact, Naples touts itself as the Golf Capital of the World.

There are great opportunities for high-end shopping as well as enjoying culture at the local museums, art galleries and performing arts venues. Naples also fares well regarding access to health services, having the largest number of medical organizations per 1,000 residents among the cities we analyzed.

But the amenity-centered Naples lifestyle comes at a premium. The city primarily caters to people who appreciate the finer things in life – and have budgets to match. The median rent in Naples is 6% higher compared to the state's median rent, while the median house price is north of $1M.

5. Lake Wales, Florida

Lake Wales is one of two Floridian cities in our top 10 that does not come with a beach lifestyle – however, it does have access to the very lake it was named for, so there are still opportunities for fishing, bathing and water sports. Lake Wales also hosts the very impressive Bok Tower Gardens, a huge garden and bird sanctuary that is a National Historic Landmark. The city’s revitalized main street features beautiful 1920s architecture and is bustling with cute cafes, shops and eateries.

If you’re into slightly strange and unique occurrences, you should also know that Lake Wales is home to Spook Hill, where an optical illusion makes cars in neutral appear as if they are going uphill.

6. Mission, Texas

Texas is a serious rival to Florida in attracting seniors and remote workers interested in spending the winter months in a warm place. The Lone Star State has 27 cities popping up high on the list of the 100 best destinations for snowbirds, with the city of Mission ranking highest in Texas.

It may not boast pristine beaches, but it compensates with a host of other attractive qualities. Almost 74% of the vacant housing inventory is destined for seasonal use, indicative of a very attractive touristic destination. The average temperature from October to March is a more-than-comfortable 65 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit and winter months are generally dry, allowing people to enjoy a comfortable outdoorsy lifestyle. Fans of the RV lifestyle will also be delighted with Mission, as there are almost 30 RV parks here.

The city is a paradise for nature lovers, offering attractions such as the National Butterfly Center and the nearby World Birding Center, a network of spectacular birdwatching sites located in the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park.

With its goldilocks size, not too big or too small, Mission offers a city-like environment in addition to great access to the outdoors. The charming downtown area is bustling with shops, cafes and restaurants, while its charming and quaint architecture gives visitors a connection with the city’s history and cultural heritage.

7. Apache Junction, Arizona

Overlooking view of nature in Apache Junction, Arizona
Overlooking view of nature in Apache Junction, Arizona

Arizona hits several marks that signify suitable destinations for snowbirds: There’s a choice between small, medium and big cities, there’s a wide range of outdoorsy activities but also plenty of urban-style amenities, and the winter weather is, frankly, ideal.

The small Apache Junction, on the seventh position is our ranking, dedicates about 80% of its vacant housing units to seasonal use. Apache Junction is more than well-supplied with golf courses, for those who love to play a round or three, but it’s also surrounded by wilderness, so hiking, camping and other outdoorsy activities are easy to come by. Apache Junction also ranks first among the cities analyzed for RV parks. There are no less than 42 such parks in the area, offering a wide range of camping options for RV enthusiasts.

Arizona features other attractive destinations for snowbirds that prefer larger cities. Mesa caters to a diverse crowd, including snowbirds. About 73% of its vacant houses are marked for seasonal use and local rents are relatively affordable compared to other urban hubs. The local internet infrastructure is also suitable for remote work. And, of course, since we’re talking about a city with a population of almost 500K, Mesa is far from being a dull destination. On the contrary, it’s a lively place with a busy downtown, teeming with entertainment, shopping and dining-out venues. Its location in the gorgeous Sonoran Desert, as well as its easy access to bodies of water including lakes and rivers, ensures that there are also plenty of opportunities for spending time out in nature.

Those who really want to spend their winter in Arizona, but favor neither small towns nor big cities, can go for medium-sized Scottsdale. This Metro Phoenix city is shaping up to be an excellent winter destination – albeit quite an expensive one – with a good portion (77%) of its vacant homes destined for seasonal accommodation. The excellent internet speed, as well as the many urban amenities, make it a suitable choice for young zoombirds who want to do more during their winter escapade than simply sit back and relax.

8. Tarpon Springs, Florida

Located on Florida’s West Coast, on the Gulf of Mexico, Tarpon Springs is best known for its Greek heritage and cuisine, in addition to the white sandy beaches and the spectacular sunsets.

About 63% of the vacant housing units are for seasonal use, and the local rental market is generally affordable. Tampa and St. Petersburg are easily accessible, so those who crave urban excitement at least from time to time will find it easy to enjoy that as well.

9. Fort Myers, Florida

apartment buildings in Fort Myers, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Myers is the largest Floridian city to enter our top 10, making it a great choice for those who want to experience not only beach life but also a bit of urban excitement. The city is a promising destination for RVers as well, with 15 RV parks available in the area.

Fort Myers boasts a stunning natural landscape, with beautiful Gulf Coast beaches just a short drive away. The region's unique ecosystems, including the Everglades and nearby nature preserves, offer excellent opportunities for bird-watchers and wildlife enthusiasts. For those interested in culture and history, the city's historic downtown, the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, and a thriving arts scene provide ample entertainment and cultural enrichment.

10. Clermont, Florida

Rounding out the top 10 is Clermont, Florida, located inland, close to Orlando and its world-famous attractions such as Disney World and Universal Studios. Clermont's natural beauty is another compelling feature. The city is surrounded by pristine lakes and rolling hills, offering picturesque scenery and ample opportunities for fishing, boating and enjoying the great outdoors. The nearby Lake Louisa State Park and the Ocala National Forest are popular destinations for nature enthusiasts.

Almost three quarters of the vacant housing stock is earmarked for seasonal use, showing up a high degree of interest for these local attractions. On top of that, Clermont offers lifestyle amenities such as golf courses and plenty of shopping and dining out options.

Snowbirding beyond Florida and Texas – which other states have what it takes?

Florida and Texas are the big winners as great winter destinations for snowbirds, with the former the more established choice while the latter is gaining ground rapidly. However, beside these two hyped states, snowbirds will find refreshing hideaways in other warm-weather states including California, Louisiana and Arizona.

Top 3 cities for snowbirds in California

Small Californian cities can be great places to spend the cold season, both for retirees looking to enjoy peaceful days in the sun and zoombirds chasing a bit of after-work fun. The state has been garnering attention from young snowbirds for quite a while now, even if they don't describe themselves as such. Even before remote work became mainstream, California has always been a popular destination for snowbirds, particularly areas on the southern coast," shares Pete Evering, business development manager at Utopia Property Management. "Over the past few years, there has been a marked increase in vacation homes, timeshares and short-term rentals. Admittedly, however, it is quite hard to pin down just how much of that is attributable to the increasing popularity of snowbirding. Based on my personal observations, even younger remote workers wouldn’t necessarily characterize their annual migration pattern as snowbirding. They would rather subsume it to the larger category of digital nomadism," he explained.

The expanding clientele base is only adding to the existing pressure on the housing market, making affordable locations in California hard to come by. But you still have a chance if you're willing to sacrifice coastal charm. Marching a bit inland will still give you access to the superb Californian weather without breaking the bank. There are places in California where your dollar stretches as far as in Florida or in Texas and you certainly won’t be short of things to do.

1. Indio, CA

Those determined to enjoy dry and sunny weather as much as possible should consider Indio, CA, which sees the least wintertime precipitation among all the cities analyzed. Of course, less rainy days equal more opportunities for golfing, and Indio doesn’t disappoint in that area, as there are plenty of courses in and around the city. Nicknamed the City of Festivals, Indio is the right place for those who enjoy live music, theater performances and the arts generally. This unique local vibe, coupled with reasonably fast internet, recommends Indio for young souls of all ages.

2. Newport Beach, CA

With over 66 miles of beaches in close proximity, and almost 2,500 square feet of park space per capita, Newport Beach is truly a natural paradise. More than that, it’s a natural paradise that has very fast internet and a wide range of amenities such as stores, restaurants, spas and entertainment venues – the ideal scenario for zoombirds who want to make the most of their free time.

Homes on the beach in Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach, California

3. Palm Springs, CA

Renowned for its year-round sunshine and warm climate, with an average of over 300 sunny days per year, Palm Springs truly is a perfect escape from cold northern winters. A remarkable 85% of the vacant housing stock is allocated for seasonal use, while rental apartments are 25% less expensive compared to the state's median.

Snowbirds can visit Joshua Tree National Park, just a short drive away, for a remarkable desert adventure. The city's vibrant cultural scene is a major draw as well, with a plethora of art galleries, music festivals and theater performances throughout the season.

Top 3 cities for snowbirds in Louisiana

Known for its rich culture, southern hospitality and delicious cuisine, Louisiana is a generally affordable and pleasant option for those looking for less “touristy” destinations. Here are the top three snowbirding cities in Louisiana:

1. Slidell, LA

This small and unassuming city actually has a vibrant arts and culture scene, with numerous festivals taking place throughout the year. Its historical downtown is home to many antique and specialty shops, museums, cafes and restaurants. On top of that, Slidell is only a 40-minute drive from New Orleans, which is bound to increase its appeal. The city is in the top third of the most affordable places among the 215 cities we analyzed, and it also has a well-developed healthcare infrastructure.

Aerial view of Slidell, LA
Slidell, Louisiana

2. Lafayette, LA

The second-best spot for snowbirds in Louisiana is a mid-sized city that’s also affordable. It has a distinct Cajun & Creole cultural and culinary identity, a rich history, and plenty of events and things to do. The lively atmosphere, combined with good internet speed, recommend it as a great option for remote workers.

3. Hammond, LA

Small and charming Hammond, with its mild winter temperatures and excellent air quality, can be a good option for those who enjoy the outdoorsy lifestyle. The city is surrounded by picturesque landscapes, including forests, swamps and rivers, making it a gateway to outdoor adventures, offering opportunities for bird-watching, hiking and water-related activities. Its revitalized downtown area, home to over 300 locally-owned businesses, hosts not only shops and restaurants, but also art exhibitions, performance arts performances and community events. The low cost of living makes it the perfect fit for snowbirds on a budget.

Top 3 cities for snowbirds in Alabama

Affordable and full of Southern hospitality, Alabama winter retreat destination. Snowbirds can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, from the stunning Gulf Coast beaches to golfing, fishing, hiking and birdwatching. It's a great alternative for those who favor mild winters, not too cold nor too hot.

1. Fairhope, Alabama

Fairhope truly puts Alabama on the map of the best places for snowbirds. As a well-known resort city, it may come as no surprise that it makes a good winter destination for snowbirds as well. On top of the comfortable winter temperatures (albeit lower than in Floridian cities) and opportunities for beach walks and golfing, Fairhope is also the safest city among those analyzed. Fairhope ranks well for access to healthcare as well.

Seaside view, Fairhope Alabama
Fairhope, Alabama

There are numerous hiking and biking trails in and around the city, which makes it a great destination for those who prefer an outdoorsy lifestyle.

2. Northport, AL

Northport, Alabama, offers snowbirds a delightful combination of mild winter weather, natural beauty, safety, cultural amenities and the welcoming ambiance of the South. Situated along the Black Warrior River and surrounded by lush landscapes and beautiful parks, it's the ideal environment for those who chase an active, sporty lifestyle. Northport is also close to Tuscaloosa, home to the University of Alabama, which grants access to exciting cultural and sporting events.

3. Alabaster, Alabama

Nestled in the picturesque landscape of central Alabama, with rolling hills and scenic vistas, Alabaster provides a comfortable escape from the harsh winter conditions of the northern states, allowing snowbirds to enjoy outdoor activities year-round. Alabaster's location just south of Birmingham, Alabama's largest city, offers access to a wide range of cultural and recreational amenities.

Top 3 cities for snowbirds in Nevada

The southern and lower-elevation areas of Nevada offer some attractive options for snowbirds who favor mild, pleasant temperatures and consistently sunny and clear skies. From smaller cities to urban hotspots such as Las Vegas, here are the best snowbird destinations in Nevada:

1. Mesquite, NV

Gorgeous mountain and desert views, pleasant temperatures and very little rain throughout the winter – these are just some of Mesquite’s strong points. About 86% of the vacant housing units in the city are for seasonal use. Additionally, the apartment market is renter-friendly.

But aside from its affordability and distinct small-town charm, Mesquite has so much more to offer. It’s teeming with golf courses, resorts, spas and restaurants, ensuring the best of both worlds for snowbirds and zoombirds alike.

golf courses Mesquite Nevada
Picturesque golf courses, Mesquite, Nevada

The area is also a perfect base for exploring nearby attractions such as the Bryce Canyon National Park, Cathedral Gorge and the Grand Canyon’s North Rim.

2. Boulder City, NV

Surrounded by stunning natural beauty, including Lake Mead and the Mojave Desert, Boulder City allows snowbirds to engage in outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, fishing, and exploring the nearby national parks and wildlife areas. Quiet and quaint, it has that small-town feel with a slower pace of life that makes it the ideal retreat for those seeking a peaceful, relaxed winter.

3. Las Vegas, NV

Those who crave a bit of excitement during their wintertime escape can choose Las Vegas, the third-best snowbird destination in Nevada. Apart from its myriad entertainment and lifestyle-related amenities, Las Vegas ranks second among the cities analyzed for clear skies, while also featuring over 20 RV parks for those who prefer to travel and live in a motorhome. The surrounding region offers ample opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking, golfing and exploring the nearby Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Exploring budget-friendly snowbird destinations: Texas stands out as a wise choice

There are many perks associated with snowbirding, from escaping snow-blocked streets and freezing cold to embracing a welcome change of scenery that breaks daily routines. However, this sought-after lifestyle often comes at a premium, especially in well-known destinations where competition for housing and services is high. In sunny California, a paradise for sun-chasers, home prices soar above $2 million on average in places like Newport Beach and Los Gatos, with rents following suit. Although more affordable than California overall, Florida it is not immune to rising costs.

The silver lining for budget-conscious snowbirds lies in less-publicized places where lifestyle amenities might be less abundant, but the weather is still pleasant enough to thoroughly enjoy the outdoors. Texas, Arizona, Louisiana and Georgia emerge as top contenders in this respect, with much friendlier housing markets.

In Mercedes, Texas, home to the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show, you'll find a welcoming atmosphere and an affordable housing market, with a median home value of just $83,000 and the lowest rent among the cities analyzed. Two cities among the top 10 overall for snowbirds, Mission, Texas, and Apache Junction, Arizona, are gaining affordability accolades as well, with median monthly rents not much above $800. Median home values are also below the national figure in both locations. In Apache Junction homes go for $133K while Mission home prices hover around $122K.

Georgia's Southern hospitality can be experienced at its best in Warner Robins. Known as the "Home of Planes, Trains & Heroes," this quaint Georgia town has become incredibly diverse in recent times. The best part? The cost of living is still below that of many other attractive winter hideaways, with a median home price in Warner Robins of $130,275.

Self storage adds to cities’ preparedness to accommodate snowbirds

Snowbirding is not all fun and games. It also poses a few challenges, and the logistics are not always easy to deal with. In addition to choosing a location that can fulfill lifestyle desires, there’s also the practical side of dealing with the stuff you need while living out your warm winter dreams. People relocating over the cooler months want to make the most of their time in a location with great weather, beaches, golf courses and opportunities for all sorts of outdoor endeavors. These activities generally require some gear, from beach chairs and golf clubs to camping equipment, bikes and everything in between.

Following this scenario, some cities are better equipped than others to respond to the needs of returning snowbirds. Apart from Naples, all cities in the top 10 destinations for snowbirds provide easy access to self storage, showcasing below-average rental rates. Among them, Mission, TX, has the cheapest price for self storage – roughly $90 for non-climate-controlled 10’x10’ storage units.

Below, you can check out self storage prices in the country’s 100 best cities for snowbirds and zoombirds:

Self Storage Rates and Availability in the Country's Best 100 Snowbird Destinations

City Self Storage Rent (10x10 NCC) Self Storage per Capita (sq. ft.)
Venice, FL $112 8.89
Vero Beach, FL $119 8.1
Fort Pierce, FL $118 5.63
Naples, FL $132 11.57
Lake Wales, FL $118 8.58
Mission, TX $89 4.1
Apache Junction, AZ $119 3.43
Tarpon Springs, FL $117 3.49
Fort Myers, FL $107 9.91
Clermont, FL $108 7.08
Bartow, FL $108 3.44
Stuart, FL $95 9.08
Clearwater, FL $128 4.83
Kissimmee, FL $102 5.87
New Smyrna Beach, FL $268 10.12
Bradenton, FL $129 8.97
McAllen, TX $92 3.96
Winter Haven, FL $91 5.01
Leesburg, FL $107 6.44
Lakeland, FL $111 8.43
Sarasota, FL $130 8.47
Weslaco, TX $95 5.07
College Station, TX $101 8.23
Galveston, TX $184 7.92
Hollywood, FL $179 2.18
Mesquite, NV $75 19.28
Angleton, TX $77 17.98
Indio, CA $125 5.69
Boynton Beach, FL $143 3.26
Mesa, AZ $110 5.84
Scottsdale, AZ $165 7.77
Titusville, FL $125 9.42
Brownsville, TX $93 4.65
Greenville, TX $87 14.74
Harlingen, TX $80 6.13
Pearland, TX $101 5.48
Tampa, FL $121 6.86
Mercedes, TX $93 1.7
Edinburg, TX $90 3.49
Daytona Beach, FL $141 6.81
Gainesville, FL $121 7.31
West Palm Beach, FL $140 6.39
Fairhope, AL $68 14.25
Melbourne, FL $128 6.6
Ocala, FL $102 8.46
Newport Beach, CA $574 1.03
El Paso, TX $98 5.99
Palm Springs, CA $152 8.28
Tucson, AZ $115 8.17
Pompano Beach, FL $154 5.12
Fort Lauderdale, FL $144 3.75
Orlando, FL $115 6.74
Conroe, TX $92 9.02
Miami, FL $175 3.62
Miami Beach, FL $419 0.77
Kingsville, TX $100 8.33
Freeport, TX $75 7.34
DeLand, FL $113 9.78
Plant City, FL $123 6.91
Jacksonville Beach, FL $152 3.58
Corpus Christi, TX $100 11.61
San Diego, CA $187 3.92
Sonoma, CA $208 8.88
Laguna Beach, CA $283 0.58
Cleburne, TX $81 14.97
Oceanside, CA $167 3.12
Sanford, FL $112 9.24
Thousand Oaks, CA $235 2.35
Alvin, TX $107 10.63
Boulder City, NV $151 -
Carlsbad, CA $178 4.5
San Juan Capistrano, CA $258 3.26
Vista, CA $182 3.95
Lompoc, CA $148 8.93
Homestead, FL $152 3.29
Slidell, LA $111 8.84
Monterey, CA $223 5.32
Lafayette, LA $88 12.95
Crestview, FL $86 11.55
Grand Prairie, TX $108 3.17
Escondido, CA $165 4.66
Hammond, LA $93 12.79
Pensacola, FL $88 10
Hialeah, FL $156 2.13
Irving, TX $99 6.87
Apopka, FL $119 4.54
Arlington, TX $96 5.8
San Antonio, TX $111 8.81
Burleson, TX $97 5.49
Lynn Haven, FL $70 5.58
Temple, TX $95 11.36
Lake Charles, LA $72 13.08
Austin, TX $121 7.68
Las Vegas, NV $123 7.14
Lindsay, CA $149 3.8
La Mesa, CA $223 1.23
Baton Rouge, LA $96 11.02
Irvine, CA $160 5.1
Houston, TX $97 6.72
Redwood City, CA $237 5.12
StorageCafe analysis of Yardi Matrix data

When it comes to snowbirding, it's not just about escaping frigid temperatures, it's about discovering a whole new world of possibilities. The gorgeous snowbird destinations we’ve highlighted offer exactly that, along with a myriad of outdoor activities to keep you entertained throughout the season — without breaking the bank.

Check out how each of the cities analyzed fared in terms of amenities for snowbirds:

Frequently asked questions about snowbirds

1. What are snowbirds?

The word ’snowbirds’ commonly refers to people who migrate from the colder regions of the US, typically from the Midwest and the East Coast, as well as from Canada, to warmer climates during the winter months. They seek to escape the cold, snow and harsh winter weather of their northern homes and spend the winter in locations with milder and more pleasant climates. Snowbirds often stay in these warmer destinations for several months, and then return to their primary residences when the weather in their hometowns becomes more favorable. This migration is often driven by a desire for a better quality of life, outdoor activities and the opportunity to enjoy a more comfortable winter.

2. How many snowbirds are there in the US?

The number of snowbirds can vary from year to year and can be influenced by a variety of factors, including economic conditions, retirement and remote work trends, and personal preferences. It’s difficult to estimate exactly how many people in the US are choosing to relocate to a warmer location over the winter months. However, we do know that a significant share of the population is retired or works remotely and is therefore in a position to consider snowbirding. Almost 60 million Americans are 65 and older, which is the retirement age for most people. On top of that, it’s estimated that around 24 million employees are working remotely and are therefore flexible about their working location. Potentially, millions of Americans are able to travel to warmer shores every winter.

3. Where are the best places for snowbirds in the US?

The best places for snowbirds in the US must have pleasant winter temperatures and amenities that suit the needs and wants of snowbirds – these include access to beaches or to other natural attractions, availability of short-term rentals, safety, access to healthcare, and good internet speed for home-working and for keeping in touch with family.

Based on these factors, Florida remains the top state for snowbirds. It enjoys the right climate and many natural attractions, plus a longstanding tradition of receiving wintertime guests, so it has developed the infrastructure required for this status. Texas is gaining ground as well and is shaping up as a more affordable alternative to Florida. Other states that have plenty of potential and are also attracting snowbirds include California, Louisiana, Arizona and Nevada.

Looking at cities, Florida's Venice, Vero Beach, and Fort Pierce, are this season’s top places for snowbirds, scoring well across the board for all the snowbird requirements.

Among larger cities – those with populations of over 500K – Las Vegas, Nevada, Phoenix, Arizona, and San Antonio, Texas, stand out as excellent places to seek out warmth during winter.

4. What are the cheapest states for snowbirds?

The most affordable states that also provide pleasant winter temperatures and are therefore attractive for snowbirds include Mississippi, where the median rent hovers around $830, Alabama, at $850, and Louisiana, with an average rent under $1,000. Texas, a well-established snowbird destination, is also generally affordable – snowbirds can rent an apartment in the state for less than the national average.

5. What are the most affordable places for snowbirds in Florida?

The most affordable cities in Florida for snowbirds include Bartow, Lake Wales, and Leesburg. These three cities register average monthly rents of no more than $1,000, while also providing excellent amenities and natural attractions for snowbirds.

6. What are the best places for snowbirds in California?

The top three snowbird destinations in California for snowbirds are Indio, Newport Beach, and Palm Springs, with Indio being the most affordable. While Indio and Palm Springs are located inland and are veritable golfers’ paradises, Newport Beach is a luxurious beach destination teeming with lifestyle amenities such as restaurants, shops, spas and entertainment venues.

7. When do snowbirds come to Florida?

The exact timing can vary, but generally an influx of snowbirds in Florida starts in November and lasts through April. The peak snowbird season is generally during the winter holidays and into the early months of the new year when the weather in Florida is relatively mild and pleasant. However, specific arrival dates may vary from year to year, depending on the weather in that particular year, or on other circumstances. Some snowbirds may stay for shorter or longer periods, based on their personal requirements.

8. When do snowbirds leave Florida?

Snowbirds typically start leaving Florida in the spring, as the weather in their home regions in the northern United States and Canada becomes more favorable. By late spring, most snowbirds will have returned to their permanent homes.

9. How many Canadian snowbirds are traveling to the US each season?

It’s difficult to come up with a definitive number of Canadian snowbirds traveling to the US each season — some estimates put that number at about one million. It’s interesting to note that 87% of the Canadian Snowbird Association members said that they plan to travel to the US over winter. The association has about 100K members, but the fact that an overwhelming share of them want to spend the cold season in the US is definitely suggesting that this might be the case for many other Canadians as well.

 10. Where are the best places for Canadian snowbirds?

The best places for Canadian snowbirds in the US are the Southern states in general, which provide a welcome respite from the harsh winters in Canada. Depending on their preferences, they can choose among a variety of locations. Florida is the quintessential destination for those who want to be near beaches. Texas is a more affordable option that grants access to beautiful weather, great food and plenty of opportunities for golfing, birdwatching, fishing and much more. Arizona, with its sunny and dry weather and spectacular natural settings, is ideal for outdoorsy Canadians who want to stay active.

11. What are zoombirds?

"Zoombird" is a playful and informal term used to describe remote workers who, similar to snowbirds, migrate south for the winter to enjoy a warmer climate while continuing to work remotely (using online collaboration apps, such as Zoom, hence the moniker). This trend is allowing people to enjoy a change of scenery without taking traditional vacations.

What the experts are saying

To find out more about the latest snowbirding trends we spoke to several experts.

Makarand Mody, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Hospitality Marketing|Director of Research|Chair of Undergraduate Programs, Boston University School of Hospitality Administration

What are the key factors that snowbirds should keep in mind when selecting a destination for winter?

Here are some important considerations, grouped by categories. These are not in any order of importance per se.

Weather (the obvious)

  • Climate: One of the primary reasons for becoming a snowbird is to escape cold and snowy winters. Ensure that your chosen destination has a mild, comfortable climate during the winter months. Research temperature ranges, precipitation and overall weather conditions to find a place that suits your preferences.
  • Seasonal Variations: Be aware of any seasonal variations or challenges that your destination may face. This can include hurricane seasons, monsoons, extreme heat or other weather-related concerns. Climate change has made this even more important.
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Financial Logistics

  • Cost of Living: The cost of living can vary significantly among destinations. Research the cost of housing, groceries, health care and other essential expenses. A more affordable location can help stretch your retirement savings or winter budget.
  • Financial Planning: Plan your finances carefully to cover the expenses associated with your winter retreat. This includes budgeting for accommodations, transportation, insurance and any other costs specific to your destination.
  • Length of Stay: Determine how long you plan to stay at your winter destination. Some people go for a few months, while others stay the entire winter season. Your choice may impact your accommodation options and budget.
  • Rental or Ownership: Decide whether you want to rent a property for your winter stay or own a second home. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, so weigh them based on your financial situation and long-term plans.
  • Rental Agreements and Contracts: If you’re renting a property, carefully review rental agreements and contracts to ensure you understand the terms and conditions, including rent, deposit and any restrictions.

Access and Safety

  • Accessibility: Consider how easily you can travel to and from your winter destination. Factors to consider include proximity to airports, transportation options and the distance from your home. It’s essential to have a convenient and reliable means of getting there.
  • Safety and Security: Look into the safety and security of the area, including crime rates and any natural disasters that may affect the region. It’s important to feel secure in your winter home.
  • Legal and Visa Requirements: If you’re considering international destinations, be aware of visa and legal requirements for extended stays. Make sure you understand the rules for entry and residency in the country of your choice.
  • Health and Travel Insurance: Make sure you have appropriate health and travel insurance that covers you during your winter stay, especially if you’re traveling internationally.

Amenities and Services

  • Activities and Amenities: Think about your interests and what you want to do during your winter stay. Whether it’s golf, beach activities, cultural events or outdoor adventures, ensure that your destination offers the amenities and activities you enjoy.
  • Health Care Services: Access to quality health care is crucial, especially for retirees. Research the availability of health care facilities, doctors and hospitals in the area, and consider any special medical needs you may have.
  • Community and Social Life: Consider the social aspects of your chosen destination. Look for a welcoming and active community, as well as opportunities to make friends and participate in local events and activities.
  • Research and Local Knowledge: Talk to other snowbirds, visit online forums or consult travel guides to gather insights and recommendations from people who have experience in the area you’re considering.

With the increase in remote working, do you see snowbirding becoming more popular with the younger generations?

Yes. With the flexibility to work from anywhere, younger professionals and digital nomads may choose to spend their winters in warmer destinations. This trend could lead to a broader demographic of snowbirds than the traditional retirees. We are already seeing new-age hospitality brands, like Selina or Generator, that are targeting younger snowbirds.

What is the effect of snowbirding on U.S. destinations?

The effect of snowbirding on U.S. destinations can be significant and is consistent with the broader effects of an influx of tourism per se. However, these tourists tend to be longer-term residents. Many areas, such as Florida and Arizona, experience an influx of seasonal residents, which boosts local economies and can create jobs in terms of seasonal employment. This seasonal population increase can stimulate local businesses, such as restaurants, shops and entertainment venues.

However, it can also put pressure on infrastructure and services, such as traffic, health care or water consumption, particularly in smaller communities. Also, critically, the demand for housing, particularly rental properties and vacation homes, increases in snowbird destinations during the winter season. This can drive up property prices and rental rates, making it potentially more challenging for local residents to find affordable housing, which is already a major issue for many U.S. cities.

Are there any major challenges associated with snowbirding?

  • There can be some challenges associated with snowbirding, including:
    Travel Logistics (highlighted above): Planning and executing a seasonal move can be complex, including transportation, accommodations and packing.
  • Health Care and Insurance (highlighted above): Maintaining health insurance and access to health care services in a different location can be a challenge, especially for retirees.
  • Financial Considerations (highlighted above): Managing finances across multiple residences and dealing with tax implications can be complicated. Also, maintaining two residences, traveling between them and dealing with the associated expenses can be costly and may make it particularly challenging for younger snowbirds.
  • Social Isolation: Loneliness and isolation can be a concern, especially for those who do not have a strong social network at their winter destination. Maintaining connections with family and friends when you’re away for an extended time can be hard.
  • Home Security: Leaving your primary residence unattended for an extended period can raise security concerns. You might need to arrange for home checks, security systems and property maintenance.
  • Also, don’t forget to forward your mail!

Heather J. Gibson, Ph.D., Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator, Department of Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management, University of Florida

What are the key factors that snowbirds should keep in mind when selecting a destination for winter?

Typically, the idea of a snowbird of course is motivated primarily by the chance to escape the cold weather. So, destinations that have a mild winter climate are often the most popular. Another consideration would be the chance to do a seasonal rental of a property or the availability of good camping facilities. Some snowbirds also want to be around others like them, so a chance to socialize, whereas others want the chance to be involved, such as volunteering for the state parks, etc.

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Cost is always an issue, so a location where the cost of living isn’t too high. For those coming in from abroad, such as the many Canadians who come south in the winter, another consideration would be medical insurance coverage and the rules surrounding this.

With the increase in remote working, do you see snowbirding becoming more popular with the younger generations?

Conceivably yes. Certainly, in the early years of the pandemic, the choices for remote working tended to be beach destinations/tropical locations and islands. We know that for the so-called digital nomads cost is a consideration, and where they decide to work overseas, visas are also an issue. However, when you look at recent U.S.-based studies conducted on digital nomads, Internet speed and accessibility seem to be top requirements, and some studies rank the New England states as the top places for remote working. So, the relationship between remote work and snowbird-like behavior may not be so apparent as one might think.

What is the effect of snowbirding on U.S. destinations?

From a Florida point of view as a popular snowbird state in the United States, the snowbird season has quite an impact on the local communities, and such communities experience a seasonal surge in populations who tend to be older and from out of state or country, for example, Canadians. Research shows that when the Canadians did not come to Florida a few years ago due to an uneven exchange rate, the host communities suffered an economic loss.

So, in terms of economic impact, the snowbirds provide the host communities with an injection of income in months when the family beach crowds or other visitors may not be present. We do need to remember that one of Florida’s peak seasons is winter. In today’s world, Florida as a tourism-dependent state has worked to even out seasonality so that there are visitors in the state year-round. But certainly, for the communities that attract more of the snowbirds, the residents do notice they are present, both economically and socially in that there are more people in town competing for resources, such as parking, restaurant space, etc.

Are there any major challenges associated with snowbirding?

Whenever you look at challenges associated with tourism for communities, you need to do so from different perspectives and certainly the relationship of that informant to the tourism industry. Not surprisingly, people who make their living in the tourism industry tend to not only have closer contact with the snowbirds but also a more favorable attitude. For residents of the snowbird-receiving communities, key complaints will always be about traffic and crowding, but they certainly miss the positive economic impact when the snowbirds are absent. Florida has had some unique challenges in recent years with snowbirds, notably with competition over accommodations. In communities where residents have been displaced by hurricanes, such as after Hurricane Michael or Hurricane Ian and so forth, there were some challenges over snowbirds displacing residents who had been staying in the hotels or apartments because their own houses/apartments were storm damaged. This particular challenge has occurred several times not only due to snowbirds who have existing reservations for the same accommodation but during spring break and also college football games.

Xiaoxiao Fu, Ph.D., CHE, Associate Professor and Program Director of Dick Pope Sr. Institute for the Study of Tourism, Department of Tourism, Events and Attractions, Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida

 What are the key factors that snowbirds should keep in mind when selecting a destination for winter?

Snowbirds, those who migrate to warmer destinations during the winter months, should keep two key factors in mind when choosing their winter retreat. These factors are essential for ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience. First and foremost, they should consider the climate and weather of the destination. It is crucial to seek areas with milder winters, steering clear of extreme cold or heavy precipitation if that is their goal. Researching average temperatures and winter precipitation levels is a prudent step.

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Secondly, location and accessibility play vital roles. Selecting a location that is easily accessible and not too far from one’s primary residence is advisable. Consider factors like proximity to airports, road conditions and travel time to streamline the journey. By giving due consideration to these two pivotal factors, snowbirds can choose a winter destination that aligns with their preferences, needs and budget, ensuring a pleasant and hassle-free seasonal escape.

With the increase in remote working, do you see snowbirding becoming more popular with the younger generations?

The rise of remote work has introduced a new level of flexibility, enabling people of all generations to consider alternative living arrangements, such as snowbirding. Traditionally associated with retirees and older individuals who have the time and financial means to spend extended winters in warmer climates, this lifestyle is now garnering the interest of younger generations for two key reasons. Firstly, the proliferation of remote work opportunities is transforming the way younger professionals and digital nomads operate. With the ability to work from virtually anywhere with an Internet connection, they can maintain their careers while residing in diverse locations, including snowbird destinations. Secondly, there is a growing emphasis on work-life balance among younger generations. They are increasingly seeking ways to integrate travel and leisure into their lives.

Snowbirding presents an attractive option for living in appealing locations while simultaneously pursuing their careers and personal interests. In summary, the evolving landscape of remote work has democratized snowbirding, making it more accessible and enticing to younger generations. However, the extent of its popularity will vary based on individual circumstances and preferences. As remote work continues to evolve, we may witness an increase in young snowbirds embracing this lifestyle in the future.

What is the effect of snowbirding on U.S. destinations?

Snowbirding can yield both positive and negative impacts on U.S. destinations, contingent upon factors such as location, the scale of snowbirding activity and the local economy. I outline one positive and one negative effect.

Positive effect: Economic boost — snowbirds contribute significantly to the local economy by injecting funds into accommodations, dining, shopping, entertainment and a variety of services. This influx of seasonal residents can invigorate businesses and job opportunities in the area.

Negative effect: Seasonal crowding — in sought-after snowbird destinations, the arrival of seasonal residents can lead to overcrowding during the winter months, placing stress on local resources and infrastructure.

The impact of snowbirding on U.S. destinations varies widely, depending on specific factors such as the destination’s characteristics, the size of the snowbird community and the capacity of local infrastructure to accommodate seasonal population fluctuations. Many U.S. destinations actively promote snowbirding due to its potential to significantly bolster their economies and sustain businesses and communities during the off-season. However, it is crucial for local governments and communities to proactively manage and plan for the potential consequences of snowbirding to ensure a sustainable and positive experience for all residents and visitors.

Are there any major challenges associated with snowbirding?

Snowbirding presents several notable challenges. Among the major challenges associated with snowbirding are:

Logistics and Travel: The process of planning and executing a seasonal move can be riddled with logistical complexities. Coordinating transportation, securing suitable accommodations and timing relocation can be particularly intricate, especially if snowbirds have specific requirements, such as the need to transport pets or medical equipment.

Costs: Snowbirding often comes with a significant price tag. Expenses encompass travel costs, accommodation fees, utilities and health care expenditures. It is of paramount importance to meticulously budget and plan for these financial commitments.

To effectively manage these challenges, it is imperative to engage in comprehensive planning, conduct thorough research on the chosen destination, seek expert advice regarding legal and tax considerations and establish a support network in the winter location. While many snowbirds discover that the benefits of a more comfortable winter climate and lifestyle outweigh these challenges, it remains essential to be well-prepared and take into account all aspects of snowbirding before embarking on this lifestyle.

Lori Pennington-Gray, Ph.D., Endowed Professor and Director, Richardson Family SmartState Center for Economic, Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development, University of South Carolina

What are the key factors that snowbirds should keep in mind when selecting a destination for winter?

Snowbirds should seek warmer climates to escape the cold winter weather. They should consider destinations with mild temperatures, low precipitation and plenty of sunshine. Also, they should pay attention to affordability. Affordability is an important consideration because snowbirds should evaluate the cost of housing, health care, groceries and other daily expenses in their chosen destination. Finally, snowbirds should look for destinations that offer a range of amenities and activities, such as golf courses, beaches, cultural attractions, shopping centers and recreational opportunities.

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With the increase in remote working, do you see snowbirding becoming more popular with the younger generations?

Since a snowbird is a person who spends about six months each year living in a northern community and six months living “down south,” it’s possible that more younger people may choose to become snowbirds. The flexibility offered by remote work allows individuals to work from anywhere, making it easier to spend extended periods in warmer destinations during the winter months.

What is the effect of snowbirding on U.S. destinations?

Snowbirding has a significant impact on U.S. destinations, particularly those in warmer regions. It boosts local economies by increasing tourism revenue and supporting local businesses, such as restaurants, hotels, rental properties and entertainment venues. Many destinations actively cater to snowbirds by offering specialized services and amenities tailored to their needs.

Are there any major challenges associated with snowbirding?

The major challenge is that snowbirds must consider health care access in their chosen destination. They should ensure they have appropriate health insurance coverage and understand the health care system and available services in the area.

Christine A. Vogt, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor, Former Director, Center for Sustainable Tourism, School of Community Resources and Development, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, Affiliate Global Futures Scholar, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, Arizona State University

What are the key factors that snowbirds should keep in mind when selecting a destination for winter?

The key factors snowbirds should consider when planning their all-winter getaway include what months do they want to be away from home, are there holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, Hanukka or Kwanzaa they would like to spend at home, and what is the best means of transportation (flying, driving, train) given weather conditions from their homes to their winter destinations.

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These factors will likely influence where snowbirds select their winter destinations. Snowbirds also look at destination factors such as housing or camping choices, leisure amenities, restaurants, the closeness of friends and family, and cost. A snowbird who likes watersports and coasts will likely select southern states, whereas snowbirds who enjoy hiking and the desert will select Arizona, Nevada and parts of California.

With the increase in remote working, do you see snowbirding becoming more popular with the younger generations?

Snowbirding is a term used to describe households that move from cold to warm climates. Generally, a winter can be hard on seniors or retirees with snow shoveling, driving conditions and cold temperatures. Younger generations who have remote working jobs can migrate wherever they want. A cold weather destination with skiing and other winter activities can be very attractive. If younger adults go to warm climates during the winter season, they are likely to be around people their parents’ age or older.

What is the effect of snowbirding on US destinations?

Destinations that attract snowbirds often have their highest population levels during the winter season. This translates into more business activity, higher sales tax and more people in employment. Destinations in states such as Arizona, Nevada, Florida and Texas are more vibrant in the winter seasons than the hot summer and offer more to do for snowbirds and full-time residents.

Are there any major challenges associated with snowbirding?

Communities that are known for attracting snowbirds need to plan infrastructure such as roads, parking and airports, as well as health care and public services for low and peak seasons. Churches, grocery stores and pharmacies also need to plan for similar population seasonality. Snowbirds need to make sure everything at home is secure and well situated. Global warming has made predicting the weather challenging. A snowbird needs to consider weather at home, en route, and at their winter destination in terms of safety and access to services. Recent years in many snowbird destinations have shown that snowbirds can be impacted by hurricanes, heavy snow fall and wildfires.

Doug Ressler, Business Intelligence Manager, Yardi Matrix

Doug Ressler, Business Intelligence Manager at Yardi Matrix
Doug Ressler, Business Intelligence Manager at Yardi Matrix

How is snowbirding faring?
Snowbirding has been on a slow but steady recovery path following the pandemic-induced slump. It continues to generate substantial revenue in popular destinations. However, economic factors, including the rising cost of living and housing, are presenting growing challenges for both retirees and non-retirees looking to embrace this lifestyle.

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For many potential snowbirds, the financial aspect is becoming a decisive factor in choosing winter travel destinations. Florida, once a classic snowbird hotspot, now faces competition from more cost-effective southern states like Alabama and Louisiana. The Lone Star State is also emerging as a welcoming hub for "Winter Texans," with both traditional and newer destinations catering to a widening demographic of snowbirds. Alongside traditional hotspots like Galveston and McAllen, smaller yet equally appealing communities have developed local infrastructure, including services and housing, to accommodate snowbirds of all ages. For example, Mission, TX, has 74% of its vacant housing inventory set aside for seasonal use, in addition to an affordable housing market and numerous outdoor opportunities.
How has snowbirding evolved recently?
Snowbirding has undergone significant changes in recent years, primarily driven by shifts in demographics and the need for more budget-friendly alternatives. People are exploring less expensive destinations, expanding the traditional snowbird territory to include new areas. This evolution benefits both local communities and the choices available to snowbirds.

Moreover, the composition of snowbird demographics has evolved. With the growing popularity of working from home, many young professionals, including families, are now part of the snowbird clientele. This demographic shift represents a departure from the traditional snowbird image, which largely consisted of retirees from the United States and Canada.


This analysis was done by StorageCafe, an online platform that provides storage unit listings across the nation.

We looked at all the US cities with populations greater than 10,000 and analyzed 215 of them, for which we had complete data, to come up with the top 10 and top 100 best snowbird destinations.

The metrics included in the overall score and their weightings are the following: October–March average temperature (15%); vacant housing units for seasonal, recreational, occasional, or renting use(15%); precipitations (5%); air quality at county level (5%); offenses known to law enforcement as a percentage of population (13%); total beach length within a 10-mile radius of the city (5%); park surface per capita in the city (5%); number of RV parks in each city (2.5%); number of golf courses per 10K residents (2.5%); restaurants per 1,000 residents (2.5%); average internet speed (2.5%); median rent (7.5%), median house price (7.5%); average self storage rate for a 10'×10' non-climate-controlled unit (2.5%); Medicare pricing for new patients (2.5%), hospitals per 10K residents at county level (2.5%), doctors and clinicians per 1,000 residents (2.5%), and medical organizations per 1,000 residents (2.5%).

For the metrics presented above, a higher value means a better ranking with the exception of the following: offenses known to law enforcement as a percentage of the population, Medicare pricing for new patients, precipitations and air quality, for which a lower value means a better ranking. The same is true for the median rent, median home price, and average self storage rate, for which less-expensive cities get a better ranking.

We used temperature and precipitation data from usclimatedata.com

We computed the percentage of vacant housing units for seasonal, recreational, occasional and renting use from the US Census Bureau’s 2021 ACS data.

We used data regarding median rents and median home prices at a city and state level come from the US Census.

The self storage rent prices are from Yardi Matrix, StorageCafe's sister division and a business development and asset management tool for brokers, sponsors, banks and equity sources underwriting investments in the multifamily, office, industrial and self storage sectors.

The total beach length within a 10-mile radius of the city was calculated using the US Environmental Protection Agency 2023 BEACON dataset for active beaches with public access.

We used air quality data at county level from the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The park surface area data was obtained from the Trust for Public Land 2022 ParkServe dataset, for open parks, trails and recreation areas with open access.

The golf course data was taken from the GolfNow.com course directory.

The data for offenses known to law enforcement was taken from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting program (2021 data set, or 2020 when missing).

The average internet speed data was taken from BroadbandNow.com.

The number of RV parks in each city comes from Campground Views, while the number of restaurants per 1,000 residents was calculated based on US Census data.

The Medicare pricing for new patients, as well as the numbers of hospitals, medical organizations, doctors and clinicians, come from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Fair Use and Distribution

This study serves as a resource for the general public on issues of common interest and should not be regarded as investment advice. The data is true to the best of our knowledge but may change if amendments to it are made. We agree to the distribution of this content but we do require a mention in return for attribution purposes.


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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