7 of the Best Destinations for Snowbirds to Escape the Cold
Do you identify with those who shun winter’s cold and snow for someplace warm, sunny, and green? Then you may be a snowbird in need of escape. In that case, or maybe remote work and other life changes have simply made you more mobile, here are seven generally sunny and warm places to consider as an alternative to another cold, gray, and icy winter.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Cabo is one of the sunniest places in the Americas, but it’s come a long way from its roots as a sleepy little fishing town at the end of Baja California. It’s been big-D Developed, and while that means some of its original character has been lost, it also means there are many more vacation rentals perfect for long term stays.
You could do much worse than to set down roots in a condo in Cabo for a couple of months, take advantage of the sun, surf and seafood, and come back home in the spring, rested and tan.
Find More: Mexico Vacations Off the Beaten Path
National Parks (United States)
Maybe you’ve gone all-in on #VanLife or even #overlanding. You’re going to want to spend some time in the national parks.
You’re probably not going to be hauling the family to Denali this time of year – but how about the Grand Canyon, the Great Smoky Mountains, Sequoia, Carlsbad Caverns, or Mammoth Cave? They’re beautiful in the winter.
Winter is also a great time to explore some of the underappreciated parks, forests, and seashores in the southern stretches of the system, including Joshua Tree and Guadalupe Mountains national parks, Gulf Islands National Seashore, and the Kisatchie National Forest.
If you’re a mobile snowbird and enjoy flitting from place to place, the National Park Service has plenty of landing spots for you.
Also read: The Best National Parks For Family Vacations
Laguna Beach, California
The California coast is crazy expensive, but it’s also crazy beautiful.
If you’re doing the #VanLife thing and can handle the crazy-expensive part for a couple of weeks you can find lots to love around Laguna Beach, an enclave of the rich and near-famous halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles.
While there are lots of ways to spend your money (one of the best things is ditching the van and spending a couple of nights at the Casa Laguna Hotel and Spa, with its cottage-style rooms and luxurious amenities), there are also lots of freebies or almost-freebies worth exploring, such as Laguna Coast and Crystal Cove State Parks, Victoria Beach, and Laguna Woods.
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston in the winter is every bit as charming as Charleston the rest of the year, only with slightly less humidity, but more benne wafers and she-crab soup.
There’s so much to do in Charleston in the winter that it’s really a matter of deciding what you like to do and then discovering how you can do it in Charleston. Art lovers can stroll through countless galleries and/or the Gibbes Museum of Art. History buffs can take walking tours of historic Charleston or explore the city’s African American heritage. Fitness freaks can bike through the city or explore its waterways and people who love good food just need to follow their noses.
While setting down roots in Charleston for a couple of winter months may be slightly harder or more expensive than other places because of the laws of supply and demand, you can do it if you really want and you won’t be disappointed.
The Alabama/Mississippi Gulf Coast is a fine destination this time of year, both in terms of weather and rental availability.
If you choose Mobile as your home base while checking out the scene, stay downtown at the historic (and haunted) Admiral Semmes Hotel or the Victoriancentury-old Kate Shepard House, a B&B where the second B is Pecan Praline French Toast, voted one of Alabama's "100 Dishes to Eat Before You Die."
Eating is one of the best reasons to visit the Gulf Coast. The area is crawling with great seafood joints, ranging from local hangouts like King Neptune's Seafood Restaurant to the semi-kitschiness of LuLu's, run by Jimmy Buffett's sister, Lucy Buffett. A better bet is the Dew Drop Inn, home to the cheeseburger that supposedly provided the inspiration for Buffett's classic song "Cheeseburger in Paradise" (though truth be told, the hot dog steals the show here).
Wear off all that Southern cooking at Magnolia Grove Golf Course, a three-course parlay on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Ambitious sorts should tackle Crossings, while those looking for a whacking good time should try the Short Course, voted the best par-three course in America by Golf Digest.
Texas Hill Country, Texas
A good way to describe the Texas Hill Country (a triangle with San Antonio at one point and Austin at another) is “not-so-Texas,” but after you spend a little time there, you realize it’s Texas all right, just a little bit different.
You’re going to need a place to stay. Long-term rentals are available, as well as RV accommodations, but it’s best to scout out the area first and determine your desired landing spot.
This is Texas, so naturally the food’s great. Have a meal at Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Llano and you’re pretty much set. It really doesn’t matter what you choose; the brisket, cabrito, ribeye, beef or pork ribs, and pork chops are all stuff of legend.
Top it off with a night of nine-pin bowling at the Blanco Bowling Club Cafe, where the services of a pinsetter are included in the price. In the morning, head to breakfast at the Old German Bakery and Restaurant, where the German pancakes are so good you’d swear you’re in Milwaukee - only the weather’s much better.
It is America. It’s just really far away America. Honestly, if you’re looking for the complete snowbird escape, it’s hard to top American Samoa.
Naturally, you have questions. It is hard to get to? Yes. Is there two months’ worth of stuff to do there? Depends on what you define as “stuff to do.” Is it beautiful? Yes, especially the National Park of American Samoa. Are there places to stay? Some.
But if you want to experience the South Pacific as a winter escape, this is a great option. Are you in, snowbird?
Also read: The 10 Best Tropical Vacation Spots
No matter where your snowbird migrations take you, insure those travels with travel protection from Generali Global Assistance. Getting coverage is easy, and getting a quote is easier.