Snowbirds in Florida: The Ultimate Guide

As the weather gets colder and as the snow begins to settle in, for many, it is time to take leave and move to a warmer climate for the winter months. Snowbirds, or seasonal travelers who go from a colder home climate to a warmer vacation climate through winter, tend to pick Florida as a winter destination.

Florida is a desirable location to spend the winter months due to its white sand beaches, warm weather, and entertainment options. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of snowbirding in Florida and to find out if becoming a Florida snowbird is the right decision for you.

What Is a Snowbird?

Snowbirds typically live in northern states or countries with colder climates during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. In the winter, they move to states with warm winter climates, such as Florida, Hawaii, and Arizona, to get away from the cold. Although there are many American snowbirds, Canadian snowbirds also tend to leave behind cold winters by traveling to U.S. states with warm weather.

Many snowbirds have a residence in their state of origin and a vacation home in their snowbird destination, while others may choose to stay in different vacation rental homes temporarily. Typically, snowbirds will leave in October and return in April or May as the weather begins to warm up.

Who Should Consider Being a Florida Snowbird?

Snowbirding may be a great option for you if:

  • You dread cold winter weather.
  • You would enjoy staying in a warmer climate throughout the winter months.
  • You wish to remain in your state of origin for most of the year.

For American citizens, there are no limitations on the amount of time you can spend in another state. Americans do not need to be Florida residents to escape to the sunshine state during snowbird season, and they will be able to continue using their ID and healthcare insurance during their stay. However, snowbirds from another country, such as Canada, must obtain a B1/B2 visa to spend up to six months in Florida.

Florida has many popular areas to explore, including beaches, golf courses, museums, and annual fairs and festivals. It is an excellent snowbird destination for retirees who hope to participate in activities and enjoy beautiful weather throughout the winter. Becoming a Florida snowbird is a perfect option for those seeking (warm) outdoor adventures during winter.

How Many Snowbirds Head to Florida?

Each winter, Florida’s population grows by approximately 5%, resulting in an estimate of over one million Florida snowbirds traveling to the state. This increase in population during the cold months is mainly concentrated in retirement communities such as The Villages in Sumter County, Westminster Towers in Orlando, and The Palace Group in Miami.

Why Snowbird in Florida?

Not only does snowbirding in Florida allow seasonal travelers to escape the cold, but snowbirds can partake in various activities, lower their cost of living, and make new friends along the way. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of choosing the sunshine state as your snowbird destination.

Warmer Climate

Florida's subtropical climate remains sunny and warm as the weather drops below freezing during the winter months in northern states. Average temperatures in popular snowbird destinations from November through March remain between 62°F to 76°F. Precipitation and wind are rare, and the state has only seen snow once since 1977.

The months of January and February have sunny, warm weather, lower humidity levels, and fewer crowds. Even throughout the winter, beaches near the Southern Atlantic, including Boca Raton and Palm Beach, have an average water temperature of 74°F to 80°F.

Variety of Activities

Snowbirds can find many activities to enjoy their time in Florida, including boating, exploring Gulf Coast beaches, and visiting world-famous theme parks. Florida is home to Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, Splash Harbor Water Park, and Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.

Visitors can spend time kayaking, golfing on exquisite courses, and playing sports such as tennis and pickleball. There is no end to the number of areas to explore, and snowbirds can snorkel through Venice Beach’s coral reefs, spot manatees, and explore white sand beaches along the Florida panhandle.

Traveling to nearby states for a winter vacation while enjoying warm weather is also easy. Texas, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Bahamas are all relatively-close travel destinations to fly to and enjoy during your stay.

Proximity to Other Snowbirds

Because certain areas are trendy for snowbirds, it makes it easy to create communities of fellow snowbirds. Fort Myers, Bradenton, Naples, Sarasota, Destin, Clearwater, and Cape Coral are all popular snowbird destinations.

These areas are affordable, close to major airports, and feature golf courses and waterfront views. Living close to other snowbirds allows seasonal travelers to meet like-minded people who will also spend winters in the area.

Low Cost of Living

Florida has a wide variety of areas ideal for low-cost living, though the state as a whole sits right around the average cost of living within the U.S.

For those who choose to rent, Vrbo and Airbnb allow prospective renters to find plenty of rental options within their budget. Those who book rentals in a single location for more extended periods, from three to six months, tend to spend less.

During their stay, snowbirds may rent out their home in their state of residence to help fund their winter staycation. After several years of snowbirding, seasonal travelers may choose to purchase real estate in their snowbird destination to return to each winter. Snowbirds who buy a home in Florida receive tax benefits and can rent their winter home during the summer months.

Make Friends

Since Florida is home to many thriving snowbird communities, making friends you can spend time with during the winter is easy. Since many snowbirds return to the same area or neighborhood, it is possible to create long-term friendships that will last year-round.

Limit Visitors

Snowbirds typically frequent more residential, less touristy areas since these places have fewer crowds.

Some of the most populated areas of Florida include Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Key West, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, and the Florida Keys.

For those who hope for a quieter stay, less-populated Florida destinations include Naples, Sanibel Island, the Everglades, Amelia Island, Fort Myers, Sarasota, and Pensacola.

When Is the Best Time To Snowbird in Florida?

Snowbird season typically starts in October or November and finishes around April or May. This allows snowbirds to leave the northern states before the cold weather sets in and return home when warm, spring weather returns.

Many snowbirds wait until after the holiday season to begin their stay in Florida, typically around January. January is one of the less-popular months for tourism in Florida, meaning there are fewer people in the area for those hoping for a quieter stay.

Snowbirds may stay in Florida for anywhere from one to six months, depending on their preference. As April approaches, the Florida climate tends to get warmer and more humid, so many choose to return home up North around this time.

How Much Does it Cost To Snowbird in Florida?

The cost of snowbirding in Florida varies depending on several factors, including:

  • The area you are staying in
  • The length of your stay
  • Whether you rent or own a home

Depending on if you rent or own real estate, you will either pay monthly rent or fund a mortgage, alongside rental insurance.

It is also crucial to factor travel costs into your budget. When driving in from out-of-state, hotel stays, food, and gas can raise the cost of your trip. Not to mention, moving across the country can decrease your car’s mileage, increase risk factors such as weather and accidents, and add wear and tear to your vehicle.

Car shipping may be the perfect solution if you plan to fly to your snowbird destination. Vehicle transportation services offer safe and reliable transport and advanced tracking technology so you can monitor the trip, from pickup to delivery.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Instead of spending days hauling on the road, many snowbirds choose to ship their car from their home state to their snowbird destination so they can take a nice easy flight down South.

For these services, vehicle transportation providers, such as Carvaygo, With capacity for open, enclosed, and expedited car-hauling services, snowbirds of all destinations turn to us for dependable, fast, and personalized care.

Are you interested in car-hauling services? Click here to see how easy car-hauling can be with Carvaygo.

Sources:
Cost of Living Data Series | Missouri Economic Research and Information Center
Snowbirds, Sunbirds, and Stayers: Seasonal Migration of Elderly Adults in Florida | The Journals of Gerontology: Series B | Oxford AcademicClimate Page for South Florida | Weather.gov
Boca Raton Water Temperature (FL) | SeaTemperature.org
Cities in Florida by Population | World Population Review

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