Feel that chill in the air? If you live in the northern states or Canada, the arrival of fall signals the start of snowbird season.
Each year, more than one million RV travelers descend from America’s north to bask in the warm weather of the Sun Belt until spring. Hundreds of RV parks welcome these snowbirds, who stay in one place for months or spend the winter season touring the south.
If you’re planning a snowbird trip but haven’t chosen a roost, there’s still time to claim your place in the sun. Start getting to work now with the extensive planning and preparation that’s required. For Canadians, snowbird traveling has gotten more complicated. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the U.S.border is slated to open on October 21, giving Canadians a late start in the game. But there’s still time for fun in the sun.
Below, you’ll find links to each state’s COVID-19 rules guidelines. Review the pertinent state’s policies before traveling.
Ok, now the fun part: Below we’ve rounded up the best landing spots for snowbirds seeking a warm winter. You also can consult Good Sam’s Snowbird Destinations page. Now stretch those wings and get going.
Winters in Alabama mean fun days along the Gulf Coast or exploring small towns and cities in the River Heritage region.
Stroll along 32 miles of soft sandy beaches on the Gulf of Mexico on Gulf Shores and Orange. This coastal getaway is far from big cities but all you need for fun, including fishing, swimming and kayaking.
Stay: Lake Osprey RV Resort in Elberta puts golf, fishing, a clubhouse and a tiki bar all in one place.
Once called “the Paris of the South,” this city has retained the elegance of its French colonial heritage. But beyond the seafood restaurants and historic neighborhoods, travelers will discover hundreds of miles of canoe and kayak trails in the waterways surrounding the city. Take a side trip to Dauphin Island to explore a forest, dunes and the Audubon Bird Sanctuary.
Stay: Shady Acres Campground in Mobile sits on the Dog River and is close to all of the area’s attractions.
Considered Alabama’s “best-kept secret,” this small town in Yellow Hammer State’s southeast corner gives travelers an escape from busy interstates and big cities. From here, visitors are 12 miles north of the Florida Panhandle and just east of Georgia.
Stay: Dothan RV Park in Dothan is a dog-friendly place to stay with all the amenities you could ask for. Great shopping is close by.
Arizona welcomes snowbirds with warm winter weather along with communities geared toward winter visitors. Places like Yuma and the Valley of the Sun have ample resorts for winter travelers.
Valley of the Sun
This region blends urban living with nearby outdoor fun. Phoenix is the fifth-largest major city in the U.S., with world-class museums, big-league sports teams and a wide range of entertainment options. Just beyond the city’s border, spots like Superstition Mountains, Tonto National Forest and Saguaro Lake entice visitors for day trips. Stay through February and enjoy the Cactus League, which sees major league baseball teams slug it out in surrounding towns like Mesa and Goodyear.
Stay: Val Vista Village RV Resort hosts a vibrant winter community with world-class amenities and planned activities.
Arizona’s second-largest city caters to lovers of wide-open desert spaces. Just outside of town, the natural attractions of Saguaro National Park and Mt. Lemmon — home to the Tucson Observatory — draw hikers and mountain bikers. In town, Spanish Colonial, Moorish and Googie architecture make Tucson a feast for the eyes.
Stay: Rincon Country West RV Resort is a gated community with all the amenities you’ll need for a long stay. Close to downtown Tucson, it’s also within reach of a casino, hiking and mountain biking.
In southwestern Arizona, Yuma sits on the banks of the Colorado River, putting visitors close to tubing, fishing and boating. The town is close to major growers, and local restaurants offer guests some of the best farm-to-table dining in the nation. Eat your veggies while you enjoy fun in the sun.
Stay: Via Alameda Resort welcomes long-term guests to a resort that places guests in proximity to downtown Tucson, great golfing and historical attractions.
Elsewhere in the state, Lake Havasu keeps the party going on the shores of a fun-filled body of water and Camp Verde puts visitors close to Sedona and other northern Arizona attractions.
The Golden State offers an eclectic mix of snowbird options. You can do the desert in Coachella Valley or camp with coastal vistas at your doorstep on the Central Coast. In the heart of the state, the nation’s agricultural breadbasket opens up wine-tasting and agritourism possibilities.
If you don’t mind some chilly days, California’s Central Coast is a scenic snowbird base. Spots along the coast like Ventura, Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach and Morro Bay offer sweeping ocean views to the west and mountain adventures to the east. Go winter wine tasting without the big summer crowds at some of the nation’s top vintners.
Stay: Marina Dunes RV Resort south of Monterey puts guests close to the Pacific Ocean as well as one of the state’s most beautiful towns.
Do the desert in style. This SoCal region is home to Palm Springs, Palm Desert and La Quinta. More than 100 golf courses dot the area, and gourmet restaurants, upscale shopping and cultural events can fill your calendar throughout the season. Go on an architecture tour of Palm Springs, ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway or take a hike through the surreal landscapes of Joshua Tree National Park to the east. Craving big city action? LA is 100 miles to the west.
Stay: Sam’s Family Spa in Desert Hot Springs gives guests access to therapeutic pools and hot mineral spas from naturally heated underground wells. This, combined with great amenities, make Sam’s an ideal snowbird spot.
This SoCal town will make snowbirds forget that it’s winter. With sunny days and popular attractions, from SeaWorld to the San Diego Zoo and Gaslamp Quarter, you’ll never run out of things to do. Although many attractions can get crowded, many local RV resorts will provide sanctuary in the sun.
Stay: Vacationer RV Park in El Cajon is a gated community that’s close to San Diego.
Elsewhere in the Golden State, the Los Angeles area opens up a world of tourism possibilities, and some RV parks are located fairly close to the city. In the San Joaquin Valley, agritourism restaurants and tours await.
The Sunshine State gives snowbirds a taste of tropical living with plenty of water nearby. From the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic, visitors will never run out of beaches to explore.
Head South and just keep going down the peninsula. South Florida’s attractions include Lake Okeechobee — a fishing hot spot and the second-largest freshwater lake in the U.S. — as well as the Everglades and the vibrant town of Fort Lauderdale. Hit Miami for a hearty Cuban meal, then continue south on the Overseas Highway to the Florida Keys.
Stay: Boyd’s Silver Palms RV Resort is just minutes from Lake Okeechobee and boasts amenities like a gym, pool, sports courts and surrounding wetlands and wildlife preserve.
In the mid-section of the Florida Peninsula, visitors can meet Mickey in Walt Disney World, cast spells at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or watch rockets blast off at Canaveral National Seashore. Tampa serves up Cuban cigars in Ybor City and thrills at Busch Gardens theme park.
Stay: Tampa South RV Resort in Ruskin sits on the Little Manatee River, which leads to Tampa Bay and the Gulf.
This stretch of the sunshine state features laid-back cities, awesome fishing and lots of “Old” Florida spots that haven’t been touched by modern tourism. Charter a fishing trip in Destin and haul in hefty tarpon.
Stay: Camping on the Gulf in Destin offers beachfront camping and is in proximity to designer outlet shopping.
The Peach State’s big cities host lots of places to stay during the winter, but don’t skip the small towns on the coast or in the countryside.
This stretch of shoreline is a bewitching blend of beautiful scenery and rich history. Stroll the tree-lined squares of Savannah and take a selfie by the Forsyth Park Fountain. To the south, small towns like Brunswick preserve a colonial past and serve up shrimp right off the boat.
Stay: Southern Retreat RV Park in Brunswick puts guests close to beautiful beaches and cruise-ship ports.
The biggest city of the South turns out to also be a great snowbird roost. The city’s gourmet eateries and cultural attractions could keep you busy all winter, but folks who venture outside of town are rewarded with beautiful countryside. Check out Stone Mountain Park, with a host of attractions that will dazzle snowbirds of every stripe.
Stay: Stone Mountain Park Campground is part of Georgia’s most popular attraction and puts all of the area’s attractions right at guests’ fingertips.
The Pelican State is a feast for the senses. Smell the savory cooking, lay your eyes on elegant city streets and listen to music with Cajun roots going back centuries.
Lovers of food and fun will have a hard time beating New Orleans when it comes to choosing a snowbird roost. Catch one of the several Mardi Gras parades rolling through the French Quarter and other neighborhoods during winter and sample some world-class restaurants.
Stay: Jude Travel Park of New Orleans puts guests near the heart of the Big Easy with all the amenities needed for a great stay.
Welcome to Cajun Country. Visitors here can enjoy amazing boudin, gumbo and po’boys served in friendly restaurants. Located between Lafayette — considered America’s “Cajun Capital” — and the vast Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge, Henderson is the perfect base for adventures on the bayou.
Stay: Cajun Palms RV Resort has ample amenities and is close to Interstate 10, giving guests easy access to Louisiana attractions.
This town along the banks of the Mississippi River is steeped in history. Knife-wielding Jim Bowie once brawled here using the long curved blade that bears his name (Bowie would later perish in the Alamo). The Civil War raged here as Union and Confederate forces clashed for control of the vital waterway. See monuments dedicated to this history — and get some fishing in — during your visit.
Stay: River View RV Park and Resort on the Mississippi River
Ole Miss treats snowbirds to Southern hospitality and rollicking fun. Indulge in casino play on the coast and then belly up to fine Gulf seafood in a homey diner.
Golf, excellent cuisine and historic antebellum homes all are within reach from this town, just 75 miles from New Orleans. Try your luck at one of the high-stakes casinos on the Gulf shore.
Stay: Majestic Oaks RV Resort in Biloxi treats guests to beautiful surroundings with all the amenities you’ll need for fun on the shore.
Bay St. Lous
Situated at the entrance of its namesake bay, this town is a launching point for fishing charters heading out to catch trout, redfish, sharks, black drum and more. Folks who prefer to stay on dry land can walk the town’s miles of white beaches or embark on one of the Mississippi History Trails leading to significant sites from the state’s past.
Stay: Bay Hide Away RV Park and Campground embraces country living and is close to casinos, beaches, golf, shopping and dining.
While the northern half of the Silver State gets hit by winter, you can still chase the sun in Vegas and surrounding areas.
Las Vegas might be the first place that springs to mind when thinking about this region of the Silver State, but the surrounding towns shouldn’t be missed. Pahrump, Laughlin and Boulder City, with gorgeous scenery and lots of attractions, each deserves a visit. Lovers of the great outdoors can explore Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, which lies just west of Vegas. Lake Powell and the Hoover Dam are found to the east. Let it roll!
Stay: Arizona Charlie’s Boulder RV Park in Las Vegas boasts casino action, dining, shopping and a relaxing pool & Jacuzzi just steps from your site.
Snowbirds in the Land of Enchantment can choose between forests and mountains in the north and sprawling deserts in the south. Take a deep dive into Native America and Spanish Colonial pasts.
Central New Mexico
Albuquerque stays fairly warm during the winter, although nights can get chilly. Attractions here include a historic stretch of Route 66, with compelling shops and restaurants along the way, as well as the Acoma pueblo to the west, considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America. Take the tramway to the Sandia Peak Ski area just north of town.
Stay: Isleta Lakes & RV Park
Elephant Butte Lake and Truth or Consequences
Elephant Buttle Lake is the state’s largest body of water and a haven for boaters and anglers. Follow the Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway for hiking and four-wheeling adventure. Nearby, the town of Truth or Consequences has historic hot springs as well as a cityscape that preserves architecture from the 1930s.
Stay: Elephant Butte Lake RV Resort in Elephant Butte puts guests close to hiking, boating and sightseeing.
This desert town is home to New Mexico State University and a slew of museums and entertainment options. A short drive to the north takes visitors to White Sands National Park, a glittering gypsum dune field that stretches across 275 square miles.
Stay: Sunny Acres RV Park in Las Cruces has big, grassy sites with lots of shade close to town.
The Palmetto State is home to long stretches of the Atlantic Ocean for a four-seasons of vacation. A winter stay here means fewer crowds but no shortage of attractions.
This 60-mile segment of the Atlantic Coast includes Myrtle Beach, considered the ultimate family beach getaway. Along this stretch, golfers will discover courses designed by some of the game’s biggest names along with fishing piers.
Stay: Apache Family Campground & Pier has a restaurant, lounge, planned activities, entertainment and the Apache Pier. You may be tempted to stay on the grounds for your visit’s duration.
Hilton Head Island
How’s this for an island getaway: Hilton Head has 12 miles of beaches, 24 golf courses and six marinas, making it an ideal snowbird roost. Hit one of the many bike trails, Go shopping for designer goods or learn about the Gullah-Geechee culture that arose in the region.
Stay: Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort & Marina situates guests right on the Intracoastal waterway between the island and the Pickney Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Down here, snowbirds are called “winter Texans,” and you’ll feel like a local in one of the Lone Star State’s welcoming communities.
On this stretch of coastline, visitors will find endless miles of unspoiled beaches to explore. Walk along the sprawling shores of Padre Island or put down stakes in Port Aransas, where fishing and kayaking are unrivaled. In Rockport, a vibrant cultural scene is matched only by its fishing piers and birdlife.
Stay: Ancient Oaks RV Park in Rockport sits close to beaches with lots of amenities. Activities for winter Texans keep things fun.
Country music, cowpokes and unforgettable landscapes have helped put this region on the map. Located between Austin and San Antonio, this vibrant spot is home to Bandera — the “Cowboy Capital of the World” — and New Braunfels, a hotbed of German cuisine.
Stay: Top-rated Buckhorn Lake RV Resort in Kerrville is an ideal base camp for exploring Hill Country.
South Texas Plains
Experience life along the Rio Grande, a migration spot for both snowbirds and actual birds from across the Americas. See Spanish missions throughout the region, then tour the Alamo as you traverse San Antonio’s Riverwalk.
Stay: VIP-La Feria RV Park in La Feria has pools, spas and planned activities amid the lush landscapes of the Rio Grande Valley.