What Black Friday is to retailers, the coming of November is to RV parks. RV communities count on snowbirds each year to make the difference in their bottom line. The first arrivals begin heading south after the leaves fall in the north and the season continues until April 1, perhaps a week or two later if Easter is late that year. If you want to head out when the flock is the thickest, February is the month when the most snowbirds take flight.
It probably was at the Madison Square Garden auto show in 1910 when the Pierce-Arrow Touring Landau was the first motorhome ever introduced that somebody thought, “I could use that to escape the winter and head south where it is warm for a few months.” Florida has always been the most popular destination for snowbirds but since the 1960s the migratory route to the Southwest has been well traveled as well. The Census Bureau does not track migratory habitation but Arizona is thought to receive over 400,000 snowbirds each fall and as many as a million people are estimated to spend at least a month in Florida every winter. More than one million RVers will be spreading out across America’s southern tier this year. The mass influx of seasonal newcomers can put stress on local services and try the patience of locals not accustomed to long lines at the grocery store in sleepy southern communities. Others towns embrace the energy – and dollars – the northern residents bring and advertise themselves as “snowbird friendly.” Many snowbirds return again and again to the same RV parks each winter where they renew relationships with “second families” in camp. Others enjoy trying new spots across America’s Sunbelt and Good Sam provides quick links to RV parks and resorts that go out of their way to welcome visitors from the ice-locked northern climes. Increasingly finding favor in recent years have been college towns which offer cultural opportunities in addition to mild weather, such as Las Cruces (New Mexico State) and Austin (University of Texas). Give your Good Sam host a heads-up and you can get set up with a course to top off your winter stay.