9 Top Spots for Southeast Snowbirds

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January 12, 2020

A man and woman lounge in the sand on a tropical beach.

America’s Southern states bask in warm temperatures during the summer, making them sought-after destinations for snowbirds. But before making the trip south, check to see that the area you’re visiting has all the amenities and attractions that you’ve come to expect.

Below are nine spots that treat snowbirds to sunny winter fun:

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Alabama

Alabama makes the most of its small coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. In the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach area, more than 30 miles of white-sand beaches entice beachcombers. Solitude seekers can find lots of spots to dig their toes in and relax. Anglers can go surf fishing for the hefty redfish that lurk near the shore. Visitors who prefer human interaction can sign up for a kayaking tour to little-known nooks and crannies along the coast. Paddleboarding also is popular here, and fishing charters depart regularly for trips along the Intracoastal Waterway. If you’re feeling peckish, the area’s many restaurants serve up fresh-from-the-net seafood that will dazzle your taste buds.

Stay: Lake Osprey RV Resort, Elberta

Lights from a coastal city shimmer at dusk.

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Destin, Florida

Destin strikes a happy balance between sleepy beach village and crowded resort. You won’t find lots of towering condos overlooking the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, but you will find ample opportunities for fishing speckled trout, flounder and redfish. Inland, you can learn about the area’s fishing heritage at the Destin History & Fishing Museum. Shoppers will find ample retail opportunities at Haborwalk Village, which is perched on the edge of Destin Harbor and gives visitors views of incoming boats. At the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island, bargain hunters can find items right on the beach. All of these locations include seafood restaurants with fresh catches. 

Stay: Camp Gulf, Destin

Space Coast, Florida

This stretch of shore on the Atlantic coast puts snowbirds close to the action. Named after the space launches that made the region famous, the area also is home to some of the best beaches in the state. Merrit Island, Cocoa Beach and the Banana River Aquatic Preserve comprise gorgeous shores that invite anglers, kayakers and boaters to have fun in the sun. A short drive west takes you to Orlando, America’s theme park capital, and a drive north brings visitors to Daytona, one of the nation’s top NASCAR venues. You’ll need to spend a lot of time here to explore all that that area has to offer;  fortunately, the region hosts lots of RV parks.

Stay: Sunrise Palms RV Park, Cocoa

A family and dogs stroll in a tree-shaded square in Savannah

Forsyth Park in Savannah. Photo: Visit Savannah

Savannah, Georgia

This gem of the South escaped the ravages of the Civil War because of its sheer beauty, according to lore. Union General William Tecumseh Sherman supposedly just couldn’t bring himself to torch the town during his notorious March to the Sea. Locals wisely preserved Savannah’s historic beauty, and visitors who stroll the town’s historic district are treated to streets lined by centuries-old mansions along with stately oaks that drip with Spanish moss. Just a few minutes to the east, Tybee Island serves up year-round beach adventures. The area’s many attractions make it worthy of long-term snowbird visits.

Stay: Red Gate Campground and  RV Park, Savannah

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Dip a paddle in the water or spin a slot machine in a casino. Lake Charles has all types of water, from freshwater and saltwater to brackish water. Kayak through cypress forests — just keep an eye out for gators gliding by. Have a great time on the Calcasieu River with a paddleboat or canoe. Anglers can choose what fishing adventure floats their boat — maybe a professionally guided tour or casting out solo from the pier. There’s even surf fishing on the beach. Calcasieu Lake offers light-tackle saltwater fishing for speckled trout, flounder and redfish. Bass, crappie, redfish and panfish also are regional favorites. Ready to relax? Climb aboard the Lady of the Lake, a three-deck yacht, and enjoy a sunset cruise on Lake Charles complete with a full-course dinner and the sounds of Cajun and zydeco music.

Stay: Twelve Oaks RV Park, Lake Charles

A sailboat glides on the water as the sun sets.

Biloxi Coast. Photo: Getty Images

Biloxi, Mississippi

Have you ever wanted to charter a boat and go fishing for an entire day? Well, you’ve come to the right place in Bay St. Louis. There are numerous ship captains waiting to take you on a trip of a lifetime, and they guarantee that you’ll catch a fish or two on your adventure. Don’t like fishing? That’s okay, because you can also rent or bring a boat and just relax on the water or paddle around on a kayak or paddleboard.

Stay: Cajun RV Park, Biloxi

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Cape Hatteras has everything you need for a dream beach vacation, including miles of dunes, picturesque lighthouses, ample fishing and a shore drenched in history and legend. Fans of airplanes can walk the sands of Kitty Halk, where Wilbur and Orville Wright ushered in the age of flight. Museums on the island document the epic shipwrecks that litter the seabed just offshore, while fishing charters whisk anglers to waters that teem with fish. In-shore or near-shore fishing enthusiasts can snag striped bass. Drop a line from at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head and prepare to reel in the big ones.

Stay: Cape Woods Campground and Cabins, Buxton

A neon-lit Ferris wheel close to a seashore.

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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Nestled on the Atlantic Coast, this bustling town ranks as one of the nation’s most popular snowbird destinations. It’s worth braving the crowds that flock to the Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade. But there’s more to this town than sun and sand. The many surrounding golf courses lure snowbirds with perennially lush fairways and greens; test your skill on the world-class Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, home to spectacular floral landscaping and challenging links. If you prefer smaller crowds, explore other locations along the Grand Strand, with 60 miles of compelling shoreline. Just 24 miles northeast of Myrtle Beach, the small fishing village of Little River dazzles visitors with secluded shores and charming restaurants and shops.

Stay: Myrtle Beach Travel Park, Myrtle Beach

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio has emerged as a snowbird hotspot over the years, and it’s not hard to see why. As the second-most populous city in the Lone Star State, the town serves up all the amenities you’d want to in a big metropolis, but the streets haven’t lost the Texan charm and warmth that have made the state legendary. The city’s Riverwalk attracts visitors to stroll the banks of the San Antonio River to peruse world-class stores and eat at fine restaurants lining the waterway. A short walk from the river, the Alamo preserves a mission that served as a fortress for patriotic Texans during an ill-fated 1836 battle; the site has helped forge the state’s identity. San Antonio also serves as a gateway to the Lone Star State’s beautiful Hill Country, with towns like Bandera and Kerrville just a short drive to the north. Several RV parks in and around the city welcome snowbirds for long visits.

Stay: Travelers World RV Resort, San Antonio