Just as the temperatures begin to drop and the snow starts to fall in November, plan your escape with a trip to a warm destination. Not only will you start winter off on the right note, but you'll come back with a more relaxed and positive state of mind - and maybe even looking forward to spending the rest of the winter in the cold climate of home! No matter if you plan to stay for just a few days or a month or longer, these destinations are absolutely perfect for any snowbird that is seeking to warm up in the sun in November.
10 Perfect November Destinations For Snowbirds
Average Temperature: 78 °F
Largest Airport: Key West International Airport
Located in Monroe County, Florida, Key West is an island just off the tip of the peninsula connected by the Overseas Highway and is the southernmost point in the U.S. From the island, it is approximately 90 miles to Cuba. Known for it’s gorgeous weather, Key West is very pedestrian and bicycle friendly, and it’s a prime way to take in the lush palm trees and pristine sugar sand beaches at Fort Zachary Taylor or Smathers. For those who tire of the beaches of paradise, don’t despair! Steer your bike onto Mallory, Duval, o Front Streets to get your city vibe. There’s a very active community on the island, and many notable writers, athletes, and politicians have come to take in the sea air. Thomas Edison, Lou Gehrig, Tennessee Williams, and Harry Truman all spent time here, but most famously Key West was the home to the late Ernest Hemingway. Get your literary buff on and visit the Hemingway house. Make sure to check out his cats—they are all polydactyl, meaning they have 6 toes! If you come at the right time of year, you may even be able to catch the Ernest Hemingway Look-Alike Contest. Architecture buffs will love Key West as well for its Bahamian conch abodes and majestic gingerbread-style mansions. Marine enthusiasts can brush up on their shipwreck history at the Shipwreck Treasure museum, then go try to find some themselves at Dry Tortugas National Park, an idyllic hexagonal oasis 68 miles off the coast of Key West. Explore the immaculate coral reefs when glass-bottom kayaking, boating, fishing scuba diving, or snorkeling. Come take in the restorative views at the Conch Republic!
Average Temperature: 74 °F (high)
Largest Airport: Tucson International Airport
Many popular attractions are located in the Tucson area, such as Kartchner Caverns (azstateparks.com) and the Tucson Rodeo (tucsonrodeo.com), an annual tradition since 1925. Situated snugly in the basin of Pima County, Tucson is an excellent snowbird escape due to its more reliable temperatures. The area has several different vegetation zones, from the desert to the forests of Santa Catalina, so outdoor activities for the actively-inclined are plentiful. From Kartchner Caverns and the Colossal Cave Mountain Park, to Old Tucson Studios or the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, sample some Old West pioneer spirit of adventure. History aficionados can also delve into the legacy of Wyatt Earp and Geronimo. Downtown Tucson is a mainline to all of your city needs, with a surging arts district and a population youthful enough to have some variety. Modern convenience mixes with Old Pueblo-style and mid-century architecture to solidify a very eclectic but utilitarian architecture style.
Average Temperature: 77 °F (high)
Largest Airport: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Austin is an optimal winter locale for snowbirds seeking warmer climes. The capital of Texas, Austin boasts a thriving arts and music community. For Baby Boomers (and music appreciators in general), a visit to one of Threadgill’s two locations will be a nostalgic journey back to the folk music of the 60’s: Janice Joplin got her start here. Walk along Congress Bridge to catch the bats at sunset or go line dancing with all ages at the Broken Spoke on Lamar Boulevard. Grab some tacos at Papalote, or attempt Franklin’s barbeque in the Red River district if you can stand the egregious lines. Drinks and people watching are fantastic on Sixth Street. For a true test of your carnivorous heart, check out Salt Lick, which has the only open barbeque restaurant pit in the U.S. Those with erudite inclinations can visit the University of Texas, which often offers museum exhibits (this past summer was “Alice in Wonderland”), and you can sneak a peek at some of the papers from David Foster Wallace. Artists will enjoy the Cathedral of Junk, a must-see ode to dedication and folk art. In addition to all of these, San Antonio is merely and hour to an hour and a half away, where snowbirds can day trip to the Alamo, the River Walk and boat rides, Casa Rio, and the Aztec theater.
Average Temperature: 67 °F (high)
Largest Airport: McCarran International Airport
When most people think of Las Vegas, they think of dancing, debauchery, and drinking. That’s all well and good, for those with specific proclivities, but snowbirds Las Vegas for its plethora of activities aside from these. While November can be chilly at night (it is a desert, after all), outdoor activities range from swimming, hiking, boating, golfing, or visiting a gun range, if it suits your interest. Restaurants will blow you away, from Serendipity III, The Earl of Sandwich, Hash House A-Go-GO, and many more. Retirees and kids can all enjoy Vegas as well, from catching an awe-inspiring Cirque du Soleil show, to tempting fate at the Heart Attack Grill, or exploring The Mob Museum or The Pinball Hall of Fame. Stroll by Container Park or tour the skeletons of neon Signs at The Neon Museum. Area 51 and the Black Mailbox (though the mailbox was stolen early last year) or Roos N More is just hop, skip, and a jump away. Consider making Las Vegas your go-to winter vacation!
Average Temperature: 68 °F (low)
Largest Airport: Lihue Airport
Nothing compares to Kaua’i, the greenest of the Hawaiian Islands. Full with untouched natural beauty, this location should be more than a once-in-a-lifetime stop. While November can be rainy (the rainiest spot in the world is Mount Waialeale, with around 440 inches of rain a year), the coats tend to be drier, specifically in the western side. The tow major cities are Poipu and Princeville. Poipu has easier access to beaches and Princeville is beloved for it’s lush vegetation, so make sure to factor that into your plans. A hilarious amount of free-range chickens roam the island, a vestige of damage from a terrible storm many years ago, so watch the roads for these feathery denizens. Kaua’i is known for its hikes and waterfalls, so make sure to explore those and visit the Spouting Horn, a rock outcropping on the shore that spurts water upward. The island has mind-blowing topography, so be sure to check out Poipu Beach Park, the Makeleha Mountains, Tunnels Beach, and Hanalei Beach. The snorkeling and scuba opportunities will blow you away. Get a bird’s eye view of the breathtaking Na Pail Coast and Waimea Park in a helicopter, and slip down afterward for a boat tour of the sea caves of Na Pali. Lastly, if you’re feeling extra-touristy, stop by Hilo Hattie’s and buy yourself some macadamia nuts, a lei, and a hula bobble figurine. In the spirit of hula and Tahitian dance, swing by the Coconut Marketplace or the Grand Hyatt Kaua’i to catch some free performances!
Average Temperature: 78 °F (high)
Largest Airport: Palm Springs International Airport
Smack-dab in the middle of the Coachella Valley, just north of the Salton Sea, Palm Springs is a beacon for snowbirds fleeing harsh winter temperatures. While the city does have indoor attractions, like the casino at Agua Caliente, the mud baths at Two Bunch Palms, and regular spa treatments, much of the appeal is out of doors. Desert temperatures drop low at night, so daytime activities hold the most appeal. Stunning views can be found at the nearby Painted Canyon and Ladder Canyon hikes, or the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway that drops off in San Jacinto State Park. Downtown has an active nightlife, with restaurants and shows being the main focus. Golf and shopping opportunities abound. One of the fun features Palm Springs has is its proximity to other destinations, so driving to see the Cabazon dinosaurs, Salvation Mountain, East Jesus artist community, the International Banana Museum, and the ruins of Bombay Beach is not much of a hassle.
7. Puerto Rico
Average Temperature: 86 °F (high)
Largest Airport: San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport
Puerto Rico, or 'La Isla del Encanto' (The Island of Enchantment), is a U.S. territory in the Caribbean Sea. A mostly Spanish and English speaking population (great for expats!), residents are very friendly, know for coming up to strangers and saying “Buen Provecho!,” which means “Bon Appetit!” The dense natural environment of Carabali Rainforest Park makes for great zip lining, and Flamenco Beach offers up stellar scuba diving and snorkeling. Hike down to the petroglyphs of La Cueva del Indio.History nuts can cruise through the old forts El Morro and San Cristobal, or stroll through Old San Juan City and San Juan National Historic Site at the center of Puerto Rico. Mosquito Bay, a bioluminescent bay on the Isla de Vieques, illuminates bright blue with certain cycles of the moon. Stay for the neon dinoflagellates to light up your lunar boating trip! Check out Internations.org for an excellent expat resource.
8. Costa Rica
Average Temperature: 78 °F (high)
Largest Airport: Juan Santamaria Airport
Considered one of the countries with the richest natural habitats in Central America, snowbirds here definitely live the “pura vida,” or “pure life.” November is a damp month for Costa Rica, so it’s best to come by in late November, around Thanksgiving, when the dry season starts setting in. Animal mavens will be in love with Costa Rica, as is boasts the Foundation Jaguar Rescue Center, the Sloth Sanctuary, the Bat Jungle, the Monteverde Butterfly Garden, and Proyecto Asis Animal Rescue Center. Several of these locations allow visitors to directly feed or play with the animals. Equine enthusiasts can mount their steeds on an “equitour” and traverse volcanoes, beaches, or forests. Zip liners can sail through the rainforest with Pura Aventura and afterward dip their toes in Free Natural Hot Springs or the surf. Excellent waterfall viewing can be participated in at La Fortuna Waterfall. Make sure to stay for the flavor of San Jose and bring insect repellent. Popular expatriat communities are the Central Valley, the Gold Coast, Arenal, the Southern Zone, and Central Pacific.
Average Temperature: 87 °F (high)
Largest Airport: Tocumen International Airport
Panama, of course, is famous for the Panama Canal (the building of which you can check out at the Miraflores Visitor Center), but so many other features make this beautiful country a place to visit. Check out Old Panama City and the former colonial district Casco Viejo with a bird’s eye view from Ancon Hill, or swing by Frank Gehry’s Biodiversity Museum on the Amador Causeway. Avenida Balboa is a sight to behold, with a little over 2 miles of the most expensive real estate in the world, and is right in the middle of the financial district of Panama City. Take a beach day and visit the San Blas Islands or hike to all three of the Lost Waterfalls in Boquete. Popular expat destinations include Boquete, Panama City, Santa Fe, Coronado, and Volcan, so lost of English speakers make the island move a little less daunting.
Average Temperature: 88 °F (high)
Largest Airport: Augusto C. Sandino International Airport
Nicaragua is an oasis unto itself, and one of its main attractions is its terrifyingly beautiful volcanoes, especially in Masaya Volcano National Park and Isla Ometepe. Cerro Negro is a popular mountain to volcano board down, and thrill seekers can also scuba, snorkel, surf, kayak, zipline, and boat like many other places in Central America. What makes Nicaragua so stunning is the mossy electric green vegetation and biodiversity of Miraflores Cloud Forest and Selva Negra. Hikes around the Apoyo Lagoon and trips to the colorful Corn Islands are also options for visitors. Take a bus from Granada and check out new and old Leon. Granada and San Juan del Sur are big expat communities, so English will be common in these areas.
This article was written by Lindy Tolbert.