With consistently warm weather and endless miles of beaches lined with palm trees, the tropical feel of Texas makes it an irresistible favorite for snowbirds. It’s one of the country’s largest states, and offers retirees everything from an upbeat music scene and square or line dancing, to fabulous outdoor recreations including golf courses, lush parks, and the Highland Lakes—not to mention mild winter weather, always happy locals, reasonable prices, and an average annual shirt-sleeve temperature of 76° F (with an average rainfall of 25 inches). Restaurant dining is also super affordable. So kick up those heels at this sweet and sunny locale with your best sweetheart. Walk the beach, stick those toes into the water, and for birdies out there, even spot a wide variety of migratory birds! Here are six fantastic Texas destinations for snowbirds.
Top Texas Snowbird Destinations
It’s known as the "Sparkling City by the Sea”—a wonderfully warm haven for all winter weary retirees hoping to take in endless blue skies and smooth sea breezes year round. With an average temperature of 72 degrees, and a humidity of about 78 percent, this popular beachfront town is often referred to as the “Texas Riviera,” and offers snowbirds plenty of exciting opportunities to experience a rich blend of history and culture amidst a truly relaxed coastal port atmosphere.
Dance on the beach or run in the surf along miles and miles of soft sand. Saunter over to the popular bay front promenade featuring an arts and museum district, numerous waterfront restaurants, plentiful shopping, and golf courses galore. Plus, there’s the nearby King Ranch (one of the largest and oldest working cattle and horse ranches in the world), as well as the neighboring town of Padre Island, another snowbird fave that also happens to be the longest barrier island in the nation!
Corpus Christi’s closest airport: Corpus Christi International Airport
Just forty minutes south of Houston (and the fourth largest U.S. city), this small romantic island getaway is tucked deep within the heart of Texas. It’s got nothing but small southern town charm and beautiful outdoor weather year round, offering everything from thirty-two miles of soft sandy beaches, superb restaurants, marvelous downtown shopping, incredible art galleries, top resort hotels, and fabulous entertainment, to one of the largest and most well-preserved concentrations of Victorian architecture in the country.
Unsurprisingly, it’s been a snowbird favorite for generations. Be sure to try out an after-dinner ride by horse-drawn carriage through the tiny streets of the downtown area at dusk. Or better yet, get active with endless fishing, birding, golfing, and horseback riding. What’s more is that Galveston's famous East Beach is the coolest and biggest beach in the state and is known for hosting some of the greatest beach parties! So let loose and get in touch with that inner child by heading down to a couple of major outdoor concerts and live special events-- the entire beach area can hold up to about 7,000 cars on its huge wide open lot and drinking on site is allowed! Wild adventures await.
Galveston’s closest airport: William P. Hobby Airpor
For glorious weather, small crowds, and excellent birding, head on over to this ever-so-lovely sun-swept peninsula that separates the Copano and Aransas Bays. It’s a more than picturesque little town, especially during the holiday seasons, where local life runs at an even slower and more relaxed pace.
Named by guidebooks as one of "America's Best Places to Retire,” Rockport is the kind of spot where there’s no need to worry or hurry. There’s natural beauty surrounding you at all times, offering retirees with ample chances to golf, deep-sea fish, water ski, and do some exceptional birding. This small town summons bird watchers from all over the world each year to its famed Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, home of the endangered, migrating whooping crane and other wildlife species. What’s more is that in town, locals work in everything from the arts and tourism, to sport-fishing and offshore oil rigging. There’s truly a high quality of life offered at this incredibly prime Texan location—it’s the exact kind of place you will visit once and then want to stay at for the rest of your golden years.
Rockport’s closest airport: Corpus Christi International Airport
It’s safe to say that snowbirds adore this Texas area, which offers a tropical environment of stately palm trees, cool coastal breezes, lots of exotic birds, as well as the charm of a Southwestern lifestyle that’s as diverse as it is dynamic--- all within an ever-bustling city at the state’s southernmost tip. The near-perfect year round climate makes it perfect for all sorts of nature and cultural activities, including sightseeing, golfing, wildlife viewing, fishing, or hunting. There are numerous new museums, galleries, shopping centers, and landscaped golf courses to enjoy—as well as thousands of ever-blooming purple bougainvilleas to gaze at!
No matter what time of year you choose to visit, birds, bees, butterflies, and beauty will be abundant at this “on the border” Texas sea town. It’s got something for every snowbird hoping to venture far far away from those cool depressing southern winters.
Brownsville’s closest airport: Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport
A diversity of snowbird friendly activities make South Padre Island one of the best choice destinations for winter weary over-fifty-fivers in the world. It’s got stunning beaches, warm Gulf waters, shopping, fishing, boating, bird watching, as well as a vibrant local community that regularly hosts events and activities specifically catered toward seniors citizens-- such as the the Texas Senior Open at the 18-hole championship South Padre Island Golf Club, which is situated across the Laguna Madre Bay. Play ball and enjoy an absolutely beautiful lateral view of the Island. What could be better?
When it comes to lodging, the choices are just as endless, with the area being home to a large number of hotels/motels with kitchens, condos, beach houses, and RV parks. What’s more is that there are moderate temperatures all year round, with winter temperatures rarely dropping below 65 degrees-- those steady easterly breezes sweeping past all those palm trees and sandy dunes also provide some of the freshest air around! Plus, with the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico in the background, it’s the perfect spot to catch some of the world’s most spectacular sunsets.
South Padre Island’s closest airport: Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport
A semi-tropical seaside village located in the Texas Coastal Bend, it’s known as the “Best Kept Secret on the Gulf Coast” and is a more than perfect snowbird destination. Escape from the rigor of crazy everyday life with miles of gorgeous beaches, vibrant views, relaxing retreats, shimmering sunrises, and some of the best evening strolls you and your sweetie pie will ever experience in any lifetime. What’s more is that this hotspot is known to casual and serious anglers alike as the "fishing capital of Texas.” So get ready to reel in lots of redfish, flounder, mackerel, tuna, and more, before claiming some of the town’s seasonal top prizes for lucky fishers who successfully cast a huge line.
There’s no better place to wiggle your toes in the sand, search for seashells, and do some bird or dolphin-watching before perusing through tons of coastal stores, dining in island style restaurants, and renting out a bike or electric buggie to zip around town in while enjoying lively arts, culture, history, and unique island treasures. You might even want to try captaining a kayak if you’re feeling adventurous! The possibilities at this uncrowded and unspoiled beach getaway are endless-- it’s no doubt the ultimate place for snowbirds to soak up sun, fun, and natural serenity all at the same time.
Port Aransas’ closest airport: Corpus Christi International Airport
This article was written by Pamela Chan.