The hurricane season affected many traditional snowbird areas in the states of Florida, Texas, and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, with many communities recovering from Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey. Luckily, there are many affordable snowbird destinations outside of Florida and the Gulf Coast. From Hawaii to South Carolina, there are many incredible vacation rentals where you can enjoy a warm and relaxing getaway. Here are a few of the top snowbird destinations for those looking to avoid cold, blustery weather.
1. Santa Fe, New Mexico
With mild winters and plenty of things to do, Santa Fe is a great place to spend the winter season. Enjoy gorgeous desert scenery and beautiful sunsets, and a rich sense of history going back over 400 years. When considering where to stay, take a look at vacation homes right in town to be able walk to the historic Plaza, the arts district, shopping, and other entertainment options. The holiday season offers a variety of Southwest traditions including the Canyon Road Farolito Walk, when residents and visitors walk Canyon Road admiring the many of luminaries that line the street as well as fantastically decorated homes along the way.
2. Mesa, Arizona
Mesa offers snowbirds winter temperatures in the 70s and affordable vacation homes in both busy and quieter areas to meet your preference. The beautiful mountain backdrop is restful on the eyes while abundant golf courses and hiking trails encourage you to stay active. If you love museums, the Arizona Museum of Natural History, the Mesa Arts Center, and the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum are all close at hand. There are also several city community centers with facilities that include swimming pools, tennis courts, and community rooms for socializing.
3. Twentynine Palms, California
This San Bernardino County gem provides a nice balance between quiet getaway and urban entertainment. For nature lovers, nearby Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve, and Sky’s the Limit Observatory and Nature Center give you a chance to experience different desert ecosystems, with unique plants and wildlife, including the fascinating Joshua tree. Visit the observatory in the evening to get up close and personal with the wonders of the night sky. The downtown historic district offers several art galleries, the Old Schoolhouse Museum, plus a fun shopping district with a variety of nice restaurants for casual lunches or upscale dinners. The area also includes golf courses, a large public swimming pool at Luckie Park, and a historic walking trail at the Oasis of Mara.
4. Pahoa, Hawaii
If you find a tropical destination more appealing than a desert oasis, Pahoa on the big island of Hawaii proves a wonderful winter retreat. One of the more affordable Hawaiian wintering spots, Pahua has a unique feel, with architecture and design reminiscent of the Wild West. Downtown boasts a wide variety of restaurants from Ning’s Thai Cuisine to Paolo’s Bistro for classic Italian, and quaint boutiques for unique shopping experiences. A variety of craft shops and small art galleries provide opportunities for crafty types, and the Maku’u Farmer’s Market is a great place to pick up fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Pahoa is also close to the beach for swimming, snorkeling, or just relaxing, and near Lava Tree State Park where you can see a whole forest preserved in lava.
5. Kahului, HI
Kahului, another top Hawaii snowbird destination, is a little more urban than Pahoa and located on the most populated Hawaiian island, Maui. Several shopping areas and malls, including the Queen Kaahumanu Center, Maui Market Place, and the Lahaina Cannery Mall make this city a great choice for those who love to shop while its location, right on the coast, means that there is always a beach nearby. Explore Hawaii’s South Pacific environment at Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary and Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, and enjoy the unique street eateries including shrimp trucks and guri-guri stands, serving up a rich frozen treat made from guava juice and sweetened condensed milk.
6. Charleston, South Carolina
For something a little more like Florida, consider wintering on the South Carolina coast. Charleston is located right on the water, offering up spectacular views and easy access to the ocean for boating and other water sports. Known for its music and cultural activities, Charleston hosts a variety of festivals year round, including Spoleto Festival USA and the Charleston International Film Festival as well as the Holiday Festival of Lights during the winter holiday period. History lovers enjoy visiting the Charleston Museum, the first museum in the United States, and other historic locations throughout the city, such as the Calhoun Mansion, Exchange and Provost, and the Powder Magazine, the oldest building in South Carolina.
7. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sample island life by spending your winter months on Hilton Head Island. With 12 miles of gorgeous beaches, you’re sure to find one to your liking, and 24 golf courses plus many more tennis courts help you stay active with sports you enjoy. If you’re up for some adventure, take a horseback ride through Sea Pines Forest Preserve or kayak your way through the low country exploring the flora and fauna of the region. Hilton Head also has a rich historical past and historical sites, such as Heyward House Historic Center and the Gullah Heritage Trail, provide you with plenty of opportunities to learn more about the history of your temporary home.
8. Los Lunas, New Mexico
Head to Los Lunas for a dry climate, plenty of sun, and a fun, welcoming community. Located on the outskirts of Albuquerque, Los Lunas has vibrant community centers, beautiful parks, and an active shopping district. For something a little different, check out the Southwest Railroad Club for great displays and help in growing a hobby, or sign up for the Los Lunas Senior Olympics and compete with others in events, including bowling, golf, cycling, ballroom dance, and more.
9. Mesquite, Nevada
Mesquite provides snowbirds with the great Nevada climate, plenty of entertainment options, plus a growing senior community ready to welcome you into its midst. Sample the six local golf courses, try your luck at a Mesquite casino, or check out the shows at Skydome Lounge from comedy to country to old-time rock and roll.
10. Jekyll Island, Georgia
Jekyll Island is a true Southern city with trees draped with Spanish moss, wide open beaches strewn with ancient driftwood, and low-country marshes ready to be explored. Follow the winding island paths to meet welcoming neighbors and savor spectacular views. Spend some time at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center learning about this endangered inhabitant, and then stop for coffee with new friends or old at Club Cafe or Uncle Vance’s Coffee Bar. With its small population and quiet way of life, Jekyll Island offers serenity to snowbirds seeking a relaxing retreat in a beautiful environment.
11. Desert Hot Springs, California
Built over a system of natural hot mineral water aquifers, snowbirds in Desert Hot Springs enjoy a sunny California climate along with many local spas perfect for increasing your relaxation. If you’re interested in the history of those namesake hot springs, visit Cabot’s Pueblo Museum located in the former Pueblo home of Cabot Yerxa, the founder of the hot spring system. This museum also features exhibits honoring Native Americans and Alaskans, as well as local art, and the building itself is an excellent example of Pueblo Revival Architecture.
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