Snowbird Roosts: Florida & California

Florida

A visit to the Kennedy Space Center and Astronaut Hall of Fame is a must. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A visit to the Kennedy Space Center and Astronaut Hall of Fame is a must. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Florida has long been a haven for those seeking relief from the cold days of a northern winter.

Think Florida, and you no doubt have thoughts of dazzling white beaches, warm ocean breezes, wind-swept palms and other subtropical plants and trees, endless citrus groves, fresh-from-the-water seafood, delicious key lime pie, Kennedy Space Center, NASCAR drivers circling the track at Daytona International Speedway, well-manicured golf courses, the Everglades, Key West, and varied wildlife—and of course, Disney World and other Orlando-area theme parks.

Florida is the only state where you can pretty well winter anywhere. The further south you go, the warmer the winter temperature.

Florida offers some of the world’s most diverse and stunning scenery, from the rivers and forest of the northwest to famous Lake Okeechobee in center of the state to the quiet lagoons on the Keys.

Depending upon where you travel in the Sunshine State, you will find the Historical Florida, the Original Florida, the Theme Park Florida, the Natural Florida, and the Beachy Florida.

There are so many choices—the variety is endless. It depends on your interests and budget. The cost of RV parks increases as you travel south and with proximity to the Atlantic or Gulf Coast.

Florida is the only state where you can pretty well winter anywhere.

With 35 miles of powder white beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area is known as “Florida’s Beach.”

The aptly-named Roseate Spoonbill is one of Florida's most distinctive wading birds. Spoonbills feed on fish, crustaceans and aquatic insects with its unusual shaped bill. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The aptly-named Roseate Spoonbill is one of Florida’s most distinctive wading birds. Spoonbills feed on fish, crustaceans and aquatic insects with its unusual shaped bill. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Exclusive West Palm Beach is the winter home and hideaway of the rich and famous.

More than 300 miles of navigable waterways and canals has given Fort Lauderdale the nickname “Venice of America”.

California

California has many different and unique landscapes—deserts, mountains, valleys, canyons, and more than 1,000 miles of breathtaking coastline.

The majority of Snowbirds who make Southern California their winter home, head for the Coachella Valley with its 10 desert resort cities—Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Palm Desert, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Thousand Palms, Indio, and Bermuda Dunes.

An estimated three million people visit the area each year, mostly during the winter months.

From the snowcapped peaks of the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains to the native palms of the Indian Canyons, the Coachella Valley offers a wide variety of sights and experiences for the visitor.

This is desert country with an occasional oasis—some natural but mostly man-made.

Known world-wide as “the golfer’s paradise,” golf courses abound here. You’ll find the most luxurious fairways, beautifully manicured greens, and superbly designed courses.

Winter weather is close to perfect in Palm Springs and the other desert resort cities in the Coachella Valley. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winter weather is close to perfect in Palm Springs and the other desert resort cities in the Coachella Valley. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The fashionable desert resort city of Palm Springs lies at the foot of 10,804-foot San Jacinto Peak. Palm Springs is synonymous with the good life—a retreat of the rich and famous, the ultimate in resort living. Swimming pools and fairways almost overlap each other. People who can afford to winter anywhere in the U.S. often do it here where the winter weather is close to perfect.

Indio, Coachella Valley’s oldest and largest city, is considered the Date Capital of the U.S. Date farms and vendors dot this area heading southward toward the Salton Sea. Ninety five percent of the America’s date crop is produced in this area. Indio is a distribution point for the dates, grapefruit, grapes, and melons grown in the Coachella Valley.

In conclusion

We have chosen to be reasonably warm year-round, so we are snowbirds. Every year when I hear the honks of the Canada geese overhead at our home, something in my genes starts pulling my inner-compass to the South. And an inner voice whispers: “Surely you’re as smart as a goose.” Feeling that I am at least as smart as a silly goose, I line up the RV with that compass pointer and head for the Sun Belt.

Please Note: This is Part 4 of a 4-part series on the Basics of the Snowbird Lifestyle

Part 1: Snowbird Basics: Planning

Part 2: Snowbird Destinations

Part 3: Snowbird Roosts: Arizona & Texas

Worth Pondering…

Got a dream, a long-held wish of traveling to a special place you hope to see—someday? If so, you’re like many of us, waiting for mañana; for tomorrow or next month or next year—always waiting for the right time.

Question is, will there ever be a time that’s right?

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