3 RVing Snowbird Destinations for Endless Summers

It’s hard to start thinking about winter now, when you have a fridge full of pumpkin beer and still need to make time to head out in the RV to see the changing leaves.

But after last winter’s frigid cold and record snow storms, it would behoove you to get a sense of how much cold and snow to expect this winter.

Lake Okeechobee, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lake Okeechobee, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Thankfully, the 2018-2019 season might not be too bad in many parts of the country, according to a new winter weather outlook issued by the Farmer’s Almanac and more recently by National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In their winter weather outlook, both forecasters currently predict a mild winter for much of the US.

In their precipitation outlook, the South is favored to have a wetter winter than others. But this is where the two models diverge with the Farmer’s Almanac forecasting wetter-than-normal conditions in the Southwest while NOAA expects Texas to Florida to be the wettest.

Crystal River, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Crystal River, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Critics say the pseudo-science behind the annual weather predictions are only about half right.

Whatever happens, winter is still optional for RVing snowbirds. If you’re searching for the ultimate endless summer, put these three great winter RV destinations on your itinerary.

Florida

With balmy temperatures that hover in the high 70s and generally mild winters compared to northern states, Florida is an easy choice for easterners looking to stay close to home. As you search for the best Florida RV parks in winter, consider that the Sunshine State is often described as having two distinct personalities. Florida’s Gulf Coast is generally viewed as being less hectic and more casual than the East Coast.

Winging it during your RV snowbird travels usually isn’t an option in this hugely popular area. Before heading south you’ll want to book your site for public campgrounds and/or private RV parks and resorts.

The Rio Grande Valley is a birder's paradise; pictured above is a green jay © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Rio Grande Valley is a birder’s paradise; pictured above is a green jay © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Rio Grande Valley, Texas

In the central US, you can’t get further south than the Rio Grande Valley. Located at the southernmost tip of Texas, “The Valley” or “RGV” as locals call the area straddles the Rio Grande River. It’s a bustling four-county region with popular winter RV destinations including McAllen, Brownsville, South Padre Island, Mission, and Harlingen.

The RGV is a birders paradise, with thousands of species calling it home during cold North American winters. And since it shares about the same latitude as Miami, Florida, the “Winter Texans” who come here enjoy semi-tropical, mild winter weather. The RGV is about halfway between the Pacific and the Atlantic, making it a do-able Texas snowbird destination no matter where you live in the US or Canada.

The Rio Grande Valley is a birder's paradise; pictured above is a Great kiskadee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Rio Grande Valley is a birder’s paradise; pictured above is a Great kiskadee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Much like Florida, you will want to make a reservation for a long-term stay at any of the most popular Winter Texan parks in The Valley. The good news is that Texas is so big you have many other great regions to explore and keep relatively warm. The Coastal Bend near Rockport and Port Aransas is equally popular during the winter months.

Quartzsite, Arizona

Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Travel through this dusty outpost between April and November and you might wonder why this wide spot along Interstate 10 is such a popular snowbird destination for RVers. But visit in January and you’ll quickly see why: it morphs into a non-stop social event for RVing snowbirds.

RVers who enjoy winging it all winter will love this part of the country. Dozens of inexpensive Quartzsite RV parks have room for seasonal guests and short-term visitors alike. Tens of thousands of snowbirds boondock at one of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) designed visitor areas that surround Quartzsite. A long term permit allows snowbirds to stay at a BLM-designated Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) for $180 between September 15 and April 15 (a total of 7 months), or for any length of time between those two dates.

Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Quartzsite RV Show is the largest gathering of RVs and RVers on Earth. 2019 dates are January 19-27. Endless flea market shopping opportunities and RV club social events galore give you plenty to do.

Wherever you decide to escape winter, you’ll share one thing in common with all your neighbors. Every one of them has learned that suffering through cold seasons is optional. The endless summer is far more appealing—and doable in these popular winter RV destinations.

Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Quartzsite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Worth Pondering…

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 in Alberta, 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 motorhome with that compass pointer and head for the Sun Belt.

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