The weather is getting colder, and those Instagram photos of RVs on the beach are looking pretty good. If you’ve been dreaming of heading south for the winter, it might be time to join the flock of RV snowbirds.
So what exactly is snowbirding? Snowbirds spend the colder months of the year somewhere warm and head back north for the summer months.
There are several ways to be a snowbird. The first is to drive your rig to a Southern state (or Mexico) and stay at an RV park for the winter. Don’t have your own rig? Some resorts have RVs or park model homes that you can rent for months at a time. Most snowbirds stay in one place the entire winter; however, some people enjoy moving from place to place throughout warmer states.
How to Prepare to Snowbird
- If you have a house, you’ll need to prepare to leave it for a few months. This may include shutting off the water, locking up, and finding a house sitter or somebody to check in occasionally. You’ll also need to hold or forward your mail. Companies like Escapees and Good Sam offer mail forwarding services specifically for RVers.
- Make sure you have your paperwork, either physically or digitally. Remember things like prescriptions, insurance documents, pet vaccinations and vet records, and anything you might need while you’re away from your house.
- If you haven’t used your rig in several months, get it tuned up and ready to go. Make sure it’s insured and maintenance issues are taken care of. If you’ve been putting off any repairs or upgrades, now’s the time to do them.
- Research snowbird destinations and decide where you want to spend the winter. Make reservations as early as you can. Many people go back to the same RV park year after year and spots can fill up fast, especially in popular destinations like Florida and Arizona.
Visiting Florida’s National Parks and Forests by RV
Tips for Snowbirds
Research RV parks that have the amenities you’re looking for. There’s a wide range of places to stay, from basic no-frills parks to luxury RV resorts. Some RV resorts cater to snowbirds and have full activity schedules and plenty of amenities. Other RV parks offer less but make for fantastic winter stays. Do your research and when you find a park that meets your needs, book it in advance.
Depending on your age, you can stay at an adults-only or age 55 and over park. They often have more amenities and activities geared toward retired snowbirds. If you’re part of the growing demographic of younger families and working couples who are joining the snowbird lifestyle, double check that the park you want to stay at doesn’t have age restrictions.
If you have a motorhome, consider a towed vehicle (also called a toad or dinghy) to help you get around. Having a car will make it easier to explore your destination, especially if you’re driving a larger rig. You can also use bikes, scooters, or ride share programs to explore as well.
Rig Features Important for Snowbirds
If you’re looking to purchase a rig for snowbirding, make sure you consider things like the size of your sleeping and living space, kitchen features, and outdoor amenities.
- Size: This will be your home away from home, so comfort is important. Class A motorhomes and fifth wheels are popular with snowbirds for their large living spaces and luxurious interiors. If you’re planning on moving multiple times throughout the winter, a smaller rig like a Class C will be easier to maneuver.
- Kitchen: If you’re planning on cooking in your rig most of the time, you’ll want to look for trailers or motorhomes with larger kitchens and plenty of room to prepare meals.
- Bedroom: While it’s ok to crawl into a corner bed for a weekend, a walk-around bed might be a better choice for months on the road. If a larger mattress is on your list, shop for rigs that can accommodate a queen- or king-sized mattress.
- Outdoor Living Area: Many newer rigs come with outdoor kitchens and TVs. If you love to cook or entertain outside, these may be important features to consider.
Where to Snowbird
So where exactly is everyone heading to escape the snow? Snowbirds tend to favor states along the Sun Belt. This reaches from the Carolinas and Georgia to the Gulf States of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the coast of Texas. If you’re a fan of the dry desert heat, Southwestern states like Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and the southern part of California are all favorite destinations. Another option is caravanning with other RVers to Mexico for the winter.
Looking for more information about snowbirding? Here are a few links to help you get started.
- The Best RV Campgrounds for Winter
- Snowbird RV Trails.com
- The Winter Texan Connection
- Escapees RV Club
Whether you plan to head to the beach or take on the desert heat, the Togo RV App can help you plan your route, find a campground, and provide RV safe navigation to your destination.