Snowbird Hot Spots
Find a Winter Roost for You and Your RV That's in the Heart of the Action
This coming winter, snowdrifts in the street are out, while sand dunes on the beach are in. In North America’s Sunbelt, several warm-weather spots welcome southbound travelers from frigid northern states and Canada.
Resources like the Good Sam Campground webpage can guide you to the warm-weather RV resort of your dreams, from Palm Beach to Palm Springs. But even if you find a resort with championship golf, perfect sunsets, and a bottomless supply of margaritas, you’ll still want the option of visiting friendly surroundings beyond the campground’s boundaries.
The locations and RV campgrounds listed here put you in the heart of major snowbird regions. So, if you get bored relaxing in your well-appointed site, you can take side trips to nearby destinations. Before joining the one million RV travelers heading south this winter, plan for every contingency. Secure your winter domicile and make reservations for your southern destination well in advance.
Overlooking Mobile Bay, Fairhope entices visitors with its quaint Southern ambiance along with proximity to some of the Gulf Coast’s top destinations. The boisterous beach towns of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and Pensacola, Florida, lie one hour to the east, while Mobile—home to Alabama’s Mardi Gras— bustles just across the Interstate 10 bridge. Hop on a deep-sea fishing charter for tarpon, mackerel, grouper, speckled trout, and flounder.
Stay: East of town, the Wales West RV Resort and Light Railway gives guests an RV camping experience with a train theme. Many of the campground’s full-hookup sites accommodate larger RVs, with 34 pull-through sites and maximum lengths of 70 feet. Three trains offer rides around the area with themes that vary by season. Take the Pumpkin Patch Express during fall and hop on the Arctic Express during winter.
Renowned for its stark red-rock vistas, Sedona attracts adventure seekers, artists, and spiritual pilgrims year-round. Many come for the biking and hiking trails that snake across the rocky landscapes that surround the town. Others are drawn to the “vortexes” that purportedly emanate healing energy.
Regardless of your belief system, most would agree that the town’s gourmet restaurants, world-class art galleries, and luxurious spas make this an ideal snowbird destination. Two hours to the north lies the Grand Canyon. More than an hour to the south on Interstate 17, Phoenix is an immense desert town that boasts plenty of dining and cultural adventures.
Stay: Rancho Sedona RV Park puts visitors under the shade of ample sycamore and cottonwood trees. Relax on the banks of Oak Creek within walking distance of town. The campground’s sites have patios, tables, and plenty of room for slideouts.
The second-biggest town in the state is home to a bunch of iconic Arizona experiences. Tour a downtown that’s rich with Spanish Colonial architecture, or take a table at El Charro Café, where chefs invented the chimichanga in the 1920s (according to local lore). The delicious dish is served at the restaurant to this day.
Just outside of town, Saguaro National Park thrills hikers and bikers with cacti that soar up to 70 feet into the sky. To the southeast, the town of Tombstone preserves Wild West history; to the northwest, Picacho Peak State Park lures hikers to winding trails that reach the top of a historic landmark.
Stay: Crazy Horse RV Campgrounds has all the amenities visitors need for a lengthy snowbird stay. In addition to planned activities, the campground has a rec hall and is pet-friendly.
Between Orange County and Palm Springs, this San Jacinto Valley community offers a small-town alternative to Southern California’s busy tourist hot spots. In the heart of the valley, the town of Hemet runs at a laidback pace, but outdoor adventure is just around the corner.
Nearby, Diamond Valley Lake encompasses 4,500 surface acres teeming with black bass, bluegill, and sunfish. Stick around until spring when desert wildflowers form carpets of vibrant color near the shore. Also nearby, Mount San Jacinto State Park has endless hiking opportunities. Follow Interstate 15 south to San Diego, with inviting towns like Temecula along the way. To the east, Palm Springs, La Quinta, and Coachella offer outstanding dining and shopping.
Stay: Golden Village Palms RV Resort gives guests a long menu of diversions. Choose from three free-form pools, 10 professional pickleball courts, a tournament-level shuffleboard complex, and a sand volleyball court. Full-hookup RV spaces measure as long as 90 feet.
Newport Beach, California
The water fun in this upscale Orange County community ranges from gentle to wild. Visitors can tool around sprawling stretches of waterway in Newport Harbor or go surfing at the nearby beach on the Pacific Ocean. Near the entrance of the harbor, the notorious “Wedge” dishes out waves that rise as high as 30 feet.
The attractions on land are equally dazzling. Take a day trip to Balboa Island, known for its colorful boardwalk lined with mom-and-pop shops. You’ll also find plenty of enticing restaurants along the harbor’s coastline.
Newport Beach sits about 30 miles south of Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, two of the most popular theme parks in the US. Los Angeles, San Diego, and Palm Springs are all a few hours away via the freeway.
Stay: Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina occupies a large area on the banks of its horseshoe-shaped lagoon connected to the harbor. The resort makes the most out of this prized waterfront real estate with floating play structures, an extensive marina for pleasure craft, and waterfront cabanas.
For many travelers, Marathon is the ideal destination on the Florida Keys. The island packs a lot to enjoy in its nine square miles, including the Dolphin Research Center, which gives visitors the chance to swim with these intelligent mammals. Kayaking, fishing, and dining on fresh seafood are also on the menu. On the other end of the island, Sombrero Beach has sugar-white sands and clear water.
From Marathon, motorists can drive west on the Overseas Highway to explore the Lower Keys, which includes Big Pine Key, Bahia Honda State Park, and the world-famous Key West. Head northeast to hit iconic destinations like Key Largo, Everglades National Park, and Miami.
Stay: Jolly Roger RV Resort suits RV travelers who like to add water recreation to their travels. Boaters can use the boat ramp and docks with large boat slips. After a day of fishing, use the fish-cleaning station to prepare your catch and relax under a palm at the White Sand Tiki Island. Can’t get enough water? Swim in the pool or go snorkeling just steps from your site.
Pensacola isn’t for wallflowers. This Florida Panhandle beach town has earned the nickname “Festive City of the South” for the many rollicking events it has hosted, from concerts to rodeos to a fun-filled Mardi Gras Festival. This town also is the home of the Blue Angels, the US Navy flight demonstration team known for aerial acrobatics. Spectators can watch them practice their feats twice a week.
From Pensacola, travelers can motor along the coast and visit some of the top Gulf Coast towns, including Panama City, Florida, to the east and Gulf Shores, Alabama, to the west.
Stay: Pensacola RV Park is a big-rig-friendly campground that sits close to beaches with easy access to Interstate 10. Campers can enjoy 80-foot-long sites, many of which are pull-through. A rec hall, pavilion, and fishing pond add to the fun.
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi
This region ranks as one of the quietest spots on the Gulf Coast, with an uncrowded strip of shoreline for beachcombing and a bay that’s perfect for boating. Anglers can while away the day at one of the many fishing piers known for speckled trout catches. Hop on a charter for a trip into the gulf.
Stay: Hollywood Casino RV Park Gulf Coast gives RV travelers a one-stop shop for gaming, entertainment, and golfing. Test your driving power at the Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, dine at three fabulous restaurants, or float on the 350-foot lazy river winding through the resort.
Gallup, New Mexico
Sitting in eastern New Mexico, about 20 miles from the Arizona border, Gallup lies close to iconic national and tribal parks. The vibrant town has earned the moniker “Gateway to Native America”, with a slew of events, museums, and galleries celebrating the area’s indigenous peoples. The food also reflects local culture, with both red and green chiles featuring prominently on Tex-Mex menus.
Outdoor lovers will discover plenty of trails that wind through the rugged countryside. More than 30 miles of hiking and biking trails can be accessed from Interstate 40 and Route 66. Towering Church Rock and Red Rock Park make hiking an otherworldly adventure.
Stay: The 136-space USA RV Park has sites as long as 80 feet, and most are full-hookup. Several pull-through sites accommodate guests, with ample shade trees and room for slideouts. Most sites in the campground offer Wi-Fi, and almost all are all-weather sites. Dog owners can turn their pooches loose in the enclosed dog run, although there are some restrictions for canines.
Hilton Head, South Carolina
This South Carolina island getaway ranks as a top snowbird roost. Accessible by bridge, the 69-square-mile destination includes sprawling golf courses, elegant restaurants, and unique stores. Twelve miles of beachfront on the Atlantic Ocean dish out ample coastal scenery.
With 24 championship courses, Hilton Head Island is a golfing paradise. But if golf isn’t your game, don’t worry. Cyclists can hit more than 50 miles of biking trails. The island is just 31 miles northeast of Savannah, Georgia, and 98 miles southeast of Charleston, South Carolina—two quintessential Southern cities that overflow with character.
Stay: Hilton Head RV Resort sits on the water and boasts landscaped sites and concrete pads. Enjoy fine dining at the Sunset Grille, charter a boat or jet ski at the marina, and relax on the sandy shore. Premier golf is minutes away.
Port Aransas, Texas
Situated on the north end of Mustang Island off the Gulf Coast, Port Aransas entices snowbirds with its laid-back beach-town atmosphere and excellent fishing. Anglers can embark on deep-sea boating trips into the gulf for sailfish, marlin, yellowfin, and blackfin tuna; shoppers will find plenty of quirky boutiques and upscale antique outlets in town. Colorful coastal birds like the pink roseate spoonbill enhance the scenery.
Go kayaking on some of the inland waterways or find an uncrowded stretch of beach. Thirty miles east of Corpus Christi, 200 miles south of Houston, and 175 miles from the Mexican border, it’s close to some of the South’s hottest spots.
Stay: Southern Oaks RV Resort has 234 ample, full-hookup RV spaces with lengths up to 75 feet. Pull-through sites are available, and a table and patio come with each site. An enclosed dog run keeps pets busy, and recreation facilities include a heated pool, rec hall, pickleball, and planned activities.