Here's our list of some of the Best Snowbird Destinations for RVers…
Snowbird season is just around the corner, with the first wave taking off at the end of October and the second and larger one in December.
Snowbirds flock to the southern states, along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, and the desert southwest.
RV Snowbirds used to almost exclusively be retirees or seniors. But these days, snowbirds are of any age and enjoy a wide range of amenities.
For those that work from “home” or want to spend all day surrounded by nature—or even a casino, we have found the best snowbird destinations for the upcoming season, and high-rated campgrounds to book this winter.
And they are not just in Florida. In this article, we travel from Florida to Arizona and list well-reviewed campgrounds in each state. Some allow stays up to 14 days, while others allow booking for the entire season.
What Is a Snowbird?
Just in case the term needs definition, the word snowbird refers to a northern tourist who vacations in the south during the winter.
The estimates of the number of snowbirds who migrate to the warm southern states of the U.S. every year range from a low of about 2 million to a high of 6 million. Some rent condos and homes but a large percentage make the migration their RVs. Some stay in one place during the entire snowbird season – usually, December-March, while others move from place to place.
The idea is to avoid cold weather, and more and more snowbirds are leaving earlier, right around Halloween, and staying later, until late April.
Best Snowbird Destinations for RVers in Florida
We start in Florida at a wildly popular county park and a Florida State Park with a pristine white sand beach and stunning sunset. Both are value-priced during the snowbird season, but they do book fast. Two have 14-day season limits. The third allows seasonal bookings.
Fort de Soto County Park – St.Petersburg, FL
This county park is located near Saint Petersburg, FL. While you could spend your time exploring Saint Petersburg, we think that you will find plenty of adventure while relaxing in this park. Here is a review from Campendium:
“Fort de Soto is one of the best campgrounds we've stayed in. The sites are large and filled with trees and palms. We were lucky enough to get a water view site for easy fishing, watching the birds, and beautiful sunsets.” –Lynn on Compendium
Bring your gear to this camp and spend your time surrounded by Florida nature. If you are lucky enough to get a water-side site, you can launch your kayak directly from your site. This campground has 238 electric/water sites. Your maximum stay is 14 nights.
Topsail Hill Preserve – Santa Rosa FL
This is a Florida State Park that camps like a private campground. Enjoy WiFi, large bathhouses, and full hook-ups. Walk, bike, or ride on the free shuttle to the campground's beautiful white sand beach. Or spend an afternoon hiking on their many marked trails.
TopSail is only 30 minutes from I-10 but feels like its own tropical island. When you are not in the campground, you can bike or drive along the famous RT 30A. (rent a bike too).
You can only stay up to 14 days at the campground, but even a long weekend is a perfect escape.
Camp Gulf – Miramar Beach, FL
Located just east of Destin in the Florida Panhandle. Camp Gulf rents seasonal and by the day, with some spots right on the sugar-white sand beach.
There are lots of activities in a community beach house, and a pool should the Gulf waters be a bit chilly,
Camp Gulf is minutes from one of the largest outlet shopping centers in the South, and Destin abounds with excellent restaurants and things to do.
Mike and Jennifer's Favorite Places in Florida – all 3 ebooks!
We RVers may wander far and wide but it’s true for most of us that we end up with some favorite “Go-To” places – places that draw us back again and again.
Florida is one of those places for us. And we know it is for many RVers looking to get away and explore during the winter.
That's why we've created three guides, covering Florida's Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, and the Keys.
Each of these guides is a seven-day guided exploration of one of the coasts. And each stop is a curated view of the best things that we’ve enjoyed on this trip and want you to experience.
Altogether these guides are over 300 pages of content!
FAQ's about Florida Gulf Coast beaches of interest to RVers
What is the weather like along Florida's Gulf Coast?
The weather along Florida's Gulf Coast can vary depending on the time of year and the specific location. In general, the area experiences hot, humid summers and mild, pleasant winters.
The Panhandle region can be quite cool in January. It is seldom below freezing, but daytime highs are typically in the 50s. It warms up about 10 degrees each month.
You can also generally add about 10 degrees for every 150 miles you travel south down the Florida peninsula.
By the time you hit Naples, daytime highs in January are in the comfortable 70s.
Did Hurricane Ian destroy many beach campgrounds on the Gulf Coast?
While it severely damaged almost two dozen RV parks and campgrounds, about 8-10 campgrounds in the Naples-Ft. Myers area were completely destroyed. Most of the damaged campgrounds have been repaired and reopened.
Check with the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds if you have questions or concerns.
Are there any websites that can help me get a reservation for a Florida beach campground?
One of the best resources we can recommend is called Campnab. This service monitors parks for cancelations and sends you an alert when an opening matches your criteria. That said, it isn’t magic. The app doesn’t create availabilities.
The service works – but it is not free.
Campnab offers two ways to use the service. The first is individual pay-per-use scans. These watch for vacancies at a specific park for a specific date. These work well if you know exactly when and where you intend to camp. Pay-per-use scans cost $10 – $20, depending on how frequently you want them to check availability.
The second way to use the service is through a membership. These typically run monthly and are tailored to those who camp more frequently or are looking to maximize their chance of finding a site. Membership allows you to scan multiple parks and/or dates simultaneously. With memberships, you pay a monthly recurring fee ($10, $20, $30, or $50), depending on your needs.
Are there places in Florida where you can literally camp on the beach for free?
Not many. And they are very pricey. If you want to sleep directly on the sand in an RV, you'll have to stay at a developed commercial campground like Camp Gulf on the Emerald Coast or an RV resort like Big Pine Key Resort in the keys. Some state parks like the Gamble Rogers State Memorial Recreation Area in the Atlantic Coast or Bahia Honda State Park in the keys or Fort Desto State Park near St. Petersburg have beachside sites, too.
But are there free, unrestricted RV beach camping spots in Florida?
Sorry, none that I know of that would work for RVs.
There is unrestricted camping on wild beaches on a couple of islands, but you need a boat to get there, and it is for tent camping only. If you want to sleep directly on the sand, there is Anclote Key offshore Tarpon Springs, and Shell Key in Pinellas County. Another favorite is Keewaydin Island between Naples and Marco Island but that area remains pretty devasted from Hurricane Ian.
Best Snowbird Destinations for RVers in Alabama
In Alabama, we visit both a state park and a private RV Retreat Park. Both are an excellent way to enjoy everything that the Gulf Coast of Alabama offers, including some superb gulf food.
Gulf State Park – Gulf Shores, AL
Imagine 2 miles of beautiful white sand beach. Gulf State Park is always awarded great reviews. It is a state park with a long list of amenities, and full hook-ups are available.
“Turn your RV into a beach house”– Ray S on TheDyrt.com.
After walking the beach, you can also enjoy the beach pavilion with picnic tables or the onsite Nature Center. There is also a swimming pool and day use at Lake Shelby for fishing and kayaking.
Plus, Gulf State Park is close to many restaurants boasting that Gulf Coast seafood. Unfortunately, your maximum stay in this paradise is 14 days.
Island Retreat RV Park – Gulf Shores, AL
If you would like to extend your Winter stay in Alabama, consider Island Retreat RV Park, where monthly sites are available. You will enjoy top-line amenities at this RV park that include miles of beach, a pool, concrete pads, free WiFi, cable TV, FHU, a dog park, and a nearby boat launch.
Plus, Island Retreat RV Park was rated as the 2019 “Top RV Park to Celebrate Christmas.” If you plan to celebrate Christmas on the road, this may be the RV Park for you.
Best Snowbird Destinations for RVers in Mississippi
In Mississippi, we recommend two private RV parks, each with its own personality. One is beach-side, and one gives you a taste of Cajun Country within a 45- minute drive of New Orleans.
Cajun RV Park– Biloxi, MS
“Your Home Away from Home…Only More Exciting” That's their motto as they invite Snowbirds to stay in this park for the night, a week or a season.
This campground lets you enjoy all the sights of Biloxi, MS. It is right across the street from the beach. You can enjoy all 26 miles of Biloxi beach from your RV home. Or hop on their free shuttle to the area casinos.
This is a family-friendly resort, and most pets are allowed. (see website for restrictions) If you work from your RV, this is an excellent spot with free WiFi and cable TV.
If you enjoy a beach boardwalk environment, this is the campground for you. Walk or bike to many fun amenities. Just note that some campers stated that you could hear the boardwalk fun from the campground.
Sun Roamers RV Resort – Picayune, MS
This RV Resort just completed an extensive 3- year renovation. It is now offering nightly, weekly or seasonal rates. Sun Roamers is in Picayune, MS, and is only minutes from I-10 and a short 45- minute drive to either the beach or New Orleans.
The resort has all of the amenities that you would expect. Plus, you can enjoy the Olympic-size pool, fish in their large pond, or visit nearby casinos. You will also find golf nearby.
Best Snowbird Destinations for RVers in Texas
In Texas, we suggest a campground in two popular snowbird destinations for RVers —South Padre Island and San Antonio.
South Padre Island KOA – South Padre Island, TX
This campground has all the amenities you expect from a KOA, while also offering snowbird extended stay programs. You can even book a pull-through site with the KOA branded patio and enjoy palm trees and a beautiful beach.
The campground is family-friendly as well as dog-friendly.
If you are working from your RV, South Padre Island KOA offers free cable and WiFi. If you are too busy to cook, order from the onsite restaurant.
Guadalupe River State Park & Campground – San Antonio, TX
Enjoy both the sights of San Antonio, TX, and the nature of this state park. Expect warm sun during the day and chilly nights in the mid-'30s. You will find peace and quiet, the river, and lots of history.
“Guadalupe River State Park is a beautiful piece of wilderness. This is a great place for hiking, mountain biking, and horse riding, as there are many trails for those activities”-Josue on Trip Adviser.
Or you can spend your days exploring San Antonio and enjoying their famous river walk and history sites. This camp is only 30 miles from the city center.
Campsites are a mixture of electric, electric/water, and a few FHU. You can only stay up to 14 days. Dogs are allowed. If you are looking for a value-add place to camp, near San Antonio, this is a high-rated campground to consider.
Best Snowbird Destinations for RVers in Arizona
Snowbirds love to visit Tucson and the popular Quartzite, AZ. There are many blogs written about BLM land camping in Quartzite, so we decided to tell you about an RV resort that is open to all ages.
We also travel to Tuscon and provide a resort solution that is an age-qualified for 55+.
We have a great RV Adventure Guide to Arizona you should check out.
Holiday Palms RV – Quartzite, AZ
Snowbirds are RVers of any age. If you have looked for a place to park in AZ, you may have noted that many are age qualified for 55+. This RV park is open to all ages and is loaded with amenities. Enjoy the large pool, planned activities, and guided tours from any of the 245 FHU sites.
The campground is close to many nature activities and area restaurants or amenities. Book a short-term stay or stay long term.
CLICK HERE to read an article about Quartzsite, AZ and why it is one of the best snowbird destinations
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Voyager RV Resort – Tucson, AZ
This resort in Tucson, AZ, was awarded the 2020 Trip Advisor Hall of Fame. It boasts an endless array of things to do and places to go. You can stay either a day or the entire season.
Note that this resort is open to only RVs, but pets are allowed in this resort-style site. There are over 600 FHU sites. This is an age-qualified 55+ Resort.
Resort amenities include a spa, restaurants, golf, hiking trails, clubs, a full calendar of events, and even a health center.
Your Snowbird Travel Route
Enjoy the season in one site or link a few of these campgrounds and RV resorts to enjoy the winter exploring. Most of the sites listed can easily be accessed by traveling I-10 westward from Florida to Arizona.
Looking for exciting RV trip ideas and travel suggestions?
We've written a library of RV Travel books that lay out guided RV explorations of scenic areas of the US that we'’ve explored and think would make an excellent RV trip for you.
In each location, we provide a suggested route and itinerary (7 stops in each guide, one for each day of a week trip!) as well as links to multiple campgrounds and boondocking spots, local tips, and interesting things to do at each location.
You can hit everything in seven days, do a whirlwind weekend tour, or you can take your time and explore the area over a 2+ week period.
Planning an RV trip can be very time-consuming so that’s why we’ve done the research for you! Just take our guides and use them. We’re sure you’ll have an RV trip for the ages! Instant download. CLICK HERE for information on our RV Travel Guides