Which city is the top destination for snowbirds?

It is no secret that Florida has been a highly desirable location for snowbirds for many decades now. As a whole, millions of Americans and Canadians migrate south to warmer southern states during the brutally cold winter months up north. For South Florida specifically, many Americans from northern states such as New York and New Jersey benefit from not only warmer tropical climates, but also from lower overall housing costs. Recently, the site StorageCafe drafted a Top 100 Best Cities for Snowbirds ranking based on several factors, including temperature, the proportion of housing units for seasonal use out of the vacant housing stock (houses that are not classified as primary residences), proximity to beaches, and the number of golf courses and parks in each area. 

Boca Raton is at the top of the list as Florida dominates (again)

Not surprisingly, The Sunshine State dominated the state rankings as the most desirable destination for snowbirds. In fact, the city of Boca Raton recently ranked as the #1 go-to destination for snowbirds. Of course, this comes as no surprise for a city that boasts average temperatures of around 74 degrees from October to March. In addition, there are almost 22 miles of beaches in the area and 255 square feet of park space per capita. Needless to say, it is easy to be socially distant in the city named after the shape of its inlet which resembles a rat’s mouth. (“Boca Raton” is derived from “boca de ratones”, which is Spanish for rat’s mouth.)

As expected, the State of Florida dominated the top 10 list for most desirable destinations for snowbirds. Below are the results:

  • #1. Boca Raton, FL
  • #2. Jupiter, FL
  • #3. West Palm Beach, FL
  • #4. Fort Myers, FL
  • #5. Mount Pleasant, SC
  • #6. Honolulu, HI
  • #7. Clearwater, FL
  • #8. Delray Beach, FL
  • #9. Corpus Christi, TX
  • #10. Gilbert, AZ

Overall, Florida even had 29 of the top 100 cities across the nation.

The pandemic impact on seasonal visitors

Like everything else throughout the world, the pandemic greatly impacted the number of snowbirds throughout the country. As expected, retirees were less inclined to travel last year due to health-related concerns with the novel coronavirus. As a result, there was a 14% decrease in online searches related to short-term rentals for snowbirds. This figure compared the January-November 2020 timeframe to the similar period in 2019. If a 14% decrease seems modest to you, it is. The reason why this figure is not higher is because we also witnessed a simultaneous increase in the number of searches by “zoombirds”. These are young professionals that began working remotely during the pandemic and thus decided to move to a warmer climate.

A bigger impact from the pandemic was observed with our Canadian neighbors. Due to restrictions on non-essential travel across the US-Canada land border, only an estimated 31% of Canadian snowbirds made the migration south.


South Florida has long been the most desirable location in the country for retirees. With this said, the pandemic has brought upon a new segment of Americans referred to as “zoombirds”. As described above, a record number of young professionals are taking advantage of their newfound remote working environments. This is opening up the opportunity to live anywhere they’d like & thus many choose to move to paradise.

At Live South Florida Realty, Inc. we have assisted many clients looking to move to paradise. Whether you are a retiree, young professional, or anyone in between, we would be happy to assist you. Contact Live South Florida Realty, Inc. for a free, no-obligation consultation on the South Florida real estate market.

By natasha@livesouthfl.com

REALTOR® with Live South Florida Realty, Inc.