Naples Snowbirds

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Snowbird (person) - Wikipedia 

A snowbird is a person who moves from the higher latitudes and colder climates of the northern United States and Canada and migrates southward in winter to warmer locales such as Florida, California, Arizona, Texas, or elsewhere along the Sun Belt of the southern United States, Mexico, and areas of the Caribbean.

A significant portion of the snowbird community is made up of recreational vehicle users (RVers).

Many own a motorhome for the sole purpose of traveling south in the winter. Often they go to the same location every year and consider the other RVers that do the same a "second family".

Many RV parks label themselves "snowbird friendly" and get the majority of their income from the influx of RVing snowbirds. Several areas in Florida and Arizona have large RV communities that appear and disappear seasonally.

"white city",
Quartzsite, Arizona, that have been labeled

Quartzsite, Arizona, that have been labeled "white city", because from a bird's-eye view all the motorhomes cover the landscape in white and then in the summer are gone.

While historically Florida and Arizona have been the top RV snowbird locations, other southern U.S. states are experiencing a boom from snowbirds enjoying the southern climate.

Canadian Snowbird Association

The RV lifestyle is made up of those interested in traveling and camping rather than living in one location, as well as by vacationers. Some travel nearer the equator during the winter months in their RV and return in spring; this is sometimes referred to in the USA as snowbirding.

There is a large and growing number of "fulltimers": people who live full-time in their RV/motorhome.

Workampers comprise another subculture of the RV lifestyle; these RVers work at the campgrounds/RV parks at which they stay, usually for pay or a reduction in site fees, or they work at businesses close to the park which need seasonal workers.

While many RVers may be retirees, other individuals and families are choosing RV travel as a way to see parts of the world while maintaining their incomes via telecommuting-enabling technology available from the RV (such as the Internet, phones, faxes, etc.).

Some choose to park in locations without camping sites for a variety of reasons, including saving money, being nearer a target location, or the desires for a greater choice of location, for isolation, for privacy, for adventure, or for more self-sufficiency.

New RVers tend to be DIY technology enthusiasts (sometimes called "makers") who develop the products they need on a low budget. For example, they may use DIY RepRap 3-D printers to make fixtures to mount solar photovoltaic panels on RV rooftops.

There is a growing community of "Burners" (as Burning Man participants are called) who have taken recreational vehicles and modified them to fit their beliefs.

The conversion of old schoolbuses, also called "skoolies", to this end is a popular choice. Some take old diesel vehicles and burn biodiesel or waste vegetable oil in them in order to make them more environmentally friendly than conventional RVs.

The RV lifestyle is particularly popular among senior citizens. Like many other RVers, they have often sold their homes and often travel to warm climates in the winter. In Australia, these travellers are known as grey nomads.

One of the best known Australian manufacturers of motorhomes is the American company Winnebago.

Recreational vehicle

Many of these "snowbirds" also use their vacation time to declare permanent residency in low- or no-tax income tax states (where the tax bases are augmented by high tourism taxes), and claim lower non-resident income taxes in their home states.

Canadian snowbirds usually retain residency in Canada in order to retain health benefits. Due to the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act there are now additional implications for Canadian snowbirds in the United States.

Florida has long been a haven for those seeking relief from the cold days of a northern winter. Most visitors are eager to trade in their snow shovels for waving palm trees and long walks on sun-kissed beaches.

Arriving Easter Week, the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, stepped ashore, liked what he saw and christened the place La Florida, the Land of Flowers. What a sight that would have been.

This rich and diverse history can be explored in towns such as St. Augustine, the original site of Ponce de Leon’s landing and considered the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in America. The city was established 55 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.

Florida is more than 480 miles at its longest and 360 miles at its widest point with 1,200 miles of coastline, 7,700 lakes, and 11,000 miles of rivers and streams, plus the Everglades. As the poet Loren Eiseley said, "If there’s magic to be found on this planet, it is to be found in water."

All Snowbird destinations have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

The difference between Florida and Arizona is like the difference between jungle and desert, between the quiet Everglades and the raging Colorado River, between development and the untouched frontier, between ocean surf and palm oasis, and between flat grasslands and towering mountains.

For both Arizona and Florida, of course, climate is the big draw, and the two destinations certainly have that in common.

If you asked visitors to Florida for their most vivid impression of the Sunshine State, there’s no predicting the responses you might receive:

  • Visiting with Mickey Mouse and friends
  • Endless days of glorious sunshine
  • Beautiful sunset over shimmering ocean waves
  • Pristine beaches
  • Rows and rows of orange and grapefruit trees
  • Fresh-from-the-water seafood
  • Ever-delicious key lime pie
  • Space shuttle launch from the Kennedy Space Center
  • NASCAR drivers circling the track at Daytona International Speedway
  • Quaint fishing camps along the Nature Coast or Lake Okeechobee
  • Paddling a canoe or kayak into the unspoiled environment
  • Observing Florida’s varied wildlife—alligators, manatees, great blue herons, roseate spoonbills, wood storks, ibis, anhingas
  • Well-manicured golf courses that challenge the best but still please the rest
  • Strolling the cobblestone streets of historic St. Augustine
  • Visiting world-class art galleries, mansions, and museums. While it may surprise the first-time visitor to the state, this popular winter destination is very different from place to place. 
  •  Florida offers some of the world’s most diverse and stunning scenery, from the rivers and forest of the northwest to famous Lake Okeechobee in center of the state to the quiet lagoons on the Keys. 
  •  Depending upon where you travel in the Sunshine State, you will find the Historical Florida, the Original Florida, the Theme Park Florida, the Natural Florida, and the Beachy Florida. 
  •  In this series of articles we’ll hopscotch the state and offer suggestions for discovering Florida as a Snowbird destination. Worth Pondering…