Sustainability Infrastructure

Here are the best cities for snow-birds

As winter begins to bring snow and freezing temperatures to the north, many older Americans, or “snow-birds,” are migrating down south.
Naples, Florida.
Naples, Florida. iStock.

Story at a glance

  • Naples, Fla. is the top city for snow-birds in the United States, according to a new ranking from FinanceBuzz.

  • Overall, nine of the top 10 cities for these travelers are located in the state.

  • Other cities in Alabama, Georgia, and Texas made the top 25 slots. 

Many snow-birds flock to southern states each year to avoid brutal winter weather. According to a new ranking from FinanceBuzz, a financial advice website, Naples, Fla. is the best city for these Americans and Canadians who prefer warmer climates in the winter months.

Overall, nine of the top 10 best cities for seasonal travelers and retirees alike are located in Florida. A total of 183 cities were included in the analysis.

The list is based on nearly two dozen different metrics grouped by affordability, livability, temperature/climate, and culture/recreation. Naples was followed by Sebring, Fla.; The Villages, Fla.; Sebastian, Fla.; and Punta Gorda, Fla., respectively. 

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Brunswick, Ga.; Homosassa Springs, Fla.; Cape Coral, Fla.; North Port, Fla.; and Deltona, Fla. rounded out the top ten spots.

When it comes to the highest percentage of residents over age 60, The Villages, a retirement community, ranked the highest. It also took the top spot for the most golf courses per capita. The community and surrounding areas are home to more than 120 golf courses per 100,000 people. 

Although Florida dominated the top 10 list, multiple cities in Alabama, Georgia and Texas also ranked in the top 25, alongside cities in Louisiana, Nevada, South Carolina, and Hawaii. 

Located in Southwest Fla., Naples ranked the highest in temperature/climate, a metric that assessed average temperatures from November through March. Average temperatures range between 64 and 71 degrees during these months. The city also ranked fourth in the number of golf courses per capita.

Although Sebring, Fla. has slightly colder temperatures on average than Naples, the city was the most affordable out of all 22 assessed in the state. Cost of living in Sebring is over 18 percent lower than the national average, and it is among the top 25 most affordable snow-bird cities with regard to median monthly housing costs.

The Villages, ranking third overall, had one of the top five highest culture and recreation scores in the country, with some of the highest per capita rates of shopping centers, retail stores, and performing arts centers. 

As many cities analyzed were in the southern portion of the United States, authors caution some may be impacted by hurricanes or other weather events common in these locations. 

Snow-birds can also boost local economies, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the loss of this annual migration took financial a toll on some states.