Florida Snow Birds

By James | Last updated May 9, 2024

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If you are vacationing in Florida during the winter months from October to April you will almost certainly see a very common migratory bird, otherwise known as a “snowbird”.

Every year, some 800,000+ Canadians and Americans from the Northern and Midwest states migrate to the warmer climes of Florida to escape from the harsh northern winters.

Most snowbirds today are over 55s or retirees who often have a second home in Florida or bring their own homes with them in the form of RV campers or even boats by following the east coast intracoastal waterway

There is nothing new in this lifestyle, many of the early American entrepreneurs and tycoons would set up winter homes in Florida and people like the railway magnates Henry Flagler and Henry Plant opened up the east coast and Gulf coast resorts respectively with the arrival of their railroads and luxury hotels.

The circus king, John Ringling made Sarasota his travelling circuses winter home, whilst Edward Bok, the publisher made his home at what was to become the Historic Bok Sanctuary and the architect Addison Mizner helped shape Palm Beach and Boca Raton with a number of Mediterranean style luxury residences built for people like the Vanderbilts and the Kennedys.

Other notable snowbirds included John D. Rockefeller, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and Henry Ford.

A large number of snowbirds eventually retire permanently to Florida and a number of adult communities have grown up to accommodate them (sometimes known as Active Adult Communities or Senior Communities).

For snowbirds spending any length of time in Florida, a car is essential and rather than rent a car, it is possible to either drive your own car to Florida, fly and have it shipped or take the Amtrak Autotrain from just outside Washington DC to Sanford near Orlando.

If you are able to keep a car in Florida, then most of the major car rental companies offer one-way car rental if you prefer to drive rather than fly to or from Florida at either end of your stay.

Did you also know that during the summer months, some 300,000 Floridians migrate out of Florida to either escape the heat and humidity or visit family and friends, often in their original home states. They are often known as “sunbirds”.