Florida Best Beaches Guide to Snowbird Beaches

Warm havens for the winter-weary

Each year, Florida's pleasing climate and seductive sunshine draws countless Canadian and European travelers looking to escape the long, cold winter. While many rental companies offer special rates for long stays, some also provide planned activities specifically aimed at snowbirds. A diverse array of accommodations, restaurants and attractions for every budget make Florida the ideal place to winter over.

If you intend to spread your wings and head south this winter, check out our top 10 snowbird destinations:

  1. Fort Walton Beach: Stunning white sand and emerald waters make this top-ranked shelling beach a dream. Since the already reasonable prices drop before Thanksgiving, it's no wonder we rank this as our top Snowbird pick.
  2. Panama City Beach: Except during spring break, Panama City is a quiet, affordable winter getaway. Beautiful beaches, warm weather and every outdoor activity Florida has to offer make this a great snowbird retreat.
  3. Perdido Key: With some of the best golf in the state and fishing of every kind, this Florida gem is an affordable treat. More than a winter respite, Perdido Key boasts festivals to keep you busy year round.
  4. Seaside: This easy-to-navigate planned town is an architectural delight! Designed with wistful charm and relaxation in mind, even Seaside's buildings are low-key. No building is more than four stories high, so you can enjoy the spectacular views unobscured.
  5. Pensacola Beach: With a wide range of accommodation options, several beaches and a number of top-notch museums nearby, Pensacola Beach is a pleasant place to spend the winter.
  6. Sanibel Island: An island of abundance, Sanibel offers visitors ungroomed beaches, hundreds of types of shells and a multitude of wildlife. In town, you can shop, visit art galleries or sample the fare at the numerous restaurants.
  7. Clearwater Beach: Despite daytime crowds and spring break partiers, Clearwater has quieter sections for families and snowbirds alike. Excellent fishing and plenty of natural wonders will help you make the most of the mild winter weather.
  8. Punta Gorda: Wide verandas and cobblestone streets give Punta Gorda Old South charm. With no high-rises or traffic lights, there's little standing between you and the sunsets or the links.
  9. Siesta Key: Mild winters, exquisite sand, dolphins and shell collecting rank this beach consistently in various critics' top ten list. The quaint village is more affordable than nearby Sarasota, but is close enough to the action should you crave culture.
  10. New Smyrna Beach: Despite its rich history, New Smyrna is relatively free of crowds and the accompanying pollution. Near science museums, art galleries and one of the safest swimming beaches in Florida, this destination definitely has it all.
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