RETIREMENT ON THE ROAD
If you want to retire in an RV, it's fairly easy to join the rest of the snowbird community and jaunt off to where the weather's best. The Good Sam family of campsites keeps a list of snowbird-friendly RV campsites, while Thousand Trails offers annual camping passes to more than 100,000 such sites in North America. Almost all peak snowbird destinations are in the Southwest, Southeast, or Gulf States, and even frugal living under those conditions can cost upward of $14,000 a year. But there are certain destinations that folks feel are worth it. We looked around to find places snowbirds just love to call home — if only until it gets a little warmer up north.
SLAB CITY, CALIFORNIA
PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA
This city, where 16 percent of the population is over 65, was practically built around retirees. The beaches, parks, restaurants, and wealth of other activities pairs well with senior fares on the subway and busway system, while the elevated Metromover gets folks around many of the city's neighborhoods for free. Meanwhile, even luxe Miami Beach invites snowbirds down for the winter, knowing that those with lots of cash tend to stay. For others, numerous RV parks answer the call.
PALM BAY, FLORIDA
You're looking at a paradise of 29 parks, two golf courses, and nearby beaches where one out of every five people is 65 or older. Nearby Port Canaveral is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, just in case you enjoy the sea life, shows, and all-you-can-eat buffets. Palm Bay Hospital is there if you need it, but just enjoy those 72-degree winters in the numerous RV parks in and around Palm Bay.
HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS
DELTONA-DAYTONA BEACH-ORMOND BEACH, FLORIDA
PORT ST. LUCIE, FLORIDA
CAPE CORAL-FORT MYERS, FLORIDA
LAKE HAVASU-KINGMAN, ARIZONA
SEBASTIAN-VERO BEACH, FLORIDA
PUNTA GORDA, FLORIDA
There are many great reasons to enjoy seasonal living in a college town. Austin hosts South by Southwest, Austin City Limits, concerts every night, great independent film, a large contingent of artists, and some of the best food in the country, so there's a lot more to it than what the Longhorns are doing on Saturdays. Plus, state capitals and college towns tend to be great places to find health care. St. David's Medical Center, Heart Hospital, University Medical Center, Seton Medical, Arise Austin, the Hospital at Westlake Medical Center, Dell Children's, Fresenius, and Northwest Hills Surgical are just what's within 10 miles of the city center. People 65 and older make up just 8 percent of all people here, so it's the young at heart filling the area's nearly three dozen RV resorts.
Welcome to Ventura County, 53 percent of which is national forest. There are some gorgeous state beaches (Point Mugu especially so), some great historic sites (from Spanish colonial architecture to the Ronald Reagan library) and a whole lot of traffic and suburbs. But if you can see past the latter to enjoy the former, 15 percent of the population is over 65 and has access to dozens of medical centers within a 20-mile stretch of this area — six within the core 10 miles alone. With nearly 20 RV resorts to chose from, there are a whole lot of places to serve as base camp for your forest adventures.
SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA
SANTA CRUZ, CALIFORNIA
TYBEE ISLAND, GEORGIA
TWENTYNINE PALMS, CALIFORNIA
Las Vegas is secretly a fine place to retire. The city is flat, the sidewalks are broad, the rain is minimal, and every form of public transportation has senior discounts. Shows, hotel rooms, restaurants, buffets: None are strangers to senior discounts, and most bank on them to get through slow seasons, offering senior days and senior admission to museums and other attractions. Just make sure you ask for the discounts, which are more prevalent than Sin City would have you believe. Temperatures are in the 60s and 70s most days during the winter, but make sure you have a good heater when staying at one of the more than two dozen RV parks: temperatures can still get below freezing.