Whether its golf, tennis, polo, taking the sun, shopping, or hiking, Palm Springs is a winter desert paradise
Palm Springs is one of those places that looks awfully good to an awful lot of people at this time of year. And the weather is not its only calling card.
In Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, Indio, and the other desert resort cities in the Coachella Valley, you can camp for the winter in luxurious RV resorts that offer all sorts of amenities. Known for Olympic sized pools, tennis courts, and over one hundred world-class golf courses within 40 miles, this is truly upscale RV camping.
There are two weekly markets that are more than just shopping trips, they are events. On Thursday evenings, Palm Canyon Drive turns into Villagefest, a street fair with fragrant food stands, local and imported crafts, and tantalizing fresh produce. Live music accompanies you as you stroll past the many stalls.
Starting at 7:00 am, Saturday and Sunday mornings, the College of the Desert in Palm Desert hosts another street fair.
A mile-long strip, El Paseo features locally owned boutiques; top international retailers such as St. John, Gucci, and Burberry; brilliant fun and fine jewelry; eclectic artworks; sleek and sophisticated home décor; and professional services including day spas, and interior design know-how. With so much to do and see, it’s easy to pass an entire day on El Paseo.
East of the desert cities, Joshua Tree National Park protects two unique desert climates. In the eastern part of the park, the low altitude Colorado Desert features natural gardens of creosote bush, cactus, and other plants. The higher, moister, and cooler Mojave Desert is the home of the Joshua tree, a unique desert plant with beautiful white spring blossoms. A third type of environment can be seen at the six palm oases in the park, where water occurs naturally at the surface and creates a whole new ecosystem.
In addition to desert flora and fauna, the western part of Joshua Tree National Park includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California’s deserts. Hikers, climbers, mountain bikers, and owners of high-clearance vehicles can explore these craggy formations on a series of signed dirt roads that penetrate the park.
Nine campgrounds and three visitor centers are available for park visitors, as well as a number of well-marked short walks with informative signage.
Nestled in the scenic hills of Desert Hot Springs, a Hopi-inspired pueblo sits against a hillside. Not just any pueblo, but one built with natural materials collected throughout the desert. When homesteader Yerxa Cabot settled in Desert Hot Springs, he build a home so unique it remains a preserved museum to this day. Cabot’s pueblo spreads an impressive 5,000 square feet, divided into 35 rooms and adorned with 150 windows and 65 doors. What a sight it is to see!
While the structure’s architecture is a unique sight to behold, there’s more to see here than Cabot’s Hopi-style pueblo. Inside, the house has been turned into a museum with rooms filled with Indian artifacts, artwork, and memorabilia. One not to be missed artifact is Waokiye, a 43-foot sculpture of a Native American head.
Nestled at the feet of the Indio Hills, the Coachella Valley Preserve is the Old West just minutes from the desert cities. One of the area’s most beautiful attractions especially if you like to hike, the Preserve is a natural refuge where visitors can discover rare and wonderful wildlife species. Enjoy some of the 20,000+ acres of desert wilderness and over 25 miles of hiking trails, most of which are well marked.
By a quirk of nature there’s water here, too, but it doesn’t usually come in the form of rain. The Preserve is bisected by the San Andreas fault, and this natural phenomenon results in a series of springs and seeps which support plants and animals which couldn’t otherwise live in this harsh environment.
Complete your journey by letting the Palm Springs Aerial Tram do the climbing, 6,000 feet of it. Along the way a wondrous panorama of the desert lands stretches below and beyond. From Mountain Station at the top, there are short nature hikes or longer trails of varying lengths. Be sure to bring a warm jacket as the temperature difference is dramatic at this elevation and snow is not uncommon.
One of the things I had a hard time getting used to when I came to California in ’78 was Santa Claus in shorts.
Desert regions might conjure up images of soaring temperatures, rolling sand dunes, and prickly cacti. And while these areas can be excruciatingly hot during the summer, they transform in the winter with falling temperatures, serene landscapes, and even, on occasion, powdery snow.
One benefit of winter travel is you’ll usually experience fewer crowds. Winter light can be harsh for photography but it can also create incredible shadows and sunrises and sunsets you just don’t find during the summer months. Depending on the rainfall and temperatures, the latter part of winter may signal impressive spring wildflowers.
From California to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, these eight desert areas are beautiful to explore in winter.
Joshua Tree is an amazingly diverse area of sand dunes, dry lakes, flat valleys, extraordinarily rugged mountains, granitic monoliths, and oases. Explore the desert scenery, granite monoliths (popular with rock climbers), petroglyphs from early Native Americans, old mines, and ranches. The park provides an introduction to the variety and complexity of the desert environment and a vivid contrast between the higher Mojave and lower Sonoran deserts that range in elevation from 900 feet to 5,185 feet at Keys View. This outstanding scenic point overlooks a breathtaking expanse of valley, mountain, and desert.
Winter brings cooler days, around 60 degrees and freezing nights. It occasionally snows at higher elevations. With the right timing, it doesn’t get more magical than seeing freshly fallen flakes gracing the smoothly rounded boulders that seem straight out of The Flintstones and the Joshua trees that look like something from an alien planet. Don’t miss other highlights of Joshua Tree including the fan palms (Washingtonia filifera). These trees are some of the tallest palms native to North America and can live around 80 or 90 years.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona
The remote Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a gem tucked away in southern Arizona’s vast Sonoran Desert. Organ Pipe is where “summer spends the winter” with warm days (60s) and chilly nights (40s) common from late fall to early spring. Thanks to its unique crossroads locale, the monument is home to a wide range of specialized plants and animals including its namesake.
This stretch of desert marks the northern range of the organ pipe cactus, a rare species in the U.S. There are 28 different species of cacti in the monument, ranging from the giant saguaro to the miniature pincushion. These cacti are all highly adapted to survive in the dry and unpredictable desert. They use spines for protection and shade, thick skin, and pulp to preserve water, unique pathways of photosynthesis at night, and hidden under their skin are delicate to sturdy wooden frames holding them together.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
New Mexico is one of our favorite winter road trip destinations and Santa Fe is one reason why. A city that embraces its natural environment, Santa Fe is a city whose beautiful adobe architecture blends with the high desert landscape. A city that is, at the same time, one of America’s great art and culinary capitals. Santa Fe draws those who love art, natural beauty, and those who wish to relax. As the heart of the city and the place where Santa Fe was founded, the Plaza is the city’s most historic area. Surrounded by museums, historic buildings, restaurants, hotels, galleries, and endless shopping, the Plaza is the place to start understanding Santa Fe.
Palm Springs, California
Whether it’s golf, tennis, polo, taking the sun, hiking, or a trip up the aerial tram, Palm Springs is a winter desert paradise. Palm Springs and its many neighboring cities are in the Coachella Valley of Southern California, once an inland sea and now a desert area with abundant artesian wells. An escape from winter’s chill and snow, it is also a destination filled with numerous places to visit and things to do.
The Indian Canyons are one of the most beautiful attractions for any Palm Springs visitor, especially if you love to hike. There are so many great trails to choose from—but none can surpass Tahquitz Canyon. Nowhere else can you to see a spectacular 60-foot waterfall, rock art, an ancient irrigation system, numerous species of birds, and plants—all in the space of a few hours. Tahquitz Canyon is at the northeast base of 10,804-foot Mount San Jacinto in Palm Springs.
Big Bend National Park, Texas
This sprawling west Texas park has plenty of room (nearly 1 million acres) to spread out and explore from Chisos Mountains hikes and hot springs to the Santa Elena Canyon, a vast chasm along the Rio Grande. Due to its sheer size and geographic diversity this is the perfect park to immerse yourself in for a week or more with plenty of sights and activities to keep you busy.
The Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend receives very little precipitation as storm systems are blocked by the mountain ranges that surround it. Snow is rare and generally light. Winter visitors should prepare for a variety of conditions. Air temperature changes by five degrees for every 1,000 feet of elevation change; temperatures in the high Chisos Mountains can be 20+ degrees cooler than temperatures along the Rio Grande. Be prepared for this kind of variation during your trip. Winter visitors should be prepared for any weather; temperatures vary from below freezing to above 80 degrees.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California
Anza-Borrego is the largest state park in California with just over 640,000 acres. There are over 10,000 years of human history recorded here including Native American petroglyphs and pictographs. Winter is a popular time to visit Borrego Valley as it’s sunny and warm. When you have sufficient winter rain, spring wildflowers begin to show as early as February. Hiking and mountain biking are popular in the canyon washes and over the ridges of red desert rock.
Winter also sees the visitor center open daily. The visitor center is an experience in itself as it was built with the environment in mind. It was built underground and has a landscaped roof topped with plants, native soil, and rocks. You can reserve camping sites in the park which has 175 developed sites, eight primitive campgrounds, and plenty of options for dispersed camping.
Arches National Park, Utah
The red rock expanse of Southern Utah is stunning in all seasons, but winter is unique. Arches is one of the most beautiful national parks to visit in winter (seriously!). The quietness of the park is perfect for those hoping to photograph the beauty of Arches in winter. Yes, it does snow in Arches National Park although not often. When it does snow, it tends to be a light covering that melts fairly quickly. If you’re timing is right, you will be able to see the arches and fins covered in snow creating a unique landscape where the orangey-brown rock contrasts beautifully with the white snow. And wherever you roam, you find few other travelers and plenty of peace and solitude.
Located in Arizona’s high desert under the towering southwestern rim of the vast Colorado Plateau, Sedona is blessed with four mild seasons marked by abundant sunshine and clean air. Almost the entire world knows that Sedona, strategically situated at the mouth of spectacular Oak Creek Canyon, is a unique place. Characterized by massive red-rock formations, as well as the contrasting riparian areas of Oak Creek Canyon, the area surrounding this beloved community is at least as beautiful as many national parks.
During the winter months, Sedona transforms into a dazzling wonderland with light dustings of snow and millions of twinkling stars amidst the dark night sky. Sitting at 4,500-feet elevation, the town enjoys moderate winters. Mild temperatures during the day are perfect for hiking the famed Red Rock Country. Snow occasionally dusts the upper reaches of the surrounding mesas and mountains in a most picturesque fashion.
Alone in the open desert,
I have made up songs of wild, poignant rejoicing and transcendent melancholy.
The world has seemed more beautiful to me than ever before.
I have loved the red rocks, the twisted trees, the sand blowing in the wind, the slow, sunny clouds crossing the sky, the shafts of moonlight on my bed at night.
Start your Southern California journey in the Coachella Valley
Southern California boasts a diverse geographical terrain—you can experience the desert, sandy beaches, and snow-capped mountains all within just a few hours drive.
Start your Southern California journey with something sweet by visiting Shields Date Garden in Indio and you’ll find yourself in a date oasis where the Shields have been growing their own since 1924. Enjoy a date milkshake, a variety of date-centric dishes in the garden café, or educate yourself by viewing a short documentary on the cultivation of this exotic fruit. Be sure to also take a stroll through the garden in the back.
Established in 1970, The Living Desert started as a nature trail and preserve dedicated to preserving desert flora and fauna. Now a remarkable zoo and botanical garden representing desert environments around the world, The Living Desert contains lush botanical gardens representing 10 different desert ecosystems. Located in Palm Desert, the Living Desert showcases more than 430 desert animals from the deserts of four continents with appropriate dry climate landscape.
Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indio, and their neighboring
desert cities are in the Coachella Valley of Southern California. An escape
from winter’s chill, it is also a destination filled with plenty of places to
visit and things to see and do. Whether it’s golf, tennis, polo, taking the
sun, hiking, biking, or a trip up the aerial tram, Palm Springs is a winter
There are so many great trails from which to choose—but none
can surpass Tahquitz Canyon. Nowhere else can you to see a spectacular 60-foot
waterfall, rock art, an ancient irrigation system, numerous species of birds,
and plants—all in the space of a few hours.
Tahquitz Canyon is at the northeast base of 10,804-foot Mount San Jacinto in Palm Springs. Located at the entrance to the canyon, the Tahquitz Canyon Visitor Center, at 500 West Mesquite, just west of Palm Canyon Drive, offers exhibits, an observation deck, and a theatre room for viewing a video that narrates the legend of Tahquitz Canyon.
East of the desert cities, Joshua Tree National Park protects two unique desert climates. In the eastern part of the park, the low altitude Colorado Desert features natural gardens of creosote bush, cholla, and other cactus. The higher, moister, and cooler Mojave Desert is the home of the Joshua tree, a unique desert plant with beautiful white spring blossoms. A third type of environment can be seen at the six palm oases in the park, where water occurs naturally at the surface and creates a whole new ecosystem.
In addition to desert flora and fauna, the western part of
Joshua Tree National Park includes some of the most interesting geologic
displays found in California’s deserts. Hikers, climbers, mountain bikers, and
owners of high-clearance vehicles can explore these craggy formations on a
series of signed dirt roads that penetrate the park.
Covering more than 600,000 acres, Anza-Borrego is the largest state parks in the contiguous United States. From a distance, its mountains and valleys look dry and barren—yet amidst the arid, sandy landscape you can find regions rich in vegetation and animal life.
Lush oases with graceful palm trees lie hidden in valleys where water bubbles close to the surface. A multitude of birds shelter beneath the long frond skirts hanging from the palms, and a few rare desert bighorn sheep roam the rocky mountain slopes. Coyotes fill the night with their laughing song and mountain lions prowl the high country. Situated northeast of San Diego and due south of the Palm Springs/Indio area, Anza-Borrego is easily accessible from anywhere in Southern California.
Born during the 1870s gold rush, Julian is a small town cradled in the mountains, surrounded by apple orchards. Julian is at its most charming―and busiest―during the fall, when leaves change color and local apples ripen. Stop by an apple orchard to sample local varieties not found elsewhere, pick up some of your favorites, or pick your own. Any time of year, Julian cafes serve apple pies and sell whole ones.
On a recent visit to Julian, we bought four pies, one each
at Julian Pie Company, Mom’s Pies, Julian Cafe, and Apple Alley Bakery.
There are not many places in the world where you can get to
the beach in an hour, the desert in two hours, and snowboarding or skiing in
three hours. You can do all that in California.
Whether its golf, tennis, polo, taking the sun, shopping, or hiking Palm Springs is a winter desert paradise
Palm Springs acquired the title “Playground of the
Stars” many years ago when it was just a village in the desert and a
popular weekend Hollywood getaway destination.
Only 100 miles east of Tinseltown, it was an easy drive,
even in the days before freeways. And even though Hollywood’s winter climate
was mild, the celebrities of the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s headed to the desert for
weekends of poolside relaxation.
Today, the village has grown and attractions consist of much
more than just hanging out poolside. Whether it’s golf, tennis, polo, taking
the sun, hiking, or a trip up the aerial tram, Palm Springs is a winter desert
Palm Springs and its many neighboring cities are in the
Coachella Valley of Southern California, once an inland sea and now a desert
area with abundant artesian wells. An escape from winter’s chill and snow, it
is also a destination filled with numerous places to visit and things to do.
The Agua Caliente Cahuilla peoples were among the first to
settle here and their descendants have established the Agua Caliente Indian
Canyons, listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Indian Canyons are one of the most beautiful attractions
for any Palm Springs visitor, especially if you love to hike. You can hike Palm
Canyon, Andreas Canyon, and Murray Canyon. Unlike other area trails, most of
the trails in the Indian Canyons follow running streams. Washingtonia filifera (California
Fan Palm), and indigenous flora and fauna are abundant.
A moderately graded, foot path winds down into Palm Canyon
for picnicking near the stream, meditating, exploring, hiking, or horseback
The contrasting greens of the magnificent fan palms and more
than 150 species of plants within a half-mile radius beckon the hiker into lush
Andreas Canyon. A scenic foot trail leads through the canyon passing groves of
stately skirted palms, unusual rock formations, and the perennial Andreas Creek.
To access the Indian Canyons, take South Palm Canyon from Highway 111.
There are so many great trails to choose from—but none can
surpass Tahquitz Canyon. Nowhere else can you to see a spectacular 60-foot
waterfall, rock art, an ancient irrigation system, numerous species of birds,
and plants—all in the space of a few hours.
Tahquitz Canyon is at the northeast base of 10,804-foot
Mount San Jacinto in Palm Springs.
Located at the entrance to the canyon, the Tahquitz
Canyon Visitor Center, at 500 West Mesquite, just west of Palm Canyon Drive,
offers exhibits, an observation deck, and a theatre room for viewing a video
that narrates the legend of Tahquitz Canyon.
Needing a change of pace? Let the Palm Springs Aerial Tram
do the climbing, 6,000 feet of it. Along the way a wondrous panorama of the
desert lands stretches below and beyond. From Mountain Station at the top,
there are short nature hikes or longer trails of varying lengths. Be sure to
bring a warm jacket as the temperature difference is dramatic at this elevation
and snow is not uncommon.
Rising abruptly from the desert floor, the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto
Mountains National Monument reaches an elevation of 10,834
feet. Providing a picturesque backdrop to the desert cities, visitors can enjoy
magnificent palm oases, snow-capped mountains, a national scenic
trail, and wilderness areas. Jointly managed by the BLM and the U.S. Forest
Service, the Monument can be accessed using Highway 74 (Palms to Pines Scenic
Byway) from Palm Desert.
Located in Palm Desert, the world famous El Paseo Shopping
District features over 300 world-class shops, clothing boutiques, art
galleries, jewelers, and restaurants lined along a picture-postcard floral and
statue-filled mile. Known as the Rodeo Drive of the Desert, El Paseo boasts a
wide spectrum of stores from Sak’s 5th Avenue to individually owned boutiques.
Browse your favorite luxury labels and chic boutiques, savor
gourmet cuisine by the Coachella Valley’s top chefs, and wander through an
array of art galleries set against a scenic backdrop.
Complete your Coachella Valley journey with something sweet
by visiting the Shields Date Garden in Indio and you’ll find yourself in a date
oasis where the Shields’ have been growing their own since 1924. Enjoy a date
milkshake, a variety of date-centric dishes in the garden café, or educate yourself
by viewing a short documentary on the cultivation of this exotic fruit which
continuously screens in the café’s own theater. Be sure to also take a stroll
through the garden in the back.
We have 51 golf courses in Palm Springs. He (President Ford)
never decides which course he will play until after the first tee shot.
The holidays are officially over, New Year’s resolutions
have slowly begun to wane, and that relaxed RV vacation feeling is all but a
distant memory—welcome to February.
For many Americans and Canadians, February means windy, wet,
bitterly cold weather. Plenty of people wish longingly to escape the miserable
weather. Yet where the weather is frigid or dreary in many parts of the United
States, it is superb across the Sun Belt.
Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, the Super Bowl,
taking advantage of the Presidents’ Day long weekend, or just taking a break,
you have plenty of options for an RV vacation in February. Where to go depends
on what kind of a break and weather you’re looking for.
Southern California offers warm February temperatures, but
why not try Gold County? Daytime temperatures in February in cities like
Jackson and Angel Camp are around 60 F. Explore California’s gold rush history,
go antique shopping, or taste the 35 wine varietals from Amador and Calaveras
Thinking about a February getaway but not sure where to go?
These destinations are particularly ideal, offering something for just about
Saguaro National Park,
Arizona You know those comically oversized cacti Wile E. Coyote used to fall into?
Those are modeled after the Giant Saguaro cactus, the most distinct feature is
this park straddling the city of Tucson. The park, created to preserve the
cacti, boasts some great hikes. Even during mild weather, a trek into nature
here can take you up 5,000 feet of elevation in 15 miles of desert. Driving
Saguaro will take you through a Western landscape that’s unmistakably Arizona.
The Land of Enchantment boasts some ridiculously gorgeous
desert ‘scapes. Ghost Ranch, the terrain made famous by Georgia O’Keefe, is
full of crimson and gold cliffs and big blue sky. White Sands National Monument
has a mind-boggling 275 square miles of gypsum sand dunes set in the shadow of
the mountains. And we’d be remiss to leave out Carlsbad Caverns, a collection
of over 100 caves and one of the state’s top attractions.
The cities are no slouches either. Santa Fe is one of
America’s great art destinations, and not just for the turquoise, silver, and artist
galleries in the town center. Santa Fe also has an awesome food scene,
where meticulously-made Southwestern fare shines with ancient recipes and
ingredients. Meanwhile there’s fantastic skiing in Taos, and still far less
expensive than Park City or Aspen.
Alabama State Parks
From a shaded retreat on John’s Bay in the Mobile-Tensaw
Delta to the boardwalk atop the highest mountain in the state, the Alabama
State Parks System offers an incredible diversity of nature’s wonders to
explore. Just north of the point where the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and Mobile Bay
converge, Meaher State Park offers a respite from the hustle and bustle that
can be seen in the distance on the Bayway crowded with travelers.
Meaher offers 61 improved campsites, 10 improved tent sites,
a couple of primitive tent sites, and four cabins. Two more cabins will be
available later this year.Part of
the draw is the easy access to the Delta and being able to stay overnight
between Mobile and Baldwin counties.
Newport, Rhode Island
If you thought Newport, the former stomping ground of the
Astors and the Vanderbilts, was only worth visiting in the summer, think again.
The seaside town—known for its Gilded Age mansions and outdoor music
performances—is perfect for cold weather getaways, particularly in
mid-February. This is when the Newport Winter Festival brings the city to
life with concerts, beach polo, and even a chili cook-off.
Fed by underground springs, the desert comes alive here, not
only with signature palms, but also with a string of resort communities—Palm
Desert, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, Indio, and others, as well as the namesake
town of Palm Springs—sporting a cool, mid-century modern vibe and countless
ways to relax.
Every Thursday evening, this desert city takes on new life
for VillageFest, a weekly street fair that brings casual party atmosphere to
its downtown neighborhood.
Give yourself plenty of time to stroll along the swanky El
Paseo district in Palm Desert. First, you’ll want to see all the art. A roughly
1-mile strip and adjacent streets are home to one of the largest concentrations
of art galleries anywhere in Southern California.
Recently I ran across a few lines by Pierre de Ronsard, a 16th-century poet: “Live now, believe me, wait not till tomorrow. Gather the roses of life today.” Maybe it’s time to stop dreaming about that trip you’ve always wanted to make—and just do it!
Earn your snowbird wings by RVing to one or more of these Sunbelt destinations this winter.
This winter, instead of willing the season away, do as the
What is a snowbird, you ask?
A snowbird is someone who migrates to a warmer destination
to avoid the wrath of winter. If you dread scraping the ice off your car
windshield, shoveling snow, falling on black ice, and swear you must be cold-blooded,
you just may be a snowbird at heart.
Earn your snowbird wings by RVing to one or more of these Sunbelt
destinations this winter.
Here you’ll find comfort (and warmth!) in our list of the
best snowbird destinations, where snow plows and ear muffs have no place.
Average high in January: 70 F
Many cities seem to shut down during the chilly months, but
not Yuma. With the sun still shinning and the mercury resting in a comfortable
range, this southwest city keeps its calendar full. Every January, the Yuma
Medjool Date Festival (January 26, in 2019) puts on a show, celebrating the
sweet fruit grown in the desert area. The wintertime is also ideal for hosting
the Yuma Territorial Marathon and Half Marathon (January 26, in 2019) —you just
might find yourself trading your mittens for some sweatbands.
Snowbirds love to:
Visit a real working farm with Field to Feast farm tours and pick some produce
to take home.
Average high in January: 71 F
Sarasota and her string of eight islands are tucked into the
Gulf Coast of Southwest Florida. Sarasota County encompasses nearly 40 miles of
shoreline and includes Sarasota, Longboat Key, Lido Key, St. Armands Key,
Manasota Key, Siesta Key, Casey Key, Englewood, Nokomis, North Port, Osprey,
and Venice. Thanks to the legacy of circus magnate John Ringling, Sarasota is
known as the “Circus Capital of the World,” with many offerings designed to
honor the past, present, and future of the circus.
Snowbirds love to: Visit
Venice Area Audubon Rookery is a renowned location for bird photography and is
free to all visitors daily year-round.
Average high in January: 70 F
Located in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley, Mission
welcomes the thousands of Winter Texans that call Mission their
temporary home. Nestled against the Rio Grande River, Mission has long
been known as a center for citrus farming, home of the famous Texas Ruby Red
grapefruit. But, what many don’t realize is that Mission has a rich history of
birdwatching with more than 465 species reported in the Rio Grande Valley
alone, and that the area is considered the top destination in the United States
Snowbirds love to: Hike,
bike, observe birds, and ride the tram at Rio Grande Valley State Park, a
2,400-acre nature reserve.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Average high in January: 62 F
Whether you’re looking for a snowbird roost or a vacation
escape, RVers will find what they’re looking for—and more—along Alabama’s Gulf
Coast. While Alabama’s shoreline may not be the first place that pops to mind
when planning a winter getaway, don’t overlook it. It’s a rare person who does
not find the sea and sand tempting, especially during the cold winter months.
Snowbirds love: The
fresh seafood. Seafood markets offer shrimp, oysters, crab, and snapper. There
are numerous seafood restaurants with an endless assortment of dishes.
Average high in January: 71 F
Palm Springs acquired the title “Playground of the Stars”
many years ago because what was then just a village in the desert was a popular
weekend Hollywood getaway. Today, the village has grown and consists of much
more than just hanging out poolside. Whether it’s golf, tennis, or a trip up
the aerial tram, Palm Springs is a winter desert paradise.
There are two weekly markets that are more than just
shopping trips, they are events. On Thursday evenings, Palm Canyon Drive turns
into Villagefest. Saturday and Sunday mornings, the College of the Desert in
Palm Desert hosts another street fair.
Snowbirds love to:
Enjoy some of the 30 miles of trails, picnic areas, cool oases, and wildlife
and wildflowers at Coachella Valley Preserve. Walk into the past in their
rustic Visitors’ Center, the Palm House, a palm log cabin built in the 1930s.
Many people are all traveled-out after the festive season,
and feeling the pinch of a credit card bill with an extra page. Yet your RV
travel opportunities have been conveniently restocked, and the sheer variety of
potential getaways never better.
It’s not the shoulder-season gem that is September, but
January is still a pretty stellar month to get outta town in your RV,
especially if you’re a snowbird en route to a warm weather roost. The weather
is near perfect in spots like Palm Springs, Phoenix, South Texas, and Tampa-St.
Petersburg, all of which are great options for snowbirds. The mild temperatures
are ideal for days spent idly exploring or relaxing by the pool.
Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs is one of those places that’s reliably
sunny and warm this time of year. And the weather is not its only calling card.
Palm Springs acquired the title “Playground of the Stars” many years ago because what was then just a village in the desert was a popular weekend Hollywood getaway. Today, the village has grown and consists of much more than just hanging out poolside. Whether it’s golf, tennis, hiking Tahquitz Canyon (photo above), or a trip up the aerial tram, Palm Springs is a winter desert paradise.
Tampa Bay, Florida
Florida makes for a great getaway any time of the year that
isn’t August. Sure, you can relax on one of the best beaches in the world at
Siesta Key, hit the undertow in St. Pete Beach, or enjoy a boat trip at Myakka
River State Park (photo above)—but those spots aren’t going anywhere.
In January, the place to be is Tampa, when it hosts the
annual Gasparilla Festival. The festivities honor José Gaspar, the former
Spanish naval officer-turned-pirate who may or may not have terrorized the
waters around Tampa Bay. Historical accuracy kinda gets pushed aside, though,
to make way for the third-largest parade in America. It’s a daylong bacchanal
of folks dressed in pirate attire that spills over into the bars at night. And
the calming waters of the gulf are just a short drive away, the perfect
anecdote for a pirate festival.
The obvious draw for a Utah vacation in January is the
skiing, and we’re not gonna lie, that’s the No. 1 reason to go. But Utah is a
big state, and even if the slopes aren’t calling you, January is the perfect
time to check it out.
The big, red desert parks (Arches and Canyonlands) in the
southern part of the state aren’t nearly as packed as during the summer and are
sometimes covered in a soft blanket of white snow. Further south, there’s St.
George and Zion National Park (photo above) in Utah Dixie that’s just a short
day trip from Las Vegas. Then there’s the Sundance Film Festival in
Park City, where for better or worse, Hollywood descends on the beehive state.
The quaint fishing village of Rockport has been a
favorite coastal hideaway and snowbird roost for years. Envision the life
of an affluent Victorian family while exploring Fulton Mansion, built in 1877
with comforts not easily found: gas lights, central heat, and running water. At
Goose Island State Park (photo above) you’ll find the wintering grounds for
whooping cranes and other migratory birds. It’s also home to the 2,000-year-old
Big Tree, one of Texas’ largest live oak.
Arizona is a warm-weather perch for snowbirds from around
North America and one of the most popular getaway destinations in the
Home to cactus, prickly pears, rattlesnakes, the Grand
Canyon, roadrunners, the world’s oldest rodeo, and the bolo tie, the state is
rich in attractions that entertain the cultured, the curious, the wild, and
Although mostly a truck stop in the summer, snowbirds
descend upon Quartzsite (photo above) with more than 100,000 RVs spread over 70
square miles. The main attraction is the annual rock and gem shows, the flea
markets, and the RV show under the Big Tent. Nowhere on earth will you find
such an assortment of “stuff” as you will at Quartzsite.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
With miles of sparkling turquoise Gulf waters and stunningly
white sand, RVers will find what they’re looking for—and
more—along Alabama’s Gulf Coast (photo above). Seafood markets offer
shrimp, oysters, crab, and snapper. There are numerous seafood restaurants with
an endless assortment of dishes. Gulf Shores is a coastal, resort community
known for its white-sand beaches.
Worth Pondering…We will open the book. Its pages are blank.
We are going to put words on them ourselves.
The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.