A chill is in the air and for many of us full-timers that’s a sign to chase the sun to warmer climates. If you’re thinking of doing the same, here are four great winter snowbird destinations in the Southwest that beckon with the promise of a never-ending summer.
Southern and Northern California might as well be two separate states because when the cold weather hits, SoCal is the only spot where you’ll want to be. But to avoid the dense crowds of coastal destinations like San Diego, point your rig to the inland deserts where snowbirds flock to wait out winter in shorts, flip flops and sometimes nothing at all! Indio and Palm Desert offer upscale and moderately-priced RV parks near glamorous Palm Springs, while more economically-priced and quirky places to stay attract offbeat RVers to places like the Palm Canyon RV Resort in Borrego Springs and the Fountain of Youth Spa in Niland.
Every RVer needs to make a pilgrimage to Quartzsite at least once. No other place in North America acts as ground zero for thousands of RVers yearning to escape winter’s wrath, while creating new friendships and sharing boondocking tips around the campfire. This temporary boom-town can get exceptionally crowded during January’s annual Quartzsite RV Show, but the vast landscape of the desert has plenty of elbow room for everyone. When you get tired of the crowds, journey south of Tucson down to the border town of Ajo, where the desert blooms greet you in colorful splendor and the dark night skies. Whether you stay in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument or boondock on BLM lands, a peaceful escape from civilization is assured.
Like California, New Mexico can be divided into two halves during winter. Southern New Mexico is where snowbirds gather, since it’s the warmest place to spend winter, while everything north of Albuquerque can be cold as Denver until at least March. If you’re looking for an offbeat snowbird destination with a little bit of company, the rustic art town of Truth or Consequences is a fun getaway with a bohemian flair, hot springs to soothe aching muscles and an assortment of public and private RV parks to wait out winter. “T or C” is also a great base camp for exploring New Mexico deserts and mountains but come well-stocked; the only “real” shopping is located in the nearby city of Las Cruces to the south, or Socorro to the north.
Texas is a vast state with thousands of acres of prime camping spots, but snowbirds are guaranteed a warm winter place to camp when they make the pilgrimage south to Big Bend. Located five hours southeast of El Paso, let the dusty resort town of Lajitas be your jumping off point for exploring the otherworldly ex-mining town of Terlingua and adjacent Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas’ biggest and least populated public lands recreation area. Next, head east to Big Bend National Park, where you’ll get captivated by bewildering mountainous terrain and lush wetlands in one of the driest regions of North America. Finally, point your RV eastward to Stillwell Store and RV Park to stargaze beneath the darkest skies in North America and home to the Hallie Stillwell Hall of Fame, which depicts the life of the legendary Texas rancher.
Now that winter’s here, don’t miss your opportunity to head out and explore the warmest winter spots in North America. When the snow is piling up and your friends are stuck at home, you’ll be glad you did!
Do you have favorite winter destinations in the Southwest? If so, share them below, we’d love to know the best places to go RVing during winter! And stay tuned for part two of this series, “Great Winter Snowbird Destinations in the Southeast.”
Often called “The O.G. of full-time RVing,” Rene Agredano and her husband Jim Nelson hit the road in a fifth wheel trailer in 2007, after their dog Jerry lost a leg to terminal cancer. Sixteen years later they are still traveling and sharing their nomadic adventures at LiveWorkDream. As a self-employed wordsmith, Rene shares her expertise for many RV industry videos, publications such as the Escapees RV Club Magazine, and has authored numerous books, including the Essential RVing Guide to National Parks, and Income Anywhere, a guide to earning money on the road. She has been featured in global media outlets including the PBS documentary “NATURE: Why We Love Cats and Dogs,” The Guardian Sunday Edition, and the Dan Pink book Free Agent Nation.