As the first hints of the winter chill set in, snowbirds seeking refuge from the encroaching cold prepare to take flight. In search of sun-soaked havens, they flock to destinations where winter often comes with flowering trees—and heaps of adventure. Whether your snowbird dreams include white sand beaches or verdant jungles, these five hotspots will help you ditch the snow shovel and ice melt.
In recent years, the US Virgin Islands (USVI) has become a favourite for those looking to escape the snow and ice. With a perfect fusion of tropical bliss and familiar Canadian comforts, the Caribbean Islands of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix host a warm and inclusive community of expatriates and snowbirds seeking a seasonal sanctuary.United States Virgin Islands
Offering a year-round tropical climate averaging 25 C to 30 C, it’s easy to play outside here. Beachgoers will be drawn to the famous stretches of sand of Magens Bay in St. Thomas and the untouched beauty of Trunk Bay in St. John, while nature lovers will want to spend the day snorkelling, hiking or exploring the tropical landscape. For a change from adventure, you can immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture through museums, historic sites and lively festivals. As a US territory, English is the official language and the US dollar is the currency. And with duty-free shopping, it’s easy to splurge on luxury goods and gifts without the worry of added customs duties.United States Virgin Islands
In almost every corner of the Central American country of Costa Rica, you’ll find a mix of natural beauty and outdoor fun. While there are loads of great places for a home base, Guanacaste Province stands out as a destination for those seeking warmth and adventure. Home to beaches, lush rainforests and volcanic landscapes, this Pacific region is a playground for nature enthusiasts. Those who are after world-class surfing and vibrant beach culture are drawn to Tamarindo. Or you can head to Rincon de la Vieja National Park for hiking trails, hot springs and cascading waterfalls. A bit farther south, on the Nicoya Peninsula, there are epic surfing waves, yoga retreats and the chance for wildlife encounters in the jungle.Diane Selkirk
With options ranging from river rafting to windsurfing, kayaking to bird watching and meditation to hiking, it can be hard to choose a single base. The good news is that, in addition to sporting a wealth of outdoor adventures, Costa Rica is an easy place to be. English is widely spoken (though learning some Spanish will make it more fun), there’s a strong healthcare system, a stable political climate and an easygoing culture known for its 'Pura Vida' ethos.Diane Selkirk
Mexico has long been a haven for snowbirds, thanks to a blend of cultural richness and stunning nature. In Baja California Sur, La Paz has grown into a seaside city known for its commitment to sustainability. Graced with dramatic desert landscapes and serene beaches, the city is the ideal backdrop for outdoor pursuits. Kayak through crystal-clear waters or hike cactus-dotted trails. Snorkel with sea lions or embark on a whale-watching adventure. Then, head into town where you’ll find great restaurants highlighting fresh, local food.Diane Selkirk
For those who like their outdoors to come with stronger ties to Mexico’s music and culture, Guanajuato City, a UNESCO gem known as the heart of Mexico, has a captivating street scene. As a walker’s paradise, the winding laneways and subterranean streets are the perfect place to experience local music, art and culture. Outside the city, the surrounding hills offer the option for wilderness adventures.
Embracing life in Mexico is straightforward. English is widely understood, yet learning some Spanish will deepen your connections with locals.Diane Selkirk
California often comes to mind when dreaming of sun-drenched adventure. While San Diego beckons with its golden shores and urban excitement, it is the city’s proximity to a wide range of wilderness areas that make it really shine. With seaside green spaces that include Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge (with over 370 species of bird) or Torrey Pines State Beach (for hiking, surfing and swimming) there’s plenty of nearby nature. A little farther out, you’ll find Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and its rugged badlands and desert hikes.Diane Selkirk
If you’re more about the mountains than the sea, the quirky central California town of Mariposa might be a fit. Located at the edge of the Yosemite Valley, this area is enchanted with towering granite cliffs, ancient redwoods and clear rivers. Whether you climb, hike, river kayak or bike, this pretty region offers the kind of moderate winter temperatures that are perfect for sports (as well as the occasional snow melting for variety).Diane Selkirk
With every corner of California offering a unique wilderness, snowbirds will have plenty to explore within an easy-to-adapt-to setting.Diane Selkirk
The Caribbean archipelago of Turks and Caicos offers an idyllic winter haven for those seeking a blend of comfort and natural splendour. Providenciales (Provo), the main hub, has a range of beachfront villas and cozy cottages overlooking the famous Grace Bay Beach—where you can start each day with an invigorating swim before setting out to explore. Water lovers can kayak through the mangroves of Chalk Sound or embark on a SUP excursion along the rugged coastline. Diving enthusiasts can explore dramatic wall dives and encounter colourful marine life. For a taste of untouched wilderness, don’t miss the pristine wetlands of the Northwest Point National Park, home to rare bird species and mangrove forests.
As a British Overseas Territory, English is the official language (though you’ll also hear Spanish and Creole) and the local currency is the US dollar.