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27 Feb 2024
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Travel Tips


Tips for Snowbirds Traveling to the OBX

Many people come to the Outer Banks during the warmer months to enjoy the sandy beaches and bright surf of summer vacation. But there is also an entire community of people who are known for traveling south for the winter and temporarily relocating to the Outer Banks in hopes of finding warmer weather. Keep reading for more information on these “snowbirds” and some handy tips and tricks to keep in mind if you’re thinking about becoming a snowbird yourself and relocating to the Outer Banks in the winter months. Check out our winter rentals and secure your vacation home today!

What is a “Snowbird” or “Winter Visitor?”

“Snowbird” or “Winter Visitor” is a colloquial term for someone who temporarily migrates from a more northern region of North America to spend the winter in warmer, southern locations such as Florida or Texas. Over the years, the Outer Banks has become a haven for people looking for warmer weather and are an important part of the social climate and culture of the Outer Banks during the winter months. 

Many parts of the southern United States actively support and encourage “snowbird” visitors and there is actually a Canadian Snowbird Association that exists solely to support travelers who temporarily relocate to the southern United States for the winter.

History of Seasonal Travel & Snowbirds in the US

While the term “snowbird” is sometimes used to describe an actual bird, in 1923, the word “snowbird” first appeared in connection with seasonal workers who migrated south during the winter months for additional work in warmer climates where the growing seasons were longer. Sometime in the last 100 years, the name shifted as the migrating population of visitors was no longer heading south in search of work (though many snowbirds do take part-time jobs or continue to work remotely) but are instead heading south for a longer vacation as part of retirement. 

The demographic of snowbirds currently consists of people aged 50 to 70, though some younger people are taking advantage of remote job opportunities to travel more. Additionally, many snowbirds also visit from Canada, making up almost 10% of the population.

Travel Tips for Winter Visitors Coming to the Outer Banks

The decision to vacation south for the winter is an exciting one! The idea of spending weeks, or even months, on the Outer Banks is a dream come true for many. You’ve got a moderate climate, fun holiday events and activities, and less crowded beaches to look forward to. But before you pack your bags and head to the Outer Banks for your own beach-side hibernation, here are a few important things to keep in mind to ensure that your winter vacation is all easy and enjoyable.

Be Sure to Bring Important Papers 

If you’re coming from out of the country, make sure you have your passports and visas in a safe spot that you’ll remember. Keep an eye on your driver’s license and credit card expiration dates and try to get these things taken care of before heading south. Don’t forget to bring important medical documents and prescriptions and if you’re planning on staying through tax season, pack up your papers and bring them with you! This will help alleviate some of the stress waiting for you if you wait to take care of it once you get back.

Forward Your Prescriptions (before you leave)

And speaking of prescriptions, plan ahead to figure out how much you’re going to need while you’re away. Consider purchasing several months in advance or look into which local pharmacy works best for your vacation rental location and insurance plan. There are multiple pharmacies up and down the beach, so if you already work with somewhere like CVS or Walgreens, it should be easy to transfer your prescriptions to your closest pharmacy location.

Ask Someone to Check In on Your Primary Home

One of the most important things to consider when you’re planning on being away from your primary residence for an extended amount of time is making sure that it doesn’t look like you’re away. Consider setting a timer for indoor lights and asking a neighbor or family member to check in on the home regularly. Think about hiring someone to clean the driveway after it snows and set the thermostat to a level that prevents your pipes from freezing without running up your electricity bill while you’re away.

Consider Temporarily Forwarding Your Mail

If you’re planning to be south for a month or more, you may want to think about temporarily forwarding your mail through USPS. This is a relatively easy process and you can request the postal service forward your mail to your vacation rental property for a set amount of time, ensuring that once you’re back north, your mail route should go back to normal.

Enjoy the Drive

Ultimately, heading south is about avoiding the harsh winters of northern North America while enjoying a change of scenery in a beautiful, welcoming vacation destination. Prep your car before you leave and stay up to date on all important maintenance so that you can spend the drive down enjoying the beautiful scenery and getting excited for mornings of coffee on the beach and drinks under the stars at your winter vacation home.

Perks of Visiting the Outer Banks in the Winter

Snowbirds are known for creating large communities of seasonal vacationers in Florida, Texas, and Arizona, but the Outer Banks has always been a hidden gem for people looking to spend their winters somewhere warmer. Any time of the year is a great time to visit the Outer Banks, but there’s something special about visiting in the off-season. Check out our guide to the Top 10 Reasons to Visit the Outer Banks in the Off-Season for some of the best things about enjoying the Outer Banks during the winter. Come enjoy year-round fishing, fun holiday events that can’t be beat, and plenty of inexpensive and unique activities that you can enjoy without the crowds!

Find the Vacation Rental That is Best for You

At Seaside Vacations, we offer various vacation rental properties perfect for whatever type of winter getaway you’re planning. Whether you’re planning to come as a larger family group or migrate as a couple, you’ll want to consider the home that will give you the space you need while also offering financial stability for a long-term stay. Choose from our selection of beautiful 1 to 2-bedroom rentals that make the perfect couples' getaway for the chilly winter months. If your family group is planning to head south for the winter, we also offer more spacious rentals up and down the beach with a wide range of amenities that are sure to make your seasonal stay on the Outer Banks comfortable and relaxing. So don’t hesitate. Why not go ahead and book your ultimate winter getaway today?


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We’ll see you at the beach.

About the Author: Lauren is an Outer Banks local, mom, trained historian, and travel enthusiast. When she isn’t writing for the Seaside Vacations Travel Blog, Lauren can usually be found with her nose in a book or cuddling with her cats.