The Florida Snowbird Season
By Kelly Dean
The moniker, “snowbird,” has different meanings to different people. Heck, there’s a snowbird that refers to a place in Utah, where it actually gets cold for Pete’s sake — and there’s even a real bird too. But in Florida, it’s what people call folks who are escaping the cold winters up north by relocating their cold, grumpy selves down to Florida to warm-away those chilly bones.
Floridians just call it “season.” The definition of season is different among different locals as well. Weather-wise, the off-season is related to hurricane season from June through November. That would leave December through May as “season,” but many shorten it to four months, from December through the end of March. This is because the period is book-ended by two holidays, Thanksgiving until Easter, and snowbirds tend to lose their directions if it’s more complicated than that.
Year-around Floridians are mixed about how they feel about snowbirds. Most all businesses love them, even the ones that are not tourist-related. In fact, you’d think the world stopped spinning during off-season, despite there being lots of people who live here year-round.
And the best weather actually lasts much longer as well, about six months, from late October through May, but these periods are not as important as those four important months between Thanksgiving and Easter.
Yet, most Floridians see snowbirds as “lost birds,” because they drive like they’re lost. They fill all the restaurants every night and traffic becomes a mess. Locals try to eat earlier or later if they plan to go out at all — to avoid the wait.
Conversely, during summertime off-season, it’s rather hot and humid so people are not as enamored with flying south to the Sunshine State; although, these can be some of the best months for swimming, both at the beach and in the pool.
Also, a lot of important fish make their seasonal runs in the off-season months, making fishing better in summer too.
If you’re in the boat, the spray from the warm tropical water feels better in the summer than during season.
As a downside, you get afternoon rains that happen from June until late October and the exact timing can be unpredictable. Yet in October the rains stop, almost suddenly, and it’s usually quite dry. In fact, most of southern California gets more rain in the wintertime than most of south-central Florida — and Southern California is largely a desert.
Modern Florida probably couldn’t exist without the snowbird, and they make that clear to anyone who will listen as well. Wait until they relocate for good.