Due to the wet/dry season type climate as you move toward the central and southern areas of the Sunshine State, popular snowbird destinations dot the landscape of Florida. Given the recent snow storms up north, who can blame anyone for venturing south to get away from all that shoveling and shivering?
Central and Southern Florida are typically sunny and mild in the winter months, drawing retirees and vacationers from northern states and even as far away as Canada. Florida has more to offer than just excellent weather in the winter months, though. Activities abound and it’s easy to stay active and healthy and get your daily dose of vitamin D through spending time outdoors.
Tampa Bay and Sarasota Area
The Tampa Bay — Sarasota Metropolitan area consists of five cities and a large number of smaller towns. The bigger cities in this area include Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Bradenton, and Sarasota. Snowbirds wanting to reach the Tampa Bay area can take Interstate 75 (I-75). Tampa is on the east side of Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg and Clearwater are on the west side of Tampa Bay, and Bradenton and Sarasota are on the southern end of Tampa Bay.
Cape Coral, Fort Myers, and Naples Area
Further south along I-75, snowbirds will find the cities and towns of Cape Coral, Fort Myers, and Naples. Fort Myers is the biggest of these three cities in southwest Florida. Cape Coral is about half an hour north of Fort Myers, while Naples, one of Florida’s most upscale snowbird and retirement communities, is located about 30 miles south of Fort Myers. The gateway to the famous Florida Everglades, Everglades City, can be found just south of Naples.
West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami-Dade
After passing Everglades City, I-75 takes a sharp turn to the east, and cross the peninsula toward the large snowbird destinations on the southeast coast of Florida. This stretch of the interstate is known as “Alligator Alley.” West Palm Beach, the furthest north of the three cities, is accessible by taking I-75 to I-95 North. Fort Lauderdale is virtually straight ahead on 1-75, so no turns onto another interstate are needed. Snowbirds can reach Miami-Dade, Florida’s largest metropolitan area, by taking I-75 to I-95 South.