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Looking for places to become a Snowbird
Old 06-05-2008, 06:11 AM   #1
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Looking for places to become a Snowbird

Having just survived my first winter in Colorado I am now thinking about places where I could go to be a "snowbird". Visited St. Pete's beach this spring and really liked the area and it's proximity to Tampa's airport.

Anyone have insight into what it is like to actually live down there, what the market is like, etc?

Also if you guys have other ideas on popular snowbird destinations that might be more affordable in this housing bubble. For me one of the biggest criteria would be a major airport nearby. I really like the idea of being able to hop on a plane in Denver and then walk off at my destination without having to get on a "puddle-jumper".
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Old 06-05-2008, 07:25 AM   #2
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St Pete Beach is a good place affordability wise as long as you dont plan on waterfront property,you could also try some of the communities to the north like Madiera,Reddington,Indian rocks etc,open beaches end around Clearwater
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Old 06-05-2008, 02:02 PM   #3
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Tons of snowbirds here in Arizona, the state next door to you. Some people hang out in Phoenix while others go to Yuma (like our Montana relatives).
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Old 06-05-2008, 03:47 PM   #4
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With the increasing transportation costs (OIL) you might better enjoy the reduced costs of travel to AZ or NM. Time & expense of FL travel can become prohibitive. Just my 2 cents for what it's worth.
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:50 AM   #5
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We liked the John's Pass area (rented a condo on the beach just north in Madeira). But 2 things turned us off. The high property taxes for snowbirds and the high costs of insurance because of hurricane risks,

We avoided the SW because of concerns about water. So we landed in PV because they get tons of rain every summer and have a good water management system to provide for the remainder of the year. Thei water quality is excellent and to make the point they have installed public fountains along their Malecon.
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by kevin92610 View Post
Having just survived my first winter in Colorado I am now thinking about places where I could go to be a "snowbird". Visited St. Pete's beach this spring and really liked the area and it's proximity to Tampa's airport.

Anyone have insight into what it is like to actually live down there, what the market is like, etc?
I really like that area for a getaway. SP Beach, Sunset Beach, Passe-a-Grille all have gorgeous beaches, funky houses, high prices (but much lower now) and could easily become permanent housing given the proximity to infinite shopping, downtown St. Pete. We have thought about it if a Fla downsizing becomes part of our plans. Newer construction (<1992) would be wise given the hurricane risk, but many are already compliant.
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Old 06-06-2008, 02:33 PM   #7
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Try the greater Phoenix area- FinanceDude posted a good summary of his recent vacation here in the Travel Forum. Close to Colorado, easy 1.5 hour direct flights- Southwest Airlines and Frontier flying PHX-DEN are keeping prices down on the route.

Communities- I am partial to the East Valley- more scenic, not as flat as the West Valley. Scottsdale is very nice, but very pricey. Fountain Hils is great for winter snowbird acivities. NE Mesa is mostly new construction, very scenic ,still affordable, CHEAP property taxes. The new Red Mountain Freeway (Loop 202) is set to open up in October- the area will suddenly will be very accessible, prices are just starting to climb in anticipation...look for property around Red Mountain or near Usery Pass/Tonto National Forest/ Superstition Mountains. To the east, Gold Canyon is another sleeper, the area is just starting to take off.
Head further south to Gilbert or Queeen Creek, these areas are also benefitting from the new freeway. Lots of developments, some directed at retirees. Friends just moved from KC to a active retirement community called Solera- they love it, we visited and were very impressed with the community and amenities.
Contrary to popular belief, water is not a big problem in PHX. My water bills are less than they were in the Midwest-(no grass, drip systems, xeriscape landscaping...) All the local reservoirs are full, and Lake Powell on the Colorado River is supposed to come up 50' or more with the record snowpacks.
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:10 PM   #8
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Interesting insights... my wife is going to have a field day with this :-)

Keep it coming... I am interested in any and all ideas!!

regards, Kevin
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:50 PM   #9
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Having just survived my first winter in Colorado...

I really like the idea of being able to hop on a plane in Denver and then walk off at my destination without having to get on a "puddle-jumper".
Survived!?!?! I grew up in South Dakota and have spent the past 32 years in Denver. Colorado winters are what everyone dreams of (at least in Denver) -- sunny skies -- 75 in December and snowfall that is gone within two days. Who could ask for anything more?

Anyway, my suggestion is Hawaii, of course. The attached image was taken out of our hotel room but I did notice plenty of free living space, right down on the water, all along that coast just west of Honolulu and may even consider that someday. (At least, it seemed that hundreds were enjoying it.) We seem to get to Hawaii every year (since 1970) and have not been disappointed yet.
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Old 06-07-2008, 10:09 AM   #10
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It's just about impossible to answer your question, because heaven for one person may be hell for another.

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Old 06-07-2008, 11:38 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by kevin92610 View Post
Having just survived my first winter in Colorado I am now thinking about places where I could go to be a "snowbird". Visited St. Pete's beach this spring and really liked the area and it's proximity to Tampa's airport.

Anyone have insight into what it is like to actually live down there, what the market is like, etc?

Also if you guys have other ideas on popular snowbird destinations that might be more affordable in this housing bubble. For me one of the biggest criteria would be a major airport nearby. I really like the idea of being able to hop on a plane in Denver and then walk off at my destination without having to get on a "puddle-jumper".
Y'know what I would do, if I were you? I'd make a list of all destinations with direct flights from Denver. Then I'd cross off those in cold regions or otherwise unacceptable, and look more closely at the rest. If you prefer one to another, eliminate the less preferred. I think you could reduce the list to a dozen or so pretty quickly, and then you could investigate those more thoroughly. Once you have narrowed your list down to a half dozen, you could take a vacation in each and check them out! Sounds like fun, huh.
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Old 06-07-2008, 12:02 PM   #12
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i highly recommend south florida. in fact, i happen to have two houses i can sell you. one in palm beach county on the water just a half hour from two international airports. and one near downtown fort lauderdale just a 3-mile bike ride to the beach and less than a $20-cab ride to the airport. the lauderdale house is in a (snow)bird sanctuary requiring all domestic cats to be leashed so you will not only find it convenient but safe as well.
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Old 06-07-2008, 12:41 PM   #13
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Y'know what I would do, if I were you? I'd make a list of all destinations with direct flights from Denver. Then I'd cross off those in cold regions or otherwise unacceptable, and look more closely at the rest. If you prefer one to another, eliminate the less preferred. I think you could reduce the list to a dozen or so pretty quickly, and then you could investigate those more thoroughly. Once you have narrowed your list down to a half dozen, you could take a vacation in each and check them out! Sounds like fun, huh.

Oh boy!!! my wife is going to kill my bank account with this idea but you do make a lot of sense.
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Old 06-07-2008, 09:33 PM   #14
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Survived!?!?! I grew up in South Dakota and have spent the past 32 years in Denver. Colorado winters are what everyone dreams of (at least in Denver) -- sunny skies -- 75 in December and snowfall that is gone within two days. Who could ask for anything more?
Ron, I just moved here a year ago and visited the previous year. I moved here based on exactly what you say about the winters... HOWEVER, neither one of the past 2 winters have been anything like that. I pretty much had 8" of snow locked down on my yard from Dec - Mar and we were still getting snow in May!! So for now...I survived.... hopefully, things get back to normal and I can enjoy those sunny winter skies :-)
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Old 06-07-2008, 09:39 PM   #15
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ReWahoo writes regularly about the charms of the Hill Country of Texas...

I'd recommend either Louisiana or New Mexico...
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Old 06-07-2008, 09:59 PM   #16
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ReWahoo writes regularly about the charms of the Hill Country of Texas...

I'd recommend either Louisiana or New Mexico...
Ah, Louisiana! There are direct flights from Denver to New Orleans. There is always a good time to be had down here. We have everything from Christmas bonfires along the Mississippi to light the way for Papa Noel, Carnival season from the Twelfth Night leading up to Mardi Gras, the Irish-Italian parades, JazzFest, and much more for you to do during the winter season. The art, music, and architecture down here is always amazing. I'm told the fishing is great. You could pick up a second home in New Orleans, either beautiful and ready to move into or (if you are seeking a bargain) one that needs to be gutted and renovated due to Katrina damage. So there you go. Louisiana.
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Old 06-10-2008, 06:59 PM   #17
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I highly recommend Az - nice short flight from Co. I stay in Scottsdale - only 30 minutes from Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix. Winter weather is probably a little cooler in Az than Fl, but probably sunnier.
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Old 06-10-2008, 07:20 PM   #18
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Ah, Louisiana! There are direct flights from Denver to New Orleans. There is always a good time to be had down here. We have everything from Christmas bonfires along the Mississippi to light the way for Papa Noel, Carnival season from the Twelfth Night leading up to Mardi Gras, the Irish-Italian parades, JazzFest, and much more for you to do during the winter season. The art, music, and architecture down here is always amazing. I'm told the fishing is great. You could pick up a second home in New Orleans, either beautiful and ready to move into or (if you are seeking a bargain) one that needs to be gutted and renovated due to Katrina damage. So there you go. Louisiana.

Thought you were looking to get out of NO and retire in Southern Missouri?
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Old 06-11-2008, 07:58 AM   #19
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Thought you were looking to get out of NO and retire in Southern Missouri?
Yes, we are, which is why I didn't mention New Orleans until someone else did. You are sure alert to pick up on that already, having signed up for the board just last month! Wow.

Frank and I both need to get away from New Orleans as soon as we qualify for retirement benefits. The stress of uncertain levees, out of control crime, crooked politicians, and living in the midst of what we perceive to be a tremendous, overwhelming, all-encompassing tragedy affecting every single one of our friends, co-workers, relatives, and acquaintances is wearing on us. Every day it breaks our hearts to see the city and its people just broken like this, and every day we remember what it was like right after the storm in the nearly empty city with the military helicopters, water everywhere, ruins, and deserted boats strewn about, and despite the ongoing recovery that nightmare doesn't seem to recede for us. Had we left right after the storm and settled elsewhere, perhaps we wouldn't still be in "run away!" mode and have these memories but we are and we do. To be frank, I find it very frightening and I really don't want to talk about it any more.

I would not presume to project these feelings on someone from another state, though, who would probably approach Louisiana from an entirely different perspective.

Naturally we are torn, since Louisiana is our home, but we tentatively do not plan to remain since we believe that for us, that would not be an especially healthy thing to do. If we were thinking of being snowbirds, we might consider it (because we could just leave so easily) but we do not plan to do that.
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Old 06-13-2008, 10:15 PM   #20
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Ron, I just moved here a year ago and visited the previous year. I moved here based on exactly what you say about the winters... HOWEVER, neither one of the past 2 winters have been anything like that. I pretty much had 8" of snow locked down on my yard from Dec - Mar and we were still getting snow in May!! So for now...I survived.... hopefully, things get back to normal and I can enjoy those sunny winter skies :-)
Denver winters in the early 1980s were what you would call "normal" with short bursts of snow followed by delectably warm, sunny days. Since I moved back to CO almost four years ago I can't say that I recognize the same kind of winter. And, yes, winter kept coming through May this year. Not to my liking at all.

On a different but similar topic: Summers are HOTTER than they were in the early 1980s. Now you have to have air conditioning of some kind or another. Then, air conditioning was optional and rarely needed because evenings cooled off so dramatically. Now, it can stay really warm all night long.
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