Top Winter Destinations For Canadian Snowbirds

Top Winter Destinations for Canadian Snowbirds

As Canadians, we understand how cold and wet our winters can be. By the time October and November roll around, we are thinking about how to escape but sometimes don’t know where to go.

Before you book that flight, you’ll want to consider the following information.

  • Safety – most popular travel destinations in the US are considered safe. Like anywhere, it’s a good idea to stay away from areas known to have high crime problems.
  • Accessibility – research the travel times by car and by plane. Sometimes you will more comfort in one over the other.   
  • Proximity – how far away will you be from friends and family? Ensure your accommodations are near hospitals or doctors in the event of an emergency. 
  • Health Care – be aware of the quality of health care at your destination. It’s also very important to review your health insurance coverage and costs.
  • Community – it’s always nice to travel where you know other Canadians will be. It can make you feel safer, more welcome, and you’ll meet great people and make new friends. 

Now let’s take a look at the most popular North American travel destinations for Canadian retirees.

Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs golf course.

This is definitely one of the most common migration destinations for Candian snowbirds. Depending on where you are flying from, Palm Springs can be as quick as a 2.5-hour flight. Their winter temperatures are similar to our spring and summer seasons with an average temperature of 20-25 degrees celsius. Palm Springs is also a very dry desert climate. They only receive about 13cm of rain annually. To put that into perspective, Vancouver’s average rainfall is 1474cm!

The majority of Canadians rent a condo or a house for extended periods. The accommodations usually include a full kitchen which makes you feel more at home and also reduced your eating expenses.

There is still a large population who own homes in the desert. It’s very hard to apply for a US mortgage so most retirees purchase their homes with cash or use a Home Equity Line of Credit or Reverse Mortgage to finance the purchase.

Popular activities to keep you happy and healthy include golf, lawn bowling, pickleball, tennis, swimming, walking, dinner parties, or just laying by the pool. 

For more information on Palm Springs, be sure to check out https://www.visitpalmsprings.com.

Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona 

Canyons in Arizona.

Arizona is the second most popular winter destination for Canadian retirees. The flight time from Vancouver, BC is about the same as Palm Springs at around 3 hours. Scottsdale and Phoenix are also deserts that see very little rainfall and sustained warm temperatures (warm to us) throughout the year. You will find that Canadians are divided when it comes to which place they enjoy more, Arizona or California.

Popular activities include golf, hiking, tennis, shopping, wine tours, outdoor excursions, and visiting the Grand Canyon. 

Visit https://www.visitarizona.com for more detailed information.

Hawaii, USA

Hawaii is the thirst most attractive US destination for the Canadian retirement community and consists of 137 islands. The top 7 islands are Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, and Kahoolawe.  

Hawaii is a very tropical destination with beaches, big waves, jungle, wildlife, and volcanoes.  

The activities you can enjoy in Hawaii are endless. There is swimming, boating, fishing, snorkeling, hiking, golfing, shopping, helicopter tours, and much more.

The nightlife is also fantastic. Many of the restaurants cater to tourists and include delicious traditional food and entertainment.  

Most of the accommodations in Hawaii are condos that overlook golf courses and/or the ocean. Since most are designed for longer-stay travelers, they tend to include amenities like kitchens, laundry, pools, and grocery stores nearby.

Canadians who opt to purchase a property in Hawaii typically rent out their homes during the summer months when they are not using them. This helps to offset regular homeownership costs such as insurance, maintenance fees, upkeep, and taxes. 


Puerto Vallarta and the Mayan Riviera are the top choices outside of the US for Canadian snowbirds. Puerto Vallarta is located on the west side of Mexico on the Pacific Coast and the Mayan Riviera is just south of Cancun on the east or Caribbean side of Mexico.

Canadian retirees have been living in Mexico during the winter months for years. Depending on the time, Puerto Vallarta and the Mayan Riviera can be quieter than the aforementioned US cities. The cost of accommodation and food is relatively inexpensive due to the currency exchange difference. As this article is being written, the cost of $1 CAD can buy 15 Mexican Pesos. 

The travel time to Mexico is longer than within the US and cost is cheaper so Canadian snowbirds tend to spend their entire winters down south. The average stay is 3-6 months.

Safety is a valid concern among Canadian retirees, however, popular destinations such as Puerto Vallarta and the Mayan Riviera are well insulated from issues going on in other areas of the country. The Mexican government puts a lot of resources to security to protect the Mexican tourist industry.  

Check out all of the things you can do in Mexico by clicking here.

The United States and Mexico offer experiences that are designed for all to enjoy. They offer warm weather, little rain, sunny days, and an abundance of activities to choose from.

If you have been interested in purchasing a vacation home abroad, please contact us for a free phone consultation and we will be happy to help. Safe travels!