The Belchers sold their brick-and-mortar home in 2006, giving it up for a life on the road in their 40-foot Cruise Air XL recreational vehicle. They are spending six months, December through May, at the St. Rosa RV Resort in Navarre, Florida.
“It’s got everything you could possibly want here,” said Steve Belcher, 63 and a retired school teacher. “It’s got shops, beautiful beaches, the water is gorgeous. You get sunsets and sunrises from the same spot. You can’t ask for anything better.”
The Belchers are among the hundreds of winter tourists who occupy the campgrounds, condominiums and hotels of Northwest Florida, many of them for several months, in an attempt to flee the cold weather and winter utility bills of the colder areas of the U.S. and Canada.
Snowbirds start arriving every year as early as November, but local tourism experts and business people say January is the busiest time for their arrival. Generally, they say the snowbird season continues until spring breakers arrive in March and April.