Scottsdale is a beautiful Southwestern destination for snowbirds who want to escape their freezing winter wonderland. The winter weather is perfect for a visit or an extended stay. You can enjoy the hot and sunny desert climate every day. Offering beautiful resorts, communities for those over 55, and short-term rentals, the Scottsdale-Phoenix area offers the perfect accommodation option for your annual snowbird flight.
Active retirees, independent semi-retirees and future retirees will love the activity options available to them in the Scottsdale community. Healthy outdoor adventures, a strong arts community, great gourmet restaurants, fun craft beer establishments, beautiful wineries, and a Western culture that roams the city streets giving Scottsdale its unique vibe.
Some of the information in this article was obtained during a sponsored press trip, but all recommendations are mine.
1. The weather
The winter weather in Scottsdale is sublime. The US Climate Data website lists Scottsdale’s temperatures between November and April as having an average maximum ranging from 65 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Scattered precipitation is about an inch per full month. The minimal amount of precipitation provides plenty of opportunities to let the sun shine and warm winter weary bones. Snowbirds love to ditch the freezing weather and migrate to areas where it is summer all year round and there is little to no humidity.
Arizona can get very hot during the summer months, but the winter weather is bright, sunny, and the perfect temperature to chase away the cold winter winds. Many snowbirds visit Arizona for a getaway and end up returning for season stays.
2. Golf courses
The Scottsdale-Phoenix area offers luxurious private courses, gorgeous semi-private clubs, and beautiful public golf options just waiting to test your swing. You can easily find a course that suits your game and your budget.
Membership courses with guest options like the Camelback Golf Club, part of the JW Marriott family, ensure you have an exceptional golf experience on their two club courses. Another great resort golf option is the Boulders Club at Boulders Resort & Spa.
Large public courses around the Scottsdale area include the Troon North Golf Club, one of the top rated public courses in the area, and the Grayhawk Golf Club located just north of town.
Many snowbirds visit during the winter months just to keep their golf game sharp and their swing well oiled. Scottsdale offers courses to challenge scratch golfers, as well as forgiving executive-style courses for the aspiring player.
When you visit the Sonoran Desert, hiking is a pastime that brings many guests into the heart of this beautiful barren landscape. With cool morning temperatures, early risers can finish a hike before the sun gets too high in the sky. Adventurous hikers can explore, according to AllTrails.com, over 100 trails in the Scottsdale area. With so many trail options, you can hike a different trail every day. From the easy 1.7-mile Horseshoe and Desert Parks Loop to the expert-rated 11.1-mile Tom’s Thumb to Bell Pass Loop, there’s a trail for all fitness levels.
If you want a more controlled hiking experience, visit the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. The majority of the trails are flat and level, providing visitors with a smooth and stable surface for walking through the desert landscape. The gardens allow you to see the magnificent native plants of Arizona up close in their natural environment. The colorful cactus flowers are beautiful and not to be missed. The Botanical Garden is a respite to sit back and enjoy all the gifts the desert has to offer.
4. Gourmet culture
Delicious food, silky wines and interesting craft beers provide locals and visitors alike the opportunity to relax and explore the wealth of restaurants that this desert town is proud to present.
When you browse Scottsdale, you will find a wide array of enticing dining choices. Explore gourmet restaurants featuring seasonal cuisine led by a chef, paired with expert food and wine pairings. The local craft beer scene elevates pub food and a pint to different than average bar heights. Locally sourced ingredients are celebrated in their innovative dishes. Resort meals allow you to explore their restaurants and is a wonderful way to enjoy a fabulous meal and take a look at the resort and its amenities.
The wide variety of restaurants offers a variety of options for every occasion. You can dine on tasty tacos at Barrio Queen, sip a cocktail at the trendy AZ88 Saloon, enjoy a sumptuous brunch at Prep & Pastry and party at fine restaurants like Virtu Honest Craft. The explosion of the gastronomic scene will tickle your taste buds and open your eyes to new culinary possibilities.
Handcrafted libations are part of the region’s wine tasting culture. The Scottsdale Wine Route features wines produced at local wineries and convenient tasting rooms where you can sit, sip, and relax. For craft beer enthusiasts, craft beer operations will quench your thirst and broaden your thoughts on traditional beer.
Scottsdale’s history runs deeply into the Old West, which is evident in the architecture of the area.
Old Town Scottsdale is a thriving center of activity. More than just a collection of turn-of-the-century buildings, the Old Town has a hip party vibe inviting you to explore the neighborhood’s shops, restaurants and green spaces.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a stunning example of Wright’s architectural work. Taliesin West offers both self-guided audio tours and guided tours allowing visitors to get the most out of their visit.
The Scottsdale Historical Society, located in the former Little Red Schoolhouse, preserves Scottsdale’s history while actively engaging residents and visitors to the area’s past.
6. Fun activities to explore
The Hotel Pool Day Pass program allows non-guests to spend a luxurious day enjoying the hotel pools, cabanas, poolside service, and more. If you’re looking to improve your poolside game for the day, entertain out of town guests, or just want a different view, this program is an amazing way to visit exclusive resorts. Participating hotels include the Saguaro Scottsdale, Hotel Valley Ho, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess and many more.
The Scottsdale Civic Center is not only home to the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts, but also has an outdoor amphitheater, beautiful green spaces, fountains, and art sculptures, all lined with restaurants.
Scottsdale’s shopping options will keep you busy for days and days. In the old town, you can find cute shops that sell local handicrafts, kitsch trinkets, and local handicrafts. The Arts District is home to galleries and exhibition halls that showcase a range of artistic styles from luxury to home décor pieces. In the downtown Scottsdale Waterfront, you’ll find popular luxury brand stores, up-and-coming boutiques, great restaurants and thriving businesses.
8. The retiree community
Scottsdale residents happily enjoy an average of 299 days of sunshine; the US national average is only 205 days. All that sun keeps locals and visitors healthy and happy. Pair sunny days with just 11 inches of average precipitation each year and you’ve got a sunny destination perfect for tired, frozen snowbirds. It gets a little warm in summer, but late fall, winter, and early spring provide sublime weather for winter wanderers.
Scottsdale ranked third in the top 10 cities where retirees wanted to move, according to SmartAssets.com. Scottsdale is affordable, the weather is mild most of the year, and there is a plethora of activities to keep residents and visitors busy and occupied.
A great place to start your search for an active community over 55 is to list sites like 55Places.com. When planning your full-time, part-time, or snowbird move, research is key to a successful transition. In Scottsdale, you’ll find active communities with exclusive golf privileges, active lodges, sparkling pools and other must-sees for fun in the sun.
Many snowbirds migrate to Scottsdale year after year. Some buy, others rent and others nestle in a resort setting. Whatever type of accommodation you prefer, you’ll find the perfect place to settle into an extended getaway, leaving winter behind.
9. Proximity to Phoenix-Scottsdale
Scottsdale’s proximity to Phoenix provides access to the city while residing in a relaxing seaside resort. Scottsdale’s laid back and laid back vibe makes it perfect for a relaxing winter getaway. Whether you’re staying for a week, a month, or a season, snowbirds in Scottsdale love all the hip outdoor activities offered by the Phoenix-Scottsdale proximity coupled with the sophistication of the big city.
You can explore some of the freebies Phoenix has to offer in our articles: 8 Unique Phoenix Restaurants To Try And 7 Great Outdoor Activities In Phoenix.
Pro tip: When you’re on your first trip to Scottsdale and looking for a sunny spot to escape the winter chill, stay at one of Scottsdale’s luxury resorts and soak up the summer desert vibe. You will need to protect your skin from the sun, so bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. You’ll love every minute of lounging by the pool, exploring local haunts and connecting with other snowbirds.
Scottsdale, Arizona, and nearby Phoenix are attractive destinations for winter-weary vacationers: