Snowbirds flocking to Coast to escape cold temperatures
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - In South Mississippi, winter has another name: Snowbird Season.
It lasts through the worst of the cold temperatures - usually from January to April. It’s also when people - usually retirees from the northern part of the country - haul their RVs to the Coast for a long comfortable escape.
For the first four months of each year, Cindy and F.C. Lehman claim a spot at Southern Comfort Camping Resort in Biloxi as their home away from home. So do their dogs, Daphne and Charlie.
Their journey begins in January.
“I have to spend Christmas at home with my grandkids,” Cindy said. “And as soon as I get Christmas over, we’re down here. Otherwise, we’d be here in December.”
The reasons are simple.
“We like the white beaches, the many tremendous places to eat,” F.C. said. “Of course, the casinos. And mainly the weather.”
That’s because their Tennessee home near the Kentucky border is a little too cold this time of year.
“Well, it snowed there last Thursday,” he said.
For them, there’s no better destination.
“It’s close enough if we wanted to go to Gulf Shores or even Pensacola - something like that,” L.C. said. “It’s just a convenient location. Ocean Springs, we love it.”
Kelvin Sampson and his wife Linda park their RV in Illinois when they aren’t traveling to Biloxi.
“Up home, it’s probably 30 degrees today and it’s been below freezing up there quite a bit this year,” he said. “And we sometimes think we don’t leave up there early enough. We leave around Thanksgiving.”
The snowbird season has a big impact on campgrounds like Southern Comfort Camping Resort.
“Oh, it’s essential for us,” said owner Tyler Moffett. “We balance our books a lot on this expected income every year.”
But more than that, the visitors have become like family to Moffett.
“You know, we get to know these people,” he said. “They’ve been coming here for 10, sometimes 15-plus years. It’s not like the summer tourists who come, and we may not see them every year.”
Wisconsin resident Susan Eschmann knows the Coast well.
She comes in January and stays through May or, “Until the flying termites come.”
Bugs aside, the amenities and the people keep her coming back.
“We really enjoy meeting all the people down here. They are just so friendly. We join things like a church and go to the YMCA in Ocean Springs and the people have just embraced us.”
Because of the snowbirds, the Southern Comfort Camping Resort in Biloxi is booked up through April.
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