Summer equivalent to a snowbird?
December 9, 2007 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Is there a summer equivalent to "snowbirds" in hot sunbelt cities? If so where do they go?

My mother in Phase II of del Boca Vista is complaining about the hordes of snowbirds coming down to escape the cold winters (like my mother herself!) and I am curious if there is a reverse migration of "sunbirds." I am talking about more than just people going to the country because it is summer and the kids are out of school. I mean people with means who leave specifically because of climate in a reverse migration pattern.

After all, Phoenix or Houston in July is as miserable in its own way as Chicago in January. So do the Phoenix-ites go up to, say Washington state or the Canadian Rockies where the locals bitch about the influx? Or does the invention of air conditioning mean that harsh summers are easier to take than harsh winters?

Bonus question. I realized in writing this that I have no idea what you call a native of Phoenix. Phoenix-ite? Phoenixian? Phoenician? (That would be cool)
posted by xetere to Travel & Transportation (24 answers total)
Michigan towns like Petoskey, Charlevoix, Harbor Springs, Luddington, Traverse City and more (all in the northern part of the lower peninsula) see this sort of reverse migration - usually from Florida - especially Ft Myers to Key West. The same's true in parts of Maine and Vermont. Your question seems more western-oriented, so I can't say for sure, but you can count on there being some sort of equivalent. I do know that many southern California folks have places on islands around Seattle and Vancouver. I suspect Colorado has a lot of summer people too.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 12:40 PM on December 9, 2007

In Florida, there are some planned communities where you have a small house plus a motor home pad. An example. In the winter, you stay in Florida. In the summer, you drive the motor home around the country.
posted by smackfu at 12:41 PM on December 9, 2007

Dee has it. My grandparents migrated yearly from Florida to a little town called Honor, Michigan.
posted by InnocentBystander at 12:54 PM on December 9, 2007

Historically, much of southern Appalachia saw substantial numbers of lowlanders spend the summer there both to avoid the heat and, back in the day, the various subtropical diseases.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:54 PM on December 9, 2007

In the summertime my fellow Floridians head to the mountains of North Carolina. I know at least 10 people that have cabins in NC.
posted by LoriFLA at 1:08 PM on December 9, 2007

Well, yes. The definition of a snowbird is that they are coming from somewhere else and returning there when the weather is more tolerable. Florida gets a lot of snowbirds from the rustbelt states and also Canada--especially Canada now because their dollar is so perky compared to the US dollar. It is dee-lite-ful to be behind an 85 year old from Indiana who refuses to move to the slow lane because, dag gum it, the speed limit is 25 where they came from so let's just ignore the 45 mph signs because we all know that is just too dang fast and heck, they are on vacation.
posted by 45moore45 at 1:16 PM on December 9, 2007

Also-- there are lots of people who migrate for jobs-- Colorado for ski resort jobs and then somewhere else for lifeguard/resort jobs. Lots of culinary people do that, too. Lodges in Alaska, then down to Miami or NYC for the rest of the year.
posted by 45moore45 at 1:19 PM on December 9, 2007

As I recall from living in San Diego, the Phoenicians and others from Arizona would come out I-8 to visit us in the summer, and San Diegans would fondly moan about all the "Zonies".
posted by Robert Angelo at 1:52 PM on December 9, 2007

We're on the receiving end of LoriFLA's summer heat-dodgers. The Boone-Flat Rock area seems to be the locus for northeastern-born Florida residents who can't take the summer heat. And the surge of Florida license plates around Asheville in late spring heralds the beginning of Crazy Old Driver Season.
posted by holgate at 1:57 PM on December 9, 2007

Duluth, MN is beautiful in the summer. There's maybe a week of uncomfortably hot days, but the rest is heaven.
posted by Zosia Blue at 2:29 PM on December 9, 2007

People in Phoenix generally refer to themselves as "Phoenicians". The Phoenix metro area is actually divided up into a fairly large number of cities, and I've noticed that most people from the area tend to refer to which city they're from instead of just saying they're from Phoenix. So people from Tempe, Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler, or Glendale tend to say they're from Tempe, Scottsdale, Chandler, or Glendale (or from "the Phoenix area"). There does not seem to be any consensus with regards to what to call people from these areas, but I've heard "Tempeans" (pronounced /temp-EE-ens/, which only sounds weird if you don't know that "Tempe" is also pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable /temp-EE/) and "Chandlerites" before.
posted by ErWenn at 2:52 PM on December 9, 2007

The northwoods of Wisconsin is full of summer communities, and there are still areas even in southern Wisconsin like Lake Geneva that are famous summer getaways. Nowadays the Wisconsin Dells is the locus of a lot of that traffic, with timeshare condos the abode of choice. Since a lot of the people getting away are just moving in-state there isn't much of a word for them, but you hear things like "summer people" in places.

I know that island communities experience this a lot, too.

It is my impression from my cousins that every third Swede owns a summer cabin, too. The only real difference is the amount of vacation time.
posted by dhartung at 2:59 PM on December 9, 2007

A good chunk of Arizona is high-altitude ponderosa pine forest and has much more pleasant summer weather than Phoenix. It's a fairly short drive from Phoenix to Flagstaff or Sedona, but it's a steep drive and the temperatures drop precipitously. A lot of people have cabins, condos or find rentals that they visit for weekend trips or longer.

And as a Phoenix-native, I disagree with all the naming-conventions mentioned by ErWenn. Everyone I know just says "I'm from Phoenix" when out-of-state, unless they're talking to another person from Phoenix. I've never actually heard anyone say "Tempean", though I've seen it in writing before. YMMV.
posted by mullacc at 3:14 PM on December 9, 2007

Pretty much everywhere in Florida gets this -- the snowbirds only stay for the winter. During the summer they flee to places where the air doesn't boil you. (Wusses.) Where they go I'm not sure, but judging by the license plates I see, a lot are from Canada, Wisconsin, West Virginia, New Jersey, Vermont, Indiana, and Maine.
posted by cmyk at 4:04 PM on December 9, 2007

Is there a name for all the people from the hot south who flee to the cool north? The summer equivalent of "snowbird?"
posted by exphysicist345 at 4:51 PM on December 9, 2007

Let's make one up. We'll call them "sunbirds".
posted by CrazyJoel at 5:15 PM on December 9, 2007

Floridians like to go to the mountains of the Carolinas. It's cool in the summer, and they still feel like they are in the south.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:46 PM on December 9, 2007

As Zosia Blue suggests N. MN, as well as N. WI
posted by edgeways at 6:47 PM on December 9, 2007

They mostly go to Alaska and drive around very, very slowly on the four available roads.

Also a lot of my Irish relatives decamp hot American cities for their family homes in the summer. I have a cousin who has raised 4 children to high school age in Dallas, not one of whom has seen July or August in that city.
posted by fshgrl at 6:57 PM on December 9, 2007

My girlfriend agrees with you, Mullac, and she's more native than me (I only spent eight years there). The tendency to just say "I'm from Phoenix" seems to be stronger the further away the speaker gets from Arizona. Out here in Indiana, we say "Phoenix" unless the asker seems to be looking for a conversation to fill time with. But we're the only ones I know out here. I guess the problem with my previously drawn conclusions is that the further we get from Arizona, the fewer data points I have to work with.

And while I have heard "Tempeans", I don't mean to imply that it is commonplace.
posted by ErWenn at 7:45 PM on December 9, 2007

I second dhartung that year-round locals just call them "summer people."
In my experience, they are commonly found in Maine.
posted by naoko at 8:00 PM on December 9, 2007

Michiganders call them Fudgies!

"Mackinac Island and other tourist cities in Northern Michigan are famed for making slab fudge. Slab fudge is made by pouring liquid ingredients onto large marble slabs for hand working. Fudge is the island's primary industry,[citation needed] and about 10,000 pounds of the confection are sold every day. The tourists there are referred to as 'fudgies.'"
posted by Carol Anne at 5:26 AM on December 10, 2007

Is there a name for all the people from the hot south who flee to the cool north? The summer equivalent of "snowbird?"
We in NC always called them "Floridiots."
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:32 AM on December 10, 2007

Another NC idiom: "Halfbacks". New Yorkers who move to Florida to escape the winters, can't stand the heat, and so move halfway back, to the Carolinas.
posted by Area Control at 12:57 PM on December 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

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