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How to Be a Snowbird: Rentals in Florida on a Budget

Table of Contents
The Costs of the Snowbird Lifestyle     Finding Affordable Florida Rentals for Snowbirds   Money Saving Tips for Aspiring Florida Snowbirds   Long Term Winter Rentals in Florida: TLDR

Who wants to suffer through winter? Blizzards and frigid temperatures are less deadly than hurricanes, sure. But in the middle of January,  pipes freeze furnaces shut down. When even your Lippi Selk Bag can’t bring your temperature up, flooding might seem like a wonderful problem indeed. 

And yet suffering through the winter is a choice. Even if you’re not ready to sacrifice the beauty of spring and fall for permanent residence in the South. 

Thanks to the wide availability of monthly winter rentals in Florida, it’s a popular snowbird destination. 

The question is, can you afford the cost of a long term vacation rental in the sunshine state? 

If so, you could make like a goose and migrate to warmer weather every winter. 

The Costs of the Snowbird Lifestyle

costs of the snowbird lifestyle    

According to US News and World Report, Florida is the 38th most affordable state. Chances are you’ll spend more money on day-to-day expenses in Florida than you do in your home state. 

The major expense, however, is housing. Where you look and what sort of living situation you expect to have will impact price significantly. As it turns out, monthly rentals in Florida tend to be a bit on the expensive side.

Finding Affordable Florida Rentals for Snowbirds


You can find affordable places to rent in Florida for a month (or five). However, if you’re looking for vacation homes for under $2000 per month, your selection is going to be somewhat limited.  

For the purposes of our search, we looked for rentals available from November 1 to March 31. 

Florida gulf coast monthly rentals

The two major cities with abundant monthly rentals on the gulf coast of Florida are Tampa and Fort Myers.

When it comes to monthly vacation rentals by owner, Tampa snowbird rental prices really run the gamut.  We found one-bedroom apartments downtown for as little as $10,200. 

We also found luxury condos with ocean views and pools for as much as $76,000. 

Fort Myers was more expensive. The cheapest rental we found was a bungalow on the waterfront for $13,000. 

If you want to get really crazy, you could spend $250,000 on an island mansion with its own indoor pool

The moral of the story is this: monthly beach house rentals are not going to be cheap. The problem is, most of the monthly rentals in Florida’s gulf coast are beach houses. 

Monthly rentals in Southern Florida

South Florida is not the place to look for cheap snow bird rentals. In fact, when it comes to Florida monthly vacation rentals, it’s probably the worst place you could look. 

Few apartments were available for under $15,000. Most of them range between $30,000 and $100,000 for five months. 

Miami is especially pricy. Not a single apartment is available for our five month stay for under $20,000. 

Florida monthly rentals in the North and panhandle

Long term rentals in Florida’s panhandle can be just as expensive as those on the gulf coast. 

Airbnb, however, does have some options in Tallahassee, Gainesville, or Jacksonville for under $1500 per month. The catch is, you have to be okay sharing your space with the host (or,  in this example, a few cats).

Are there any affordable winter rentals in Florida?

You’re probably out of luck if you’re looking for winter rentals in Florida for under $1500 a month. (Assuming you want a place to yourself, that is.) Even winter rentals in Florida for under $2000 a month are scarce. 

At the end of the day, renting in Florida for the entire winter is likely to cost you over $15,000. 

So, what’s an aspiring snowbird to do? 

Money Saving Tips for Aspiring Florida Snowbirds

money saving tips for aspiring florida snowbirds  

Do you want to escape the frozen tundra in winter but don’t have a spare $15,000 lying around? There are a few ways you can offset the cost of your long term beach rental. 

Rent your place up North while you’re away.

Believe it or not, extended stay rentals in the North can be rather expensive too, even during winter months. 

A quick Airbnb search shows spaces in the frigid wastelands of rural Maine going for as much as $12,000 per month. 

So, you could easily offset the cost of a monthly beach vacation rental in Florida. You do need to be comfortable with strangers living in your space, though.

Get an RV you’re comfortable living in for the winter. 

RVs aren’t cheap, per se, but you could purchase a used one in excellent condition for well under $50,000. For that price, you get a comfortable living space on wheels that you can park at any campsite in the world. 

Longer stay rentals in Florida are expensive. So, you could offset the cost of an RV in just a couple years. 

Granted, it won’t be a luxurious life in a condo by the beach. But, if your goal is simply to escape the snow, it’s a much more affordable way of doing so.  

Start planning now. 

If being a snowbird isn’t feasible for you right now, it could be some day. Make a plan to start saving for the expense. If you prepare now, you could set yourself up for a lifetime of wearing shorts in January.

If creating such a plan seems daunting, don’t worry: Planswell has you covered. Our sophisticated software can build a plan that will have you sunning yourself in December as early as possible. It only takes 3 minutes, and it’s totally free.  

Long Term Winter Rentals in Florida: TLDR

Long term winter rentals in Florida TLDR

Believe it or not, you aren’t the first person to consider retreating South for the winter. So, while many people offer long term rentals in Florida over the winter months, prices are not cheap. 


Whether you’re looking for monthly rentals on Florida’s West coast, the South, or the North, it’s going to be expensive. You’re going to be shelling out in excess of $1500 per month — unless you’re comfortable having housemates.

However, you can mitigate the expense if you’re determined. 

  1. Rent your house. For some incomprehensible reason, Northern rentals make money, even in the winter. If you’re okay with folks living in your space, you could easily offset the cost of a Florida winter rental. 
  2. Get an RV. You won’t have as much space as if you rented an entire apartment or house for yourself. But, a used RV in good shape will pay for itself in a couple years. If you plan on being a snowbird long term, this is the cheapest way to do it.
  3. Start planning early. If you’re still young enough to survive the tundra but imagine wanting to escape one day, start making plans now. If securing your future sounds interesting to you, Planswell can help. In just 3 minutes, we can tell you when you could retire and help you optimize your financial plans. 


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