By Sylvia Cochran, Yahoo! Contributor Network- Tue, Oct 04, 2011 12:38 PM EDT
Snowbirds in search of America’s top beach towns have their picks of secluded locales where white sands and cries of seagulls are the main attractions. In the alternative, there are other warm weather winter travel destinations that offer luxurious resort-style surroundings — without destroying the small town look and feel.
Dauphin Island, Alabama
The “Heart of Dixie” attracts tourists following in the footsteps of French colonists. The state enjoys humid subtropical weather and Dauphin Island is no exception. With only 1,300 year-round residents, it is a wonderfully relaxing destination.
Visit the Dauphin Island Sea Lab for its estuarine wildlife display. Then, take a tour of Indian Shell Mound Park for the fauna and flora that teem there. For history lovers, remember American Civil War history with a visit to Fort Gaines.
The Golden State enjoys a Mediterranean-like climate, especially along its generous coastline. Cayucos prides itself on being “America’s coolest small town.”
Take some time to tour the Cass House and come face to face with the town’s founder. During the day, hike the bluffs of the northern hills or explore Whale Rock Reservoir and its surrounding trails.
Cedar Key and Apalachicola, Florida
Offering a sub- and true tropical climate, the Sunshine State is a must-see for snowbirds. There are two perfect beach towns for the winter visitor. Cedar Key is excellent for the beach lover. When it is time to leave the gorgeous sands behind, a trip to th e Cedar Key State Museum allows for nature exploration and light hikes.
Another option is Apalachicola. Enjoy locally caught oysters and shrimp. The shores of the Apalachicola River offer wonderful areas for walking, leisurely biking and artistic sketching.
Tybee Island, Georgia
The resort town used to be called “Savannah Beach,” but the moniker just wouldn’t stick. Today Tybee is a welcome getaway for history lovers and lighthouse fans.
Take a tour of the Fort Screven Historic District and be transported back in time, or at sunset, visit the 154-tall Tybee Lighthouse for an unforgettable view.
Grand Isle, Louisiana
The humid subtropical climate of Louisiana endears the state to tourists fleeing cold weather. Grand Isle is ideal for anglers.
Tourists can play and relax all day on Grand Isle State Park beaches, which have been numbered among top winter beach retreats in 2010. If you’re up for more adventure, go fishing right on the beach or set up a tour boat for a larger group.
Pawleys Island or Kiawah Island, South Carolina
The quintessential Deep South humid subtropical climate is once again exemplified in South Carolina. Two destinations beckon the traveler in search of winter beach towns. Pawleys Island is tiny but first-rate for the tourist who wants to get away from it all. Rest in a hammock, go fishing and fit in some crabbing — then repeat.
The traveler favoring a resort feel is sure to appreciate Kiawah Island. Although small, it is associated with a luxurious golf resort.
Town of Dauphin Island, image Jeffrey Reed; Cayucos by the Sea, image Adam Sofen; Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce, image Dockstreet Zdv, Apalachicola Bay; City of Tybee, image Brian Stansberry; Town of Grand Isle, image Karen Apricot; Town of Pawleys Island, image iStock jumpan44; Town of Kiawah Island
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