75 'hidden gem' cities for snowbirds looking to escape winter weather and crowds

If you’re a snowbird seeking reprieve from winter weather but don’t want to settle for a more popular sun-soaked place, a new study has identified some “hidden gem” cities to avoid the cold and the crowds.

Architectural Digest published a study which ranked 75 U.S. cities fit for snowbird season — which typically ranges from October through April and sends huge flocks of people to warmer states such as Texas, Arizona and Florida.

The cities were ranked based on housing and lodging availability, Yelp ratings for activities and eateries, home sale prices, and winter weather conditions to determine the best cities for snowbirds.

To be considered a “hidden gem destination”, each location needed highly rated yet lesser-known establishments with only six to 75 Yelp reviews, “indicating that they are still relatively undiscovered.”


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Best city with an undiscovered food and drink scene

The study found that Gilbert, Arizona, had the most hidden gem bars and restaurants on Yelp (150), followed by New Orleans (107).

Best city for nature enthusiasts

Researchers found that Mobile, Alabama, had an abundance of top-rated hiking trails with light traffic, making it the number one pick for those “who want to enjoy the peace and quiet of the great outdoors.”

Best city for hidden gem activities

You can find the most “hidden gem” beaches, parks, walking trails, botanical gardens, health retreats, and lakes in Sedona, Arizona, according to Yelp ratings reviewed for the study.

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Best city to buy a home

If a top priority is to buy a home, Arizona was also home to two of the top three most affordable cities for purchasing a home—Ajo and Bisbee.

Ajo has the most affordable homes on Zillow, with an average cost of $161,048, researchers found.

Best lesser-known US cities for snowbirds

Use the interactive table below, which was created by Architectural Digest, to explore the full list, from first-place New Orleans to last-place Duck, North Carolina.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Hidden gem' US cities to escape chilly weather and crowds this winter