Underrated Winter Cities: When you think of warm-weather cities that are great places to live, you probably think of Miami or Los Angeles. While you can usually count on great weather in those cities, they are not the most affordable places for warm-weather lovers to visit.
If winter isn’t your thing and you’re on a budget, you’ll want to look for less-traveled destinations, many of which are in the South. We determined the most underrated (and affordable) cities to live this winter based on data from Sperling’s Best Places, Zumper, and other sources.
7 Underrated Winter Cities If You Hate Winter
Alabama’s Gulf Shores
According to MoneyInc, Gulf Shores may be one of the warmest cities on this list in the winter. The average temperature in January is 57 degrees Fahrenheit, with daily highs typically in the low 60s. Gulf Shores is located on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, which means it has all of the lovely beaches, seafood, and places to eat and walk that you’d expect.
The median home price in this city is the highest on the list, but it is still nearly $60,000 less than the national average of $339,100. A typical 1-bedroom apartment rents for $1,622, which is slightly higher than the other locations on this list but still far less than big-name beach towns.
Clemson University in South Carolina
Clemson is not only a place to escape the freezing winter weather; it is also a thriving college town about two hours from Atlanta. This allows for a small-town feel while still having access to everything a larger metropolitan area has to offer.
In addition to being a great place for young people to live due to its temperate climate, it is still relatively inexpensive when compared to other warmer cities. The median home price in the city is $270,600, which is lower than the national average of $398,500. Renting a one-bedroom apartment is only $800, and the overall cost of living is 6.1% lower than the rest of the United States.
Arkansas’s Bella Vista
Bella Vista, with a population of less than 30,000 people, caters to those who enjoy warm weather and the feel of a small town. According to MoneyInc, the town is a temperate, forested beauty with seven lakes and great walking trails.
It’s also reasonably priced. A one-bedroom apartment rents for $1,100, and the median home price is $242,300. The general cost of living is also 7.1% lower than in the rest of the United States.
Florida’s Port Charlotte
Warm-weather enthusiasts have always flocked to Florida, but the majority of visitors flock to the most popular cities, such as Orlando, Miami, or Tampa, which are not always the most affordable. Consider Port Charlotte instead.
This Gulf Coast city has just as many beautiful beaches and fun things to do as those cities, but it is less expensive. Port Charlotte has a median home price of $235,600 and a cost of living that is 11.1% lower than the national average. A one-bedroom apartment costs $1,119 per month. This is the place to go if you want a warm, humid climate and a waterfront location for less than the rest of America.
You can’t really go wrong in Arizona if you don’t like winter weather. Yuma has a pleasant summer climate and mild winters. According to MoneyInc, it is also one of the sunniest places in the United States. 90% of the year is sunny.
It’s also reasonably priced. According to Sperling’s Best Places, the median home price is $219,500, and the overall cost of living is 8.5% lower than the rest of the United States. According to Zumper, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,000.
New Mexico’s Las Cruces
The Southwest draws a lot of visitors because of its rich natural beauty and even richer cultural heritage. Las Cruces is no different.
The winters in this Southwestern town are mild, but the summers can be quite hot. It also has a lower cost of living, with a median home price of $209,600 and a one-bedroom apartment renting for $1,045 per month. The cost of living is also 16.5% lower than the rest of the United States.
Louisiana’s Lake Charles
If you despise winter weather, the southern town of Lake Charles, which is located on a freshwater lake with a white-sand inland beach, is a beautiful place to live. According to MoneyInc, this Gulf Coast town, said to be founded by pirate Jean Lafitte, has a mild climate with more days of sun than not and is infused with Cajun culture.
In terms of affordability, the median home price remains reasonable at $181,800, and a one-bedroom apartment rents for only $795. The cost of living is also 16.9% lower than in the rest of the country.